I read this one over about a six week period, savoring each chapter as it came. The book is divided into twelve parts, each representing a month whereI read this one over about a six week period, savoring each chapter as it came. The book is divided into twelve parts, each representing a month wherein Charles Kuralt, long-time CBS newsman and host of his famous "On the Road" segments, visits and absorbs his favorite locales across America. They are all return visits and considering how much travelling he's done in his life, each of these places must be pretty special to be included in this book.
Not only does he visit each location and report on many off-the-beaten-path places but he meets numerous regular folks along the way offering brief glimpses into their lives. Wheather its a saddle maker in New Mexico or a musician in New Orleans, the more people we meet, the more we realize that as different as we are from one another, we're all just people, each with our own story to tell.
It was a fun read and I'm glad I took my time with it....more
I've been fortunate in my life to have been able to travel over large parts of the world, particularly in Europe, and I've seen a lot of castles. As aI've been fortunate in my life to have been able to travel over large parts of the world, particularly in Europe, and I've seen a lot of castles. As a child/young adult I played games like D&D and I've always loved historical fiction and fantasy and other genres where castles play a role. So it was with some skepticism that I began to read Castles of Colorado, by Ann Westerberg. After all, surely there are no real castles here in the state I call home.
The subtitle of the book is "Scandals, Hauntings, and Tales of the Past," and I suppose that was my first clue about how this book would read. It is sort of a "coffee-table" book in that most people probably just pick it up in passing and glance through the pictures. I like to read my books however so when my wife and daughter brought this home after their tour of "Miramont" in Colorado Springs, I couldn't just let it sit there.
I have to say the book looks gorgeous. Lots of glossy full color pictures in perfect weather conditions amidst beautiful scenery. Of course I was right to be skeptical though. There are no real castles, at least by my definition, in Colorado. The author shows some good solid research though in providing a good summary of each of the places she displays within the book. Most are estates of one form or another but reading the history of each one was fun. I preferred that part to the "This room can seat 75 guests and overlooks the lawn and three tiers of trout ponds..." parts. I'm not much of a HG TV fan either. Each "castle" is covered as a tour, and then depicts the history of the dwelling as well as any scandals or purported hauntings of the property. There is also a section on "castles" that are no longer around.
All in all it was an interesting book, even if I don't consider a vast estate to be a castle just because it has decorative turrets and a round tower as part of the architecture. ...more
This is a thin volume that I bought years ago when I lived in Germany the first time. I often pick up books that will later remind me of the times I sThis is a thin volume that I bought years ago when I lived in Germany the first time. I often pick up books that will later remind me of the times I spent in certain parts of the world. I'll often save them to read until years later when they really serve their purpose in bringing back the fond memories. This one was no exception.
The book is actually volume 2 of the "Rheinisches Land" Collection. I do not have the first volume and am not aware of it's subject matter. This volume was prepared by Dr. Walther Ottendorff-Simrock and does a good job of detailing most (if not all) of the numerous castles along the Rhein River in Germany, between the cities of Mainz and Cologne (Koln). There are a lot of castles through this stretch and I have seen many of them from boat as well as car as we drove along this fantastically scenic part of the world. I've been in about 6 of them but there is so much history surrounding this area that I was happy to dive back into it via this book. I will say that it did serve the purpose but I was a little disappointed in the format of the book. There are lots of great photographs of the castles but generally only of the exteriors. This works for the castles that are mostly ruins but the others often have fantastic interiors which would be of interest. The author presented the history of each castle, what its primary purpose was (defense, river toll collecting, etc.) and added in some info for tourists such as if the castle is open to the public or a private residence, operating hours, etc. The second problem I encountered was that most of the castle descriptions were many pages away from their photos. That required lots of paging back and forth in order to see what I was reading about. I didn't see a need for that; it's not as if all the pictures were collected together in plates. Pretty much each page had a photo on it as well as description...just not matching. I had to count on the "picture on page xx" instructions and when we're talking about 45-50 castles, that's a lot of paging back and forth.
But still, it really brought me back to that time and place, both the times when the castles were active as well as back to the time I lived nearby. Fond memories indeed....more