It's hard to describe the plot of The Seed Collectors. In a way the book manages to take one basic plot point, the inheritance of seeds at the death oIt's hard to describe the plot of The Seed Collectors. In a way the book manages to take one basic plot point, the inheritance of seeds at the death of a family member, and spin it out to such a point where you would never summarize the book by saying well these people collect these seeds at the death of an elderly relative. There's a lot of character and emotion that shows up with it but the writing is crisp and clean and beautiful even when mixed with modern abbreviations and a truckload of brands and references the book doesn't seem dated it just seems awake. I went into the seed collectors wanting to enjoy it and then I stopped enjoying it and at the end it lost and then won me over ? So I really don't know what to say! If anyone wanted to read this I would certainly hand my copy over but I would never know how to suggest it to a friend. When you have the option of reading something unpleasant but illuminating (and so a little pleasant from that fact?) how do you decide ? Of course the book probably knows that. It has the same attitude towards the very plants it both makes and unmakes its plot out of. But I don't know that it's a better book for being somewhat frustrating. In the end you sympathize with the youngest characters probably because they've had their fewest chances to squander your pity. ...more
I truly enjoyed the information in this book and if I complained about the sentence structure a little I still read the whole thing. In the end I don'I truly enjoyed the information in this book and if I complained about the sentence structure a little I still read the whole thing. In the end I don't think it really is Miller's use of italics to enter quotes directly into sentences that holds the book up. I think the problem comes from the mixture of bullet by bullet argument with somewhat speculative narrative style. The two approaches pull at one another. Still it's the most interesting most complete piece of information on Roanoke I have found and has enough footnotes to make me want to trust the research. Miller's hypothesis also deserves some credit for pushing back far into the early settlements of Roanoke and pushing ahead after the disappearance of the colonists. ...more
I have trouble with narrative style history. That said I don't think Ecstatic Nation exactly qualifies as narrative-history. (Larson is my go to exampI have trouble with narrative style history. That said I don't think Ecstatic Nation exactly qualifies as narrative-history. (Larson is my go to example). Wineapple is definitely building a similar style of argument. She reveals connections in environments and people that build up a wealth of historical analysis and information but she does not really chronicle the drama of the individual. Maybe it's the slim differences between these two styles that made me like Ecstatic Nation just a tiny bit more than Dead Wake. I read them almost at the same time so avoiding comparing them is going to be impossible.
I would also say that while I've spent a lot of time on the civil war and reconstruction, this the first book that really situated the war in a cultural context for me. The kind of collage of information sometimes has annoying overlaps (making a point, hinting at it later, summarizing it a few chapters later) but I suppose if I hadn't read the whole thing in about 3 days I would have been grateful about that? Hard to say. ...more