Amazing and honest book about the treachery and deceit of the Americans occupying the beautiful Native North American land. This was recommended by Bu...moreAmazing and honest book about the treachery and deceit of the Americans occupying the beautiful Native North American land. This was recommended by Buffy Sainte-Marie, and I recommend everyone to read it to understand the true meaning of the United States as we know it today.(less)
This book is a treasure tome, and already one of my favourites! Gombrich writes about history in a fascinating way, making the past seem magical, but...moreThis book is a treasure tome, and already one of my favourites! Gombrich writes about history in a fascinating way, making the past seem magical, but also realistic enough to weave its way into our current time. The chapters are deliciously short, and end with Gombrich's own diplomatic evaluation of the event... you appreciate Gombrich for his scope, his bravery to summarise such controversial and epic events in history in a few pages. Also, his bravery to omit some parts of history. Which would seem like murder to some historians.
Conventionally, this book shouldn't be a historian's dream, because it lacks all those specific details, dates, observations, source references etc... but sometimes History shouldn't be taken so heavily - it should be appreciated for its incomprehensible beauty and natural development, and this book is perfect for that approach.
In some obvious aspects the book is biased towards European history, but it does touch on some global events considering it was written in the 1930s by someone who was a first-hand observer of Nazism in Germany. I would have loved more Asian and African history.
Gombrich's writing also hints at his own humbling, warm personality. He overviews each historical event in a comforting way, so you can feel optimistic about the future by understanding the intricacies of the past. He's the cosy grandfather, asking for some tolerance and understanding in the world...
And to end... read this book to your children - hopefully I will, too.(less)
This is a book about friendship: how it builds, tumbles, teaches, and burns. To me, the clear protagonists are Danny and Pilon - with the other friend...moreThis is a book about friendship: how it builds, tumbles, teaches, and burns. To me, the clear protagonists are Danny and Pilon - with the other friends falling into subcategories, like pillars, supporting the structure of Danny and Pilon's friendship. Whereas Pilon was the logician with all the practical answers and storytelling capacities to glue the group, Danny seemed to me the lonely painter - a vacant, floating figure - silently leading Pilon, and then the rest of the group, with an absent-minded eye.
Maybe it's symbolic that the story begins and ends with Danny and Pilon. In the beginning, Danny bumps into Pilon, who, over the course of the book, eventually arranges the others - Pablo, Jesus Maria, Big Joe, and the Pirate - to live in Danny's house, and live out their admirable and tumultuous adventures. They abide to Danny's unspoken rules: don't sleep in his bed, don't burn the house down again; only pay the rent through wine and comradeship. In the end, when Danny mentally burns out because of the huge responsibility of guiding his friends, Pilon burns the actual house - the physical symbol of their friendship. Body and soul, you learn how Danny and Pilon completed each other.(less)
This book took me a few years to complete because I never wanted to finish it - so very juicy and beautifully told. It captures all the details about...moreThis book took me a few years to complete because I never wanted to finish it - so very juicy and beautifully told. It captures all the details about Dylan, the Baezs and Farina in perfect detail, making it factual but beautifully poetical at the same time. You get an intimate insight as well as a broad overview. Just behind Chronicles Vol. 1 (written by Dylan himself), this is the best book I've read about Dylan and his musical adventures during the 1960s. Hajdu ties in the details about their lives beautifully, not missing a single minute detail but also never branching into the sometimes boring literary style of history narratives. I'm definitely going to make an effort to find more David Hajdu books to read, because he is a brilliant author with a great, unique way of telling what could have been a very cliche "counterculture" story of the 1960s.
Plus it made me love Baez, Dylan and Farina even more!(less)