It's so easy to forget, as I sit in my house, that the part of the country that I live in has only been recently settled by white people. It was onlyIt's so easy to forget, as I sit in my house, that the part of the country that I live in has only been recently settled by white people. It was only a short time ago that the Pacific Northwest was Native land, and an unfathomable wilderness to Europeans. Because of this, I have a hard time reading the history of the Western United States. It's not what happened to the settlers that bothers me. Rough treks through the land, death by starvation and exposure-it's par for the course for explorers in new terrain. It makes me appreciate the raw intensity of travel as it used to be before the days of planes, trains and automobiles. Reading about the callous treachery and imperious brutality that American settlers displayed towards the natives alway makes my stomach clench and sends me into a deep funk. The collective guilt of what happened to the natives in the making of this country is overwhelming to me every time I think about it. I remember when I was in high school and reading "The People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn and contemplating how all the land I could see from the classroom was stolen, and feeling gutted. I've never gotten over that feeling, and I'm not sure as a white person that I should. Encounters with Native Americans are part of the story but not central to Peter Stark's telling of the founding of Astoria, Oregon, but they are what I locked into. Astor's failures as a leader and the failures of the men who lead his expedition are interesting, but the real tragedy of the story as far as I'm concerned is the decimation of the tribes of this region which had been so prosperous before Europeans came. All of this is beside the point, and this is a pretty terrible review, but oh well. I read this book and it was good even though it was more about the white people who conquered the Pacific Northwest coast and not the natives who had their land stolen. ...more
The Notorious BIG and Ruth Bader Ginsburg...well, I'll give it to you that, after reading this, I can confidently say that Ginsburg is a badass, but oThe Notorious BIG and Ruth Bader Ginsburg...well, I'll give it to you that, after reading this, I can confidently say that Ginsburg is a badass, but otherwise I thought the connection, tenuous at best, got a bit old as a quirky literary device. On the whole however, I enjoyed this deceptively light read which took us through a tour of how women's rights in the U.S. legal system have changed in the past half century. It was a laudatory biography rather than an in-depth investigation of a life, but I have a feeling that as "millennial" and as a feminist, I was its target audience and I ate up the description of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a feminist hero. ...more
I was so disappointed by this mystery. The heroine of "The Mistress of the Art of Death", book #1 in the series, was brilliant, slightly Asperger's-yI was so disappointed by this mystery. The heroine of "The Mistress of the Art of Death", book #1 in the series, was brilliant, slightly Asperger's-y in her detachment from emotions; a proto-feminist in medieval England. That heroine was replaced by one of the same name who had only the slightest resemblance to book #1. Instead, we got a heroine from a romance novel, who spent the book moping about her failed romance that began in the previous book. It seemed like a completely different character, despite the same name (which I've forgotten by this point). I lost patience with her early on, but finished off the book as it was a book on tape and I could listen to it while I was nursing. ...more
It's odd--I'm not quite sure why I'm only giving this book a 3 star rating. As I read it, Nancy Isenberg's obvious truths about our past got me compleIt's odd--I'm not quite sure why I'm only giving this book a 3 star rating. As I read it, Nancy Isenberg's obvious truths about our past got me completely fired up about American history. I told my husband that I intended to read all of our daughter's history textbooks when she gets to school and infuse some Howard Zinn into her education, and that I wished I could homeschool her for history class only. She's two months old, so this plan might be a bit premature. And so, when I came to Goodreads to proudly mark that I had managed to read a book despite being at the beck and call to an infant, I was puzzled by my "meh" reaction when thinking back to it.
"White Trash" is about the myth of a classless America, where we supposedly have the innate and special ability to die at a higher class than we were born into. This may be as big lie as the "all men are created equal" was a the time the constitution was written. She traces the snobbery of the American elite and those in power from the founding of the country and the origins of our population. Isenberg pays special attention to the terminology used to describe the lower classes by our founding fathers and past politicians, making it clear that classism is as much a part of American history as racism. Yet, as true as this all is, I felt like Isenberg was on the cusp of something much more profound than she illuminated, and that something was missing that would have made it a great book instead of a decent one. Anyway, the infant calls. ...more
Just found this used on Amazon for a reasonable price--looking forward to sharing it with my daughter when she gets to an age where she can read childJust found this used on Amazon for a reasonable price--looking forward to sharing it with my daughter when she gets to an age where she can read children's books!...more