When Lori was a child, her mother told her bedtime stories about Aunt Dimity. Lori thought she was a fictional character until she received notice thaWhen Lori was a child, her mother told her bedtime stories about Aunt Dimity. Lori thought she was a fictional character until she received notice that she had received an inheritance from Aunt Dimity. Accompanied by the younger lawyer in the firm Willis & Willis, Lori journeys to Aunt Dimity's cottage in the Cotswolds. This is a cute story with a cozy mystery, a light romance, some improbable events, and a friendly ghost (no, not Casper). It was a nice change of pace after reading some heavy books lately. So brew a pot of tea and enjoy a trip to the English countryside....more
George Bernard Shaw took theater patrons in 1923 back to the Fifteenth Century in his drama "Saint Joan". Joan of Arc declared that she heard voices fGeorge Bernard Shaw took theater patrons in 1923 back to the Fifteenth Century in his drama "Saint Joan". Joan of Arc declared that she heard voices from God and the saints directing her to save France in the Hundred Years War, and have the Dauphin crowned as the king of France, Charles VII. The teenage Joan, dressed in men's clothes, led the soldiers in the Siege of Orleans in 1429. She was later convicted as a heretic by the Inquisition, and burned at the stake. After papal investigations she was later acquitted and canonized as a saint.
Shaw wrote the character of Joan as a strong, intelligent woman who spoke very directly to the male soldiers and clergymen in the play. People have wondered for years whether she was a divinely inspired saint, a lunatic, a genius, or an early feminist. Although Shaw portrays some of the members of the Inquisition as corrupt, many were characterized as people who thought they were doing the right thing for their Church. Political and religious organizations feared strong leaders who might question their authority. The feudal system and the Church were both very powerful at that time. Overall, I found "Saint Joan" to be an interesting historical play with a complex main character....more
Journalist Reese Erlich realizes that the roots of the Syrian civil war are found in history. He gives us the highlights of Middle Eastern history strJournalist Reese Erlich realizes that the roots of the Syrian civil war are found in history. He gives us the highlights of Middle Eastern history stretching back to World War I that are influencing Syria today. He also interviews leaders, rebels, university professors, government analysts, and ordinary people. He discusses the influence of other countries, especially Russia, the United States, Iran, Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Erlich was raised in a Jewish home in America, and understands the pain felt by those who suffered in the Holocaust. But he also empathizes with the Palestinians who lost their homes. He shows both sides of the conflict between Israel and Palestine that adds to the instability of the Middle Eastern region.
The appendix of the book has a guide to Syrian political groups supporting and opposing Assad. It also has a section explaining the differences in the religious groups in Syria, and which factions (Alawites, Shias, Christians, and Druze) received better jobs and preferential treatment from Assad. The book ends in 2014 as the ultraconservative Sunni rebels, such as ISIS, were becoming more powerful. Erlich has a useful Syria Timeline (starting in 1914) in the back of the book which he has updated on his website, www.reeseerlich.com .
Syria--and the whole Middle Eastern region--have a complex history. The region has a strategic location from a military standpoint, and has large oil and natural gas reserves. The combination of so many competing factions within Syria, plus foreign intervention, has led to a situation with no easy solutions. Erlich's book is not a chunky history text with a huge amount of detail. It is a good overview of the Syrian situation that would be very useful to someone that wants to supplement the news they receive from newspapers and television. ...more