It is extremely difficult to find resources on the Second Spanish Republic, let alone the Spanish Civil War, that are impartial. Stanley G. Payne is t...moreIt is extremely difficult to find resources on the Second Spanish Republic, let alone the Spanish Civil War, that are impartial. Stanley G. Payne is the leading historian on modern Spanish history because he maintained this unbiased focus and presented his extensive research in a way that is very involved but yet could seep through to the understanding of anyone who decides to take up the subject. This book is an amazing display of historical research on a very volatile subject that is still emotional for many people, and blinds many people from seeing what actually went on during these years in the not-so-distant Spanish history.
From reading this book we get a glimpse into the Republic and it's various turns in the political landscape that was extremely sensitive at the time. We get glimpses into the historical timeline that created it and in and of itself is a timeline into what came after. It is a good stepping stone into further research because it does not commence from an extremist standpoint and lays everything on the table all at once. Payne also gives you clues as to what needs to be further researched, and what has been researched to death already. His conclusions are intelligent and insightful.
This book is easy to read, exciting, and emotional with strong vocabulary and excellent presentation of research. It is not too long, not too short, and will have you taking notes in order to fully understand the background of the situation and the events of smaller scope that have to be understood first in order to understand the bigger picture. Wonderful, wonderful book!(less)
Another amazing story from Kadare. The city of his birth is brought to life through a child's eyes during the various occupations and bombings that to...moreAnother amazing story from Kadare. The city of his birth is brought to life through a child's eyes during the various occupations and bombings that tormented the place during WWII. The most poetic prose and imaginative imagery highlight the story and make it one of the best I have ever read. The story overflows with beautiful, lovely, interesting characters and thoughts that could only come from a child's mind, so innocent and endearing that despite what is going on around him, he still knows what is important: his family, his friends, and his magnificent city.(less)
In one of my local Safeway grocery stores, there is a table by the exit where people leave books. They ask for a donation of one dollar but by no mean...moreIn one of my local Safeway grocery stores, there is a table by the exit where people leave books. They ask for a donation of one dollar but by no means is it obligatory. A lot of people leave the fresh coupons they just received at check-out. Usually there are books that I am not interested in, but one day a few months ago, I discovered this book on the table. I decided to pick it up because I'm kind of neurotic in a normal kind of way, if you will. I thought it would be a comedic take on neurotics. It was, in a way.
The book sat in my apartment in different places over the few months I had it, and for some strange reason I decided yesterday that I would read it, even though I have other books to read. I had not even looked through the book, and was surprised to find it was written by not only a Catholic, but a Jesuit. That made me want to read more, and so I did.
What I found was a quaint little story full of some of the most delightful characters ever written. The story is about one man's journey from your everyday neurosis to a great relationship with God. He meets a little nun who is quite odd but lovely and who teaches him to pray by laying on the floor and relaxing. This leads him to revelations about himself, which leads to conversations with other odd, lovely characters. He never stops evolving in prayer, is open to new ideas and is able to analyse things in a very useful way.
I feel obliged to tell all future readers of this book that the sweet little nun does die at the end. I feel obliged because this is something I would have liked to have known. She is real to me, as she reminds me of someone in my life who died as well. That really hit home. But even so, I know that the little nun and my beloved one died loved, are remembered with love, and are now in the eternal grace of God.
It is strange that I picked this book up at the exact time I needed to. I won't go into details, but this book has served a very important role in my present and I hope to take its lessons with me through life. This book is a very small one, but with big ideas and an enormous heart.(less)
This is my fourth Kadare novel. It is a comedy spy cultural poetic novel, a conglomerate of things that don't sound like they make sense together but...moreThis is my fourth Kadare novel. It is a comedy spy cultural poetic novel, a conglomerate of things that don't sound like they make sense together but that weave a fantastic string of events together with amazing language and characters. Basically, a classic Kadare. And just like a classic Kadare, underneath it is so much more than those things, it is a statement that makes you think about a mostly unknown part of the world, its inhabitants, and its disappearing culture. It also makes you think of the conflicts and the confusions of the area as well. The Albanian epic, the truth about Homer, the Balkan conflicts -- this is a book that will lead to further research into many, many things. It's a great piece of literature.
As for the story itself, I overlooked the sub-plot of the governor's dramatic wife. I had to in order to enjoy what the book was really about. The Irishmen are a lovely pair, inn workers are great, the townspeople are charming in a townspeople kind of way, but Dull Baxhaja, the Gypsy, steals the show completely. Blessed with a creative flair for writing reports, we really get the taste of comedy from him and the sense of complete absurdity of his assignment. We know that if he would have stayed on, the slight tragedy at the end (which was predictable, in a good way this time, as no one died) could have been avoided. Also, the mystical conclusion is a happy one, the epic lives on! (less)
I took my time with this book. I was really excited to find it, used, for under 5$, because I had just been introduced to the Blessed Cardinal Stepina...moreI took my time with this book. I was really excited to find it, used, for under 5$, because I had just been introduced to the Blessed Cardinal Stepinac & his extremely controversial life. I had already spent way too much money on the only biography I could find, & unfortunately it did not present meticulously detailed information such as what I needed to understand the case.
This book presents not only the background of the situation (anyone who has studied the history of the Balkans can appreciate this) but also historical documents that let the reader interpret the happenings on his/her own. I love historical documents, really.
This book really gave me a better understanding of Cardinal Stepinac's position both before & after his trial. Of course, the before is the most important, & has been intercepted & completely ruined by not only subjectivism but extremism as well. That is why you cannot trust most of what you read about Cardinal Stepinac, for most people he is either an angel or the devil incarnate. This is one of the main reasons I set out to research in the first place, my own historical mystery to solve. This book presented more evidence as to what happened & what kind of person the Cardinal was as well.
I'm not done my research, I hope to find more sources as well, but I am confident that this is the best book available in English about the subject, & in & of itself is an excellent book. It is a fantastic resource that I know I will look to time & again for facts on the case, & I will probably re-read the documents many times over.(less)
'Jesus Shaves' caused me to cry & convulse at work. I could not help myself. It's a work of art. A work of linguistically-tainted joke art with cu...more'Jesus Shaves' caused me to cry & convulse at work. I could not help myself. It's a work of art. A work of linguistically-tainted joke art with cultural references. With a happy ending, even. It's genius. LOVE. Really. I can't think about it without cracking up.