I want to begin by saying that I can't wait to read the first volume of three. Having read The Last Lion 3 first, 2 deals with the years leading up toI want to begin by saying that I can't wait to read the first volume of three. Having read The Last Lion 3 first, 2 deals with the years leading up to WWII. "Alone" is a very apt sub-title as Winston faces political isolation while being steadfast in his unpopular vision of a renewed, more menacing threat from Germany. On one hand it is easy to understand the antecedents for England's pacifism, but on the other: the signs were all there. What I found utterly amazing is the great lengths Neville Chamberlain went to appease Hitler and his band of thugs. William Manchester's impeccable research and narrative makes it clear that this point can't be misunderstood or be taken out of context. An example of the absurdity of Chamberlain's appeasement is the handing over of Czechoslovakia through the Munich Agreement. It is only magnified as Chamberlain is personally bullied by visiting Hitler. France, who had signed agreement to protect Czechoslovakia stood passively by. Throughout Europe, appeasement was the norm of the times. As Manchester notes both the genius of Hitler and Churchill, we come to realize Winston's ability to anticipate Hitler as the classic embodiment of good versus evil.
I agree with many of the reviews from fellow readers who state Manchester's brilliant series as important for understanding the 20th century. Not only are these biography, but sweeping in their scoop of history. In comparing this second volume to the third, my only critique that affected my rating, was some of the redundancy of reinstating key points. It tired a bit on me the reader, but I clearly understand the strong ground Manchester held on his viewpoints as an historian.
The recent Ebola outbreak here in Dallas bares testament to David Marx's observation of a society steeped in a blame and punish mentality. I heard manThe recent Ebola outbreak here in Dallas bares testament to David Marx's observation of a society steeped in a blame and punish mentality. I heard many a commentary, public and personal, demanding that heads roll. Much of this outcry was directed at local healthcare providers. The media in their mad rush for the "breaking story", headlined several premature absurdities. I do not know much about "Just Culture" as a school of thought, but from what I picked up, we are a society that could use a strong dose. We live in a world that demands and expects perfection. Just like the carnival game Whack-a-Mole, we strike when someone errs. Marx reminds us that nobody is perfect, not even the cream of society. We should all know this, and he even provides statistics to remind us. As a systems designer for high risk industries he understands that we must always factor human error. In our quest for perfection and zero tolerance for error, we stifle feedback, therefore stifling improvement of a system. Humans will err and we must deal with it realistically. It makes sense as he demonstrates the difference between unintended error, high risk behavior and reckless behavior. It is all really common sense. With our fast paced high tech world we easily lose perspective. It was easy for me to make application with the notion of Just Culture that Marx prescribes. When there is a crisis such as the recent Ebola scare, I just feel that it is a time for people to cooperate and support our medical establishment. For me, this was a timely and reflective read....more
Living in Texas it clarifies much of our local history. It also enables the reader to make correlations to some of the current prevailing attitudes foLiving in Texas it clarifies much of our local history. It also enables the reader to make correlations to some of the current prevailing attitudes for the love of weaponry and disdain of Federal Government. S.C. Gwynne's well researched account of Comanche history is thought provoking as it makes the reader consider the significant influence of the tribe in the shaping of America. Quanah Parker and the fate of his mother Cynthia Ann Parker are forever etched in the American psyche. ...more
I had gotten several comments from friends such as, "funny title' or "how can a polygamist be lonely?' It's interesting what the term polygamist projeI had gotten several comments from friends such as, "funny title' or "how can a polygamist be lonely?' It's interesting what the term polygamist projects. We all know that someone can live in a city of millions and still be lonely. Taking the unconventional nature of the polygamist's family structure aside, this is really a book about family and how isolation within affects it's members. Brady Udall writes about this controversial family structure in very humanistic terms. The Richards family is not what you'd think of as in the sensational case of Warren Jeffs. Udall who has some background with polygamy in his family history, neither promotes nor denigrates. He merely writes; and he writes well. There are many characters, but the lead roles belong to Golden Richards (only husband and father many times over), Trish Richards (wife #4), and Rusty (one of the many children). Through their eyes we see the pain and sorrows, but we also see the joys of family. There are many complexities as one would imagine. Although somewhat long, this is an entertaining read. There is much laughter along with some immense sadness. There are zany capers, but there are also some interesting historical facts to ponder; such as our government's nuclear bomb program and the testing that was conducted in the American Southwest. Udall writes a very harrowing excerpt about one such explosion and it's exponential spread of radiation. Really bone chilling harrowing!!!
Having just finished Franzen's 'The Corrections" prior, I find it interesting that for some reason I chose back-to-back novels centered on family. As with many other readers out there, I never know with certainty in advance what book I will just start reading next. Both have certainly given me much to reflect upon regarding contemporary family. I know polygamy is very alternative, but Udall strikes cords that are very universal....more
If your knowledge about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is limited, this book will be a great introduction. Karen Elliott House interviewed hundreds fromIf your knowledge about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is limited, this book will be a great introduction. Karen Elliott House interviewed hundreds from all across the social spectrum. This includes staying in the home of a devote Muslim woman to visiting several of the Royal Princes. Her credentials are impeccable as she has also spent 30 years covering the Saudis for the Wall Street journal. The range of viewpoints covered leaves the reader feeling knowledgable about the Saudi people, therefore about the country.
The center point is the House of Al Saud; the monarchy. It's preservation is at the heart of all decision making. Given it's oil wealth, the royals have basically bought off and provided for it's people. With a swelling population, this has become much more complex and costly. With 60% of the population at a youthful 20 and under, the discontent grows. Given that they are connected as are the youth around the world, they see a disparity in their freedoms. Contrast that with a society that has empowered a religious police to enforce archaic laws that violate what most of the world perceives as basic human rights. Woman too have expectations for greater freedom as they have gained more education, but are unable to work in a male dominated society. At the heart of this suppression is an ultra conservative Islamic clergy that has a very powerful influence on the royal family. Ruling kings are known to strategize walking both sides of the fence on any given issue as a means of illusion to appease opposing factions. The complexities go on and on. What it all leads to is the present and the future. Given the planet's addiction to oil, and that Saudi Arabia produces one in four barrels, it's stability is of utmost concern to the United States and much of the world. Interestingly, as the Saudi population has grown, so has their thirst for cheap subsidized oil. This in turn is contributing to a scenario of more consumed than produced. There are also many external challenges: an unstable region, terroristic threats, and alliances with countries on not too friendly terms with the United States.
Wow, upon conclusion, I felt as having just completed a dystopian sci-fi novel. This manuscript is definitely a good source of material for the dystopian novelist. Given the bigger picture of a world that is only getting more hungry for and exponentially increasing it's consumption of fossil fuels against a back drop of climate change, one has to wonder. House does offer some positive solutions, but after reading her research it seems highly unlikely that the House of Saud will put the greater interest ahead of it's own. With all the unrest in the middle east, and Saudi Arabia being the epi-center of the Muslim world, this book is certainly a very important read towards one's understanding of some very complex issues.
Through his music it has always felt that I have known Neil Young over the years. His autobiography feels like I've gotten to know him better. It is tThrough his music it has always felt that I have known Neil Young over the years. His autobiography feels like I've gotten to know him better. It is typical in that just like his music, Neil writes on his own terms. I read biographies because I am interested in the individual and/or the historical context. Waging Heavy Peace further educates me in my knowledge of Neil and rock and roll. Love some of the descriptives he wrote on rock and roll: "it's like wind, rain, fire - it's elemental"; "...... they don't think, they feel. Rock and roll is fire, man, FIRE". His music with Crazy Horse has always been that, so, it was fun to learn more about the creative process behind it.
Neil has many interests. He elaborates on digital music being stripped down and is developing a new medium he called PureTone, now Pono since he didn't have rights to the PureTone name. It falls right into his love of the automobile as he has the CEO of Ford interested in his prototype. Along with his collection of old cars, he has also developed an automobile he calls Lincvolt. He realizes that Americans have a thing for the big car and is working on a design that meets both that love and the need for energy efficiency. He also designs layouts, devices and sounds for model trains. Despite all odds, Neil has two sons with cerebral palsy from different mothers. As a result he is a founder and contributor of the Bridge School. He has been a steady performer of Farm Aid and was part of the artistic community to rally for New Orleans after Katrina. All good and interesting stuff!
Currently, as Neil has written this book, he has cleaned up from various substances at the request of his Doctor. It is a good time to write his biography as he is uncertain about his dry spell of writing music. A time of reflection can coincide well with the writing process. Neil's style here is stream of consciousness. It works in that it feels like Neil and is very intimate; like he is having a conversation with the reader. It falls very short in that there are many repetitious moments. He repeats much in areas that feel very sentimental to him. Especially in certain friendships and some of his projects. Not to take anything away from Neil, because his sincerity is true and strong, but it did wear on this reader a bit. In that respect I felt that this manuscript could have used some outside editing. Of personal interest, I also wanted to hear more about his experiences with David Crosby and Graham Nash, but do feel it is Neil's right to choose his stories.
All and all, my respect and admiration for the creative and humane force that Neil Young is grew. It will be interesting to see hopefully positive outcomes to his many endeavors. ...more
In his Preface to this new translation published in 2006, Elie Wiesel is still contemplating and struggling with the meaning of his experiences duringIn his Preface to this new translation published in 2006, Elie Wiesel is still contemplating and struggling with the meaning of his experiences during the holocaust. To this day he still painstakingly grapples with each word he recorded into Night. To me, he used his words well to convey his personal experiences as a 15 year old child who survived an unimaginable horror. For they paint a very vivid imagery. I too will be processing what I have read for a long, long time. For it probes deeply into humanity's dark side. It is frightening to think this darkness lurks somewhere in the deep recesses within all our souls.
I know there has been some criticism accusing Wiesel of stating a Jewish "uniqueness" in terms of victimization. My sensibility as a non-Jewish reader is that his words strike universal; regardless of race, religion, culture or nationality. He can realistically write for all through his Jewish experiences. Included in this edition is Elie's acceptance speech for his Nobel Peace Prize awarded in 1986. He addresses awareness of contemporary global evils; therefore speaking for all of humanity....more
This novel began like a typical Kurt Wallander series Swedish mystery, except the protagonist being a Swedish judge named Brigitta Roslin. Just as I wThis novel began like a typical Kurt Wallander series Swedish mystery, except the protagonist being a Swedish judge named Brigitta Roslin. Just as I was settling into the tone and tale, it jumps to a story line in 1860's China. With the immense suffering of the Chinese characters it felt as Henning Mankell had just shifted into Pearl S. Buck's "The Good Earth." Although the storyline came together in the end there were several more transitions with characters and place that felt a little disjointed. Incorporated is a lengthy essay on Chinese history, it's perspective of other countries and it's vision for the future. I like essays and found it interesting, but I thought it a bit out of place. It felt as Henning Mankell has some non-fiction opinion he is itching to write. I enjoy Henning stories, but this one just seemed that he was trying to spin too much of a tale. ...more
Epic read, epic sweep of history. Interestingly enough this book was given to me by Jo Bess; who as a teenager got to listen to Churchill's radio addrEpic read, epic sweep of history. Interestingly enough this book was given to me by Jo Bess; who as a teenager got to listen to Churchill's radio addresses to Americans garnering support for Britain in it's lone stand against the tyranny of Hitler. I had been contemplating which book to commemorate my 100th for Goodreads and this gift settled that for me. Like many I have various scattered knowledge about World War II and the Cold War. "The Last Lion - 3" paints a wide canvas and connects the dots. In retrospect I cannot think of another figure who during that era was connected to so many global events. What is amazing that Churchill had done so much more, which is covered in William Manchester's previous two segments of this series. My appetite is whetted.
This book shall live on with me as I am now a big Winston fan. Along with all the brilliancy, he is like us all with his many flaws. It is particularly admirable how he and the British people did not capitulate, especially at the height of the London Blitz as England stood alone. Had England surrendered, the fate of the world would have been very different. "The Last Lion - 3" stands out not only as a great book of history, but as a superb biography. Manchester certainly makes the reader feel the essence of Winston the person; with his many roles in life.