Overall a very interesting story-- really two related concurrent stories. Two things I wished were different. The end of the book feels somewhat rusheOverall a very interesting story-- really two related concurrent stories. Two things I wished were different. The end of the book feels somewhat rushed. The resolution was not as resolved as it seemed like it should be. Secondly, the science that is under discussion while Marconi develops his wireless, I have very little understanding of that and I wanted some kind of primer of how these waves and things work. Maybe there's something about that stuff in the notes....more
I was excited to get this book; I preordered it. Reading it I ended up disappointed in Moran's simplistic feminism. She ignores the class issues thatI was excited to get this book; I preordered it. Reading it I ended up disappointed in Moran's simplistic feminism. She ignores the class issues that occur in feminism, and the cultural/religious issue of Muslim women who cover their heads. Also I don't think she knows the difference between a hijab and a burka which is frankly alarming. Moran brings these things up, does the most simplistic analysis and then dismisses them. To me it's like, why bother broaching the topic at all?
Like it's ok to be a frivolous pop culture commentator. I'm not trying to use frivolous in a derogatory way. I actually thought Moran was like a female British version of Chuck Klosterman. But Moran tries to engage serious stuff, comes up laughably short and now I see that she is punching above her weight the whole time.
Feminism without intersectionality is not worth a goddamn thing....more
Maybe this is just a Thing with me and books, but this started out really fascinating, and as it went on was less interesting, when it got into more mMaybe this is just a Thing with me and books, but this started out really fascinating, and as it went on was less interesting, when it got into more modern times. Still, it was really good....more
I acknowledge that maybe this is just not my type of book.
But I think that there were some flaws. I think calling this book Hitler's Pope oversells iI acknowledge that maybe this is just not my type of book.
But I think that there were some flaws. I think calling this book Hitler's Pope oversells it. On page ten, the author writes "...Pio Nono, crowned in 1846, was convinced, as had been his predecessors from time immemorial, that papal territories forming the midriff of the Italian peninsula ensure the independence of the successors to St. Peter." I just can't get down with that. Bishops of Rome from "time immemorial"? Come on, we do have records from the late Roman and early medieval period about Pio Nono's predecessors. Bishops of Rome, before they had become the Pope, did not always control the midriff of the Italian peninsula. It's a historically inaccurate assertion that seems to be driven by religious faith.
Eh. Rayner's writing style has so much figurative language and compound adjectives in it, which I guess is good for the cutthroat world of British resEh. Rayner's writing style has so much figurative language and compound adjectives in it, which I guess is good for the cutthroat world of British restaurant critics, but in a book grew tiresome.
Also I probably am not the right person to read about his particular quest. He wanted to eat at high-end restaurants around the world, from Las Vegas, to New York, to Moscow, to Abu Dhabi, to Paris, to Tokyo. It seemed kind of... cynical. I think Rayner acknowledges the McMansion nature of what he was doing. But it was kind of a bummer to read. ...more
This book is not about positive thinking as something that is just the opposite of grumpy people who constantly find fault. It's about a specific typeThis book is not about positive thinking as something that is just the opposite of grumpy people who constantly find fault. It's about a specific type of positive thinking along the lines The Secret, which is the idea that positive thinking alone can (does) have physical manifestations. It is the type of positive thinking that can be willful delusion.
It's not a fun/enjoyable book, because the topic for me is infuriating at times. Pastors encouraging congregations to think how God thinks! Bah. But anyway, it is a revealing work, from the origins of positive thinking (or New Thought) in disaffected Calvinists Phineas Quimby and Mary Baker Eddy, to positive thinking motivational speakers employed by corporations, to positive psychology and its pseudo-science, and positive thinking in the world's financial world and the repercussion there.
So overall, a useful and illuminating book on a topic that I would not have expected. ...more
I could not finish this book; I read up to page 120 and then skipped to the last chapter (p. 237-255). The organization of the book did not work for mI could not finish this book; I read up to page 120 and then skipped to the last chapter (p. 237-255). The organization of the book did not work for me; my main issue were the author's point of view, founding assumptions, and 'values', which I found distasteful.
I thought the organization of this book was detrimental to its content. Each chapter was on a theme, one aspect of the king-mistress relationship; there were also subchapters for a more granular look at the theme. Because of this, Herman revisits the some of the same kings and mistresses for each theme. Louis XIV and Madames de Pompadour and du Barry, Charles II and Barbara Lady Castlemaine, and Ludwig of Bavaria and Lola Montez all come up repeatedly but a complete view never coheres. For me, the way the book was organized made it hard to keep reading and to glean information.
Saying that Herman "writes history from a woman's perspective", as her author bio at the front of the book does, is technically true as Herman is a woman and does write history. She is not, as "a woman's perspective" implies, sympathetic to the women (or the men) she writes about. The people in Sex and Kings are one-dimensional. I think this is because of Herman's moralistic approach and mindset, which is really what made me give up. The overall impression I got is that Herman thinks all of the mistresses were greedy sluts. She doesn't consider the position of women in 17th and 18th century societies, or other things that would have pushed them into these choices.
In the final chapter, Herman gets nasty. In discussing contemporary royalty, she describes the fiancee of Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon as "tainted" because she was a waitress and strawberry picker who hadn't finished her education and had an "illegitimate son". TAINTED??? That is a dementedly retrograde idea of morality. But then this is the what Herman wrote about the King of Serbia who married his mistress after the queen died, and was later killed by revolutionaries in the royal palace: "We find an almost biblical morality lesson in cases where the monarch made an unseemly marriage. Divine wrath was swift and sure. It was as if the Almighty did not approve of the king transforming fornication into the sanctified sex of marriage. For a worse sin than fornication was ignorance of one's proper place in the scheme of things. When a mere pawn became queen in the chessboard of life, the game was forfeit." (p.241) I just feel dirty reading this nonsense, and I find myself actually disliking the author.
In writing this review, it occurred to me that this book is like a tabloid paper because they use provocative subject matter, cover image and, title while at the same time adhere to the same old busted morality....more