Mmmm, I'm learning more and more that all of these sorts of practices are very common, at all levels of scale. But nonetheless, each particular instanMmmm, I'm learning more and more that all of these sorts of practices are very common, at all levels of scale. But nonetheless, each particular instance is upsetting and demoralizing. I'm a quarter Irish, always pulling for my favorite Island to come out ahead. Was happy when things were going well, very sad to hear when it turned. This sounds fascinating, in that bleakest way possible. ...more
I wanted something to accompany 'Dark Valley', something to add a little bit of map-content or visual of some kind, or alternately a different tellingI wanted something to accompany 'Dark Valley', something to add a little bit of map-content or visual of some kind, or alternately a different telling of the same content (always nice to have atleast two versions of anything). I saw this - heaven!
Each two-page spread is about some transition, period of time, or other concrete situation; and it goes from prehistoria to current. Certainly there are many choices built-in, and someone could differ with how they laid things out. But it seems to tie in well with 'Dark Valley'.
For instance, in Dark Valley, there is a section on Stalin and 1928-1933, and there is a two-page spread on exactly that. With one map showing who it was who fought against the Red Army (the White Army's generals, as well as foreign groups), where they started from and where they reached before they were stopped. Another map shows where in Europe other Communist groups existed for a while. Then, there's a great map about the industrialization that occurred, where each different kind of enterprise was situated, where the rail lines were put in. Also on that one is the different boundaries in different years during that period. Accompanying those three maps is text of the period, laying out with broad brush strokes the salient facts of the period. This book kinds of provides the pithy version, while 'Dark Valley' is more colorful, anecdotal, story-telling. Also there are different emphasis, this book doesn't emphasize nearly as much that the reason for the famine was Stalin actually taking the food away from the farmers. This one makes it seem more like it was a failure of farming structures.
So, exactly what I was looking for! Highly recommend for anyone interested in history/related subjects.
And it is *trying* to be not patriarchal, not biased, not from the point of view that White Europe = civilization; via inputs from the rest of the universe. But, of course, doesn't achieve a perspective fully separate from that, there are still blinders and all. Like on India, paraphrased: 'Although England brought many benefits to India, debate still continues on the overall legacy..' with no mention of the partition. etc.. But really does try to approach human activity from the onset of it to today, from an even-handedly global perspective. A great first go at it, for sure! Completely waylaid me tonite, was looking at Italy being in Somalia, then had to see before then, then before then.. fascinating.
Lots of skimming, in concert with 'The Dark Valley', highly recommend!...more
His earlier work sounds interesting as well.. Amazing to me, I search for Irish authors, find some.. then there's more I completely missed! Excellent.His earlier work sounds interesting as well.. Amazing to me, I search for Irish authors, find some.. then there's more I completely missed! Excellent.....more
Who I would recommend this to: --- Anyone joining the US, or thinking about it (for historical context); --- Anyone for whom 'America' is on a pedestaWho I would recommend this to: --- Anyone joining the US, or thinking about it (for historical context); --- Anyone for whom 'America' is on a pedestal; esp in relation to other nations. ---Anyone interested in US history ---Anyone interested in how people construct their definition of 'the other'
One additional thing I *have* to say: Annie Proulx has THE most interesting way of describing people's faces I have ever read. Honestly. Someone could publish the collected works of Faces by Annie Proulx, and it would be riveting.
p. 366: So, am reading engrossedly, a scene with two drunk guys driving at night, comparing dangers past and present, wondering if this will be an instance of something really horrible happening that maims the characters for life, or simply a wildly flavorful instance. .. on the bus. The number 16, in fact, a bus guaranteed to provide stories of its own regularly. But Saturday morning? Chances one would think would be low. Despite that, my attention from the riveting words on the page was torn by riveting words being spoken. These words were being spoken by a black man in the seat in front of me, head wrapped in white cloth in an urban manner, t-shirt, a young-old guy; who was speaking in an almost rap style, his comments directed toward a black woman at the front of the bus (5 rows or so away) who was standing, clad entirely in a burkha. The burka clearly bothered him. I didn't catch his whole soliliquoy (sp), as my attention had in fact been priorly riveted. But he was saying something about Jesus Christ and tyranny and the burka and freedom and sitting down. The woman's expression was a mixture of hostility-receiving, listening, seemed to turn then into awareness that he was in his own way on her side, in fact. Seemed there was some gentle amusement.. then she and her female companion (similiarly clothed) got off the bus, but just before that part 2 started; which was this white guy in the seat across the aisle from the black guy, who is - I don't know - something; who starts loudly asking the Soliliquoy(sp) guy: how did you get on this bus!?!?? I mean it, how did you get on? (and first the guy says - 'disability', I think thinking the guy was asking about his fare, not sure); then the guy continues - I mean, you were there, at the bus stop with us. You were smoking a cigarette. You were right there, and all of a sudden, you're here! It's like you just appeared in front of me! Seriously, how did you GET here?!?!! Then the black guy goes off the bus, and the stunned white guy starts talking about the temperature outside, how warm it is, and how warm he is. And this women a row ahead and across the aisle assures him that his temperature is nothing to worry about. and they discuss that for a few minutes. (His normal temperature is 97 degrees, everyone's varies).
It's like Proulx-uation (like sitation) just spilled from the book into real life. Must be vigilant!
So now, the last segments, present day: I'm so glad she included the Mackinac Bridge terror: my daughter's dad had to drive over that regularly during college, and many in his life. They'd always stop for a drink before, not the best. A yugo actually was blown off! Or so they say. .. And the radon gas leaking into basements thing, and use of the term 'scrabbling', perfect. Weird, from hearing what she says about the past, imagining it into reality; to seeing aspects of my own life in this book. Really is a panorama.
I love how Ivar - thought to be a tramp, basically - goes on doing his own thing, becomes wealthy.
And then the current voices, speaking against the current immigrants, saying they're not good, nice people like our ancestors were. The ringing echo of the book, explicitly sounded. Our ancestors said the same thing, about the folks who were slightly less new, and/or from a region 50 miles away in the homeland. It's been a constant refrain, never true.
There is no 'them' and 'us' of any validity in any of it, we all have our specificity and we're all good and bad. Of course, often those with an excess of unchecked power are even worse, but the human condition is imperfection and intertwined good/bad.
This book lays bare that complex nature of the US which is always covered in pretend images; and fights against the hard-core American impulse to ignore the past and look forward with the message that there *is* a context to the present debates that should be included.
The reality of the US of A: messy and contorted and more intricate and meaner and escalated and broken and mended stronger than its pretend imagery - would bear useful gifts if we would let it be known; all about the magnitude, richness and power of diversity and dreams and hopes and pain and suffering and gutting it out; and how that became where we are today.
Liked the ending. Would have more if I'd read it all I'm sure, but instead this book joins the ranks of the multiple-try, where some of my favorites live....more
Must read right away!! And the rest of hers! And the other Irish Book Awards winners!! Now!
My definition of Irish (in place of anything to do with CatMust read right away!! And the rest of hers! And the other Irish Book Awards winners!! Now!
My definition of Irish (in place of anything to do with Catholocism and/or alcohol): smiling eyes, smart wit, and literary superiority.
And Anne, in case you read this, I'm sure you share all three with me! Given that, I hope you don't mind what I'm going to say:
I don't want to continue reading this. I stopped once, read some more, and now am really stopping.
I feel when reading this like I'm lying in a bed wrapped in sheets like a mummy, and I keep getting turned this way and that, and I'm the movie I'm supposed to be watch keeps being not at all in view due to how I'm moved. I'm sure there's a great story here, I just can't ever get enough of a glimpse of it to fully enjoy it.
Plus, there's touches of oddity almost ala Gertrude Stein, only negative (so weird!), like this:
"This was the place where I existed - in the smell that drifted from the top of a pool of champagne -- beside which, even Liam's clothes felt loud.
What does that mean??? Is she saying she was so drunk from the smell that her hangover was so intense that the clothing made a loud sound?? Come on, that's just too much. I need a little more exposition and a little less sensationalism than that. I don't revel in alcoholia sufficiently to be there with that. And then the casual, near constant involvement of men's genitalia also gets old. I mean, it's not written to be exciting or fun, it's written to be banal and almost quietly loathsome. Plus, it is nearly constant. I think that's to do with the sexual crime(s) that are at the core of this narrative. This just isn't my time for all that I don't think. ...more