Joan DeJean has done extensive research to bring readers the story of the evolution of 15th century Paris to today's City of Light. Beginning with theJoan DeJean has done extensive research to bring readers the story of the evolution of 15th century Paris to today's City of Light. Beginning with the city torn apart by religious wars where observers reported wolves wandering through the streets, to the modern city claiming to be the capital of fashion, the center of romance, and the model for art and design, HOW PARIS BECAME PARIS, The Invention of the Modern City thrills with asides, educates with details, and satisfies the Francophile is all of us.
DeJean is the author of ten books on French literature and history. When in Paris, she lives on the street where the number 4 bus began service on July 5, 1662.
Daniel Pearl was a 38 year old bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal in the days after 9/11. He had been married to Mariane for four years and wasDaniel Pearl was a 38 year old bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal in the days after 9/11. He had been married to Mariane for four years and was expecting a son who he planned to name Adam. Pearl was a graduate of Stanford, well read, musical, and had a passion for other cultures including his own, Jewish. The expectant couple was spending their last night in Karachi, Pakistan before leaving for a respite in Dubai.
There was just one more meeting...one last interview...an opposing viewpoint from the enemies of the US presence in Afghanistan and Guantanamo. Danny and Mariane exchanged the most intimate words before Danny left in a cab for the arranged public meeting place. It would be the last expression of their love, as Danny was kidnapped and viciously murdered by Pakistani extremists in a little over a week.
Mariane Pearl was formerly a reporter for French radio. She writes with a steady hand, devoid of sentimentality with her eye on geopolitics. The Pakistani police, the FBI and the American consulate helped in the search for her husband. The trail to the responsible people is detailed in this compelling narrative along with private memories that flesh out Danny's personality and life mission.
What is Daniel Pearl's legacy? He was a musician and a lover of words and is remembered on his birthday in October every year with the Daniel Pearl World Music Days with 11,000 performances in 129 countries. The Daniel Pearl Journalism Fellowship brings journalists from the Middle East and South Asia for six months to experience the dynamics of a free press. And the Daniel Pearl Lecture Series brings together journalists and scholars who have contributed original analysis and problem solving of international concerns. Ambassador Samantha Powers was the 2014 speaker.
Danny's mission to make a better world thunders through his Foundation and Mariane's storytelling.
In 1910 a true, sensational story ran in newspapers around the world. An American physician living in London poisoned, flayed, deboned and buried hisIn 1910 a true, sensational story ran in newspapers around the world. An American physician living in London poisoned, flayed, deboned and buried his overbearing wife in the couple's basement for the love of a younger woman. He and his lover, who was disguised as a boy, were fleeing justice on an ocean liner from Antwerp to Quebec City.
On another ship, the Scotland Yard inspector in charge of the second most notorious murder in British history (Jack the Ripper was first) was speeding to overcome the suspects before their arrival in Canada.
The notoriety of the Crippen murder and capture comes from the burgeoning means of communication which eliminated the "great hush" of ocean liners isolated from one another and from people on land. Communication was established by a new technology, Marconi's invention; the wireless.
THUNDERSTRUCK follows the same formula of Larson's THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY which merged technology and murder for a gripping historical narrative. These chapters alternate between the struggles and patent success of the Steve Jobs of the early part of the 20th century, the marvelous Guglielmo Marconi, and the troubled doctor of patient elixirs, tonics, tablets, and salves, the socially inept, Hawley Harvey Crippen.
Were it not for Marconi's newest invention, Crippen may have escaped hanging for the murder of his wife. This was the first crime and capture, unknown to the unsuspecting Crippen, transmitted in real time to curious readers everywhere.
Larson's reporting of multiple steps to gain a wireless patent was ultimately numbing to me. I hurried through the chapters extending the story of technological discovery to the gripping tale of murder, coverup, trial and outcome. Bundled in the author's fifth book are glimpses of the Edwardian period and foreshadowing of the Great War in Europe. All were a pleasure to read and a continuing learning experience of a particularly pivotal time in history.
Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was one of our foremost essayists, humanist, intellectual and metaphysical skeptics. He was possessed of an allergy tChristopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was one of our foremost essayists, humanist, intellectual and metaphysical skeptics. He was possessed of an allergy to dullness. There are 107 essays in this final collection selected by him. He died of cancer in December, 2011.
I love the feel of the perfectly sized hardback in my hands, the look of sublimely matched text and illustrations in little boxes on each page, and thI love the feel of the perfectly sized hardback in my hands, the look of sublimely matched text and illustrations in little boxes on each page, and the monochromatic visuals of the two together. I look forward to all of Guy Delisle's graphic-travelogues and will treasure each rendering by such a talented artist. These are the reasons the book is a FAVORITE.
As for Jerusalem, each street is a sentence, every neighborhood a paragraph and the city is Delisle's memories of the year spent with his wife and children in the Holy City. But with its hightened tension, unrelenting check-points, restrictions on Friday for the Arabs and Saturday for the Jews, the inconsistencies for travel, and the inequality manifested between the sectors of the city...well, it seems to me it's anything but holy. So, no passport stamp for me, and cancel my application for a visa. I prefer Paris!
Svetlana Boym's THE FUTURE OF NOSTALGIA makes a universal human emotion accessible. Quirky, superbly composed, and nuanced, Boym shines the light on nSvetlana Boym's THE FUTURE OF NOSTALGIA makes a universal human emotion accessible. Quirky, superbly composed, and nuanced, Boym shines the light on nostalgia arming the reader with both recognition and options to deal with the sometimes debilitating feeling of longing.
Defining, illustrating, and personalizing the perplexing phenomenom in seventeen chapters, Boym has proposed a theory that can be incorporated into many disciplines increasing our level of awareness. Her observations are timely, as globalization challenges many aspects of self and community.
Reading her theory may clarify a facet of our thought life that has been inaccessible before. And that understanding may answer many questions of our age. Her original meditation highlights how our sense of time and space has changed over the past century, and what those changes mean as we assign meaning to our lives and seek contentment.
The author's writing, though packed with knowledge and insight is esoteric and lumbering at times. This is both caution and praise for a particularly sophisticated writer.
"All men, I believe, are under a necessity of paying tribute, at some time or other, to Love, and it is vain to strive to avoid it. I was a philosophe"All men, I believe, are under a necessity of paying tribute, at some time or other, to Love, and it is vain to strive to avoid it. I was a philosopher, yet this tyrant of the mind triumphed over all my wisdom."
These are the words of Peter Abelard, a controversial philosopher of the Middle Ages, whose erotic and passionate love affair with Heloise caused a clash with ecclesiastical authority resulting in the "amputation of the offending member." Their story has thundered down through 900 years of history as a forbidden love story equal to Romeo and Juliet.
In Paris, Canon Fulbert of Notre Dame, engaged the prodigious mind of the logical debator, teacher, and lecturer to educate his niece in all the learnings of men of the age. Heloise was more than competent to absorb Abelard's teachings, and he writes, "the whole world knows that she was a true prophet."
Their intimacy grew in long periods of intellectual stimulation on a daily basis. The relationship matured from teacher/pupil to equal partners in a life-long love affair. The result of their coupling was a son, born before marriage and an aberration to Canon Fulbert. It was at his instigation, fueled by revenge, that "deprived Abelard of his manhood," but not his life.
Unable to escape the scandal created by their affection and fueled by the Canon, Abelard and Heloise committed themselves to monastic lives, separate but productive for any age. Abelard began schools, lectured, became a dramatist and wrote songs. He was "engaged on such occupations when the visitor of the gospels came to find him, and summoned him to the wedding of eternal life." He was 62 years old and had lived apart from Heloise for twenty years. It is through their elegant letter writing that we know of their continued devotion and love for one another.
Heloise wrote scholarly works and became the abbess of Paraclete. It was this abbey that received the body of Abelard to remain under the loving eyes and care of Heloise for the rest of her life. She died at age 63. Though there are conflicting accounts of the burial site, the Pere-Lachaise Cemetery claims they are buried there side by side.
This is a love story of eternal measure in a time when Paris could finally be called a city, with Notre-Dame-de-Paris' increasing influence with a school Abelard was to join, but before the cultural movement known as the Renaissance. Abelard and Heloise were ahead of their time in love, inquiry and truth. FAVORITE. Highest Recommendation!
Freud's observations on "The Disappointments of War" and "Our Attitudes Toward Death" were written in 1915 after six months of fighting the Great War.Freud's observations on "The Disappointments of War" and "Our Attitudes Toward Death" were written in 1915 after six months of fighting the Great War. He was 59 years old and the father of three sons who were combat eligible. The personal aspect of the war may have contributed to his focus in these essays which were published in 1918 with the title, REFLECTIONS ON WAR AND DEATH.
The disappointments of war are profound from the methods and aims of our state to our personal attitudes toward death which are altered during conflicts. With no real information, no perspective, and lacking a premonition of the future, we are unsure of the value of our judgments. Confusion is the resulting feeling, immobility the state of being for noncombatants. War destroys the precious heritage of mankind and debases what is highest in civilized nations. Science loses her impartiality, as advanced weapons are manufactured to eliminate the "inferior" enemy. There is spiritual misery which accompanies all aspects of war.
Disappointment results from the hope that civilized countries would find another way of settling differences and address the longed for termination of hostilities. Disappointment comes from the knowledge that the state does not respect the moral standards it imposes on individuals, that it makes use of every injustice, every act of violence that dishonors the individual, and treats its citizens like a child with excess secrecy and censorship of news and expression of opinions.
Freud's criticism of disappointment during war is that it is based on the destruction of an illusion. Illusions save us pain and enable us to enjoy pleasure, so the death of the illusion that the state is moral and that individuals will not act upon others with brutality is particularly disappointing.
In "Our Attitude Towards Death," Freud states our beliefs toward the termination of life have not been sincere. We eliminate it from our life, cannot imagine our own death, and in our unconscious, we are convinced of our immortality. When we learn of another's death we are deeply affected, as if our expectations have been shattered! We have invented existencies, transfiguration of souls and reincarnations to avoid coming to terms with the end of life.
During war, we tell ourselves that one life cannot be worth more than certain commonly held abstract ideals. We are able to ignore the murder prohibition in order to clear away what's in our path. Our unconscious death wish predominates. We are inclined to kill the stranger just as we are divided towards people we love. This originates in primitive man, and war allows its reappearance.
War will continue, according to Freud, because the conditions of races are so varied, and the repulsions between them so vehement. Highly Recommended!...more
Panin's LECTURES ON RUSSIAN LITERATURE was published in eighteen eighty-nine. In six lectures he characterizes Russian authors as intense, protesting,Panin's LECTURES ON RUSSIAN LITERATURE was published in eighteen eighty-nine. In six lectures he characterizes Russian authors as intense, protesting, and aggressively declaring war on tyranny, the church, and the inequality of class structure. He states that no literary development originated on Russian soil, as every writing form came from the West. He notes that writers under discussion did not produce non-fiction, and with the exception of Tolstoy, did not leave accounts of their lives. Fiction was their genre, and they mastered the form above all other writers of their time.
Progression from Pushkin to Tolstoy mirrors our evolution, according to Panin. In youth, we simply exists without purpose. Becoming aware of ourselves and our surroundings, descriptions rule our life, and in this case, Pushkin's writing. In the second phase, purposefulness becomes paramount, and with Gogol's writing protesting is born. With the maturity of age, war is declared against the inequities of life. In Turgenef's prose, it is declared and maintained throughout his life in his writings. But the ultimate goal of an evolved soul, according to Panin, is love, and Tolstoy represents this transcendence as the final phase of maturity.
These lectures are an overview of the collective spirit of Russia shared with the world through the writings of four authors who continue to have universal appeal. Highly Recommended!...more
What are the prerequsites of a travel book when you're comfortably settled in your favorite chair? Possibly foremost is a vivid sensual account of whaWhat are the prerequsites of a travel book when you're comfortably settled in your favorite chair? Possibly foremost is a vivid sensual account of what the location looks like, its smells, tastes, and how it feels to a visitor. How about the kinds of people who live there? Hardy types, perhaps, with weather marks on their skin, muscles that betray their livelihood, and eyes that reflect their trials.
If this is how you like to travel, then Thoreau's CAPE COD will transport you to the eighteen-fifties coastland with money and time to spare. For Thoreau and a companion walk the thirty miles of beach and inland trails, meet the islanders, hear the history of the clam producing, apple tree growing, and sailor inhabited land.
You are eyewitness to the remains of a shipwreck, observe the dead, and ponder their long journey from the Old World to be pounded to death on the rocks just one mile from their destination. You'll learn what makes a windmill work, and how, from their place of dominance, they are landmarks for the traveler walking the white sands of the beach.
With a spirit of curiosity, humor, and anticipation, Thoreau is the perfect companion to an idealic place that's as near as the written word and your imagination. Highly Recommended! ...more
Christopher Hitchens' WHY ORWELL MATTERS is an aggressive defense against Orwell's detractors and an answer to those who propose his sainthood.
What iChristopher Hitchens' WHY ORWELL MATTERS is an aggressive defense against Orwell's detractors and an answer to those who propose his sainthood.
What is the world like? How could it be better? These questions weighed heavily on Orwell. From his experience as a police officer in colonized Burma, he began to formulate views on imperialism. In 1938 he wrote "Homage to Catalonia" after volunteer service in the Spanish Civil War which illuminated his views on totalitarianism. His life experience in modest jobs in England helped form his humanistic beliefs, as he became a proponent for social democracy. From these experiences, Orwell penned "1984" and "Animal Farm" which sold more copies than any other author in the twentieth century.
Orwell is an example of an evolving mind, with truth seeking of self, politics, and all ideologies. As life experiences and data converged, he became an individual free of one belief system, but an interesting mix of many.
Hitchens identified with Orwell's hatred and aggressive stand against totalitarianism. He too evolved in his beliefs and as an individual could not be catagorized. The result is criticism from many sides and a profound experience of the life of the mind.
THE SWERVE: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt is the story of the discovery of Lucretius' ancient poem On the Nature of Things in 1417THE SWERVE: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt is the story of the discovery of Lucretius' ancient poem On the Nature of Things in 1417. The thousand year old Greek manuscript was written over by Catholic scribes to prevent the humanistic ideas of Epicurus from challenging the Church litergy. It is the story of Poggio Bracciolini, a Vatican scribe relieved of his duties when the corrupt pope he served was sent to prison. Poggio sets off from Rome to remote monasteries to recover ancient Greek and Roman manuscripts buried beneath the monk's writings.
What was so threatening...Lucretius' poem declared that the universe functioned apart from any gods, that the purpose of life was pleasure, virtue and rationality. All matter was made up of atoms, constantly moving not in a straight line, but rather randomly colliding and swerving in new directions. Epicurus' philosophy opposed the religious notion of fear in human life, denied that humans held a special place among creatures, and challenged the belief that determinism was the fate of mankind. Instead, free will characterized man's existence which ended with his death.
Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter of 1813 that the spread of ideas can be compared to the way people light one candle from another. "He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lites his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me."
This enlightened idea evolved from the struggles between religion and reason in the Renaissance and is the birth of the modern world. FAVORITE! Highest recommendation!...more
"All my life, people have commented on my ability to see things holistically: to look at the big picture; to put the puzzle together; to see how thing"All my life, people have commented on my ability to see things holistically: to look at the big picture; to put the puzzle together; to see how things interrelate."
Thus begins LOOK FOR OUR MOTHER AND OUR FATHER, essays by Anonymous on Western science, technology, Christianity, cultural values, market economy, U.S. involvement in war, and our collective wisdom to name a few.
When an author begins with a pronouncement of her unique ability to know the truth of the subjects of her essays, the reader's perceptions are negated. Knowledge comes from an exchange of weighted perceptions from all sides of an issue. In this book, Western culture is the subject of the author's assault, but negative generalizations and the author's certainty of her truths are off-putting for the reader.
Here's my perception: It is unhealthy, unproductive, and intellectually unstimulating to generalize. Examine everything in life on a case by case basis... Not recommended!
Thank you Naday and Goodreads for LOOK FOR OUR MOTHER AND OUR FATHER by Anonymous. I am a lucky winner of this giveaway which promises to be challenging essays about our culture. Sounds like an ode to Socrates...an unexamined life is not worth living. A good use of my mind and time!...more
David McCullough said it took him four years to write THE GREATER JOURNEY: AMERICANS IN PARIS. A departure from in-depth biographies, the 456 page tomDavid McCullough said it took him four years to write THE GREATER JOURNEY: AMERICANS IN PARIS. A departure from in-depth biographies, the 456 page tome tells the human history of Americans fulfilling their dreams in Paris between 1830 and 1900. He cast the story as he wished, adding his own criteria:
Did they go to France in order to learn and improve themselves in their chosen field? Did they keep a diary or write letters? Did the experience change them more than just improving their skills? Did they bring back to America something that mattered?
The cast includes Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. a poet and medical student in persuit of experiences not offered in America such as disection of cadavers and examination of female patients. Elizabeth Blackwell became the first American female physician after studying in Paris. Senator Charles Sumner spoke on the evil of slavery after observing the freedoms of all students in the Sorbonne. He was second only to Lincoln in his passion to free the slaves and almost paid with his life on the Senate floor when attacked by a Southern Senator.
Some of the cast are not as well known such as Elihu Washburne, American Minister to Paris. During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, he was vigilant in aiding Americans, Germans working in France, and British citizens to leave Paris and offered shelter and food to those who stayed. Almost immediately after the five month seige of Paris that ended the war with Germany, the Civil War began. The Paris Commune was the bloodiest in history with an estimated 25,000 Parisians killed by Parisians. At one point the Seine literally ran red with blood.
The hardback is visually stunning with pages of illustrations, an epilogue, source notes, bibliography and index. McCullough has chosen to inform and entertain through the experiences of exceptional Americans who learned in the cultural center of the time and brought home that wealth to America. FAVORITE. Highly recommended!...more
Philosophy promises happiness through contemplation. It is the "stillness of the soul's dialogue with itself". Contemplation is like death in that itPhilosophy promises happiness through contemplation. It is the "stillness of the soul's dialogue with itself". Contemplation is like death in that it offers calm in life's present existence without forethought or regret. Living in the present moment, without the blaming past or the foreboding future is immortality.
Michel de Montaigne (1533-92) adopted Lucretius' argument against immortality: "Imagine honestly how much less bearable and more painful to man would be an everlasting life." After a near death experience while surveying his estate on horseback, Montaigne writes that he felt no fear during or after the incident. The imminence of death was "faced with equanimity".
Frances Bacon (1561-1626) was amassing data in a particularly cold London winter with snow on the ground. His idea was that snow stuffed inside a hen might preserve the flesh as salt does. He stepped out of the carriage to secure the bird and initiate the experiment and became immediately ill with a cold. He died in a few days without knowing if his experiment proved power over nature.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) died of conflicting sources. A cholera epidemic swept Berlin taking 2500 lives with Hegel being a victim. His wife, however, claimed he died from complications due to a stomach ailment acquired on a trip to Paris in 1827. Her insistence may have been due to the stigma surrounding the burial of cholera victims, at night, without ceremony, and in separate graveyards.
Alfred Jules Ayer (1910-89) is known for separating philosophy from life. A famous story tells of Ayer confronting Mike Tyson at a Manhatten party of an underwear designer. Talking to a group of models, his attention was diverted by a woman saying that Tyson was forcing himself on Naomi Campbell. Ayer warned Tyson to take his hands off of Campbell to which Tyson exclaimed, "Do you know who I am? I'm the heavyweight champion of the world." Ayer replied, "And I am the former Wykeham Professor of Logic. We are both eminent in our field. I suggest we talk like rational men." By that time, Campbell had escaped the scene.
Of the 190 philosopher's lives and deaths in Simon Critchley's book, Sigmund Freud's death is particularly memorable. Smoking cigars lead to a recurring cancerous growth in his mouth which produced such a revolting odor that his chow would not come close to him. Ultimately the growth formed a hole in his cheek where flies swarmed. At Freud's memorial service, Ernest Jones said, "If ever man can be said to have conquered death itself, to live on in spite of the King of Terrors, who held no terror for him, that man was Freud".
Critchey's point of writing the book is to show examples of noble and vituous ends as well as the base and comical...but above all, human like all of us. Highly Recommended....more