Very harsh point of view, but understandable. I had recommended this to a German relative of mine, then I re-read it, and then retracted my recommendaVery harsh point of view, but understandable. I had recommended this to a German relative of mine, then I re-read it, and then retracted my recommendation to him because I felt like the German-bashing parts were something that - for him - would offset the utility of it. I mean, we all know now, and those parts feel excessive potentially. At the time it was written though, the mainstream US population had not yet known (is one story, anyway.) Is crucial in-and-of itself, and for Vonnegut's trajectory as a great writer (IMHO)....more
Must read this again! After 'To Kill a Mockingbird', and being hemmed in to the one character's point-of-view, I've been very much missing a multi-povMust read this again! After 'To Kill a Mockingbird', and being hemmed in to the one character's point-of-view, I've been very much missing a multi-pov experience. This book was one of my first experiences of it, and one I really enjoyed. Also, the subject, WWII, is very current for me right now as well, and it's been well over 10 years since I read this last, so it will be perfect. Much as re-reading things when I have so many new things waiting to be read heightens my impatience for the rest, in this case I'm sure it will be worth it.
But now I can't find my copy, urgh! This is supposed to be one of the ones that's always right at hand. Not ok.. Then, M&Q, used books - no copy! Urgh! Soon though.. soon.......more
Initially: I liked the way the protaganist was with women for the most part, a lot.
The ideas discussed in this novel are fascinaWill mull my review..
Initially: I liked the way the protaganist was with women for the most part, a lot.
The ideas discussed in this novel are fascinating and extremely timely. The merging of that discussion into the format of a spy novel caused me a bit of a stumble. Parts of it felt forced to me, or formulaic, or almost tv-movie-ish. There was something tv-movie-ish in general, I think the simple characterizations mainly. It so happens that a lot of what I've read lately is written from multiple characters' point-of-view, and/or has rich characterization and a lot of the internal workings of them all during the story. Coming from those experiences, I missed that in this one.
There were discontinuities that I couldn't bridge. Like the initial relationship between Jack and Toby; vs. the relationship between them during the 1953 events; vs. the way it apparently went between them after that (the book ends with Toby suggesting to Jack that they put aside their differences and work together, and apparently that's what happened?).
Also info about what Jack had done prior to the book starting, vs. what he was doing when it opened (tending bar); I don't know what was served by having that be so secret. Given that he had this great record, why was he not still involved in some way? Him being in the bar gives the impression that he had a problem with his past military involvement to a degree, but then that doesn't seem to be true. etc..
When toward the end Yari says that he was the realist and Jack the idealist, that threw me for a loop.
But most important, it's hard to grasp what the conclusion was intended to be regarding the US and the CIA: it is presented that such coups prevent war and provide stability and therefore are good; if that's not the intended message, I'm not seeing where it was countered in the book. There's some content around the role of the Muslim leaders, but it's pretty vague. And given that it was written today, with all that's gone on, more content about that would have been of interest.
So, as I said, I'll mull on an actual review.....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
This was wonderful. I read it when my daughter had it assigned a few years ago, when she was around the age of the protaganist. It's told from a childThis was wonderful. I read it when my daughter had it assigned a few years ago, when she was around the age of the protaganist. It's told from a child's perspective, and I tear up still just thinking about it. Of course children have had horrific experiences all over the world - they're each every bit as important, to my mind. The horrible possible things don't happen in this book- instead it shows the power and the possibility to prevent horrible things, if the will is there. I tear up I think because - way too often - the will isn't there. ...more
Great film. After my daughter finished reading this, we watched the film again (my 2nd time, her 3rd) and she pointed out all the differences. Not -alGreat film. After my daughter finished reading this, we watched the film again (my 2nd time, her 3rd) and she pointed out all the differences. Not -all- of them, from what I understand. But anyway she really likes both, and thinks the book is better but the changes made for the film were reasonable given how different films are from books, etc.. So now I get to, so we can continue our conversations about it all. I feel like the values inherent in it - on drinking; lgbt aware/friendly; and very human as far as sex - are great. And besides that the film is a lot of fun visually, as they bounce around Manhattan in these beat-up motoring items and bop around in bars and have emotional DRAMA etc.. there's humor, lots of music-love, people being actual selves, and a love story. Very fun, and to enjoy this with my teenage daughter and share the experience with her is good.
After: I really liked it. Can't imagine having experiences like that when I was a teenager, my life was so different. And hopefully my daughter won't have very many nights exactly like that during these next two years either, but I'm just happy to read about relationships being like that and guys being like Nick and all. Gives me optimism for the future. ...more
Looks like a pretty good introduction to the Shoah (Holocaust) and the life of Elie Wiesel for a child, of use for a report or something. It covers (iLooks like a pretty good introduction to the Shoah (Holocaust) and the life of Elie Wiesel for a child, of use for a report or something. It covers (in a very basic form) the hateful ideology of the Nazis, that their genocidal actions were kept secret to a great extent for a long time.
How one Jewish man who'd been taken away from Elie's village came back, describing how he'd pretended to be dead after everyone had been shot. Elie's Jewish community refused to believe him, calling him a madman. (Elie was 13 or 14 at that point).
Then not long after, they also were taken to Auschwitz. It mentions how someone whispered to Elie and his father to lie about their age - to remain within the viable age range. It mentions Dr. Joseph Mengele, 'a cruel man who did inhuman experiments'.
It mentioned babies being thrown into the air to be used for target practice by the Nazis, and at Auschwitz that all the children and babies were thrown alive into a burning ditch to burn to death. (So, some limiting factors of this book to consider for any given child).
It mentions that tattoo'ing of prisoners - Elie's number was A-7713. It describes in simplest terms the High Holidays, and how Elie's father told the prisoners they couldn't give up even a shred of bread for Yom Kippur, as that could cause their death (as close as they always were to starvation).
Elie had to have an operation on his foot in 1944 - no pain medication, luckily he fainted finally after an hour. Soon after, before his foot had healed at all, the prisoners were taken on to the death march. He wrapped his foot in rags and walked/ran through the snow like all the other survivors. They ran for over 40 miles - it says Elie thinks he actually slept while running for a short time due to extreme exhaustion and pain.
20,000 prisoners left on the death march, less than 6,000 were still alive at the end of it ten days later, in Buchenwald. Elie's father died shortly after that point.
It mentions also that, as the war was ending in April, 1945, the Germans were determined to kill every Jew possible while they still could. They stopped feeding the prisoners on April 6, Elie and others ate nothing but grass and food from the garbage till the American troops arrived. (The Germans were also taking groups of prisoners out and shooting them during that period, and were making their way to the barracks where Elie was when the troops arrived.)
There is a picture of troops leading surviving prisoners (children, broadly defined) out of the camp, with an arrow pointing to Elie.
This book finishes by describing how Elie started writing, how he married and created a family and a life.
And Elie Wiesel's overall belief about the Shoah, which is that it was a uniquely Jewish experience, yet it contained lessons that were universal. Some situations that Elie tried to help with as a result including South Africa and Cambodia.
When Elie received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, he spoke about the fact that the world did know about the concentration camps to an extent, and that he had promised himself to never be silent about human suffering and humiliation.
At the dedication of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC in 1993, Elie made some comments about how to possibly understand the inhumanity of human beings, and that goodness exists still in individuals even in such times. '"What have we learned?" he asked. And he answered, "We have learned that we are all responsible, and indifference is a sin. We have learned that when people suffer we can not remain indifferent."'
There are dramatic photos - one with Hitler in all his rabid intensity - looks like he's about to bite someone. Also of a beautifully illustrated Torah page. One of Jews loaded into a train car (P.S. 'Paperclips' is an excellent film). Another picture is of the portal into Auschwitz, the the words above 'Arbeit Macht Frei' (Work Makes You Free).
This book describes and illustrates comprehensively yet pithily the major facets of Reconstructionist Judaism. It is written by Rebecca Alpert, a RabbThis book describes and illustrates comprehensively yet pithily the major facets of Reconstructionist Judaism. It is written by Rebecca Alpert, a Rabbi who was formerly Dean of Students and current member of the faculty at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and currently also Director of the Women's Studies Program at Temple University. And its co-author is Jacob Staub, Dean and Director of Medieval Civilization at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. This book is short (88 pages) and simply written, but contains a wealth of information about this crucial Jewish voice in our global community. I've only browsed it myself, but am aware of its contents through membership in a reconstructionist shul, attendance at services etc.. plus within my 'Introduction to Judaism'/conversion class in 2000 and my participation in a program for new converts which was a contrast-and-compare involving all the local synagogue options. Highly recommended for anyone interested, including anyone who thinks that the Jewish community is monolithic. It's not, any more than any other community....more
I've had this for a long time, put off reading it for a long time, now I think it's getting to be time to face it. Partly because of the change in theI've had this for a long time, put off reading it for a long time, now I think it's getting to be time to face it. Partly because of the change in the US at this moment, I feel we have stopped our march toward a reality too-similar to that of this book. I feel I can breath a bit more now, but also am curious to read this for comparison to here and to elsewheres that also may be closer to this book's contents than any of us would like to realize....more
obviously outdated now, but seemed like a way to begin to create some tiny semblance of a hint of awareness around foreign policy. Might still be inteobviously outdated now, but seemed like a way to begin to create some tiny semblance of a hint of awareness around foreign policy. Might still be interesting still as history.. ...more
I understand that this is excellent and all that, but I don't like graphic novels much, I don't like things with mice, and of course the Shoah (HolocaI understand that this is excellent and all that, but I don't like graphic novels much, I don't like things with mice, and of course the Shoah (Holocaust) is always very hard to read about. Still, maybe one of these days.....more