Wow! Fascinating book! And Diamond writes it in a way that's interesting to read! He takes a number of topics like Childrearing, Care of the elderly,...moreWow! Fascinating book! And Diamond writes it in a way that's interesting to read! He takes a number of topics like Childrearing, Care of the elderly, warfare, keeping safe, language learning, health and tells how it is done in tribal hunter-gatherer or farming groups and then objectively compares the good and not-so-good points of each way of life.
Personally I think everyone should read this. It left me with something to think about as well as an appreciation of the life I have as an heir to the Western lifestyle and some practises I can adopt that have been proven to work by thousands of years of honing from Native bands and tribes.
I already did the baby wearing, sleeping with the baby, on-demand nursing that he talks about as positive practices handed down from generations past but all but forgotten nowadays, so I feel like he gave me some kudos!(less)
I liked the references to the late 1700s and that it dealt with the common folk instead of just the rich people. Altho it is hard to envision common f...moreI liked the references to the late 1700s and that it dealt with the common folk instead of just the rich people. Altho it is hard to envision common folk having the means to help time travellers and so it's easy to understand why Kate and Peter have to meet and be helped by the wealthy.
The first book is not as engaging as the second in the series. I also found the title Gideon the Cutpurse odd, as he is not a villain in this story, nor the ones to follow, nor is he even the main character. So I like the US title 'the Time Travelers' better. It makes more sense.
I like Kate's spunk and ingenuity in finding a way to help her family searching for the 2 children lost somewhere in history. Peter grows a lot in this story- from a jaded kid who is raised by nannies while his parents go off and enjoy their work to a boy who discovers who he is and that he can make a difference in his own life.
The story gets much more interesting in the second book!(less)
Very well told story of Ayaan's life. It didn't miander off into tangents or skip around til the reader is confused like some bio's I've read.
The sto...moreVery well told story of Ayaan's life. It didn't miander off into tangents or skip around til the reader is confused like some bio's I've read.
The story of Ayaan's life in Africa is a somber, almost depressing one. The tone livens up and becomes more 'happy' for lack of a better word, once she ends up in Europe. It's not that the telling is bad, it's that I felt for her and her siblings growing up in an unhappy home and having to deal with the political crises that were occurring too.
Ayaan thinks her world should be filled with kindness and compassion, so she turns to religion, believing the more pious and pure she is, the more others will want to be that too and they will all then live peacibly together, following peaceful messages found in the Koran.
None of this seems to make her life better. It all comes to a head when her father announces she is to marry a Muslim man in Canada. She flees to Holland.
Europe amazes and astounds Ayaan! People there live happily together without fighting each other. Life does NOT spiral into utter chaos when men see that women have skin. Women can say NO if they want to.
She decides to help Muslim women who are still being beaten and circumcised in the West by telling everyone that Islam isn't a religion of peace. That Westerners need to NOT let Muslim children go to Muslim schools where they are indoctrinated with the belief that women must be docile and that men are to rule over them.
Note: I do understand that not all Muslim families are abusive or practice female circumcision. Many Muslims believe and practise the peaceful parts of the Koran.
Her story is what She saw and heard and experienced. I think her questions: how can people live together peaceably is a valid question as there is still much conflict in families, in neighborhoods and within/ between countries.
Bad parenting skills and communication skills are often passed down within families and tribes or countries. By working on ourselves and within our own families to live in peace and harmony we are contributing to the peace in the world. Often this 'work' means taking parenting classes or anger management classes, seeing a therapist and reading books.
Kudos to all those who are brave enough to look beyond the common idea of: 'if it was good enuf for me/ my parents/ my forefathers, then it's good enuf for my kids' to bring healing and hope to themselves and their families.
Quote from pg. 218:
Johanna taught us other things too. She told us to speak to people directly, not pussyfoot around, just get to the point. If you had no money you admitted it and the you looked at why you overspent. There was no honour, no shame, no complex preamble: you admitted the problem clearly and you learned your lesson. She taught us to be self reliant and to deal with problems squarely. All my life I had watched my mother veer off and pretend problems weren't there, hoping Allah would just make them disappear on their own. But Johanna faced things. She said what she wanted; she was clear and direct instead of avoiding issues that were difficult. She would tell us ' there's nothing rude about saying no'.
I was confused at the beginning because this book begins before Les Mis ends. Not what I expected, but I figured it out soon enough. I liked the book....moreI was confused at the beginning because this book begins before Les Mis ends. Not what I expected, but I figured it out soon enough. I liked the book. Cosette & Marius weren't really shown except as lovers- very prim and proper ones at that. This book shows Cosette's intelligence and love and generosity. Marius, too, demonstrates a lot of courage (maybe foolhardiness?) in this book too.
Loved the new characters- Starling, Pincher.
Didn't really like the 2nd Javert much. Javert had is own morals and beliefs and so was a worthy opponent. This one is just a betrayer and pain in the butt.(less)
A compilation of 10 different accounts of a child who was hidden during the Second World War to keep him or her away from the Nazi's and the consentr...more A compilation of 10 different accounts of a child who was hidden during the Second World War to keep him or her away from the Nazi's and the consentration camps. These are the 'last survivors' of Hitler's War of Extermination. Tales that weren't told because people wanted to think that the 'hidden children' didn't have any more problems adjusting to post war life than all the other children affected by it.
They were wrong. These children all had varying degrees of personal adjustment as well as re-adjusting to their parent/s or their new status as orphin. Those who were in the care of loving surrogate parents fared better than those who weren't. That would be a normal conclusion to come to. But that's not all the problem. Other problems included guilt and shame for surviving when other family memebers didn't, not remembering their parents or having to adjust to a parent who is seriously depressed or otherwise now incapeable of raising a child thanks to their horriffic experiences.
Each case study also focuses on the life each adult creates for him or herself.
An excellent book that dispells the myth that children just 'bounce back' from trauma and are completely resiliant without some kind of healing that begins by telling their truth.(less)
Karen Anderson explains how 2 native tribes could, in a span of 30 or so years, move from a culture of equality between males and females where neithe...moreKaren Anderson explains how 2 native tribes could, in a span of 30 or so years, move from a culture of equality between males and females where neither side dominated the other to a culture where women were submissive and obedient to their husbands even when they did not want to be.
The Jesuits came to New France to bring a knowledge of Christianity to the natives. In the 16 and 17th centuries Christianity meant that men dominated and ruled the world and women were to be submissive to them. Women were thought of as weak and more easily led astray by the devil. Men NEEDED to dominate women or they would not be saved. This was the way God wanted society to be.
In the old world this kind of doctrine brought order to their society as well as witch hunts. In the new world the natives, especially the women, were not so keen on Christianity. Men had roles to perform in society and so did the women. Women cultivated the ground and so in order to eat, men had to be in favor with their wives or their mothers. Divorce was an option if the marriage was not working out.
So how did this change in such a short time?
It seems that there were a combination of factors, none of which had to do with native people's belief in Christianity: war, disease and famine were wiping out the native tribes too fast for them to regain their old customs. Christian men were given better trade deals, were sold guns and had the protection of France. Unbaptised Hurons had none of these advantages.
While in the early years, women could complain that Christianity's advent caused sickness and thus they wouldn't join, over the next few decades many natives came to have the Jesuit viewpoint that it was better to be a dead Christian than a live heathen. Christians went to heaven while heathens went to hell- a horrible place.
Not sure which is worse: the Christianization of the Natives so they learned it was good to dominate over their wives and children or the pre-Christian customs of the natives where they would go to war, capture some enemy, torture them and possibly eat them but treat the members of their own tribe and families very well.
I learned a lot about how the whole patriarchal society of Western Europe had a religious basis and why some churches thus still hold fast to those outdated and decidedly non-Christian practises.(less)
This book explains the long path scientists and politicians and pro-embryonic lifers took together in the climb up the mountain of stem cell research....moreThis book explains the long path scientists and politicians and pro-embryonic lifers took together in the climb up the mountain of stem cell research.
The book begins with true stories of how a child's diagnoses of type 1 diabetes changed their fathers' lives. They then began to focus much of their time and energy and resources on research to find a cure for this devistating disease. Embryonic stem-cell research seemed to provide a hope of answers. But was it legal to use embryos not wanted for IVF anymore to develop these stem cell lines? Arguements between scientists, specialized pro-rights groups and US government organizations evolved into a ban on using embryos in a US government funded lab. So now the path veered off into the private sector and also towards foreign developments.
The language is very scientific; sometimes i was unsure of what was happening in someone's lab so i had to take the author's word for the results. But then i'm not a scientist nor did i do much biology in high school.
I also think there were sections that could have been eliminated or reduced from a chapter to a few pages. She describes the rise and fall of a specific scientist in great detail, when, since he added not much to the overall story, it could have been condensed.
I also found the book a little disappointing after the title: "how stem cell medicine can change our lives" as the research at the time of publication hasn't shown much practical application yet. There are a lot of break-thrus, but nothing concrete to apply to humans for increased health and wellness. I think that waiting another few years to publish this book would have given much more practical results to talk about in the epilogue. That's what i was hoping for- not only a historical view but the success of it all. (less)
Wow! This book did a great job increasing my knowledge about what was happening in Canada as i was trying to make my way into the adult world of work...moreWow! This book did a great job increasing my knowledge about what was happening in Canada as i was trying to make my way into the adult world of work and family. I have a better understanding now of the issues that were at the forefront at a time that i only remember as being 'recessionary'.
Barlow clearly explained how the free trade agreements between Canada and the US and between the US and Mexico affected both the wealthy and the poor. The real results of the agreements, not the government's version.
Barlow is a passionate, gutsy woman who not only stood up for what she believes but also showed many grass-roots groups how to organize and fight also. She believes in the rights of the average person to have shelter, healthy food and clean water, all things multi-national businessmen and national politicians were willing to give up to allow unfettered access to resources and profits.
All-in-all a very interesting read about a very real problem- how much right does a nation have over the resources within its national boundary vs the wishes of multi-national business to grow unfettered by wage laws, environmentsl edicts, or the responsibilities of being a 'good' neighbor. (less)
This is the story of Ann's Mother, Sala, who went to a German labour camp in place of her older, but more frail, sister Raizel. She survived 5 or 6 di...moreThis is the story of Ann's Mother, Sala, who went to a German labour camp in place of her older, but more frail, sister Raizel. She survived 5 or 6 different camps before being liberated in 1945. Sala managed to save all her wartime correspondance from her sisters and friends, hiding her bundle of letters at each new camp. After the war she emigrated to the USA as a war bride knowing very little English and made a home and family for herself and her husband, Sidney.
Sala made friends of both fellow- workers and even some Germans. She worked well and tried to make the best of an awful situation.
Another piece of the story of the Nazi regime, Sala's Gift shows the resilience as well as the humanity of the condemned Jewish Europeans.
The story is a 4 or 5. Ann's research fills in the gaps around the letters, giving a 6 year story of her mother's coming-of-age in a war-time setting. The only drawback i noticed, was that it was kind of slow going. (less)
Edith, an aspiring lawyer, does not leave Austria with her sister as the Nazis were coming into power. She is assigned by the nazi's to work on a farm...moreEdith, an aspiring lawyer, does not leave Austria with her sister as the Nazis were coming into power. She is assigned by the nazi's to work on a farm as a sort of slave. When the growing season is over, instead of allowing her to return to her family, Edith is sent to a factory. She keeps hoping her boyfriend will marry her but he is under the thumb of his mother and can't seem to think for himself. Edith ends up going into hiding, using a gentile friend's name etc.- with permission, of course. She is trying to become a Red Cross worker. She meets a nazi officer and he falls in love with her. After Germany is defeated, Edith practices law in what is then beoming East Germany.
A good read, different than the Concentation Camp stories and thus a valuable addition to the WW2 historical testimonials. (less)
A fabulous accounting of how a cholera attack set the wheels in motion for the downfall of the miasus theory of how epidemics travel and why they atta...moreA fabulous accounting of how a cholera attack set the wheels in motion for the downfall of the miasus theory of how epidemics travel and why they attack where they do. I'd already read a book about the contributions of Semmelweis, a doctor who tried to get his fellow physicians to see the need for washing hands before seeing each new patient so that diseases don't travel. Both were working when an understanding of microscopic organisms wasn't very prolific. In fact, an italian who had done work on microscopic organisms in that era didn't get recognition until after his death and after another man had gotten credit for being first.
The true story begins with a cholera attack and follows the path of 2 amateur detectives- Snow, a chloroform physician and Whitehead, a clergyman and how the 2 of them demonstrated (finally) that cholera travels by water, not air. It is a fascinating tale of how different branches of science and cartography were used by Snow and Whitehead to convince the city officials of their findings and theory.
The last part of the book is a study of why cities and metropolises are good for man and the environment and what will keep them growing and what could make humans decide again to live in rural societies.
Great balance between scientific language and story-telling.
It made me think about big city life in a different light. (I've lived in small cities most of my life, big enuf to have most basic stores, but small enuf to make bus travel rather cumbersome and tiring.(less)