A well written book that explores the reasons for the foundation of the Israeli State and some of the highlights of its history. It is a heavily opini...moreA well written book that explores the reasons for the foundation of the Israeli State and some of the highlights of its history. It is a heavily opinionated story and in parts reads more like the opinion page of the New York Times rather than a historical account. I have to say that the author's account of the historical part is fairly evenhanded but his opinions are full of conflict. Maybe this conflict mirrors the opposite forces that currently exist in his country.
Two things I found fascinating about the book. His explanation of early Zionism and as it existed in the early Kibbutzes and the 1950's religious Zionism that led to the the grab of land for new settlements. The second part that enlighten me was the discussion he has with his best friend, a Palestinian Muslim, about the two versus one state solution for Israel.
A very poignant and enjoyable book. The author tells the story of Detroit and Family downfall through a plethora of vignettes. He does not take any pr...moreA very poignant and enjoyable book. The author tells the story of Detroit and Family downfall through a plethora of vignettes. He does not take any prisoners explaining the causes that led to the personal and city wide self destruction. He criticizes the unions, the lack of the work ethic, Wall Street, automobile executives and politicians for the conditions that led to the downfall of one of America's greatest manufacturing cities. Along the way Mr. LeDuff gives us a little of the city's history from its founding in 1701 to the present time including the racial riots of 1967. He further discusses the race relations in the city holding both the whites and the blacks responsible for the current situation. The part I found most revealing was what the author points out as the beginning of the downfall of Detroit. The late 1950's when the Japanese started producing inexpensive cars presented Detroit with its first challenge to the automobile manufacturing supremacy. As a result, politicians in the city increased social payments to laid off workers resulting in unintended consequences of attracting unemployed workers from other states.
I would have given the book 5 stars but I feel the author fails to arrive at a firm conclusion as to what could have been done to prevent Detroit's failures. He rather writes the book as a reporter for a newspaper without having an editorial page. I feel he could have taken the opportunity to point out that city fathers could have recruited other businesses to take the place of the manufacturing base just like the city of Pittsburgh did to replace the steel industry. (less)
Not as good as previous books by the author. It reads more like a collection of short stories and in reality some of them are boring. On the other han...moreNot as good as previous books by the author. It reads more like a collection of short stories and in reality some of them are boring. On the other hand it is a book that you can read for a couple of days and then put away until a later date and you have not missed the thread of the story. The history of Paris and its politics are interesting, but some of the American characters are absolutely uninteresting including their accomplishments. Unless you are a committed history buff, I would not recommend. (less)
Very well written book with amazing research. It flows more like a fiction book and makes Catherine a very real person who possessed a charming and ev...moreVery well written book with amazing research. It flows more like a fiction book and makes Catherine a very real person who possessed a charming and even personality. The amazing part about her was the fact that she was a very lonely person that needed a lot of kindness and love. She found this hard to find and as such went through a lot of partners.
Catherine was also a very enlightened and crafty monarch who tried very hard to modernized Russia by being a moderate autocrat but found a lot of opposition from the aristocracy. She was opposed to torture, tried on several occasions to liberate the serfs and codify the Russian laws. She was not successful in accomplishing the last two. The country also was able to expand the Russian territory into the Black sea.
If I had one criticism of the books is that it spend a lot of time on minutia about her love life. (less)
A beautiful story told in an easy flowing manner but then it may be the fact that I listened to this book rather than read it. On most occasions I do...moreA beautiful story told in an easy flowing manner but then it may be the fact that I listened to this book rather than read it. On most occasions I do not read or listen to a non-fiction biography all the way through. I take breaks and read something else, but not in this case.
The book is divided into two parts and each takes about 50% of the book. The first part deals with Garfield and Charles Guiteau's life prior to the assasination attempt. It includes not only their life but also what was happening around them. The second part deals with their life after the assasination attempt and the doctor's attempts to save the President's life and the prosecution of Guiteau. There is an epilogue that summarizes the consequences of Garfield's death upon America and the political system.
I found the author's description of some of the events such as the invention of the telephone, the use of antiseptics by Dr. Lister in Europe and the refusal of American physicians to use it, the discovery of spring box mattresses, the use of the appointments to civil service jobs through patronage and other events as exciting as the story of the assasination.
The most shocking of all the events is the incompetence and ignorance of the physicians attending the President to be the most revealing of all the events. This was especially true of the main physician, Bliss, who seemed to be more interested in his reputation than saving the President. Charles Guiteau in his opening statement during his trial may have nade the most revealing statement. He stated that the doctors who attended the President should be on trial for the murder of Mr. Garfield, he only should be charged with the President's shooting.
I think the author has done us a favor by writing such a good historical book about one of the obscure US Presidents.
Overall a very good book with some fantastic insights into Victorian times and events in England during WWI and WWII. This is specially true of such e...moreOverall a very good book with some fantastic insights into Victorian times and events in England during WWI and WWII. This is specially true of such events as the division ot the Otoman Empire, Irish Independence, labor disputes in England and the history of the creation of a Jewish state. The author gets a little bogged down with minutae about Winston's private life and excessive description of some battles. I did also enjoy the relationship that Winston had with the women in his life and his devotion to his wife and children.(less)
Truly a great read. The writing is simple but yet beautiful and easy on the eyes. Ms. Hillenbrand has done a wonderful job of research and translated...moreTruly a great read. The writing is simple but yet beautiful and easy on the eyes. Ms. Hillenbrand has done a wonderful job of research and translated into a cohesive and riveting story of human endurance and perseverance. The story also brings out in the reader a lot of not so nice feelings, such as hate, ire and vengence.
I was fascinated by the atatistics of the casualties in the Pacific theater and the reasons for the death of so many pilots. In addition, the treatment of the soldiers after they returned shocked me. Compared to the way we treat our returning soldiers, those during the WWII received little or no assistance from our government to deal with their mental problems.
Those who did not believe the atomic bombs should have been dropped by us on the Japanese may view it differently after reading this book. The author paints the the Japanese as willing to fight a traditional war until the death. I recommend this book to anybody who loves the human spirit and triumph of right over wrong. The book is more than a war book. It is a book that explores a range of emotions that very few authors can caption in one single writing. (less)
I was about to give it a 3 star, but the ending redeemed it. The first 1/3 of the book deals mainly with how the book was put together by the editors....moreI was about to give it a 3 star, but the ending redeemed it. The first 1/3 of the book deals mainly with how the book was put together by the editors. They go through the history of how Mark Twain wrote his autobiography and reviewed some of his early attempts to write it.
The title, my opinion, is a little misleading. The editors may have called it an autobiography because they are aware of what is to come in future volumes. If you are expecting a smooth historical account of Mark twain's life, you will be disappointed. It is more of loose essays of what he wanted to talk about. AS soon as he gets tired of the subject he stops and moves on to a non-related topic. The book can be read in spurts and you will not loose the thread of the story. There are parts, among them the description of the house in Florence, Italy, that are pointless. On the other hand stories of his wife, kids, brother and sisters, his travels and classmates are mesmerizing.
Mark Twain's writing is absolutely beautiful because of its simplicity and mastery of the english language. He is funny beyond belief and his political satire would be as appropriate today as it was back then. If the next volume is anywhere as good as the last part of this volume, I can not wait.(less)
It was a good book, but it disappointed. I will tell you what let me down:
1. One of the reasons for the credit crash was the lenght of the easy moneta...moreIt was a good book, but it disappointed. I will tell you what let me down:
1. One of the reasons for the credit crash was the lenght of the easy monetary policy pursued by the FED and Greenspan after 9/11. Mr. Lewis devotes about one paragraph towards the end of the book to it and Mr. Greenspan is only mentioned three times, even though his policies were the cause of the housing bubble, my opinion.
2. I found the book repetitious. He tells the same story from three different points of view, even though it was the same story. The first and last part of the book were very informative, the middle could have been skipped and the book would have accomplished the same.
3. No mention of the role the Government Sponsored Entities. Freddie and Fannie, played in the roll of the CDO market and the fact that their over leverage will cost the taxpayer over $1 trillion.
On the other hand, I found the description of the role and CDO managers and the rating agencies, moody and SP, absolutely fascinating. The part that really astounded me is the fact that this individual were not prosecuted for crminal behaviour. At least they should have been civilly prosecuted for failure to do due dilligence.
There are also good leassons to be learned. Do not invest in thing you do not understand and do your homework when you hire an investment manager. Finally, we ned to have our government invest money in the employment of individuals who are as competent in investigating fraud as investment firms do in hiring crooks.(less)