A find on the basement bookshelves--probably from my wife's family. The introduction by James Thurber says this is the first paperback edition, a fiftA find on the basement bookshelves--probably from my wife's family. The introduction by James Thurber says this is the first paperback edition, a fifty cent edition that Thurber says is "a great service to the Wonderful Land of U.S." (Fawcett copyrights the introduction as 1960; otherwise there is no date in the book other than Baum's 1900 foreword; so thanks to the Goodreads librarians for providing the verification.)
I watched the movie every year the Sunday after Thanksgiving (?), so mostly I was interested to see all the differences between it and the original. Surely it wouldn't ruin anyone's experience to show these in broad daylight, but just in case I'll use the Goodreads spoiler cache.
1. Kansas is gray, peopled only by Dorothy, her aunt-and-uncle, dogged only by Toto, and this only for two pages before the cyclone arrives. 2. Silver shoes, not ruby slippers. 3. Many more lands must be traversed, going and coming: e.g. the fierce chimerical Kalidahs and the Dainty China Country. 4. The winged monkeys aren't the evil minions of the witch. She is only temporarily in control of them with the Gold Cap, and it only gives her (or anyone) three uses. Others succeed her as wearers, including Dorothy. 5. The Emerald City is only green because everyone wears green spectacles. 6. The wizard is from Omaha. 7. Most importantly, the intellectual component of the Scarecrow's brain consists of puns: it consists of bran so it can be bran-new, and of pins and needles so he can be sharp.
I probably would've enjoyed this in 2nd grade, provided I had not seen the movie. If a book's any good at all, I prefer it to its cinematic rendering. Nothing against movies at all! They just don't work the same way. Indeed, their personifications are very powerful, which is why I say I'd have to have not seen the movie as a kid in order to have enjoyed the book.
I had considered myself reasonably well-informed about world history, but this book revealed vast lacunae in my knowledge of the history of the MiddleI had considered myself reasonably well-informed about world history, but this book revealed vast lacunae in my knowledge of the history of the Middle East, as though I were a Roman legionnaire facing Arabia Deserta or the Parthian vastness and regarding it as emptiness.
Armstrong apparently wrote this book in the wake of the Salman Rushdie "Satanic Verses" fatwah/furore--it is thus an attempt to help Western readers aArmstrong apparently wrote this book in the wake of the Salman Rushdie "Satanic Verses" fatwah/furore--it is thus an attempt to help Western readers approach an understanding of Islam by providing them with the historical context both to Muhammad's life and to his revelations.
It is a sympathetic biography, but it is also an objective one. There is no interest in whitewashing or sanitizing the record of events so as to soothe Western sensibilities; there is however an overriding concern to situate these events in the particularities of the time and the place.
As far as the record itself is concerned, it is interesting to learn that the Islamic historiographical tradition concerning Muhammad is to collect all the accounts, even if they differ, provided they come from a reliable source that can be traced back to the events at hand.
Having personally experienced--as a Westerner steeped in Christian culture--the difficulty of approaching the Qur'an (in fact, I gave up the attempt), I highly recommend this book for the deep context it provides, and would counsel readers to allow Armstrong to set the stage before taking the plunge into the Islamic scriptures. Without an understanding of the religious and cultural realities of the 7th-8th century Arabian peninsula, it seems to me to be impossible for a Western person also to understand the purpose, process, and impact of Muhammad's accomplishments, not to mention their abiding importance in today's world.
Speaking of which, we have now moved to another phase of Islamofurore in the West: that of ISIS and its attempt to restore the caliphate. It would be a very useful colloquium to combine a reading of this book with Graeme Wood's piece about ISIS in the Atlantic.
A most admirable book, and not only because it confirmed my long-held hunch that money is not specie. Both magisterial and approachable, the book emplA most admirable book, and not only because it confirmed my long-held hunch that money is not specie. Both magisterial and approachable, the book employs wide-ranging historical and cultural examples to construct an argument for a democratically-understood macroeconomy that could be improved by a more appropriate division between security and risk....more
I always thought they were just different and vive la difference. The time when there was some actual call-response (e.g. Sgt. Peppers/Satanic MajestiI always thought they were just different and vive la difference. The time when there was some actual call-response (e.g. Sgt. Peppers/Satanic Majesties) didn't really last that long, but it was the the best time, with no need to take sides (imho). Kind of like a good game when you don't care who wins--you just enjoy the show.
Interesting to follow certain lines of influence, as when Lennon/McCartney helped the Stones cover one of their songs and in the process schooled them on the craft and necessity of songwriting, a favor that Dylan in turn--albeit in a different way--performed for L/McC.
I generally want to know about an author in order to interpret her/his writing. The more I read about music and the lives of those in the music business (including the musicians), the less I feel this is the case with music, which is only diminished by the information. The contrast is well evoked in this book when it describes such phenomena as Beatlemania and the summer when Sgt. Pepper floated out of car windows all across the US. Next to such power and richness the lives of the principal players are sadly disappointing. You want greatness and all there is is money-grubbing pettiness and superficiality--at best.
Too bad a minus star isn't available. I've been curious about the "rich dad" brand for a while, so I borrowed this from the library. It's one page ofToo bad a minus star isn't available. I've been curious about the "rich dad" brand for a while, so I borrowed this from the library. It's one page of self-promotional sales screech after another (he shills his games and other books), padded with badly garbled economic thinking (the Federal Reserve prints money) and flatitudes like "money is knowledge" (one of the 8 "new rules of money"). Yeah, there are some unoriginal business ideas that would've fit on a single page of paper. If he had any public spirit at all he would've released this as a free blog. Not surprised to learn he came up through Amway.
Big ideas, breadth of sources (including--surprisingly for a book on economics--Austen and Balzac), longitudinal analysis, wonderfully limpid style: tBig ideas, breadth of sources (including--surprisingly for a book on economics--Austen and Balzac), longitudinal analysis, wonderfully limpid style: the best work of economics I've ever encountered.
As interesting as the central thesis was, the best aspects of Piketty's thought have to do with his real-world understanding of economics as "political economy" rather than "economic science;" and his insistence that we cannot measure/understand what we do not know, viz, the loci and movements of wealth intentionally hidden from view. He has done the best he can with the information available, but in case after case it is apparent that we cannot know the full story until financial information is transparent enough to be subjected to the kind of data-driven objectivity that economic scientists profess to require....more
Yet-to-be-published review for Tennessee Librarian:
Published as an entry in The History Press Sesquicentennial Series, this volume provides a solid acYet-to-be-published review for Tennessee Librarian:
Published as an entry in The History Press Sesquicentennial Series, this volume provides a solid account of the Confederacy’s last hurrah, an offensive campaign fought in wintry November and December, 1864, which included the bloody battle of Franklin and the final check of Rebel battlefield hopes at Nashville.
Author James Knight practices as a historical interpreter - or, in his words, a “shade tree historian” - for the Battle of Franklin Trust in Franklin, TN. His published historical works include two other Tennessee-related entries in the Sesquicentennial Series, a volume dedicated to the Battle of Franklin and one about the 1862 Battle of Fort Donelson.
Civil War buffs and students of military history will find particular interest in Knight’s presentation of the strategic big picture explaining why, in late 1864, Confederate general John Bell Hood abandoned Georgia to Union general Sherman and set out on an invasion of Tennessee, a Confederate state mostly occupied by Yankee forces. If it was a “desperate” move, as the subtitle suggests, Knight also explains why this last-ditch gamble had real chances of success, even if the odds were long. And even given those long odds, such events as the narrow escape of the Union forces from a Confederate flanking move between Columbia and Spring Hill provide tantalizing evidence that, in many ways, this was a campaign not so much won by the Union as lost by the Confederates.
At the tactical level as well there is an important story to tell. The central, determining event of the campaign was without question the Battle of Franklin, a brutal slugfest of historic proportions - when it was over, almost one out of three Confederate attackers lay dead on the field. Some have called Hood’s decision to launch a frontal assault “useless butchery,” or have speculated that his thinking was addled by laudanum. In his explanation of the factors that would have influenced Hood’s thinking, Knight once again invokes the weighing of long odds against the desperate need for a decisive victory.
Knight delivers a narrative that is well-suited to the dramatic events being described - he particularly favors foreshadowing as a device to draw the reader’s interest forward. The key figures of the story - mostly those in positions of command - are brought to life with thumbnail biographies. Knight’s telling is further enriched by his use of such primary sources as orders, dispatches from the field of battle, letters from soldiers, and memoirs.
The book is ideally suited to the reader or student looking for a relatively brief account of the campaign - the narrative portion covers only 142 pages (the balance of the book’s 204 pages includes orders of battle, endnotes, a bibliography, and an index). ...more
I got to read this book at the same time as I was involved in a performance by a middle school chorus of "My Heart Will Go On." It was entirely coinciI got to read this book at the same time as I was involved in a performance by a middle school chorus of "My Heart Will Go On." It was entirely coincidental. I'd ordered the book for my library, and it just happened to come in the day before the concert.
As is obvious from the blog, I was not taken with Wilson's own aesthetic platform--and I didn't even mention there his tone deafness as to sentiment, which he equates with kitsch. All that aside, though, I do admire the "project" that the original book represents, and the courage shown by the new edition's inclusion of essays (particularly one by Mary Gaitskill) that give Wilson's viewpoint a thorough dressing down. We all gain insight and wisdom from a full and open conversation about taste....more