I really enjoyed this book. It includes a little for everyone who enjoys non-fiction. Carr goes into the history of different media and how they changI really enjoyed this book. It includes a little for everyone who enjoys non-fiction. Carr goes into the history of different media and how they changed society, such as the written word, printing press, TV, etc. This sets the stage for how the internet is affecting us.
There is good news and not so good news. It seems that use of the internet is very distracting (as if we needed to be told that.) But it's not just distracting us from the rest of our lives, but distracting us while we are surfing. There are so many links, ads, banners, etc. that we are getting better at multitasking and filtering out what is important. But imagine this - You're sitting in a comfortable chair with a good cup of coffee or tea. It's raining softly, maybe a little chilly, and you're sitting there with a soft afghan and one of your favorite books. You quickly get absorbed into the book. Well apparently frequent surfing on the web can decrease our ability to think deeply about what we are reading.
Carr goes into the science of how our brains work, how memory works, and what it takes to hold knowledge in our working memory. He cites many different studies that show our ability to comprehend information that we read decreases in proportion to the number of links and distractions in our material. But this inability to concentrate carries over to reading off of the internet.
The internet is here to stay and we have to make adjustments. When reading material became easily accessible to the general public, the need to memorize knowledge was lessened. Eventually, educators began requiring less memorization which actually decreased our ability to memorize. Now with information at the touch of our fingertips, we are keeping even less information in our working memories. This is no problem for things that are not required for critical thinking, such as logarithms or functions that a calculator could perform for you. But for example, when evaluating current political events in light of historical events, you need to remember the things you've learned.
It's obviously more complicated that this, so I would recommend reading the book for yourself. It's readable and full of interesting information both historical and scientific, which of course made it perfect for me. ...more
Building the Panama Canal was a feat that had a huge impact on the world by uniting the 2 great oceans. There was so much more to the story than I kneBuilding the Panama Canal was a feat that had a huge impact on the world by uniting the 2 great oceans. There was so much more to the story than I knew including scandal, civil and criminal court trials, conquering disease, and of course a lot of political maneuvering behind the scenes. The story spans 50 years and includes the monumental effort of both France and the US, not to mention countless West Indians who gave their back breaking labor and often their lives. McCullough is a master story teller and this book did not disappoint.
I've read this book twice, because I enjoyed it so much. I would say it is more a history book than a biography although I put it in both categories.I've read this book twice, because I enjoyed it so much. I would say it is more a history book than a biography although I put it in both categories. Victoria Woodhull appears throughout the book, but the main focus is on the suffrage and spiritualism movements. You become acquainted with other personalities that are important in this period in history such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Henry Ward Beecher, Harriot Beecher Stowe, among others. Definitely a good choice if you're interested in this period in American History or women's issues.
Of particular interest to me is the history of women's suffrage in the United States. Although women spoke out for their rights prior to 1848, many mark the Seneca Falls Woman's Convention as the beginning of the fight for women's suffrage. It took 70 long years and only one of the signers of the "Declaration of Sentiments" at the convention lived to see the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.
The people involved in the suffrage movement were often involved in other reform movements such as abolition and temperance, and were very diverse. This created conflicts of both personality and conscience making for a very interesting read. ...more
This is an excellent book. I enjoyed it almost as much as "The Great Influenza" by John Barry. The science is easy to understand and the history is inThis is an excellent book. I enjoyed it almost as much as "The Great Influenza" by John Barry. The science is easy to understand and the history is interesting. I was born after much of this occurred, but I do remember the "March of Dimes" door to door collections and standing in line to get my sugar cube.
If you have an interest in medical history, it is definitely one you would enjoy....more
I really enjoyed reading this book. The only thing that kept it from being a higher rating is the possibility that Truman's quotes weren't accurate. II really enjoyed reading this book. The only thing that kept it from being a higher rating is the possibility that Truman's quotes weren't accurate. In a few reviews I read it was stated that the book did not match the tapes that are being kept at the Truman library. I have not verified this myself, so don't know how true it is. That being said it was a delightful read. It seems very true to the picture I had developed in my mind after reading Truman by David McCullough.
The book consists of transcripts of taped interviews with Harry Truman made over a period of a couple of years in the 1960s with the intention of creating a series of TV episodes about Truman. The author also interviewed people that knew Truman in his childhood and during his time in the White House. The series did not happen and the interviews were then used to produce this book.
Taking in to account the possible inaccuracies of the transcripts and human memory, this is still a worthy read. It helps to complete a picture of a man who's service to his country is more appreciated now than at the time of his service. ...more
Eleanor and Franklin cronicles the evolution of Eleanor Roosevelt from an insecure girl and young woman into a woman who would impact the lives of manEleanor and Franklin cronicles the evolution of Eleanor Roosevelt from an insecure girl and young woman into a woman who would impact the lives of many, many people. When visiting US installations during WWII, more than once she heard soldiers cry out "Hey, there's Eleanor!" She radiated warmth and compassion with a down-to-earth style that made people feel like she belonged to them in some way. In many ways she did belong to them. She lived her life in service of others because she truly cared about the condition of human beings and wanted to make their lives better.
Very few people if any will argue that Eleanor Roosevelt was a remarkable person. However, it is easy to think that remarkable people are born that way. That plucked down in history at any time, they would have lived a similar life of accomplishment. This might be true, but I think often the difficulties in life are what bring out the best qualities in people. Mr. Lash takes the time to show us the circumstances in Eleanor's life that shaped and formed her into the remarkable woman she was.
Lash takes considerable time explaining the dynamics of Eleanor's childhood. Her father Elliot was the brother of president Theodore Roosevelt. Her mother Anne Hall was decended from the prestigious Ludlow and Livingston families. They were the darlings of society when Society was small and intimate. Anne along with her sisters were celebrated beauties and Elliot had a vibrant and out-going personality. Eleanor, a serious child, was not a beauty and was made aware of this by her mother and her aunts. She worshipped her father who was fun-loving and the light of her life. But her childhood was short-lived. Her father was an alcoholic and unstable emotionally. It eventually became necessary for Anne to leave him and take Eleanor and her brother Hall. As difficult as this was, it was compounded when both of her parents died leaving Eleanor and Hall in the custody of Anne's mother. Here she grew up in the shadow of aunts and uncles who had there own problems.
When Eleanor married Franklin, she was an insecure young woman eager to please. Although Franklin loved Eleanor, she always longed for a depth of intimacy that he was unable to meet. Her mother-in-law Sara Delano Roosevelt was very domineering, and although she was always very nice to Eleanor, she was determined to have her way and direct the course of her only son's life if at all possible. She would be a constant presence in their lives, always in the background criticizing and trying to direct until the day she died. Eleanor gradually broke free of this, but it wasn't until they were in the White House that she really started blossoming.
Eleanor and Franklin covers Eleanor's childhood, her life as a young wife and mother, her role as Franklin emerged as a leader in politics, and their life together at the White House. Lash uses Eleanor's correspondence and published writings to show how she dealt with becoming a public personality, raising her children with her mother-in-law constantly in the background, Franklin's infidelity, and finally the difficult years in the White House where she made the "office" of First Lady something it had never been before.
She was criticized as much as she was loved. She often felt that it was her duty to tell Franklin things that others around him would not say, in a way to be his conscience. Many thought she was butting in where she didn't belong. By the time Franklin was president, they no longer had the traditional marriage. She said to intimate friends that she was no longer in love with him, but she served him in love. It was a role that many women couldn't have tolerated. There were other women in his life that gave him space to relax and laugh. Eleanor couldn't give him that, but she gave what she could, a view to the world that he didn't have. She was an advocate for women, African-Americans, youth, soldiers, anyone who asked. There were times when she was taken advantage of. She knew this, but had to help if she could.
The book is dense. It is filled with details but is very readable. Expect to give it some time. It is a must read if you want to understand Eleanor Roosevelt, but also gives you a different perspective of FDR's presidency. Eleanor and Franklin ends with Franklin's death in the spring of 1945. Mr. Lash has written a sequel Eleanor: The Years Alone. I haven't read it yet, but you can be sure I will. ...more