I absolutely adore this book. In the summer before 11th grade, my AP US History teacher sent home a biiiiig packet full of summer reading that we were...moreI absolutely adore this book. In the summer before 11th grade, my AP US History teacher sent home a biiiiig packet full of summer reading that we were going to be tested on every day for the first week or two of school. It was daunting and horrifying...until I realized that a lot of it was made up of a print-out of this book. (We still had like 10 chapters to read from our book, so the assignment was still horrifying and daunting, but this made it a lot better.)
Dave Barry is a brilliant columnist (according to Bart Simpson, he pokes fun at life's little foibles!) and I'm so glad he decided he needed to impart lessons of America's history to the young people. The young people need this book, you guys. How will they know about the Hawley-Smoot Tariff if they don't have this book?! These are the important questions we must ask ourselves.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who knows enough about US history to realize how flipping funny this book actually is. Also, it would probably make a great gift for that high school kid you know that probably takes history. It's easy to read, hard to put down, and hilarious. (less)
I highly recommend this book, especially to women who find themselves falling into the trap of appreciating our raunch culture ... without fully under...moreI highly recommend this book, especially to women who find themselves falling into the trap of appreciating our raunch culture ... without fully understanding WHY they support it, or what about it is actually appealing to them.
This isn't exactly a fun read. It's not something that will lift your spirits and put you in a fabulous, animated mood. Instead, it's heavy, it's grav...moreThis isn't exactly a fun read. It's not something that will lift your spirits and put you in a fabulous, animated mood. Instead, it's heavy, it's grave, it's heart-wrenching, it's fascinating, and it's compelling to the end.
The writing is at times stark, at times stoic, and at times so passionate that it leaps off the page and into the heart. That's the only way I can possibly describe it. I had so many thoughts while reading this book that it was impossible not to journal about it, which you can read here if you are so moved.
Suffice it to say, Frederick Douglass was an amazing man, so far ahead of his time, and this is one of those books that I want as many people as possible to read, because I honestly think doing so can inspire us all to be better than what we are. A tremendous autobiography. (less)
Asa Philip Randolph was an incredible man. I almost hate myself for not even knowing his name before I picked this book up. It seems to be written for...moreAsa Philip Randolph was an incredible man. I almost hate myself for not even knowing his name before I picked this book up. It seems to be written for a slightly younger audience (high school? maybe?) and I only picked it up because the book about him that I *actually* wanted was checked out of the library at that time, and I figured this basic primer was better than nothing.
I'm so glad I read it (and posted a few remarks here at my book journal). He was a hero of not only the civil rights movement, but the labor movement. (less)
Fantastic. Absolutely epic. A wonderful look at the Murder Task Force in Cook County, made even more poignant by the fact that IL abolished the death...moreFantastic. Absolutely epic. A wonderful look at the Murder Task Force in Cook County, made even more poignant by the fact that IL abolished the death penalty this year. One of the 'famous people' reviews of this book said it was THE book to change people's minds about lawyers, and that's pretty much the size of it. I posted some random thoughts about this book here at my book journal, things about juries and trial tactics and the fact that the PDs on the main case in this book were both women (which was why I included it on my 'women' shelf, because it's a book with strong female characters).
Fair warning: it recounts gruesome cases. Some in detail, some in passing. They are gruesome. They are vile. They are shocking. Not for the faint of heart.
But still, this is one fantastic book.
EDIT: I first read this in May 2011. I reread it in February 2013. I am now a criminal defense attorney. My boss is a former public defender and best friends with one of the attorneys that was mentioned as a member of the Murder Task Force in this book. I have sat at the defense table at her side and discussed the case that she and my boss were up for that day. I couldn't be happier.
And in other news, since the writing of this book, Illinois has once again abolished the death penalty. (less)
This book was written in the early to mid 90s. It takes shots at liberals and the religious right and conservatives, and is actually kind of funny. Th...moreThis book was written in the early to mid 90s. It takes shots at liberals and the religious right and conservatives, and is actually kind of funny. The author talks about wars and crippling debt and the growing power of the religious right and the fight to defund public broadcasting, but it seems tinged with hope, like things will get better.
I was nearly sick to my stomach the whole time I read it because it's 15 years later and things are WORSE.
I have many thoughts about and excerpts from this book. I am still updating the tag, obviously, nad have a lot left to add to it. All of that can be found here at my book journal.(less)
Ugh. This book itself barely deserves three stars. It isn't that well-written, and it's way too starry-eyed, even about the negative aspects of this w...moreUgh. This book itself barely deserves three stars. It isn't that well-written, and it's way too starry-eyed, even about the negative aspects of this woman's life, and the negative aspects of her personality. But Regina Polk's life deserves five stars. Six. Ten. So this gets a four.
I have some entries up at my book blog about this book, and I have more planned, so I'll be updating the tag, but for my review here on GoodReads, I wanted to do a write-up on the lessons that can be learned from the remarkable Regina Polk.
LESSONS LEARNED FROM REGINA POLK
1. Be sincere and genuine. (That was what drew people to Regina in the first place. She cared about them and their struggles and their families and their prospects and their stories.)
2. Be confident. (Regina was always confident. When she transferred to a new school, she marched in, shoulders back and straight, smiling, and waited for the teacher to seat her. Her classmates mentioned that she wasn't stick-thin (?) but in that moment everyone thought she was a knock-out. I found the stick thin comment problematic but whatever.)
3. Be humble? (I'm iffy on this one because she didn't like praise as a youngster, or even as she got older, but she always said that what she wanted was to walk into a restaurant with Ray Hamilton and for someone to be like, who is that, and someone else to be like, omg, that's Regina Polk, she's a Teamster and the greatest woman in the history of the labor movement.)
4. Build others up. (She did this often, made people feel good about themselves. That's just a smart networking strategy, really. And it inspires loyalty, which she needed.)
5. Share stories. (This was more of a tactic. She shared the stories of workers with other workers so they could sense some kind of commonality and shared bond, etc. It worked very well.)
6. Don't talk too much about yourself.
7. Listen to others.
8. Don't genuflect, but don't be disrespectful. (This is cheating; this is something that can be learned from her husband, Tom Heagy.)
9. Be articulate and intelligent. (She was a great writer, and knew a hell of a lot about the labor movement and her idol, Hoffa. It's my goal to be just as well read and informed.)
10. Loyalty. (She was very loyal to folks. It inspired loyalty in return.)
11. Accessibility. (She'd sit in the quad at U of C when she was trying to organize the hospital's clerical workers, and then, when the university threw her a curveball, ALL the workers. She'd often be called out late at night to talk, when the workers felt it was safe and they wouldn't be watched or harassed or threatened, and she'd go and she'd listen and listen and listen. Her workers - the ones she unionized - always said she was so accessible and they loved that someone was always there for them.)
12. Dress for your role. (On the picket lines she wore jeans to show solidarity. In arbitrations she was the best dressed person in the room with her dress, heels, and hat. God, her hats.)
13. "Slug your guts out." (And "bargain your ass off." This is what they did when they went to negotiate contracts. And Gina kicked ass at that. It's so impressive to me that this woman wasn't even a lawyer, but she did a labor lawyer's work when she went in there to write contracts and bargain and arbitrate and deal with grievances, etc. Amazing.)
14. Be interested in others. (This goes back to listening to others and being genuine, etc.)
15. Spin ideas to be good for BOTH sides. (This is a negotiation tactic that she used: she always spun her ideas for the workers as being good for BOTH sides.)
16. Put others first.
17. Have all the time in the world for others. (Ray Hamilton's son said this about Regina: that she had a crap ton to do but would have like four hour lunches with him while he was a student at DePaul and mentored him and made him feel like she had all the time in the world for him.
18. "Our hearts get broken and this is no better than a heart." (This isn't a lesson or a tactic. It's just something she said to her housekeeper when she accidentally broke a vase, and I liked it. It's a good reminder to not be so attached to material things. It's not like we'll take them with us or anything. I just loved the quote.)
I wish she was alive today. She'd be Obama's girl. She'd be dealing with labor matters on a national level. And I'd probably be trailing her like a shadow, trying to learn all I could from her. (less)