Best battle/war book I've read in years, covering the Battle of Thermopylae in depth and approximately 20 years prior, told through the eyes of a captBest battle/war book I've read in years, covering the Battle of Thermopylae in depth and approximately 20 years prior, told through the eyes of a captured Spartan soldier, 500 to 480 BC. Plenty of horror and gore, but the strength, valor and patriotism of the Greek allies, led by the Spartans, shines through. The descriptions of their daily life, weapons, and strategies make the book even better. Almost a 5* (4.49 if we had a 100 point scale!)
Can't wait to read Tides of War next which covers another Greek war, about 50 years later, 431-404 BC....more
End of Ovid actually achieved! Think I must have a mental block when it comes to mythology. I find it fascinating and enjoy the reading but nothing stEnd of Ovid actually achieved! Think I must have a mental block when it comes to mythology. I find it fascinating and enjoy the reading but nothing sticks. Like reading about a thousand interrelated but very short stories. Glad I made the effort but not sure of the actual value achieved. Maybe I'd appreciate it more if I had to translate it from the Latin? All my notes might be of value someday.... ...more
Never thought geology, rocks and earth science could be so interesting but McPhee's writing and enthusiasm for his subject pulled me in and I thoroughNever thought geology, rocks and earth science could be so interesting but McPhee's writing and enthusiasm for his subject pulled me in and I thoroughly enjoyed this book about the history of geology, and his focus specifically on the area in Utah, Nevada, eastern California, and Wyoming traversed by Interstate 80. He writes of road cuts, polar shifting, continental drift, and scientists. It was the "road" part that initially appealed to me but obviously this book cuts much deeper into time and science. I referred repeatedly to the four pages of charts listing system, period, stage and age of the Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras – a wordophile delight. An index would have been appreciated although a bibliography would be quite dated by now as Basin and Range was published in 1982. This is book #1 in McPhee's Annals of the Former World series focusing on the 40th parallel, which is followed by In Suspect Terrain, about the Appalachians, which I'm adding to my TBR list. ...more
Enjoyable geological reading but more esoteric than the first in McPhee's Annals of the Former World series, Basin and Range, which I would recommendEnjoyable geological reading but more esoteric than the first in McPhee's Annals of the Former World series, Basin and Range, which I would recommend reading first. This second book, In Suspect Terrain, finds McPhee on a road trip with Anita Harris, a geologist specializing in Conodonts (fossil remains whose classification is uncertain, possibly an eel-like marine animal of the Paleozoic era), from NYC to Indiana along I-80, roughly the 40th Parallel, exploring the geology of road cuts and making frequent diversions into the history of geology and the plate techtonics theory vs glaciation.
More of a religious read than I had bargained for, and way too much description too keep it moving with any speed at all. I read this in short doses,More of a religious read than I had bargained for, and way too much description too keep it moving with any speed at all. I read this in short doses, and like the movie (which I saw WAY long ago), the chariot scene was the most exciting part. I had forgotten about all the connections with Christ and the emotional impact of the crucifixion part. I found this, like the Bible, mostly boring, with some exciting and emotionally powerful parts.
I read this as part of the Cafe Libri Discussion Group. Interesting to read that the author was the governor of the New Mexico Territory in the 1800s and wondered if the camels in the NM/AZ desert might have prompted his interest in writing this book....more
Brought back memories of my high school English class as this is the only Shakespeare play I remember reading at that time. Appreciated it more now! PBrought back memories of my high school English class as this is the only Shakespeare play I remember reading at that time. Appreciated it more now! Possibly my favorite Shakespeare play so far. In chronological order of the date presumed written, Julius Caesar is #20 of 38.
This day I breathed first; time is come around, And where I did begin, there shall I end. The pathos of the parting predicts the outcome: For ever, and for ever, farewell, Cassius! For ever, and for ever, farewell, Brutus!
The battle has been fought and decided in the bottom of their hearts before it is even begun. It is more the conviction of certain defeat than the forces arrayed against them that determines the issue.
…men may construe things after their fashion, Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.
So Cassius does in mistaking the shouts of joy of friends at the arrival of his messenger for the exultation of enemies at his capture. Not even waiting to confirm his conjecture, he covers his face and bids a servant run him through with the very sword with which he had assassinated Caesar –
Caesar, thou art reveng’d, Even with the sword that kill’d thee.
The advantage the impulsive Brutus had gained over Octavius on the other wing of the battle is thrown away.
O Julius Caesar, thou art mighty yet! cries Brutus when he gazes down at his dear friend, Thy spirit walks abroad, and turns our swords In our proper entrails.
The Ghost promised to meet Brutus again at Philippi. He has kept his word. What Brutus did not reckon on was what the Other World would say to his deed. He realizes at least that he has brought down on Rome in hundred-fold measure the very spirit to exorcise which he sold his soul to the conspiracy. Alive, Julius Caesar was a feeble epileptic. Dead, he has become an annihilating tide.
O hateful error, melancholy’s child, Why doest thou show to the apt thoughts of men The things that are not? O error, soon conceiv’d, Thou never com’st unto a happy birth, But kill’st the mother that engender’d thee!
The whole plot against Caesar has been such an error. Brutus returns to the field, but he is soon convinced that there is nothing left him but to follow Cassius. ‘Caesar, now be still,’ he cries as he runs on his sword held by a servant (after three others have refused that office):
I kill’d not thee with half so good a will.
Those ten words are the Last Judgment of Brutus on a conspiracy the mortality of which other men, strangely, have long debated....more