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 conve...moreThese 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 religious 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 bio...moreA 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.
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 t...moreThe 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. (less)
The premise of this book is that history can be fun, when viewed through the lives of the jokers who made it. Sure it can be boring in the abstract, w...moreThe premise of this book is that history can be fun, when viewed through the lives of the jokers who made it. Sure it can be boring in the abstract, when seen in terms of political factions or ideologies or economic systems, of territorial boundaries or dates or battles; but on the human level, the up-close and personal level, it becomes a cavalcade of psychological case histories. Because historical personages were real people, as nutty as the rest of us. To understand them is to understand the world they created. Is there a more entertaining way to learn history? This is nonfiction, fact-based satire. Based on real facts, it is real history. These personages took part in real historical events: the Renaissance, the French Revolution, the Petticoat War, the Dreadful Decade, etc. Lots of history here, between the laughs. As Edgar Johnson said, "Satire is enjoyable compensation for being forced to think."
Printed in easy-to-read 12 pt. type for your reading pleasure. More than fifty illustrations. With footnotes that are admittedly unnecessary, but how could we do without them? Released in an updated third edition in April 2012. Recommended to readers who think history is boring. It doesn't have to be. Not recommended to grumps or grouches who have no sense of humor.
Table of Contents
I. Part One: Religious Wackos 1. The Borgias 2. The Spanish Inquisition 3. Oliver Cromwell 4. Anthony Comstock
II. Part Two: Damyanks 1. Andrew Jackson 2. U. S. Grant 3. Woodrow Wilson 4. William Randolph Hearst
III. Part Three: Bloodsuckers 1. Ivan the Terrible 2. Pirates 3. Boss Tweed 4. John D. Rockefeller
IV. Part Four: Jacks and Queens 1. Sir Walter Ralegh 2. Marie Antoinette 3. Bismarck 4. Queen Victoria
V. Part Five: Imperialist Warmongers 1. Hernan Cortes 2. Robert Clive 3. Napoleon Bonaparte 4. Cecil Rhodes
VI. Part Six: Popular Hate Figures 1. Kaiser Wilhelm II 2. Benito Mussolini 3. Adolf Hitler 4. Francisco Franco
VII. Part Seven: Weirdos and Worse 1. Gilles de Rais 2. Casanova 3. Hetty Green 4. Rasputin
An intimate portrait of Rhodes by one who knew him well, but very biased in his favor. Jourdan idolized Rhodes. He blames the Boers for the Boer war a...moreAn intimate portrait of Rhodes by one who knew him well, but very biased in his favor. Jourdan idolized Rhodes. He blames the Boers for the Boer war and refers to black natives as "boys". He acknowledges that Rhodes was an imperialist, but thought that was a good thing. "We are all proud to call ourselves imperialists." The British Empire trumped all.
Jourdan knew Rhodes for only about seven years but, as his private secretary, gives unique insights into his life during that time. Interesting inside view of the siege of Kimberley. This book is not a biography of Rhodes, but a slice of his life.
The 1911 edition, by John Lane Company, is indexed and illustrated with more than a dozen photographs of Rhodes and his associates. (less)
I bought this book at a book fair in 1954 for twenty-five cents. Best quarter I ever spent! I still have the book and reread it now and then. It is st...moreI bought this book at a book fair in 1954 for twenty-five cents. Best quarter I ever spent! I still have the book and reread it now and then. It is still funny, after all these years. Wouldn’t think of parting with it. I liked it so much I couldn't resist writing a sequel to it. My version is called “Mostly Rapscallions” and was published in 2008.
This book has two things to offer: the history is valid and the humor is funny. You can laugh and learn both. Cuppy worked on this book for more than fifteen years. I have been reading and rereading his books for years and am hard pressed to find any errors in them. Even his most outlandish claims usually contain a grain of truth. My only nitpick with this particular work is that Lucretia Borgia actually spelled her name Lucretia, not Lucrezia. But otherwise, it is solidly fact-based.
Cuppy belongs in a category all to himself. This book is a unique blend of history, biography, and humor that he perfected. He was a great humorist and just about everyone agrees that this is his masterpiece. I do not agree with those who claim it is outdated. It will never be outdated. If I had a family Bible, this book would be next to it on my book shelf. To me, Cuppy was more than a great humorist; he was a kindred spirit.