fascinating, but I really was not in the mood for a lengthy biography. Plus the story of a Nazi leader rising to power and learning how to more effectfascinating, but I really was not in the mood for a lengthy biography. Plus the story of a Nazi leader rising to power and learning how to more effectively hate others is a pretty depressing tale. Maybe I'll come back to this some day when I'm in the mood for this kind of thing. From what I've read, it appears well-researched and the writing style is engaging. I didn't think I'd be that interested in Goebbels early life, but Longerich makes it clear how these events set up the rest of Goebbels life....more
I'm so glad I stumbled across this collection of photographs taken on and around 90/94 in the 1980s. When I first moved to the Chicago area a few yearI'm so glad I stumbled across this collection of photographs taken on and around 90/94 in the 1980s. When I first moved to the Chicago area a few years ago, I lived in the south suburbs, but made frequent trips to the city's north side to visit friends, so I got very familiar with the Dan Ryan, often during rush hour, and these pictures really brought me back to that period. The historical essay by Dominic Pacyga was also really interesting to learn a little about the building of the Expressway and the neighborhoods that surround it....more
A powerful story, but some unfortunate narrative choices really bog this one down, or maybe it's just not great on audio. Historical documents are excA powerful story, but some unfortunate narrative choices really bog this one down, or maybe it's just not great on audio. Historical documents are excerpted too often and in too large of sections, and parts of these speeches (primarily of Martin Luther King, Jr.) are used more than once, really slowing things down and interrupting McKinstry's story, which could really stand on its own.
A close friend of the four girls who were killed in the 1963 16th Street Church bombing, and someone who left the bathroom where they were killed just moments before the explosion occurred, McKinstry earned her place in history as a young teenager, but that's just the beginning of her story as a member of the civil rights and larger human rights movement. She was part of the peaceful protest broken up by dangerously powerful water hoses, angry German shepards, and the arrest of over 2,000 school children. Her neighbor's house was one of the many bombed by angry KKK members during the early days of integration. As you can imagine, her adult life was shadowed by these traumatic events of her teenage years, but eventually she was able to emerge stronger than ever, with a message of peace and reconciliation for those facing injustice.
I think she would be a really neat lady to meet, but this book does not do her story justice....more
What a fascinating story, not just of an early civil rights pioneer, but of how her contribution was minimized because she didn't fit the ideal that mWhat a fascinating story, not just of an early civil rights pioneer, but of how her contribution was minimized because she didn't fit the ideal that movement leaders were looking for. It was Claudette Colvin, not Rosa Parks, who first refused to give up her seat for a white passenger on the Montgomery city buses. Because Colvin was a teenager from a poor working class family, though, she wasn't considered a good role model for the movement. Her action and that of another teenager, however, gave the inspiration to Rosa Parks for her now celebrated action. Even more importantly, Colvin was part of the lawsuit that eventually led to overturning the city's segregated transportation statute. One of those less heard, but not less interesting, stories from history....more
As a child who grew up watching Sesame Street, it's hard not to get emotional about this one. On one level it's a glowing portrait of what happens wheAs a child who grew up watching Sesame Street, it's hard not to get emotional about this one. On one level it's a glowing portrait of what happens when a bunch of really decent people get together to do a nice thing for children. It makes it much easier to understand how Sesame Street has survived and thrived for years, because it's never been about just one person and has always been a team effort, with key players coming and going throughout the years allowing the show to adapt and change with the times.
Just like the show, the book doesn't try to hide the dark parts of the show's history, or more accurately, the dark parts in the stories of the key players involved in the show's success. The book talks about how Mr. Hooper's death was portrayed on the show with poignancy and also details actor Norman Calloway's (David) decline sympathetically, not to mention it's focus on the tremendous and sudden loss of Jim Henson.
On the brighter side, the audiobook is narrated by Caroll Spinney, the voice of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, lending a weird meta-quality to the whole affair. Spinney loses his composure only a couple times when recounting the more emotional moments of the show, notably during the filming of Mr. Hooper's memorial and when talking about his wife of over 35 years. As a bonus to the audiobook, the author interviews Spinney at length about his life and time with Sesame Street.
A detailed and loving, but not overly sentimental tribute to a pioneering children's television show....more
Certainly not the best book on the Kennedy assassination, but it's a decent quick refresher told in an engaging, albeit oversimplified, manner. If youCertainly not the best book on the Kennedy assassination, but it's a decent quick refresher told in an engaging, albeit oversimplified, manner. If you really want to learn more about JFK's assassination there are definitely more enlightening, less dumbed-down books out there. I've never been more interested than the average person in JFK, so I enjoyed this fast read, but haven't taken the time to explore more scholarly tomes on the subject....more
Aslan sets himself a difficult task here trying to balance the historical evidence of the world Jesus of Nazareth lived in with the often contradictorAslan sets himself a difficult task here trying to balance the historical evidence of the world Jesus of Nazareth lived in with the often contradictory portrait painted of the biblical figure Jesus Christ. Yet he manages to do so while remaining respectful of Christian tradition. The picture he paints of the historical Jesus will be shocking to most Christians and yet not in total opposition to Christian beliefs.
The way he pulls this off is distinguishing truth from fact and explaining the role of truth, but certainly not fact, in historical writings of Jesus's time period (such as the Gospels of the New Testament), so that the Bible can be completely true while not always factually accurate. Willingness to go along with this reasoning, which I've certainly not laid out as elegantly as Aslan does, will likely determine whether or not you'll stick with this book .
Once you're willing to entertain this central premise, though, it's fascinating to learn about the world of 1st century Palestine, what a chaotic place it was, and how common Messianic preachers such as Jesus were. I'd heard bits and pieces of this before, but never before had all the pieces of what history can tell us about Jesus put together in such a comprehensive way.
What I also appreciated was that besides just showing the contradictions between the historical evidence and Christian scriptures, Aslan goes on to explain why those differences existed and what truths the writers of the Gospels were trying to make clear when they differed from the historical facts. Instead of dismissing the Gospel writers as liars, he shows how the stories they told emphasized the points in Jesus' story that made it clear to the world why he was different from all the other Messiahs of his day.
I've been reading a lot of Holocaust stories this summer and so it was especially interesting to me to hear how antisemitism grew out of a wish from early Christians to distance themselves from the Jewish religion that Rome tried to obliterate in the years between Jesus's death and the writing of the Gospels. For the sake of historical accuracy, (not to mention all the pain and suffering antisemitism has caused) it's unfortunate the teachings of Jesus have been separated from his Jewish heritage, but it's also clear that Christianity would not have spread around the world the way it has if it hadn't been allowed to break away from Judaism.
I was a little nervous about doing this as an audiobook, and I'm sure reading the print version where I could go back and forth to all the notes would be a very different experience, but Aslan unfolds his evidence in a very accessible voice. While I'm sure I didn't get everything out of this I would have from the print version, I found it very easy to follow the general idea, and couldn't help but become intrigued by the details he laid out. A very thought-provoking book on the historical figure Jesus of Nazareth....more
This slim volume lays out the stories of several of Anne Frank's classmates at the Jewish Lyceum, including the author. Their stories are quite variedThis slim volume lays out the stories of several of Anne Frank's classmates at the Jewish Lyceum, including the author. Their stories are quite varied, from the author who managed to hide in plain sight, to a girl who ended up in the concentration camps before Anne's family and reunited with her briefly at Bergen-Belsen. A good supplement to any unit on the Holocaust and teaching Anne Frank's famous diary, this volume fills in the gap of what happens after a hiding family is discovered, or what happens after the war, when state-sanctioned racism is no longer the law of the land, when so many of your friends and family have been killed, and your home doesn't look like it did before the War. It also brings up the important point that survivors of the Holocaust are growing old and will soon be only read about in history books, so Coster hopes that putting down his story and those of his classmates will prove to the world that this terrible atrocity really did happen, so that it will never happen again....more
This is really more of a 3.5 for me. I'll have to think about this one for awhile because it's one where you have to draw your own conclusions and I'mThis is really more of a 3.5 for me. I'll have to think about this one for awhile because it's one where you have to draw your own conclusions and I'm not 100% sure what mine are yet.
Packer explores the lives of individual Americans across several walks of life and shows how the events of the last 50 years have affected all of them differently. Packer portrays each character's story from their point of view, so we see several events play out with various commentaries, especially the financial downturn of 2008, which all stories build up to and then try, in some cases more successfully than others, to recover from.
Among the stories covered: Dean Price, son of a fire-and-brimstone preacher in North Carolina tobacco country who's determined to help the area recover after the tobacco and textile industries collapse; Tammy Thomas, daughter of a heroin addict who's determined to make something of herself in Youngstown, Ohio, the heart of the rust belt, even as all the area's industry is in the process of leaving; Jeff Connaughton, a Biden Man, who starts in the financial industry, but eventually works his way into the power center of Washington D.C.; Peter Thiel, one of the elite Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and tech investors, a fierce libertarian who sees technology as the means to free ourselves from government overregulation; and the city of Tampa and the numerous lives affected by the aggressive development and subsequent mortgage crisis. In between these main threads are woven the lives of several key figures of the time and ordinary citizens swept up in the currents of change.
While it took me a little time to figure out that Packer was purely storytelling without breakign the fourth wall, I ultimately loved that about this book. The story is complex and any attempts to try to sum it up into one neat little message would do it a disservice. At the same time, the complex story and lack of one clear narrative voice also made it a little dissatisfying as a reader. On the whole, good, but I'm wondering if it could have been better....more
A fascinating look at the most famous brothel in Chicago's history, The Everleigh Club. Abbott tries as best she can to lay out the enigmatic past ofA fascinating look at the most famous brothel in Chicago's history, The Everleigh Club. Abbott tries as best she can to lay out the enigmatic past of the notorious madames, Minna and Ada Everleigh and what led them to create their famous house in the South Loop's Levee District. As the book goes on to discuss the club's heyday, it also explains larger societal forces, including the growing crusade against white slavery, at the time, which led to the club's eventual downfall.
As much as I would be interested in such books, I really haven't read much about Chicago's fascinating, often tawdry past. Maybe now I'll finally get around to it....more