Although I have always had a great appreciation for the music of Mozart and truly love many of the things he has written, I can’t say that he has been...moreAlthough I have always had a great appreciation for the music of Mozart and truly love many of the things he has written, I can’t say that he has been one of my all time favorite composers. With the insights I gained from this Great Courses class taught by Dr. Robert Greenberg, I must say the great genius has moved up in my estimation. My understanding of his music is markedly better, and I can now say he truly is one of my favorite composers. The world lost him way too soon at the age of nearly 36, but thank goodness for the things he was able to give us.(less)
Although this is not technically a book, I listened to it as part of the Great Courses series, and therefore, I am treating it as a good read. Well, I...moreAlthough this is not technically a book, I listened to it as part of the Great Courses series, and therefore, I am treating it as a good read. Well, I would have to say a good listen. Good is not the right word: it is absolutely fabulous from my point of view. The author, Professor Robert Greenberg, took thirty of what he considers the very best of works from the Western Hemisphere orchestral works of the last three and a half centuries and expounded on them and their composers. Being somewhat of a music historian wannabee, I was so enthralled that the time fairly flew as I was absorbed in these classes. It made me want to go to my own recordings of these pieces and listen to them each from start to finish with new light and understanding. Bravo, Dr. Greenberg. Please keep these classes coming(less)
"War is the work of the devil." So says one of the generals of WWI, although I couldn't find the quote as I went back and looked for it in this 715 pa...more"War is the work of the devil." So says one of the generals of WWI, although I couldn't find the quote as I went back and looked for it in this 715 page history, so I can't even report for sure who said it. It doesn't really matter, though, because as I continued to study this book, if I got one thing from it, it would be that war is undoubtedly and indisputably Hell with a capital H. Living all my life hearing about WWI and II, I have never really been able to put the pieces together to make sense of it all. Several months ago I went on a WWII binge, reading a lot of books on it until I think I finally have at least a working knowledge of what it was all about. It seemed to follow that I then learn about WWI, and so I have been. This book offers a great starting point for the study of that war. I tried reading other books first, but got hopelessly lost. This book, by virtue of the way that is written, made it very accessible to me, and now I can study some of those other books with a degree of knowledge that will help me add to my understanding.
I really like the format of the book, particularly the short intermediary background chapters that shed so much light on the core story of the war. It helped so much with understanding the how and the why of the war, and events that it precipitated.
So in a nutshell, outside of the logistics and battles and armaments and all of that usual and necessary war stuff, here is what I learned. This war was fought for the flimsiest of reasons, if in fact there was a reason at all. Nations can act very much like two-year-old children fighting over an inexpensive toy. Over 9.5 million soldiers lost their lives over these petty squabbles, not to mention many more millions who were moderately to severely wounded, nor the millions of civilians who who were wounded or killed. The Germans were justified in being outraged at the way they were treated in the Treaty of Versailles, particularly by Woodrow Wilson, and we all know where that lead, or at least I hope we do.
I hope many more of us are willing to put forth the effort to learn the truth about war in the hopes of avoiding it in the future. The way things appear to me right now, it seems that we are going down this same path, and that scares me. No wonder the philosopher has said, "Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it."(less)
I listened to this book, and I learned a lot from it, but I really think this would be a book better read, or at least read while listening. I can tel...moreI listened to this book, and I learned a lot from it, but I really think this would be a book better read, or at least read while listening. I can tell you what it talked about, but I could not tell you what the seven events are. I would be really happy to get a copy of it and try reading it. There was a time or two I got completely lost in the details of eating meat or something like that. Apparently there is no harm in eating a really poor diet with little nutritional value. At least that seems to me to be what it was saying. It made no sense to me! Still I think there is much to be learned from the book.(less)
Many unspeakably horrendous things have taken place on this earth. If I allow myself to think about some of them for very long, I could get very angry...moreMany unspeakably horrendous things have taken place on this earth. If I allow myself to think about some of them for very long, I could get very angry, upset and want to hurt someone. But after reading this book, I believe the devastation of an atomic bomb has to be the worst hell on earth. This is not meant to compare one unspeakably horrible situation to another, but rather to express the fact that we should all hope and pray that an atomic bomb never be unleashed on this world again.
This book was written in such a way that the reader can handle descriptions of what went on, although the author does not sugar coat it. Hersey starts by describing scenarios of the lives of four people at the time of the bomb and just what they were doing when the flash occurred. The rest of the book follows the lives of these same four people, all of whom survived the bomb. Needless to say, the bomb profoundly effected the rest of their lives.
The greatest thing about this book was the human dignity that became evident among the Japanese people. These survivors dug in, cleaned up the devastation and dealt with every terrible problem that was left in the wake of the bomb. In addition to the initial destruction, the loss of homes, businesses and public buildings of every description, the loss of services such as water and sanitation and even the availability of food and a number of other necessities not being available, not to mention the scarcity of medical help, to the burning and instant death of thousands of innocent people, many more people had symptoms of radiation sickness disrupt the remainder of their lives with unexplained problems untraceable to anything other than the bomb. People suffered and died of the effects anywhere from weeks to many years later. In spite of it all, these people raised themselves up, and for the most part taught themselves not to hate, but to go on and live productive lives for whatever length of time was left to them. That is a lesson for us all.(less)