An excellent introduction to Dorothy Day. Better than her autobiography for three reasons: 1) It covers her entire life, not just her early years. 2)An excellent introduction to Dorothy Day. Better than her autobiography for three reasons: 1) It covers her entire life, not just her early years. 2) It covers all aspects of her life, not just her religious conversion. 3) It draws on all her writings, public and private, including her recently-released diaries. It is detailed without being boring, personal without being biased.
For those already familiar with her, this is an excellent recap. It clarifies things and fills in the gaps nicely. Years of research went into this book; I don’t see any obvious factual errors. Having known Dorothy Day, I can attest to the accuracy of this book. Should she be canonized a saint? I don’t know why not. See the discussion in this book.
More than a biography, this is also a history of the Catholic Worker movement within the larger contexts of American and world histories. Well written, clear and easy to follow, though its page layout is not easy on the eyes. (The text is squeezed into narrow columns to accommodate oversized margins that are mostly wasted space. What were they thinking? But it is readable.)
Other than its page layout, this is a great book! An engrossing story of an eventful life. Recommended to anyone who would like to get to know Dorothy Day and walk a mile in her shoes. The illustrations, mostly photographs, are many and outstanding.
A blend of wartime history and family chatter, this book is mostly about the home front during the war, in the greater New York City area. No first-haA blend of wartime history and family chatter, this book is mostly about the home front during the war, in the greater New York City area. No first-hand accounts of battles here, no blood or gore, mostly stateside family matters. Often mundane, even trivial, family matters, but the letters are candid and reveal who these people were and what they were thinking in a time of national crisis. Details about censorship of the mails, travel restrictions, rationing, shortages, blackouts, draft statuses, etc. Insights into the role railroads played in the war, because these were railroad people, second generation employees of the New York Central Railroad. Their lives were impacted by the war, but not disrupted as severely as those of millions of other people. Most of them survived the war.
This book was published for descendants of the letter writers, not for a general audience. This is family history for the grandkids. But it may have interest beyond the family to historians, New Yorkers, old timers and nostalgiacs who want to recall the times and places. The editors discuss and clarify the letters, and add details. The book could benefit greatly from more illustrations.
Four stars if you are interested in the American home front during World War II. Five stars if you are interested in this particular family. ...more
This is the memoir of a Baptist missionary in nineteenth century Missouri and Illinois, plus extensive biographical commentaries by editor Rufus Babc This is the memoir of a Baptist missionary in nineteenth century Missouri and Illinois, plus extensive biographical commentaries by editor Rufus Babcock. Of interest to Baptists, but also a primary source of American history. People and places are described, usually in religious or moral terms. The first few chapters are about his youth and preparations in Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Arriving in Missouri in 1817, John Mason Peck witnessed and experienced frontier American history over several decades, from the point of view of an itinerant preacher. His memoir is mostly about church business: where he went and what he did in spreading the gospel. The people he met, the churches and seminaries he founded. The Bible study societies he started, sermons he preached, periodicals he published, books he wrote. Theological issues among Baptists. His attempts to evangelize the West wherever it was “destitute” of piety or religious instruction.
Peck’s travels took him as far south as New Orleans and as far east as Massachusetts, from his base in Illinois. Some of the people he met on his travels: John Adams, Daniel Boone, Andrew Jackson, Charles Dickens.
Three stars for the up-close and personal history. Add two stars if you are interested in the Baptist church and its history.
Hard to rate this one. The diary of a shallow person, but worth reading for the insights it gives into Hitler's psyche. She complains of being lonelyHard to rate this one. The diary of a shallow person, but worth reading for the insights it gives into Hitler's psyche. She complains of being lonely and wishes she had a puppy. ...more
This book may interest Scots in the regions described, the Scottish Highlands of Perthshire, especially the Atholl and Breadalbane areas. It is mostlyThis book may interest Scots in the regions described, the Scottish Highlands of Perthshire, especially the Atholl and Breadalbane areas. It is mostly descriptions of the scenery and details about day trips, lodgings, and the local titled rich people who hosted the queen’s party. There is some local history and some insights into the royal family.
The first two chapters are about her journeys in 1842 and 1844, with Prince Albert. The others are later, in the 1860s, when she was a grieving widow reliving the past. There are excerpts from the diaries and letters of the queen, but most of the text is commentary by editor John Kerr. There is not much here that would interest a general audience. ...more
These are the recollections of a Russian emigre in France, on a mission to heal the rift between the Catholic and Orthodox Christian churches. A conveThese are the recollections of a Russian emigre in France, on a mission to heal the rift between the Catholic and Orthodox Christian churches. A convert to the Catholic faith, she tries to reconcile her Orthodox friends by emphasizing their common roots and beliefs. She draws on the teachings of her philosopher friends Jacques Maritain, a Catholic, and Nicholas Berdiaeff, an Orthodox, both of whom had abandoned materialism and socialism in favor of spiritual values and Christian humanism. They all believed in personalism, the primacy of the person over the state. She calls for Christian humanism, citing the papal encyclicals of Leo XIII and Pius XI. She describes in detail the French spiritual and social movements in which she was involved, including youth groups such as Emmanuel Mounier’s “Esprit.”
Communism and Nazism were threatening France. The title of this book refers to the approaching “dusk of civilization” represented by those totalitarian forces. She condemns them both as materialistic and inimical to human freedom. Christians must be independent, not forced to choose between what Maritain called “the right complex” and “the left complex.” “France could be saved only by a complete renovation, not only economic, but moral and spiritual.” She calls for “a spiritual wall against totalitarian influences,” a genuine spiritual revolution. Three chapters describe the difficulties of living in France under German control, even in the so-called free zone. She fled to America in 1941 because she could not do her work under Nazi domination.
The author assumes that the reader knows something about events in France in those days, but she was a gifted writer and this is an easy read for anyone at all familiar with the subject matter. Recommended to readers interested in religion and spirituality, ecumenism, Christian humanism, and French history and philosophy during the 1930s.
A history of medicine that probes into pre-medical times and asks, how did people live and care for their sick before medicine? Speculating on the bioA history of medicine that probes into pre-medical times and asks, how did people live and care for their sick before medicine? Speculating on the biologic and physiologic needs of prehistoric people, it concludes that they did very well without doctors and medicines, before their “fatal breach with nature.”
Shelton denounces medicine, calling it voodoo, the practice of poisoning the sick. He denies all claims of medical “progress.” How can there be “progress” in a system based on untruth? Medicine is not a natural science. He discusses medical doctors from the distant past: Hippocrates, Galen, Paracelsus. Schools of “so-called healing” at Sumer, Crete, Egypt, Greece, etc.
He lashes out at superstition, sorcery, priestcraft, astrology, the idea that angry gods or evil spirits cause disease. “Medicinal herbs” are poisons. Homeopathy is “a system of drugging.”
He challenges “the Darwinian myth,” which says that only the fittest survive to evolve. Says Shelton, modern man is inferior in health and fitness to his prehistoric ancestors. Where others see evolution, Shelton sees devolution. He calls for a return to the primal instincts of the past and a rejection of the conditioned reflexes of domestication. He calls for a return to hygiene, to the body’s innate ability to heal itself, because healing comes from within, not from external forces acting upon the body. “There are no healing agents.”
A remarkable book, rich in erudition but wordy and repetitive at times. Could be better organized. Worth reading because of the importance of the issues it raises. I’d like to see an artfully-condensed version in a larger, more readable type.
This is a photo album of the city of Arcata, California. The photos are arranged by subject matter, not by chronology. They date from as far back as tThis is a photo album of the city of Arcata, California. The photos are arranged by subject matter, not by chronology. They date from as far back as the 1850s. Some are undated. One is dated incorrectly (page 17). A few are recent. The captions could be worded more clearly. Some don’t make much sense (pages 85 and 121). There is an erratum on page 19. This book needs editing. But it is the pictures that make the book, and they don’t lie. They are slices of the past, of an uncrowded world of quiet and streets unchoked by traffic!
Good coverage of local schools, industries, businesses, pastimes, prominent families. Occasional mention of the original inhabitants, the Wiyot Indians. Lots of history here. Recommended to interested locals. ...more
The story of the so called Italo-Ethiopian war of 1935-1936 by a reporter on the ground. It was an invasion rather than a war, and uncannily similar tThe story of the so called Italo-Ethiopian war of 1935-1936 by a reporter on the ground. It was an invasion rather than a war, and uncannily similar to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. ...more
A good biography of Will Cuppy has been long overdue. I even considered writing one myself, but no need now. This one is well done. Thoroughly researcA good biography of Will Cuppy has been long overdue. I even considered writing one myself, but no need now. This one is well done. Thoroughly researched, it draws on Cuppy’s books, but also on his reviews of mystery stories, his correspondence, and other sources both published and unpublished. Even his personal scrapbooks! For years I’ve been wanting to visit the Cuppy papers at the University of Chicago. That hasn’t worked out; this book is the next best thing.
It discusses his politics and his sexual orientation, concluding that he was apolitical and asexual. His curious relationship with his mentor, Isabel Paterson. His need for emotional and professional support. The “subtextual codes” in his writing. His suicidal tendencies. His creative use of footnotes. It puts him into context with contemporary satirists such as Robert Benchley, James Thurber, and S. J. Perelman. It compares him to Groucho Marx, Henry David Thoreau, and others.
The author is a professor of film, and it shows. He injects films into this book more than Cuppy’s life would warrant. Cuppy was not a movie star and did not write for the movies. Why then are so many of the illustrations in this book from Hollywood movies? But there are some gems, including two portraits of Cuppy in his youth.
Author Gehring admires Cuppy but is critical of him, even to calling him a “man/child.” This book illuminates Cuppy’s enigmatic character and adds dimensions to his persona. Recommended to Cuppy fans. It will help them spot the undercurrents in his life and work.
This book is indexed and lavishly sourced, with many pages of chapter notes and an extensive bibliography.