**spoiler alert** I bought this book after reading a selection from it on my Amazon Kindle. Thank goodness for the Kindle edition. I have copiously an**spoiler alert** I bought this book after reading a selection from it on my Amazon Kindle. Thank goodness for the Kindle edition. I have copiously annotated as I read in order not to lose track of felicitously phrased passages and important details. Penman does an excellent job in keeping the various strands of this complex tapestry in their proper places. Finally, I think I have a feel for the Wars of the Roses!
One of the places where Penman does a bit of dodging has to do with the death of George, Duke of Clarence. Legend has it that he was drowned in a butt of malmsey. Revisionists say this is a poetic way of referring to his tendency to drink heavily of this particularly vile concoction. Penman only has the priest suggest to Clarence that drowning is said to be an easy death. No details. Hah!
The picture of given here of Richard is based mostly on Kendall's biography. It would have been helpful had Penman shown us a little more of the ruthlessness which was a part of his character. He was, after all, a man of his times - a time in which strength was valued over mercy. Nonetheless, it is true that both Edward IV and Richard were inclined toward making supporters of their enemies for purely political reasons. And there is no doubt that Richard was a man of justice for all, not just the powerful; his Council of the North and his only Parliament bear witness to that. Modern readers will be surprised to learn how many of our present rights were established by Richard III.
It is always pleasant to see a skillful attempt at the rehabilitation of an unjustly maligned historical figure. Sir Thomas More and Shakespeare have much to answer for. As Kendall says about the Shakespeare's play: "What a tribute this is to art; what a misfortune this is for history."
I am reading this book again to get the taste of a poorly written and researched effort I have just finished out of my mind.
Jon Krakauer is his usual smooth and readable self in this book. He uses the facts of a particularly vile and reprehensible double murder as an armatuJon Krakauer is his usual smooth and readable self in this book. He uses the facts of a particularly vile and reprehensible double murder as an armature around which to shape his story of the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. As expected, given the genesis of his work, he concentrates on the more fringe elements of the religion, especially those which follow D&C 132 - the commandment to take multiple wives.
Krakauer follows the reasoning of those who call themselves 'fundamentalists' even as he exposes many of their self-serving deceptions which lead to frequent schisms. This book was met with considerable disapproval by the LDS, both the church and the individual members. However, I believe the author has made every effort to be fair and dispassionate in his reporting. I know very little about the history of Mormonism but this account fits with other writings I have read on the subject. There are some dark and bloody events in the existence of this church and denying the documented facts does no one any good.
Note: I had the impulse to giggle every time I saw D&C - which does not mean what most of us 'gentiles' think it means in this context. To Mormons, it means "The Doctrine and Covenants", a collection of the revelations of the early leaders of the church.
This is the first of Woodward's books I have read since All the President's Men. The subject matter is engrossing and confirms all one's worst suspicThis is the first of Woodward's books I have read since All the President's Men. The subject matter is engrossing and confirms all one's worst suspicions about the Bush White House. However, the writing is prosaic and genuinely bad in spots. I fear Woodward is no stylist and has no real love for the language. I shall continue to read this because I am interested in the period but I do not read it for the pleasure of savouring good literature. Therefore, I intend to mix this with some more enjoyable books. Heh!
Thank g-d this is done! The writing grew steadily worse and the going more and more difficult. There were parts where the clumsiness of the sentence structure made understanding the point well nigh impossible. There is much meat on these bones but it is almost too difficult to reach it. I will not willingly read this book again and I am not at all impelled to read any of Woodward's other writings. Perhaps if he had edited and smoothed the prose of his research assistants rather than, apparently, pasting their reports unaltered into his manuscript it would have made for a better book.
This is delightful brain candy like the remainder of the Barsoom books. They are a ever-ready escape into foolishness after too much serious reading.This is delightful brain candy like the remainder of the Barsoom books. They are a ever-ready escape into foolishness after too much serious reading. The action never ceases and the fertile invention of Burroughts is a constant joy. ...more
This serves the purpose of diverting the mind from more serious if tedious reading. Alas, the vigour of the earlier Barsoomian stories has grown attenThis serves the purpose of diverting the mind from more serious if tedious reading. Alas, the vigour of the earlier Barsoomian stories has grown attenuated and repetitive in this book. Still it has its moments, one almost Swiftian, in which Burroughs mocks the pretensions of some aspects of society which he knew.
I have noticed as I read through this series that Burroughs becomes more explicit and suggestive as he goes along. In the first several books, no hint of prurience is tolerated and it is assumed that any woman is safe from molestation (if not from death) anywhere on Mars. No so in the later volumes. The very real possibility of rape is implied. I wonder if the writer changed or if the world in which he wrote became coarser over time. ...more
This is an absolute joy. Burroughs must have had enormous fun writing this because it is as full of adventure as a pudding is of raisins. It is like rThis is an absolute joy. Burroughs must have had enormous fun writing this because it is as full of adventure as a pudding is of raisins. It is like reading one of the old movie series which would end with cliff-hanger after cliff-hanger. Heroes are threatened with certain death; beautiful, pure maidens are kidnapped and risk ravishment. Swords clash; airships are hi-jacked; pirates proliferate; dead cities are not quite as dead as they look. This is wonderful brain candy. It redeems much of the tedium of the books which immediately preceded it and leaves a delicious taste in the mental mouth. I shall read it again one of these days....more
This is a most unpleasant book. It is badly written with no insight into the psyches of the persons with whom it deals. I gave up on it when the authoThis is a most unpleasant book. It is badly written with no insight into the psyches of the persons with whom it deals. I gave up on it when the author referred to Richard of Gloucester as "the Little Duke". It is true he was no giant like his brother Edward nor so tall as his other brother George, but I doubt anyone during his time had the temerity to refer to him as 'little'.
This is the sort of book which appeals chiefly to the devotees of soppy, illiterate romance fiction. It is not a biography in the true sense of the word but a sort of beach book loosely based on a mostly unknown life. Bah! Not worth the time....more
It is very unlikely that I would have bought this book had it not been available in a Kindle edition. The combination of low price and convenience ledIt is very unlikely that I would have bought this book had it not been available in a Kindle edition. The combination of low price and convenience led me to take the chance and so I have read it. The most positive thing I can find to say is that it is, at least, not one of those dreadful historical bodice-ripping romances. Aside from that, I found nothing of value or revelation in these pages.
Part of the problem, I think, is that I am currently immersed in historical and biographical fact and have little patience with easily corrected errors. Ms. Maxwell simply did not do her homework. Her research seems to have consisted of a quick glance at one of her old schoolbooks. I quickly lost count of the obviously incorrect statements she made although one continually occurring error was particularly annoying. She kept using "Majesty" as a title for the Plantagenet royalty who were content with a simple "Your Grace" as their address. It was the jumped up insecure Tudors who insisted on being called "Your Majesty." There are any number of other tone-deaf usages in the story. Even in her Author's Note there is evidence of unseemly haste; she completely misunderstood Tey's point in The Daughter of Time. To a Ricardian, there is hardly any greater sin.
She did resist the impulse to make Richard a black-hearted villain even though she made him a weak, whinging, easily led idiot. And she did accurately depict Buckingham as Richard's bad angel. Her solution to the fate of the sons of Edward IV is unusual but hardly convincing. There is no feel for the fifteenth century here and no explanation for most of the leaps of logic she makes. Why was Edward V so attached to his uncle Clarence? What was the truth of the execution of Hastings? Was it done in a rush or a week after his arrest? Was Stillington a frail, frightened priest concerned for his soul and the good of England or a sturdy plotter in his own right? Did Margaret of Burgundy really dislike her brother Richard? Where is the evidence? Indeed, this is a girls' adventure story and is totally unworthy to be shelved with historical novels. It will do to pass an idle afternoon; it is an easy read. But it is a shabby attempt to explain the mystery supposedly at the heart of her story. It is as shabby as Henry VII and as dishonest. ...more
Parker has begun to repeat himself. Alas, this seems to happen to so many authors who write series stories for a long time. There is really only so muParker has begun to repeat himself. Alas, this seems to happen to so many authors who write series stories for a long time. There is really only so much that can be done with a single character. Of course, surrounding the main character with a cast of three dimensional henchman can help and prolong the life of the series and that is precisely what Parker did. Sadly, now the henchmen are growing stale as well. All things must finally end.
There is a twist in this story which Parker was probably very proud of conceiving. He telegraphed it long before the end. Mr. Parker is not clever with his foreshadowing.
I did like the way he took some potent jabs at the administration which has just, happily, passed....more
It has been a long time since I read this play and I had forgotten how backwards Shakespeare got the facts - for dramatic purposes or political, I doIt has been a long time since I read this play and I had forgotten how backwards Shakespeare got the facts - for dramatic purposes or political, I do not know. Clarence as the poor innocent loyal lamb!!
Those who criticize the Ricardians for nearly deifying Richard should take a closer look at how More and Shakespeare, amongst other, handled the sons of Edward IV. Never have two young boys been more dazzlingly good and beautiful, meek and Christ-like. Bah!
I was unable to recognize any of the female figures as the women unbiased history has shown us. This is all propaganda, of the highest quality to be sure, but propaganda all the same. I can only echo Kendall: "What a tribute this is to art; what a misfortune this is for history."
One final note - it helps tremendously to know all the various titles borne by the figures, otherwise reading the play can quickly turn into the same sort of experience one has when reading a Russian novel. ...more
I read this book because I was curious. Both on Amazon and on this site, those who reviewed it fell largely into two divisions: those who gave it fiveI read this book because I was curious. Both on Amazon and on this site, those who reviewed it fell largely into two divisions: those who gave it five stars and those who gave it one. I was intrigued by a novel which could affect people in such widely varying ways.
When I first entered into the world Enright has drawn, I felt at home, as though I was back in a time and place so familiar to me as to need no further explanation. The voices, the attitudes, the actions were so worn into the grooves of my memory that I was immediately submerged into the story being told.
I shall read this book again when I am subject to fewer interruptions than just now. Every time I laid the Kindle aside, I had to give myself a little shake to return to the real world again. It is tempting to go back and read the entire thing in one sitting and become one with the family so vividly brought to life.
I have marked a number of places where I felt the language to be particularly beautiful. Some of these passages I read over and over for the sheer joy of it.
The book gets four stars because I am chary of my stars and bestow the fifth one only on those volumes I consider truly remarkable. ...more
This is not Dorothy Sayers but until the newest incarnation of that formidable lady is identified, it will have to do.
The atmosphere is wonderfully dThis is not Dorothy Sayers but until the newest incarnation of that formidable lady is identified, it will have to do.
The atmosphere is wonderfully done, showing with skill the conditions which prevailed in England at the beginning of World War II. I had to look up some of the more arcane items in order to be able to visualise them properly. This was an added delight since I greatly relish learning new and peculiar things.
The plot was sadly lacking, definitely playing second fiddle to the character sketching. I grew quite out of patience at several points in the story when the 'great detectives' did not see the solution which seemed so glaringly obvious to me. Also, I do not believe that Gerald, Duke of Denver would have become so enchanted with the 'snotty nosed' evacuees billeted at Duke's Denver.
However, it was a light and easy read and it was pleasant to rub shoulders with Harriet and Peter again. ...more
Purely a joy. I read most of this while Plotz was writing for Slade on-line magazine. When the opportunity to buy it for the Kindle arose, I could notPurely a joy. I read most of this while Plotz was writing for Slade on-line magazine. When the opportunity to buy it for the Kindle arose, I could not resist.
This is not theology; it is one man's journey of discovery.
I am not rich enough in words to express my delight in this book. I was guided by another member of GR to this treasure and cannot begin to tell her hI am not rich enough in words to express my delight in this book. I was guided by another member of GR to this treasure and cannot begin to tell her how much I appreciate her suggestion that I read this.
The book is so rich in characters and plot twists that it is not possible to adequately summarize it. However, I will say that the writing is beautiful and the story mesmerizing. The descriptions of this wonderfully created world are enough on their own to make reading this worthwhile. Add in characters for whom the reader quickly begins to care and you have the recipe for a page turner. The heroes are appropriately flawed and the villains are black-hearted fools. What more can the high fantasy reader ask?
The plot holds frequent reminders of the Wars of the Roses as the struggle between the Starks and the Lannisters (sound familiar?) continues on its aeons long bloody course. There is also a taste of "Dune" in the relationships between the generations. The device Martin uses to keep the story going and the numerous threads all straight is to cut like a novelistic D.W. Griffith from person to person, revealing the events through separate sets of eyes. It is a startlingly effective technique. The final scene of the book is stunning. Although the principle element had been foreshadowed well before hand, the converging of the various plot lines makes it streak like a meteor into the mind.
I am almost breathless, having just finished reading this the first book of a series (whose length is not yet determined). I shall read another sort of book to freshen my mental palate before I burrow into "A Clash of Kings". It is going to be hard to set this continuing story and its vivid characters to the back of my consciousness, even for a little while. ...more
The series continues to engross me. I rated this volume down because of the confused and unsettled ending. I understand the use of cliff-hangers and tThe series continues to engross me. I rated this volume down because of the confused and unsettled ending. I understand the use of cliff-hangers and the like but this was simply abandoning the story in mid-stream with no promise of catharsis. It seriously annoyed me.
I must make mention of the fact that Martin has the unsettling habit of killing off characters just when you are beginning to know them well. This keeps the reader on edge to a certain extent but I am not sure I find it a proper stance for a writer of fantasy as opposed to a realist like, say Upton Sinclair.
I shall make a pause, if I can discipline myself, before starting book three (which is conveniently stored in my Kindle. I will probably fail because, irritated or not, I am hungry to learn more of the fate of these people. ...more