Take risks, follow your dreams, love the lands of the earth... Beautifully written! This book was recommended to me by a Hopi guide. The Hopi are reli...moreTake risks, follow your dreams, love the lands of the earth... Beautifully written! This book was recommended to me by a Hopi guide. The Hopi are religious, private Native American people. They are always pulled back to Hopi land, no matter where they venture out in life. The Hopi understand the "universal language of the earth." Their deep, complex philosophies are shared by their own people; Others do not share these philosophies...The land of the Hopi gave me a sense of peace, much like the feeling Santiago got from being a shephard, walking the land with his sheep, or noticing the stars in the desert. So what is the real treasure in this story?(less)
1776 is about the power of one man, George Washington, and his continued belief and perseverance to fight and turn the tides of the revolution with hi...more1776 is about the power of one man, George Washington, and his continued belief and perseverance to fight and turn the tides of the revolution with his Continental Army and his trusted American patriots. "From the last week of December, the year 1776 had been as dark a time as those devoted to the American cause had ever known - indeed, as dark a time as any in the history of the country. And suddenly, miraculously it seemed, that had changed because of a small band of determined me and their leader."
I learned about the details of the Revolution from the master of history telling, David McCullough. It started in Boston; Henry Knox, a Boston bookseller, hauled the guns of Fort Ticonderoga overland to Boston in the dead of winter to defeat the British on the ground of Dorchester Heights. Without powder, against the English army of General Howe, Washington was never supposed to have a chance to win. It was a stunning victory and the British evacuated.
New York was a different matter. Geographically, Washington and his troops never had a chance to overcome the masses of British and Hessian troops. New York was a massive defeat of the Americans. The Americans, under Washington's leadership, lost four major New York battles, one in Brooklyn,one at Kips Bay, one in White Plains, and the last at Fort Washington. The Americans gave up Fort Washington without a fight. American soldiers fled; If they stayed it would have been suicidal. The American soldiers suffered outbreaks of smallpox, dysentary, and they were outnumbered by the enemy who had superior troops.
"Washington is said to have wept as he watched the tragedy unfold from across the river, and though this seems unlikely, given his well-documented imperturbability, he surely wept within his soul. He had faced ruin before, but never like this."
Then came the defeat of the British in Trenton, known as the Crossing of the Delaware. Washington's 2,400 Americans had been on their feet all night, wet, cold, their weapons soaked, yet went into the fight with every bit of energy they had. Each man "seemed to vie with the other in pressing forward," Washington wrote. The Hessians were defeated with a stunning surprise American attack. "The storm of nature and the storm of the town," wrote Nathanael Greene, "exhibited a scene that filled the mind during the action with passions easier conceived than described."
"Washington was fully the commander now and it suited him. Out of adversity he seemed to draw greater energy and determination." He continued to win battles.
The British, who once scorned the American army, knew they had become a "formidable enemy."
And shall we say, the rest is history! Bravo, David McCullough! (less)
I just reread this book after decades! I'm so glad I did! Pearl Buck, having lived in China, understood both the rich and poor of China, and wrote a b...moreI just reread this book after decades! I'm so glad I did! Pearl Buck, having lived in China, understood both the rich and poor of China, and wrote a brilliant historical novel depicting the life of a poor agricultural farmer who grew rich. His transformation reveals his deep love of the earth, and his life as a farmer. He is happy when he marries a slave and her goals of the "good earth" match his. His wife asks for nothing, and does every chore imaginable without complaint to fulfill the "traditional" Chinese woman's role. She even gives birth without a midwife, and cleans up before the husband comes into the room to greet his newborns. The hard life of a poor farmer becomes clear when floods and drought come upon the earth. Starvation forces farmers to leave the earth for the city, with the hopes of finding a job. Thousands of families live in the slums while the rich stay behind their walls, enjoying their feasts, their opium, and their love making. When revolution occurs, both husband and wife have their poverty reversed by stealing from the great house when the rich abandon their home in fear. It is the reversal of poverty that entices the husband away from the "good earth," as well as his devoted, faithful wife, to a life lived in a great house, (ironically the same kind of life that led to the rebellion of poor people like himself). My heart broke for his wife...This is still one of the best books to read on earth!(less)
Wole Soyinka gets rave reviews as a writer. Ake, is the Nigerian town where Wole grew up a boy. This is the story of Wole's childhood memories of the...moreWole Soyinka gets rave reviews as a writer. Ake, is the Nigerian town where Wole grew up a boy. This is the story of Wole's childhood memories of the town and its people. HIs memories of his mom and dad are especially vivid. He is the son of a very strict headmaster and Wole is expected to act appropriately at all times. Being young and incredibly inquisitive and curious, Wole gets into lots of trouble, both physically and emotionally. His relentless inquiry at such a young age causes concern for both of his parents. Wole keeps a close watch on the goings-on in his town. He watches as an unwed poor woman becomes pregnant and is driven out of town. He watches as his mom fights alongside other women in the village for the rights against unfair taxation. He listens to a leader of the women complain bitterly against the racist behavior of the whites using the "inhuman weapon" upon the Japanese when they should have bombed Germany instead. Wole tries to make sense out of the actions he sees and discussions he hears as a child. He remembers so many of his childhood experiences. One can infer that life as a boy in Ake shapes Wole's being and essence before he leaves Ake to attend a government school run by white men. As Wole thinks about his new school he adds, "It was time to commence the mental shifts for admittance to yet another irrational world of adults and their discipline."
As a facilitator of adults, I want to improve my facilitating and know how to "move" comfortably from one portion of a protocol to another and ask pro...moreAs a facilitator of adults, I want to improve my facilitating and know how to "move" comfortably from one portion of a protocol to another and ask probing questions off the cuff that keep the conversation moving forward. Gene Thompson-Grove is the protocol guru in Brookline. I am studying her techniques and am awed by the ease in which she keeps any group moving forward to delve deeply into one's practice. This book did not help me as I hoped it would. I think that "observing" more groups will eventually help me ask the pertinent questions...
This book centers around the life of Rachel, a little Hawaiian girl who was sent to a leper settlement in Moloka'i, away from her home and family. I f...moreThis book centers around the life of Rachel, a little Hawaiian girl who was sent to a leper settlement in Moloka'i, away from her home and family. I felt all of Rachel's heartbreaks deep within my soul as I read through the pages of this compassionate story. I wish I had known her. (less)
The narrator travels to India, intrigued to find out about her grandfather's first wife, who had eloped with an Indian prince. Olivia, an English woma...moreThe narrator travels to India, intrigued to find out about her grandfather's first wife, who had eloped with an Indian prince. Olivia, an English woman, was married to a British civil servant, working in India. Though handsome, Olivia became bored staying alone all day while her husband worked, and was thrilled when she became acquainted with Nawab, a prince of an Indian district. Nawab, in order to live in wealth, befriended miscreants who would rob numbers of neighbors across his districts to give him money. Olivia was enamored of Nawab's rich life, stories, and wildness. She became pregnant with Nawab's child. Olivia left her husband, who thought Olivia's child was his, and had an old fashioned Indian abortion. She lived her life out in the mountains in the home Nawab had bought for her.
Meanwhile, the narrator has a few relationships in India, one with a man who claimed to be ultra religious, sitting in the corner of her room, chanting. She also had a relationship with her landlord when his family went on a pilgrimage to cure a daughter-in-law of seizures. When the narrator becomes pregnant, she decides to keep her baby and live in the same mountains as Olivia had.
The "heat" and the "dust" in India brought two women of different generations to look for sexual diversion in the middle of intense heat and dust storms of India. There were some humorous parts of this bizarre story. It's obvious that the author knows India well. "Why did you come to India?" "To find peace." She laughed grimly. "But all I found was dysentery."
A man who came to India to be purified, found a guru who stripped him of all personal characteristics and the rest of his possessions including his name...He had nothing left but his beads and his begging bowl. "In practice, however, he found this did not work too well, and he had often to write home for money to be sent by telegraphic order."
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala won the Booker Prize for this novel. I, personally, did not find this a "jewel to be treasured." Maybe I'm missing something...