Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series has long been a favorite of mine. Wilder's books have stuck with me since childhood, and I've read each ofLaura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series has long been a favorite of mine. Wilder's books have stuck with me since childhood, and I've read each of the books more than once, so this annotated autobiography was a joy to read.
For me as both a reader and writer, this book is an intriguing read. As a reader, I get the 'rest of the story' so to speak, finding out additional details about the stories in the books, adding layers to stories I've enjoyed for years.
As a writer, It was interesting to read both the handwritten/typed notes on the manuscripts located in the back, and to learn about Laura's writing and editing process and to compare the original manuscript with the finished books. What I hadn't realized until I read this book was how much her daughter Rose was involved in the process. What I also find interesting is how Rose, a popular writer in her time, has been eclipsed by her mother.
I'm a fast reader, but this book took a while to read, which is a good thing. It took a while, not because it is a difficult read, but because of the extensive notes included in the book.
If you are a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, this is a great book to read. If you aren't familiar with her Little House books, then it will be hard to understand this book. Read the series first, then this book. I highly recommend this book to fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder. ...more
Kevin Powers's "The Yellow Birds" is about two young soldiers--Private John Bartle, twenty-one, and Private Daniel Murphy, eighteen. In the novel's opKevin Powers's "The Yellow Birds" is about two young soldiers--Private John Bartle, twenty-one, and Private Daniel Murphy, eighteen. In the novel's opening, both are in Al Tafar, Iraq, and about to take part in a bloody battle to re-take the city--September 2004.
The book then flips back to December 2003, at Fort Dix, New Jersey, before they ship out to Iraq. Private Murphy's mother comes to visit and the fulcrom that this novel pivots on takes place during a conversation between Bartle, and Murphy's mother Donna before they ship out to Iraq.
"And you're gonna look out for him, right?" she asked. "Um, yes, ma'am." "And Daniel, he's doing a good job?" "Yes, ma'am, very good. How the hell should I know, lady? I wanted to say. I barely knew the guy. Stop. Stop asking me questions. I don't want to be accountable. I don't know anything about this. "John, promise me you'll take care of him." "Of course." Sure, sure I thought. Now you reassure me and I'll go back and go to bed. "Nothings gonna happen to him, right? Promise that you'll bring him back home to me." "I promise," I said. "I promise I'll bring him back home to you."
Private John Bartle has just a made a promise you know he won't be able to keep. I kept reading, waiting for the moment when Bartle's promise would be permanently broken and then read the rest of the novel to see how Bartle dealt with the ramifications of his broken promise.
Powers's is a strong, lyrical writer. He has an MFA in poetry and it shows in his writing. His writing places you where Private Bartle is: a battle, the desert, Europe after he leaves Iraq, back in the States where his actions in Iraq catch up to him.
The novel moves between 2004--when the two are stationed in Iraq--and 2005--after Iraq. Moving between the two time periods tends to keep the reader a bit off balance, but it works, keeping the reader not quite sure of what is going to happen next, much like the feelings of the two soldiers.
I don't usually read war novels--the exception being Tim O'Brien's work. Kevin Powers's debut novel is as powerful as O'Brien's works, and I'm hoping to read more of Powers's work. ...more
Shaara takes an historical event-The Battle of Gettysburg-and writes about it in novel form, and the result is living the battle with the main charactShaara takes an historical event-The Battle of Gettysburg-and writes about it in novel form, and the result is living the battle with the main characters. The characters were real people--Robert E.Lee, James "Pete" Longstreet, George Pickett, Lewis Armistead, Ambrose Powell Hill, Richard Ewell, Richard Brooke Garnett, J.E.B.Stuart, and Jubal Early--Confederate generals; General George Meade, Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, John Buford, John Reynolds, and Winfield Scott Hancock--all Major Generals and all officers for the Union.
The story of the battle is told through their various points of view--the successes and the failures, as well as their personal struggles they must cope with while engaged in fighting. Lee is ill with heart disease; Longstreet still struggles with grief over the loss of three of his children in one week, due to an identified fever; Chamberlain missing his family in Maine and his realization he will do whatever it takes to win a battle--a realization he isn't comfortable with.
The Battle of Gettysburg lasted for three days in the suppressive heat and humidity of early July. it's one thing to read historical accounts about the battle; it's another to read about the battle as it unfolds and experiencing it from the point of view of the principal commanders involved--Chamberlain making a desperate decision when his men run out of ammunition and the Rebels are charging again in an effort to take Big Round Top--Longstreet arguing with Lee against Pickett's charge and being overruled--Armistead leading that disastrous charge in a last ditch attempt to break the Union lines--Lee's grief over the loss of men.
Recommended for readers of historical fiction and especially those with an interest in the Civil War. ...more