The problem with this book is not the author's fault, but the fault of the Cathaginians who seemed to have only three names among their entire populatThe problem with this book is not the author's fault, but the fault of the Cathaginians who seemed to have only three names among their entire population. Consequently, you're never really sure who is being talked about. I really liked the first quarter and the last quarter of this, the middle turns into just battle after battle after battle, which I just tune out. It was also nice to get a non-Greco-Roman-centric view of the ancient world....more
In short (and simply put) there are many people who need to read this book and then they might not be so dumb.
I checked this book out from the libraryIn short (and simply put) there are many people who need to read this book and then they might not be so dumb.
I checked this book out from the library after hearing an interview with authors on my local NPR station. After having watched all of the Canadian show Little Mosque, I decided I need to learn as much about Islam as I need to learn about my own religion, because they really aren't all that dissimilar in their truest forms. This was a good little primer, and it would be great to have a book like this for other religions, especially for the ones that aren't the "big three".
The one glaring omission in the book is that there is nothing in it for the Muslim teen who is gay. I think the authors should consider a discussion about this for subsequent editions of this book....more
The first three parts of the book were very interesting and I especially enjoyed learning about the prophets as actual people, as well as all the variThe first three parts of the book were very interesting and I especially enjoyed learning about the prophets as actual people, as well as all the variety of Jewish sects that sprung up in antiquity. Where the book runs out of steam starts in the fourth part, when he starts to get bogged down by continuous listings of dates and cities of expulsions and pogroms. We get it, already! Listing dates and locations doesn't make for an interesting book. He also gets bogged down with listing all these people we are supposed to know who were Jews, or Jews who weren't "Jews". These lists get extremely tiresome especially when there are things that are left out. Johnson also seems to loose focus as the book goes on jumping from topic to topic. It would seriously benefit from being broken into chapters within the different parts, then there wouldn't be these strained connections between paragraphs to bring us to new topics.
There is no mention of the historical placement of the story of Esther (perhaps there is no historical basis for it? I don't know, because it's not discussed). While Maimonides is well covered, I don't remember much discussed about Rashi (I could be mistaken, though). When discussed, Kabbalah seems to elicit a negative bias from the author. The Pittsburgh Platform and t'reifah banquet get all of a paragraph, even though they were defining moments in American Judaism and nothing is discussed about the Conservative Movement in America. Very little is revealed about jewish life under Islamic control, aside from listings of anti-Semitic laws, expulsions and killings. The book is very Euro-centric, so very little is discussed about the history of Jews in Africa, India, China, and Latin America (again, aside from expulsions and killings and airlifts to bring them to Israel).
So, it starts out great and interesting, but looses steam and focus and clarity....more
This book is INVALUABLE for any small business owner. I have worked in several small businesses and have seen the pitfalls described in this book at eThis book is INVALUABLE for any small business owner. I have worked in several small businesses and have seen the pitfalls described in this book at everyone. I have even worked at a well-known large chain, and the same things happened there too. Just because a business is large and successful doesn't mean it knows what it's doing. So this book gets four stars for content alone.
It gets zero stars on being well-written. Good lord, this guy needed an editor. Every statement you say is not so important it needs its own paragraph! The book reads as basically him having transcribed one of his seminars, it works when spoken but really doesn't read well. There is LOTS of repetition and strings of metaphors just drive home his point. The "narrative" part of the book, in which he creates this made up conversation with a business woman is seriously laughable. The book could have been an awesome 100 page handbook if that stupid narrative had been cut.
But the poor writing aside, the information behind it is exactly what business owners and aspiring business owners need to learn, because it's the only way to be successful....more
If the calculated and systematic rape of a culture and outrageously illegal acts of imperialism can be called entertaining, Sarah Vowell makes it so.If the calculated and systematic rape of a culture and outrageously illegal acts of imperialism can be called entertaining, Sarah Vowell makes it so. She succeeds in telling the story of this difficult timeline of events with touches of humor without belittling the severity of the events themselves, because if you can't laugh at what happened in Hawai'i you would ball your eyes out. As the story culminates in the coup that overthrows the monarchy, Vowell drops her light-hearted tone and the narrative speeds by, giving us a taste of just how blindingly fast these bigoted traitors acted. It was very, very effective and affecting.
Some critiques... the book needed chapters. It was unrelenting reading without chapter breaks (perhaps this, too, was a device to illustrate the unstoppable juggernaut of greedy American imperialism). Also helpful would have been a Hawai'ian royal family tree, as well as some pictures of who these people were. Unfortunately, the Hawai'ian names don't trip off my haole tongue easily, and just blur into long strains that end up all looking the same. Having a visual aid to attach to the name would help keep the names straight....more
The most frustrating part of this book is Kurlansky waits until chapter eighteen before EVER giving us ANY explanation of what salt is. That should haThe most frustrating part of this book is Kurlansky waits until chapter eighteen before EVER giving us ANY explanation of what salt is. That should have been chapter one!! You need to give us some frame of reference. He says the Egyptians used only this type of salt for this specific purpose, but NEVER explained what the salt WAS. He just tells us it's natron, like we're supposed to already know what the heck natron is! Maybe people do already, but you can't just assume we all do. I don't. He more than once mentions names of people, evidently of some historical significance, by referring to them by last name only, like we're supposed to already know who this person is, like he's Mozart or something.
This book is about 200 pages too long. It started out interesting, but then chapter after chapter was the same thing said over and over and over again. Basically, not much has changed about salt, it's harvesting, it's uses, yadda yadda yadda since the ancient Chinese and Roman Empires, and every culture the world over uses salt for the same things (fish and pig) and harvested it the same way. It was just catalogue after catalogue of Kurlansky showing how much researched. And by the time you slog through every culture's relationship with salt (which are all the same), you're too bored out of your mind to care about the rest of the stuff. Too many pages are devoted to different types of fish. More about fish is explained in the first half of this book than the subject of the book. I really don't care about the migration and schooling habits of herring. If I want to read about fish, I'll read his book, Cod. But after this, I returned Cod back to the library unread, because I just wasn't interested in reading more from this guy....more
I thought this book started out interesting enough, however halfway through, the author started jumping around in time. It got very confusing and he lI thought this book started out interesting enough, however halfway through, the author started jumping around in time. It got very confusing and he lost me. I also got the impression that many of his conclusions were not based entirely on scholarly research and more just a conclusion he felt fit. But I don't know if that is the case....more