I was greatly looking forward to this book after learning it was being written. With Plagueis' brief mention in Episode III, I was curious whether Ana...moreI was greatly looking forward to this book after learning it was being written. With Plagueis' brief mention in Episode III, I was curious whether Anakin really had any hope of saving Padame'.
The story starts with Plagueis killing his master (almost as an afterthought), then takes the reader through his manipulations as part of the Intergalactic Banking Clan. He finally meets and ‘befriends’ Palpatine and then spends many pages spouting Sith doctrine. I know Luceno is doing this so the reader learns as well, but after a while he just needed to get on with it.
Anything with Palpatine as a main character is bound to be full of political intrigue and this book doesn’t disappoint. Eventually all the names, places, and faces get a bit confusing. He seems to be going through an elaborate set-up for Episode I. (Which is what this is meant to be.)
I wish Luceno had gone more into depth about Plagueis’ experiments with midi-chlorians. The few scenes on the topic are almost afterthoughts, “Oh yeah, Plagueis was trying to cheat death.” The author mentions during one experiment that Plagueis heals himself, but later in the book his is still injured. And Palpatine’s blow-up at the end seemed to come out of nowhere, like Luceno realized he needed to end the book.
Overall I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about Plagueis, Palpatine, the Sith, and the fall of the Republic. (less)
The thing that most impressed me about this book was all the footnotes and sources. The author really did his research; he didn't just rehash what oth...moreThe thing that most impressed me about this book was all the footnotes and sources. The author really did his research; he didn't just rehash what others have said before.
Each chapter focuses on a different group of people: ship owners, ship builders, sailors, crew, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class passengers. (Also, I thought the character who opens the and closes the book ~no spoiler~ was an eerie touch.) Each chapter gives the background for a number of different people in each category, not just the famous ones, such as Andrews, Ismay, Astor, and the like. The book also follows up with the characters during the sinking and aftermath.
Besides first hand accounts of survivors, the book also sites newspaper articles, letting the reader see how the mainlands were dealing with the disaster. The end of the last chapter, to me was sadder than the sinking of the ship; the most poignant lines being " Survivors asked themselves.. why they had lived when so many others had perished. In many cases, their survival felt despicable. They knew that for them to live, it had been necessary for others to die..."
I gave this 4 stars only because the ending (after he gets back from Africa) seemed a little awkward and almost like an after thought.
I was impressed...moreI gave this 4 stars only because the ending (after he gets back from Africa) seemed a little awkward and almost like an after thought.
I was impressed by Doc's ingenuity and determination to get supplies where they were needed, be it up a mountain in Darfur or to places in Haiti. His writing style seemed down-to-earth and easy to read. It helped me to make more sense out of the situation in Darfur and also to learn about wells and filter system. The filter pot was so simple, yet so ingenious.
This book shows that any normal person with a good heart and determination can make a difference. With all the hubbub surrounding 'Three Cups of Tea', I hope Doc's organization is able to keep it's focus and bring water to those who need it.(less)
This book may only tell the story of 3 generations of women, but you get the feeling of traversing many centuries. The story begins high in the Tibeta...moreThis book may only tell the story of 3 generations of women, but you get the feeling of traversing many centuries. The story begins high in the Tibetan Himalayas in a small village lacking any modern conveniences. Modern, for 1910, that is. But it could have been 1810 or 1710. Life was hard but simple, and the author's grandmother was content. Her contentment and detachment from worldly life is felt in the narrative. Then in 1959 the Chinese took over and imposed Communism on the country. They sought to destroy Buddhism and the Tibetan social hierarchy. The author describes the brutality and humiliation inflicted on her grandparents were a poor monk and nun, not rich gurus. In the end the family makes a daring escape over the highest passes of the Himalayas to join the Dali Lama in India. To me, this was the most interesting part of the book.
Life in India seems harder than life in Tibet. Even though it is the 1960s, the family is crushing rocks manually to make gravel. The story centers more on the author's mother who is now a teenager. The narrative takes on her questioning and unsure nature.
The family eventually travels to Switzerland where 21st century Western life and technology is thrust upon them. Even a plastic glass of orange juice is unknown to them. The narrative shifts to the story of the author growing up with her Swiss dad and Tibetan mother and grandmother. Her modern Western childhood seems more than a generation removed from her mother's. I didn't like this part of the book as much. It didn't seem like there was much of a story to tell and that the author was looking for filler between major events.
This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in Old Tibet, Free Tibet, and the plight of the refugees. It gives the reader a look at centuries of culture and the intimate lives of Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns.(less)