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
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
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.
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
How do you stop a mad dog dictator? By shooting him and his followers? This pamphlet argues that violence has not solved the problem in the past. HasHow do you stop a mad dog dictator? By shooting him and his followers? This pamphlet argues that violence has not solved the problem in the past. Has in fact backfired against us.
Decent people are many and mad dogs are few. Then why do so many decent people follow mad dog dictators? Because of the “awful habit of obedience,” says Muste, who calls for civil disobedience on a grand scale. Nonviolent resistance along Gandhian lines.
This pamphlet is more about prevention than cure, but does mention Hitler and “the difficulties which the Nazis had with the Resistance, often mainly nonviolent, in France, the Low Countries, Denmark, Norway.” Muste suggests what pacifists might have done about Hitler, but does not guarantee results. Who could?
He discusses various provocations of the Western world that breed desperation and extremism in others: expansionism, economic imbalances, and the “defense complex.” And calls for global co-operation, humanitarian aid, “all out friendliness,” good will, wealth sharing.
Muste likes to reverse positions, to show that the perceived enemy is really not so very different from us. Suppose he did what we do? How would we like it? This pamphlet is an exhortation to think, not fight, our way out of our conflicts. To recognize the law of cause and effect. To have the courage to act unilaterally, in the expectation that the other guy will notice and respond in kind. Muste argues that our armaments are not protecting us, that they are increasing tensions and making things worse. That dismantling them would make us safer.
This pamphlet is a bit dated in its concern with Stalinism and the Cold War, but its principles still apply. It offers sane and sensible solutions that look a lot like the Golden Rule, but don’t expect to see them put into play any time soon. They would require courage, imagination, wisdom, selflessness, far beyond what we are accustomed to seeing in our decision makers, who would think Muste’s program impractical, even naïve. But if his program could somehow be implemented, peace just might break out. How practical would that be?
Notice that I am calling this a pamphlet. It is described as a 48 page book, but is in fact a 19 page pamphlet posing as a book.
Irish history emerges from misty legends. This book sifts for facts among the fables. Invaders and powerful kings make up much of the early narrative,Irish history emerges from misty legends. This book sifts for facts among the fables. Invaders and powerful kings make up much of the early narrative, as it was they who left historical footprints. Tribal Ireland needed powerful kings to form a united front against foreign invaders. Indeed, Ireland was invaded and colonized so many times from so many directions that it is hard to say for sure who the Irish are. It is a story marked by wars, famines, persecutions, and widespread suffering. Saints and scholars enter the narrative, followed by freedom fighters and Fenians. At times this book becomes a litany of atrocities committed against the Irish, but that's the way it was.
This is the Irish experience to about 1920. Did you know that the Irish invaded England? That Christianity was established in Ireland before St. Patrick arrived? That the Renaissance began in Ireland? That Irish monks were in North America centuries before Columbus? That wearing a moustache was punishable by death under the English penal laws? That the Irish were more fluent in Latin than in English? That it was unchivalrous to wage war before the enemy was ready?
This is a big book, not a quick or easy read, but it can be read piecemeal. It covers a lot of ground, from Irish customs and costumes to arts and crafts, poetry, trade and manufacture, politics, laws, education, religion, monasticism, the status of women, etc. It could benefit from artful condensation and better organization. It may be too detailed for some readers. Bias? Yes, but it does not obscure the facts … or the fables. ...more