This is a book you are either going to love or going to hate. There really is no in-between. And you wouldn’t know un...moreCopy via Netgalley and Open Road
This is a book you are either going to love or going to hate. There really is no in-between. And you wouldn’t know until you have read at least a quarter or more of it. Genesis is the story of the Americas, in particular South America, and the invasion of it by the Europeans, mostly the Spanish in this book. The story is conveyed via the use of small, short mini stories. Some of these stories are creation myths of First Peoples, some are the views of the Incas, Mayas, and other tribes as the Spanish arrive, some the view of the would be conquerors, and some the view of those who stayed in the Old World. Men, women, rich poor, royal, servant, playwright and theatre grower, prostitute and nun. The book is one that you can alternately dip into and out while at times being engrossing. The first few stories are creation myths, stories not only about the start of the world but about the birth of animals. You will never look at bats the same way. This opening salvo is peaceful and magical. And then it ends. What follows is the arrival of those from the Old World. The central setting is South America, so it most South America. While the majority of the chapters are about the invasion or clash of the two forces, there are some pre-contact stories, such as rise of the Incas (the section about Incan tax is my favorite). The discovery/ invasion section is mostly on the side of the natives, but there are some nicely shaded sections. One of them is about La Malinche, the woman who travels with Cortez and who, according to Michael Wood’s documentary, is routinely cursed because of her guiding of Cortez throughout the country. Galeano’s view of her is more nuanced than that of a either demon or victim. He also looks at the role of women, both native and Spaniard, and how power shifts and changes. The stories are brief but complex. Part of this is because of the subject matter, and part because of the shifting styles. Poetry, plays, and traditional story telling are all used. The book might a bastard version of different styles, but in many ways those of us we currently live the Americas are all bastard versions of something.
In short, the book is powerful, thought provoking, and not at all easy reading.
This volume is apparently the first three books in the series. The first three books cover the span of roughly a year and take place in the area of To...moreThis volume is apparently the first three books in the series. The first three books cover the span of roughly a year and take place in the area of Toronto just prior the Upper and Lower Canadian Rebellions. The central character is Marc, a soldier who finds himself tasked with solving mysteries. Of the three books in this volume, the first “Turncoat” is the strongest, and the last “Vital Secrets” is the weakest. “Turncoat” is a good strong entry. The solution to the mystery is believable and the female characters, including the love interest, are well drawn. Marc is likable. “Solemn Vows”, the second installment, continues this trend, though I would have like to see more development in terms of Marc and Beth’s relationship before the declaration of love. “Vital Secrets” makes Marc a man of too many skills, which I found to be a bit of a turn off. However, the books are entertaining to read and would make a good television series. I will look for the others in the series.
(If you like Murdoch Mysteries, you should like this).
**spoiler alert** My reaction to this is based on my modern, feminist perspective. I know this beyond a doubt. And it is impossible to talk about my...more**spoiler alert** My reaction to this is based on my modern, feminist perspective. I know this beyond a doubt. And it is impossible to talk about my reaction to this book without spoilers, so sorry. First off, let me say I love Wallis’ writing. Two Old Women is a great book, and the writing in this book is just as good. I love the fact that she does book length retellings of Native American tales. And I know that my problem with this is modern. A two part tale, this short novel tells the story of two outsiders and how they become part of their tribes. My problem is Bird Girl, which is also where Wallis makes the bravest decision, so I think she is also wrestling with her modern view as well. Bird Girl was a tomboy. Her father raised her like he did all her brothers. She is a better hunter and wrestler than some of the men in her village. This upsets the status quo, and it is decided that she should marry. She doesn’t want to, so she runs away, is captured by an enemy tribe, and is raped. (Wallis gets so many points about not sugarcoating this). I think that is what has me upset. It’s true that there is Daggoo, a boy who wants to explore but is forced to take his place in the tribe with the death of other men. But it seems to me that Bird Girl is being punished, horribly punished, for wanting to be different, for bucking against the “woman’s role”. And as a modern feminist, I can’t really take the punishment. YET, the tale is a Native American one, about a group that lives in the wild and a group that survives because people fulfill those prescribed roles. There is a reason for everyone in the group having a place and taking responsibility. There are reasons. Survival depended on that. I know this, and so I feel like having the idea of punishment sticks in my craw. Then I feel like the ugly white person because I am aware of the cultural differences and feel it is unjust. What makes me feel better is that this conflict of modern vs. traditional viewpoint is something that Wallis herself wrestles with. Bird Girl doesn’t fully conform at the end of the book and it softens the idea of punishment. Furthermore, Wallis decides to keep the truer, harsher ending of Bird Girl’s capture. A brave choice in today’s PC world. A very interesting book simply because of the view points.
I have to admit that I knew some of these, and I think at least one of them goes over this Yank's head. Still, anything that lists Watchmen and Robin...moreI have to admit that I knew some of these, and I think at least one of them goes over this Yank's head. Still, anything that lists Watchmen and Robin Hood isn't all bad. Quick, short, amusing. Pretty good for a price of zip.(less)
What Americans are taught about the First World War amounts to something like: British, Germans, assassination, Fr...moreDisclaimer: ARC read via Netgalley.
What Americans are taught about the First World War amounts to something like: British, Germans, assassination, France, Russia, Czar, Zimmerman telegram, needed us to win, caused World War II. It’s no surprise really that the closest we come to a National War Memorial for the First World War on the Washington DC Mall is the one for the locals. (It’s right across from the MLK memorial). It is not as big or awe striking as the memorials for the Korean, Vietnam, and WW II wars. In fact, the average person could quite easily be forgiven for thinking that it is dedicated to a person as opposed to honor dead.
The First World War is something that happens to people on Downton Abbey and other PBS shows. Sometimes you might see something about on the History or Discovery channels, when they are taking breaks from pawning and fishing.
The reason why I say this is because I doubt I am the right person to review this book. I say this despite the fact that I always make it a point to visit the WW I memorial in DC, that Owen and Graves are two of my favorite poets, and I love Blackadder.
Empires focuses on the Eastern front of the war, an area that in both Europe and the US undoubtedly needs more attention. It is a military work, tactics and other related issues are discussed.
And because of this I found the writing to be rather dry.
It is an important book, simply because in the discussion of the battles the reader can see the ground work not only for the coming generation’s conflict but also for what happened in the 1990s and 2000s. It does deepen the understanding of a war that many of us see as trench warfare only on the Western front.
Yet, I couldn’t help wishing the writing was a tad livelier.
I can’t speak for whether the conclusions reached are good ones. Buttar is very clear when he is dealing with a debatable issue, and while his conclusions seem sound, I am not in a position to judge. I found the “cast list” at the front of the book to be rather helpful in keeping track of names. Despite the dry tone, there was some personal detail about key players to make up for it. He does also show how the Franco-Prussian war influenced tactics and the army structure. Despite the dry tone, I learned a great deal.
It’s a dry book, but highly recommended for those who wish to learn more about the Great War or those who wish to learn. It would also make a good present for those interested in the development of warfare as well as military history. Like my brother.
William Marshall is not as well known in the United States as he should be, considering the Constitution’s connect...moreDisclaimer: ARC read via Netgalley.
William Marshall is not as well known in the United States as he should be, considering the Constitution’s connection to the Magna Carter. This is a shame because, if Brooks is correct, Marshall is the reason why this realm England was around.
Brooks’ book about Marshall is not a biography, at least not in the strictest sense of the world. It is a close look at the times as well as the military aspects of the Marshall. The focus is mostly on the fight against France after the death of John I. Therefore the battle at Lincoln gets a huge portion of the book devoted it to it.
This is fine. It is nice to see that the battle at Lincoln is getting more historical recognition, more than say an aside in Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives. When not dealing with Lincoln, Brooks details the tournament culture as well as the culture of war at the time. It isn’t a history of the Plantangents, but a history of the times and the Marshall’s role in them.
The book includes pictures, several of which capture the climb to Lincoln Castle, and climb really is the only word for it.
In terms of accessibility, the book is accessible for anyone with a basic knowledge of the times (in particular the infighting in Henry II’s family). Brooks presumes you know enough background, and he uses more detailed cases and battles to make and prove his argument. If you have not read about the Marshall’s times before or even if you have read Elizabeth Chadwick’s books about him (or Crowe’s Robin Hood), you should read a more general history before this book.
This collection of New York Time Book Reviews is one of those dive in and dive out books. The review is interesting – Eudora Welty reviewing Charlotte...moreThis collection of New York Time Book Reviews is one of those dive in and dive out books. The review is interesting – Eudora Welty reviewing Charlotte’s Web for instance – but most fascinating are the Oops side bars. Wait until you read what they said about Anne of Green Gables. Also included are various letters – such as Tim Leary defending Joplin – and essays. Editor’s choice list from 1972-1997 are included as well.
A rather good play about Galileo and the struggle of science and knowledge. Personally, I would have enjoyed more from the two women characters in ter...moreA rather good play about Galileo and the struggle of science and knowledge. Personally, I would have enjoyed more from the two women characters in terms of development. The production is nicely acted and there are some wonderful uses of humor.