An interesting read about various aspects of Florida when it was a United States territory and the circumstances that led to its eventual statehood. WAn interesting read about various aspects of Florida when it was a United States territory and the circumstances that led to its eventual statehood. What I found most interesting was the transitory period as Florida passed from Spanish hands to American. I never really thought much about the paperwork behind it all. And the Spanish land grants! I knew what they were, and why, and what they represented, but had my eyes opened after reading about the tedious process with the surveys and the legal battles that ensued. What a nightmare. But an interesting nightmare!
What I didn't enjoy about this book was the author's perspective of the Native Americans. There was some latent prejudice peeping through. He referred to Osceola as a half-breed. He made it sound as if the native population was ungrateful and unjustifiably indignant about their treatment. All that left a bit of a bad taste and made me wonder about the author's comments about other historical figures.
Still a book worth reading for its comprehensive view of circumstances in Florida during this in-between period. ...more
I was really hoping this would be a piece written about The Day of the Theses, but it's not. I even read the other reviews that said it wasn't about tI was really hoping this would be a piece written about The Day of the Theses, but it's not. I even read the other reviews that said it wasn't about the day! But I forged ahead anyways, excited about this Lutheran anniversary. He's my man! He's the guy who made a list of complaints (I love lists!) and angrily nailed it on the door of his dumbass neighbors. And got people talking about it! And CHANGED how people interacted with God. And reinvigorated their relationship with God.
This is a loose collection of essays and I'm still not entirely sure if there was a central theme. I think I'm going back to my dusty shelves and re-reading "Here I Stand."...more
Achille Murat, nephew of Napolean Bonaparte and son of Joachim Murat (King of Naples), had an interesting life. Pampered since birth, his life took aAchille Murat, nephew of Napolean Bonaparte and son of Joachim Murat (King of Naples), had an interesting life. Pampered since birth, his life took a wild turn after his father was deposed and executed and after his uncle was exiled to St. Helena. Achille and his mother and siblings were exiled to Vienna and he decided to try to make a new life for himself in the still very young United States. He wound up in St. Augustine, FL, which is why my interest was piqued. For all he admired the freedom and liberty and democracy of the United States, he still owned slaves. There's this part in the book that describes his plantation (not too far from my house) where he made a fairly weak attempt at agriculture. He had a young teenage slave, Mary, who became pregnant with Achille's child.
"Became pregnant." That such a pretty phrase for rape, isn't it?
Anyways, as they're about 10 miles from anything, Achille sends Mary into town about a month before it comes time for her to give birth. Earlier this year, I read an excellent book about the King's Road, which connected my part of town to the city of St. Augustine, so I had a pretty good idea about how Mary got to town. I'm guessing she didn't have a carriage. I doubt he lent her a horse. So I'm picturing this pregnant slave girl, walking along the shell roadway for 10 miles, with the solemn live oaks on either side and the spanish moss blowing in the breeze. And the author says that a priest from the local Catholic diocese met Mary and endeavored to convert her to the Catholic faith. And, incidentally, the priest had a prior quarrel with Achille, so he told Mary that Achille planned to sell both her and her baby in attempts to turn Mary against Achille. And according to the author, Mary was so terrified that she strangled her baby as soon it was born and herself died of grief shortly thereafter.
And the book goes on to tell about Achille becoming friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson, and marrying the great grand-niece of George Washington, and saving his brother from a dangerous situation, and being a sort of Alex de Tocqueville with his literary snapshots, and becoming the mayor of Tallahassee and blah blah blah this fine life that he went on to have, building his name as a survivor and becoming an American and liberty! And freedom!
There's no entry for Mary in the index.
I've finally finished this. I get about five pages done each night before it puts me to sleep, thinking fretful thoughts. In short, Achille Murat is someone I'm glad I've never met. From what I can tell, his entire life was striving to regain a fortune. He wasn't particularly smart or shrewd or wise. He wasted a lot of time and a lot of resources and a lot of other people's money. In his lifetime he owned several hundred slaves. And he didn't like to bathe.
This is the most fabulous series in the entire world. I *adore* Mendoza. This book beautifully sets up the premise for all the Company books that follThis is the most fabulous series in the entire world. I *adore* Mendoza. This book beautifully sets up the premise for all the Company books that follow.
That said, there's a lot of melodrama in this first book. If folks don't like this one, I usually urge them to try the second one, "Sky Coyote" anyways because each book has it's own tone. I'd hate for folks to be turned off from the entire series just because they didn't like the tone of the first book.
ETA: I just my SIGNED 1ST EDITION copy in the mail last night. I am the happiest person on the face of the earth.
ETA: 2016 reread: My litmus test for a book I truly love is how it makes me feel. Kage Baker was one of the rare authors who could combine not just plot and characters, but emotion as well. You can feel the author in the background the entire time. This story was something she experienced in her own life, and was able to translate it into fiction. No, I'm not saying she was a cyborg or she lived through the Spanish Inquisition, but there was a parallel experience she was able to use. And it was something she was able to make come alive through Mendoza. I carry Mendoza with me probably more than I realize. This first book in the series sets the tone for all the rest because here is where we discover Mendoza's life-defining moments. Surprisingly, it wasn't the Spanish Inquisition. Surprisingly, it wasn't her rescue from the dungeons or the surgeries that made her immortal. Surprisingly, it wasn't her education or training. Mendoza is who she is because she loved a boy and it ended badly. One must remember that this entire book is seen through Mendoza's eyes, post-Nicholas. She even interrupts her own narration with little snippets of, what is for the reader, foreshadowing, but for her, it's a bitter self-recrimination.
I think this paragraph summarizes the entire book: "Now that I come to write of what we did together, I have a peculiar reluctance to put pen to paper. Yes, this is definitely pain I feel. There is a locked door, you see, hinges red as blood with rust: it screams upon being opened and tries to close again, but through its narrow space I see the color green."
The reader can feel her reluctance in sharing her story on every page. Yet she's compelled to share it because she knows that the reader will never understand the rest of the series without it. She relives this glorious and horrible time as it is her duty to record the events that lead up to the series' culmination. She's doing it for us.
And it's a hard mix - Mendoza's subtle despair combined with this grand story arc. I mean, my god, immortal cyborgs! Living amongst us and quietly saving the best of our civilizations from our own destruction. It's a fascinating concept and the reader cannot look away. And that is the lovely twist - if you want to know more, you have to suffer along with Mendoza....more
This is the history of Flagler County told in the context of Old King's Road. Extremely informative and of interest to local residents or those intrigThis is the history of Flagler County told in the context of Old King's Road. Extremely informative and of interest to local residents or those intrigued by early transportation. Old Kings Road was the primary means of land transportation in northeast Florida. Dixie Highway, US Highway 1, Interstate 95, and even Henry Flagler's railroad are all offspring of Old King's Road.
The importance of this book lies in its careful collection of research of a quickly-fading causeway. Much of the original road has either been paved over and absorbed into other roads, or grown over and essentially lost and forgotten, or worse - recklessly destroyed by new housing developments. This book serves as a reminder that there is a treasure that we are quickly losing and steps ought to be taken to preserve what is left before it is too late.
What would improve the book: clearer maps, more editing, consistent citation style, and an index....more
At first I was a little put off by how there were only two or three pages for each location, but the more I went through the book, the more I appreciaAt first I was a little put off by how there were only two or three pages for each location, but the more I went through the book, the more I appreciated it. This allowed the author to truly capture the myriad expressions of Florida. Florida is big. There isn't just one style -- there are many. This book is a little bit of an impressionistic painting where you have little blobs of each different type of style, but when you look back and see it as a whole, you actually get a clearer picture. The scope scans from the majesty of Mar-a-Lago to the simplicity of some of the Cracker cabins. It encompasses the lush, verdant foliage from the southern end, the sandy wind-shorn landscape of the beaches, up to the dusty Spanish moss and oak at the northern end. This book truly captures Florida at all its angles. ...more
I've always been drawn to WPA era architecture. I don't know if it's the predominantly Art Deco lines or all that glorious concrete, or what, but I enI've always been drawn to WPA era architecture. I don't know if it's the predominantly Art Deco lines or all that glorious concrete, or what, but I enjoy it. This reprinted edition is an affordable bit of utter loveliness -- not just photographs and a description, but floor plans, too! If you want the full glory, go to your local library and ask them to inter-library loan the original edition. One whiff of that paper, and you'll thank me. ...more
I've gotten interested in genealogy, and my maternal grandmother's side of the family was Prussian. (FYI: total nightmare trying to find genealogy recI've gotten interested in genealogy, and my maternal grandmother's side of the family was Prussian. (FYI: total nightmare trying to find genealogy records for countries that no longer exist or were absorbed by other countries.) Prussia started out as simply a geographic designation on a map to me. Then one day I called my grandmother up to help me with my research and I asked her what Prussian signified - was it German? Was it Polish? What exactly was it? She answered: "Eh. It is what it is. Prussia is...... Prussia was undefinable." And that's how Prussia became a mystery to me that I wanted to solve. This book helped me understand it a little bit better. ...more