This is the first book relating to philosophy that I have ever read, and I must say it was certainly easy to read and mostly enjoyable. It's not reallThis is the first book relating to philosophy that I have ever read, and I must say it was certainly easy to read and mostly enjoyable. It's not really a textbook of philosophy, but combines a history of existential philosophy with biographies of the key members of that genre, with a major emphasis on Sartre and Heidegger, with some basic explanations of the major elements of existentialism.
So if you are already extremely conversant with philosophy, this book is probably not going to interest you much. But for a complete neophyte like myself it was a good toe in the water kind of book. Although I still haven't decide whether I will venture any farther into this field, as I'm not too terribly interested in it, to tell the truth. I'm still glad I read this book though....more
I have to say that I knew absolutely nothing about Romania before reading this book. That has now been rectified to some extent.
This book is sort of aI have to say that I knew absolutely nothing about Romania before reading this book. That has now been rectified to some extent.
This book is sort of a combination of history combined with a travel memoir. The author sort of skims over the early history of the country, and that is probably the most boring part of the book, as it consists mainly of listing dates and events. By far the greater part of the book is focused on the years since World War II. The author visited the country numerous times but draws mainly on two trips, one in 1981 and one in 2013.
Starting almost immediately after the second world war, Romania was ruled by two successive Communist dictators, both of whom were mini-Stalins, with the attendant executions, repression, loss of religious freedom and the fact that it wasn't good to be an intellectual of any sort. This continued until 1989, when the population finally revolted and executed the extremely brutal Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife.
When the author went to visit Romania in 2013, the country had turned itself almost completely around. There was relative prosperity, tourists in abundance, and the locals wore hip clothing and everyone had a smartphone.
Foreign Policy magazine has twice named the author one of the world's Top 100 Global Thinkers, so it is to his credit that he has managed to write a very readable book that was of great interest to this layman.
So if you are interested in Romania or just want to read a very enjoyable work of history, you might want to give this a try. ...more
I don't read much non-fiction history, as I find a lot of it to be very dry and relatively boring. I have read a lot of historical fiction, because asI don't read much non-fiction history, as I find a lot of it to be very dry and relatively boring. I have read a lot of historical fiction, because as long as the history rings true, I have found historical novels to be much more palatable and easier to read.
So, I decided to try and rectify the relative lack of real history books being read, and decided to start with this one. And what a good choice it was too. This book is about the various emperors who ruled over the Roman empire after Julius Caesar was murdered (Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero). The book flows so well and is so easy to read, that you could be forgiven for thinking it is fiction. But no, it's not. This is real history. And this book has a little bit of everything...patricide, matricide, infanticide, in fact every kind of "cide" you could think of. Then there is nepotism, all over the place. Not to mention incest. There is something happening on pretty well every page. What a wild bunch these Romans were. And yet they had the most amazing civilization as well. Literature, music, theater, you name it they had it. And their architectural achievements were staggering. Some of the aqueducts that they built 2000 years ago are still functioning to this day.
So yeah, this was a great history book to start with. Now if I can only find a bunch more like it....more
stacy shiff has won many awards for her previous biographies/history, so i was really looking forward to this book. what a major disappointment! rightstacy shiff has won many awards for her previous biographies/history, so i was really looking forward to this book. what a major disappointment! right from the very beginning, the writing was clunky and awkward, and never had any flow to it at all.
and then she calmly describes women riding broomsticks as if it really happened. for example, "ann foster sailed above the treetops, over fields and fences, on a pole". she describes scenes like this as if they were historical fact.
on top of this, the book is just downright boring. i gave up after about 60 pages, but apparently it gets even worse later on when the trials are being described, with reams of documents being quoted verbatim. i would heartily recommend that you NOT read this book....more
Excellent history of the publishing firm Farrar, Strauss & Giroux. Along with Knopf, they are the two American publishing houses most synonymous wExcellent history of the publishing firm Farrar, Strauss & Giroux. Along with Knopf, they are the two American publishing houses most synonymous with publishing good books, whether fiction or non-fiction. I have very rarely been let down in reading any book with their imprint on it.
FS&G were home to an unrivaled 25 Nobel Literature prize winners. Quite an achievement. Their list of authors is a virtual who's who of great writers
All in all, it's a very entertaining and interesting book. What goes on behind the scenes is really very intriguing.
Highly recommended for those who line reading books about the book industry, as I do....more