Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley When most people hear the words Nazi and Eugenics, they only think about the Nazi view on humanity – the slaughter of inDisclaimer: ARC via Netgalley When most people hear the words Nazi and Eugenics, they only think about the Nazi view on humanity – the slaughter of innocent people and the desire to breed the perfect people. What many people don’t know is that the Nazis did try to do the same to animals. The Nazis didn’t just steal art and material possessions; they also took horses and various other animals to use in breeding programs.
Elizabeth Lett’s latest book, The Perfect Horse, is a chronicle of the rescue of some of the horses the Nazis tried to take. It is a book that will undoubtedly disappoint some people, but it that is because it is far more than what cover seems to indict.
If people mostly think of the Nazi eugenic ideas only in terms as applied to humans, then most people when they think of horses in World War II think of the Flight of Lipizzaner, not so much fleeing the Nazis as fleeing the Russians. This is in doubt because the Lipizzaners are beautiful ballet horses. They are entrancing. They do magnificent things. It is also do the many books, articles, and a few movies made about the event. What most people do not know or forget is that the Dancing White Horses were not the only breed targeted by the Nazis.
Lett’s book acknowledges this targeting.
Admittedly, Lett’s keeps the focus on the Lipizzaner but also includes the Polish Arabian Stud farm Janow Podlaski’s struggles to keep its horses, including the famous Witez II, safe. (Letts refers to Witez II as Witez throughout the book, but he is usually termed Witez II). At times, this can make the narrative two pronged with the tie in being the rescue of the horses by the American Army. The plus side is that it allows for a more detailed look than the usual saving the dancing horse story. Letts’ writing tends to be the best when she is dealing with travails of the people who struggle to save the horses. When writing about the horses, sometimes she gets a bit over the top – I am not sure that Witez II felt like a homesick person when he left the stud, and I am sure that Letts doesn’t know either. That aside, the book does detail not only the breeding programs, but differences in how various countries viewed and constructed Calvary.
At times one does wish she included more information – for instance, she notes that Breyer did a model of Witez II but does not note what model it was (Proud Arabian Stallion, in case you want to know) and she could list some film titles as well as detail the draft or other less flashy breeds that were targeted as well. What Letts does is detail a popular topic that truly gets little detailed coverage. ...more
I love the Faberge animals more than the eggs. This little, short book is a guide to the animals in the English Royal Collection, including those thatI love the Faberge animals more than the eggs. This little, short book is a guide to the animals in the English Royal Collection, including those that were commissioned portraits of the royals actual animals. (A suggestion made, perhaps, by the mistress of Edward VII). Nice little book. If you like Faberge, you should check it out....more
I should note that Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale has never been a favorite. I've always wanted Leo to die. Yeah, I know it's about forgiveness, butI should note that Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale has never been a favorite. I've always wanted Leo to die. Yeah, I know it's about forgiveness, but still.
So, this is okay. There are parts of that are wonderful. Like where Leo is watching MiMi and co via webcam. His reaction is nothing but an attack on rape culture and is masterfully done.
Yet, sometimes, it doesn't quite work. Having the American characters use words like knickers and spelling tires - tyres, seems off. It was good, just not great....more
If you have read A history of the world in 100 objects, this is like that, though confined to American history. The book includes maps, as well as a eIf you have read A history of the world in 100 objects, this is like that, though confined to American history. The book includes maps, as well as a essays about the process and what was left out. Kurin includes items from all the museums of the Smithsonian, including the Zoo and the opening this year (2016) African-American museum....more
Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley and Open Road Media.
The best new television show for the 2015-2016 year is Underground. Shown on the WGN network, the sDisclaimer: ARC via Netgalley and Open Road Media.
The best new television show for the 2015-2016 year is Underground. Shown on the WGN network, the series is about a group of slaves in the 1850s trying to escape. At times the show, as most television shows do, stretch the bounds of believability (how is one slave such a good shot despite never using a gun before, would those two people really be brothers, and how is that geography working for you?), yet the show is one that everyone should watch. It really does confront the evils of slavery head, including the white slave owner allowing the whipping of his mixed race child while the young woman’s mother looks on (this series also handles rape extremely well). Some of the criticism that show has garnered as also been on the lines of why you are bringing this up now.
Sometimes, I can’t deal with stupid (or worse) people.
The reason why I bring this up is that Open Road Media has re-issued Paula Fox’s Slave Dancer in kindle format.
Slave Dancer tells the story of a young boy, Jessie, who is shanghaied onto a slave ship. This ship transports slaves, illegally. Jessie’s job is to get the slaves to dance by playing music. This isn’t because the captain wants the slaves to be happy, but because he wants the slave to arrive looking fit or at least worth playing.
Perhaps the kidnapping aspect is a bit contrived and its use to make Jessie, who lives in New Orleans, a more sympathetic character than he otherwise, would be. Perhaps, but despite this, the story itself is still powerful. Fox does not pull her punches. Jessie’s trip is horrifying. In many ways, Fox follows in Twain’s tradition footsteps. If Huck Finn is about a boy raised in the slave holding South who learns to see a slave as a man, as a de facto father, then Fox‘s book is about a boy’s discovering of a conscious. The trip destroys as opposed to answer’s Jessie’s obsession with slavery trading, something that he was pushed away from as a child in New Orleans. His journey to objecting about slavery, something he only had curiosity about before, also seems to mirror that of Harriet Beecher Stowe.
And this is why this children’s book is important - we need to know the past and comfort it. But we need to know it in its true form (or as true as we can get). To simply say slave or enslaved doesn’t capture what happened. And this book is a work of fiction, true. But fiction, in some ways, has the power to show truth in a way that non-fiction doesn’t. ...more
I hadn’t heard of the Sandyford Murder case until reading this book. In the 1860s, in Glasgow, a youDisclaimer: ARC via Netgalley and Open Road Media
I hadn’t heard of the Sandyford Murder case until reading this book. In the 1860s, in Glasgow, a young woman by the name of Jess M’Lachlan was accused of murdering her friend, Jessie M’Lachlan (no relation). The case was in part tried in the press, leading to a public outcry that influenced the case.
Brand’s detailed book about the case not only gives background into the central players, but also evaluates the evidence. She also includes detailed layouts of the scene of the killing.
Jessie M’Lachlan was in service to the Fleming family, and one of the issues of the case is whether Fleming senior had anything to do with the murder. In part, the case highlights issue of class, something that Brand does deal, as well as gender, something that Brand could have had more analysis of. Brand’s primary focus seems to be on the case, and the pros and cons of each side. Brand does give detail about how hog tied M’Lachlan’s defense was because of her changing stories.
While Brand cannot solve a case of such long standing, she does a wonderful job of detailing the living conditions of the time. In fact, this detail brings another layer to the story. How much, one wonder as reading this, have things really changed? Does not society still wash its hands of the poor? ...more
Bittersweet reading this book considering current events. It is a lovely book. Schami and his sister give you a feeling of the neighborhood and peopleBittersweet reading this book considering current events. It is a lovely book. Schami and his sister give you a feeling of the neighborhood and people. It's like you are having a chat over coffee....more
This is just beautiful. Absolutely beautiful in places. This is Teffi's account of her journey out of Revolutionary Russia. It has beauty, humor, andThis is just beautiful. Absolutely beautiful in places. This is Teffi's account of her journey out of Revolutionary Russia. It has beauty, humor, and sorrow.
Taylor Swift tells us that since “haters gonna hate, hate” we should just “shake it off”. Considering how much shit, MsDisclaimer: Arc via Netgalley
Taylor Swift tells us that since “haters gonna hate, hate” we should just “shake it off”. Considering how much shit, Ms Swift has taken because of her love life, she might be on to something. (And no, I am not a Swift fan. I just do not understand why a woman who dates is considered a slut, but a man who does it considered just human. Actually, I do understand, and it makes me want to strangle people).
Bailey Poland would disagree.
And I think she’s right.
Here’s the thing. There is some truth to the argument that a public figure must learn to take criticism and that criticism of a person’s work (say a song, a book) is different than criticism of a person. Too often many people blur that line (and for the record, it is fine if an author is cursing their computer screen while reading a review, but it can be a problem if the author goes public). Yet, in today’s modern world where many people have some type of online presence, everyone is criticizing for everything.
Well, almost everyone.
For instance, if a male gamer had talked about tropes in video games, would other gamers have created an app that allows a person digitally punch his face? Donald Trump has said some hateful things, but he really hasn’t called off speaking engagements because of safety concerns? What is it about women speaking their mind that drives some people insane?
You mean, it’s the women, speaking, minds part.
Poland’s book is really about cyber vixen, why it should not simply be shaken off (actually, why it can’t be) as well as suggests about how to deal with it. This means that she covers Gamergate as well as the various attacks upon Anita Sarkeesian. However, these are not the only examples that she uses. Even if you are a woman who has not been subjected to some type of cyber sexism. Whether it is a sexual comment while gaming, to being told you should be shot out of a canon for mentioning sexism to online mansplaining, most women have experienced some type of behavior that Poland is addressing. Usually women are told to shake it off.
Sometimes this doesn’t do anything.
Don’t believe me? Well, this is being posted on an online book community (more than one, actually), so you dear reader know about all those authors who target reviewers. How many of those reviewer targets were men and how many were women? While the reviewer issue isn’t something that Poland addresses directly (she does mention the whole puppy issue with the Hugos), you can quite easily apply many of her points. You can see many of her points simply watching how Trump and his supporters deal with many of their female critics.
In many aspects while Poland builds on the work of Laurie Penny, her work is more encompassing and somewhat less defined by gaming and geekdom -though gaming does prove a chapter or two. This is not surprising considering that Poland’s book is longer than Penny’s cyber seism essay. She also draws on the work of other feminists both in terms of strict feminist theory as well as cybersexism theory (if that is the correct term). In many ways, her books is timely because some of the issues and ideas that she mentions are the same ways that get used to explain the success of Trump’s political run.
The closing section of the book covers methods to deal with cybersexism , and perhaps this is the most important because it can be difficult to deal with speech issues online, where tone can be largely absent. And where is that line between speech and harassment in some cases).