A young self-absorbed woman voluntarily quits her London job with the purpose of finding herself. She finds herself at loose ends with the loss of her daily work routine supplanted by her new daily routine of sitting at a computer looking for work online. The comedy and asides come from her realizations of a changed life. This is NOT a story about the struggles and self-sacrifice from the book's heroine, as she happens to live with a brain surgeon intern, so money is not an issue. Security is not an issue. It's just a search for a new way of life, preferably one with passion.
Verdict: For me, I had difficulty with the basic premise. There aren't any real obstacles or issues or concerns. She won't starve to death. She won't become homeless. She just wants to do what she wants to do. Hmmmm. No problem with that, you only get one life so do what makes you happy, if you have that privilege (which she has). But there's really no there, there. What the protagonist views as 'problems', the rest of us wouldn't give a second thought.
However, I very much enjoyed the narration by Emily Bruni, which was marvelous. She reads, but reacts. The sentences are clearly delivered and I almost came to like Claire Flannery and her half-hearted attempts at confidence building. Almost.
...clusters of supporters lining my route to cheer me on my way
Book Season = Summer (the season of me, myself, and I)
This was a romp! Highwaymen, West Indies intrigue, public hangings, and all the Hogarthian lessons from the Georgian era, before the Industrial RevoluThis was a romp! Highwaymen, West Indies intrigue, public hangings, and all the Hogarthian lessons from the Georgian era, before the Industrial Revolution took hold. I hadn't planned to finish this so quickly, so my book pipeline is a bit skewed now, but it was difficult to stop, as I wanted to know what happened in each character's life.
Gentleman Harry Simms is quite the bad boy, one who has killed and robbed and raped. It appears that he is going to be the 'rake' of the title, but no, that honour goes to Jem, a young gent from the country who has inherited his father's estate but is led astray by his uncle and squanders it away on drink and booze and ill-gotten means. Harry and Jem are business partners of sorts and we learn more about them as they act as bystanders during a public execution where the galleys throng with rich and poor alike who enjoy the "show" of hanging.
"I hate society with its pernickety manners, holding up a tea-cup in thumb and first finger and mumbling your words as if you chewed them! I always want to hit those damned perfumed mollies."
They meet a woman from the West Indies and her protective bodyguard. Who is she? Why is she looking for Harry Simms? Jem is attracted to her, but he also needs money and signs an agreement to marry a wealthy teenager, because her mother can only get a percentage of her daughter's money if the daughter gets married. Jem becomes torn between his young fiance and his voluptuous plantation owner. Who will he choose? Does he even have a choice to make? Behind it all, Gentleman Harry lurks, always intent on finding a coach to rob and a pub to drink down. Will Jem return to the innocence of his youth? Will Harry escape the hangman's noose? Page-turner.
I've never been enthralled with the George I - George II period of England, but Philip Lindsay really pours on the atmosphere. He actually wrote this for Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and it seems like something the younger Fairbanks would have starred in (would have made a fine Jem). My uncle in Melbourne had a whole bookshelf lined with Lindsay's works as he really enjoyed his historical adventure pieces. Yet I never looked for any of the author's books until this one caught my eye at a library giveaway event. Lucky me.
The four stars are for the atmosphere and the roguish appeal of the story and characters. It's not Dickens or great literature by any means, but it's not supposed to be. In reading it, I got the impression that Lindsay just liked to tell a good story, and it worked for me. It was a perfect summer book, sitting by a desert pool and reading without having to tax any portion of my brain.
Perhaps it was the right book for the right time in my life. But I found this tome of Mr. Connors to be the equivalent of having a locomotive-purring Perhaps it was the right book for the right time in my life. But I found this tome of Mr. Connors to be the equivalent of having a locomotive-purring feline by my side...stress alleviation. His reflections were not necessarily meditative, certainly I didn't find them to be so. Instead, they were reflections on what was and what can never be again. Interwoven with his descriptions of his corporate life, his wife, and his upbringing, I found his trail walks with doggy Alice to be relaxing, just as I found his history lessons on American forestry misusage to be enlightening.
The time has come for the forest to burn.
If Oscar Wilde was right, and all men kill the things they love, we continue to kill the environment that gave us birth. Like solar power for its 'clean' energy? Then consider how many trees must be eliminated for a solar farm to be productive. Like to visit national parks? Then consider the destruction caused to allow human parasites tourists to visit. The author doesn't come out and say what I just said, but his emotions are there. That's why the purring was loud, not soft.
Ironically, the worst catastrophe Mr. Connors experienced was not in the forest, but in New York City during September 11, 2001. His segway into that catastrophe was not expected and provided a quick jolt to his New Mexico solitude. Because all men kill the things they love. Our wolves. Our prairies. Our souls.
I will never man a lookout tower overlooking millions of acres of old-growth conifers. I will never put myself in the path of a bear. I will never hike through snow with a dog named Alice. The urban child am I. But thanks to this book, I can believe I can be there, which, after all, is what books are there to do.
As Christopher Matthew once wrote: Oh, there's such a lot of things I wish I'd had the time to do - With as little hope of doing them as fly to Timbuktu!
Book Season = Summer (think like a mountain) ...more
The first four women killed had been elderly, frugal, tidy, and quiet. They lived their lives under the radar, did their work, paid their taxes. TheyThe first four women killed had been elderly, frugal, tidy, and quiet. They lived their lives under the radar, did their work, paid their taxes. They were all found similarly strangled, with a special knot connecting each murder. There was no sign of forced entry, which meant every victim had willingly let their murderer into their little apartments. By the time the police began to realize a serial killer was responsible, the pattern changed and a series of young women were killed, in the same manner.
From 1962-1964, the city of Boston was terrorized by a silent killer who was able to commit murder with no trace. The last victims met with increasingly violent ends, with multiple stabbings accompanying the initial strangulations. Who was this monster?
He turned out to be Albert DeSalvo, a handyman who had already been arrested previously for breaking and entering and for being both the "Green Man" and the "Measuring Man". In these cases, he had used a ruse to tell women they were going to be models and needed to be "measured". The ease with which he was able to talk his way into the lives of total strangers made him feel emboldened to do more.
When the cops finally snagged him, DeSalvo's excuse for the murders was that he was over-sexed and his wife wasn't giving him enough. He then described each murder, in detail, down to where certain items were in each victim's apartment. The Boston Strangler was never convicted for the murders, but he ended up in the mental ward anyway. After he escaped from the nut house, he was re-captured and transferred to a maximum security prison. In 1973, he was found stabbed to death in that facility.
True crime books are always hard for me to read, because quite honestly, they give me the jitters. However, this book was engrossing. The first third introduces the reader to each victim and how the people of Boston started to change their lifestyles to escape the hidden killer. Yet, women continued to open their doors to the Strangler. The next third describes the hunt for suspects, and each of those suspects (as nutty as DeSalvo) are convincingly portrayed as the probable killer. The last third is focused on DeSalvo, how he was caught, his confessions, and his reasoning.
There is no sensationalism in this book. It is a straightforward narrative that kept me glued to the pages and when I didn't want to be glued to the pages. Let's just say I didn't sleep very well as I was reading this. It was the randomness of the horror that made it difficult to find DeSalvo. For he never planned any of the murders. He simply drove to a location and when he "felt it", he would find an apartment building and knock on doors until someone let him inside. It was that easy.
Incredulously, DeSalvo was considered innocent by many. It wasn't until 2013 that the police were able to verify with certainty that Albert DeSalvo was indeed the Boston Strangler, using DNA analysis.
Terrifying story told with a workmanlike style. In the back of my mind, I could only think of the New England gothic hauntings, going back to the Salem witches. Wooh.
Mermaids and regrets make for absorbing reading. This TOR short story has that New England-ish gothic scent to it, so I was hooked fairly quickly. DoMermaids and regrets make for absorbing reading. This TOR short story has that New England-ish gothic scent to it, so I was hooked fairly quickly. Do we really know all that lurks beneath the seas? I think not. Live your life without regrets.
Giovanni Battista Piranesi's reputation was that of a master etcher, but his love of ancient architecture influenced his life's work. In this large boGiovanni Battista Piranesi's reputation was that of a master etcher, but his love of ancient architecture influenced his life's work. In this large book, we get the famous Piranesi artwork but also the modern photographs of the same sites taken from the same perspective. The results are wonderful.
Herschel Levit was a New York printmaker, who spent his career working as a teacher at the Pratt Institute. This idea, to stand in the same place that Piranesi stood more than 200 years earlier in order to capture the same view that Piranesi drew, is engrossing. The resulting photographs capture the additional excavations that took place after Piranesi's death, so that hidden stairs and full columns are now apparent. Levit took these pictures in the 1970s, so one also gets another historical view, which is rather cool.
Recommended for any student of architecture or lovers of etching artwork or of ancient civilization. I learned quite a bit (the notes on the full length plates are lengthy) and am now looking up the works of Levit himself.
These were the shark attacks which inspired JAWS. Taking place in 1916, the sudden violence shocked the East Coast of America especially since some ofThese were the shark attacks which inspired JAWS. Taking place in 1916, the sudden violence shocked the East Coast of America especially since some of the victims were killed in a creek. A creek!
It was still a time of innocence. Men wore bathing suits which covered the chest while women had to adhere to beach regulations requiring modesty and, preferably, full-length bathing outfits. But times were a-changing, because for the first time in its young history, the United States had its first generation of the leisure class. These were the young men and women who dared to challenge the Victorian and Edwardian ideals while taking to actual ocean swimming, something which had never really been done before. Instead of just going to the shore and dipping their toes in the water, the young were heading straight out to sea in the belief that nothing was out there to...eat them.
Railroads discharged thousands of city denizens, who were desperate for cooling breezes in the says before air conditioning. In fact, 1916 was the pinnacle of American passenger railroading. More Americans rode the railroad than they ever had before, or ever would again. It was like leading the masses to the slaughter who, again, had no idea the ocean was so dangerous. More worrisome were the German U-Boats which patrolled the East Coast of the States, even though the Yanks were not at war yet. A time of innocence was to come to a startling end.
If we still barely know little of the Great White Shark almost a century later, you can imagine the lack of knowledge of sharks back then. Many 'experts' proclaimed sharks to be benevolent, marine specimens who would never dare hurt a human. The first generation-to-not-fear-the-sea bought it all up. But not for long.
To this day, no one knows for sure why the shark deviated from its normal ocean highway. Was it ill? Was it a wacko? Or did it just crave human flesh? The first victim was killed in just 3 1/2 feet of water. The beaches didn't close, though, because the hotels didn't want to lose the summer throngs. The business of America is business. The next victim, right up the way from the first, finally brought a bit of "uh-oh". But the next victims, well, who would have thought a demented shark would leave the ocean to look for its next snack?
The layout of this book is like a movie. We get the historical background first, then each victim has a bio. Interspersed with its own chapters is the star, the SHARK. The author explains what is now known about the Great White and some of the various attacks in history. The shark's viewpoint is described and some of the information is simply fascinating. There are also 'teasers' as in one chapter where we get the full description of what we assume will be two more victims, but who come out alive. Whew. I had to read the text while peeking through my fingers.
Was this the shark that feasted off the Jersey Shore and in Matawan Creek? We'll never know for sure. In the aftermath of the attacks, many sharks were killed, a slaughter of proportions that would make one sick, now. Although the attacks DID stop, was it because the guilty shark left or was it one of the many killed?
This book probably affected me more than the average reader, because I grew up with a healthy respect for Mr. and Mrs. Shark. While most children are warned against rabid dogs or hungry insects, I and my friends in Australia learned, while very young, to be mindful of what lurked in the ocean. It didn't really sink in until the day a surfer came out of the water bleeding. I had to hold the tin can that captured his blood (I was under the mistaken belief that he would need his blood back at some point). He hadn't been bitten, but deeply scarred by a young white with its razor-sharp skin. Eventually, my parents restricted me to skimboarding instead of surfing, in the belief that sharks wouldn't get that close to shore (wrong). When we moved to the States, we chose to live in that other dining room for Great Whites, the Bay Area of California. And people wonder why I survey salt-water pools before I carefully jump in, eyes wide open.
One more thing. Never, ever swim with a dog. Pure shark bait.
Book Season = Summer (safety is never really at hand)
I like wine. Even though I live in an urban area, residents fill their front and back yards with vines of grapes, a Dionysus on every hilly corner lotI like wine. Even though I live in an urban area, residents fill their front and back yards with vines of grapes, a Dionysus on every hilly corner lot. This is California.
While the Napa wine culture is now famous, it wasn't always so. In the 19th century, there were many small immigrant wineries, mostly in the central spot of the state. Prohibition brought most of those wineries to an end, but the few who stuck it out were able to build on their grandparents' ventures, resulting in California becoming a primary player in the global wine scene.
This lovely Sunset book was published in the 1970s, when Cali wines were just becoming famous and land was still fairly undeveloped. I enjoy looking at these time capsule publications where life and work were still simple and California was still golden. The best part of the book is the setup, as each wine region of the state gets its own chapter, so the reader can view the differences in wines based on location and heat. The end of the book has a much needed dictionary for California wines with explanations of each grape and best use.
Wine does not have to be a hobby. It can be nothing more than an unaffected mealtime bevrage.
I like wine.
Book Season = Summer (when the tourists clog the lanes)
Comings and goings are always very special moments. They set the merry-go-round of recollections in motion, opening doors to yesterday, today, and tom Comings and goings are always very special moments. They set the merry-go-round of recollections in motion, opening doors to yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
That's a nice way to start a memoir. It's a warm entry to the reader to learn about someone else, even if the reader really doesn't know much about that person. Such a reader I be. Even though I would qualify myself as a cinema buff, the only Sophia Loren movies I have seen (all in big screen revival houses) are El Cid, The Pride And The Passion, and Houseboat.
Food Makes people happy, it takes you back home, it says so many things that words can't say.
Food and the joy of eating act as the central motif of this bio, with Loren using the sounds ("pippiare") and scents of good cooking to explain her memories to the rest of us. Her darkest days were in WWII Italy, where food and trust were scarce, but the simple things in life made her happy. From there, it's a journey toward the stars, as in the silver screen. Nothing strenuous, no holding-a-grudge nastiness, just a basic review of life. I believe this is her second autobiography, so her children get a big focus toward the end of the book.
...at the end of the day, real success is often hidden in the domestic secret of simplicity.
Yes, it is.
I liked the book. No heavy lifting to be sure but still a decent overview. If you are looking for controversy, there is none to be found. She agonizes for a few pages over her affair with Cary Grant, but then moves on, and when she is a passenger in a car that kills a person riding a Vespa, there is less than one paragraph about the incident. Instead, food resonates. As someone who was also born in Napoli, I understood her life outlook. When Mount Vesuvius looms over you each day, you have a sense of determination to enjoy the sunny days.
Note: I have never read any of her recipe books, but ended up cooking a batch of meat sauce with garlic and onions, something I have not done in quite a while. This book will make you hungry.
Carol White had a brief star rise during the 1960s British cinema boom, but then she found drugs and a lifestyle that seemed to be a constant whirlpooCarol White had a brief star rise during the 1960s British cinema boom, but then she found drugs and a lifestyle that seemed to be a constant whirlpool of drama. The actress best known for Poor Cow (which I have yet to see) wrote this tell-all memoir after her career was kaput and nine years later she was dead.
This is one of those ghost-written exercises that make for good reading on the morning train ride. She describes her rise during the kitchen-sink film era, followed rapidly by her relationships with Oliver Reed, Richard Burton, and Frank Sinatra. She definitely got around. She drank a lot and did enough drugs to make her unemployable. Basically, it's the type of read that says...well, if you live fast, you won't live very long.
In three years, I had earned nearly one million dollars, money that was running through my hands like water.
Book Season = Summer (when money apparently grows on trees) ...more
I sure do have a bunch of books about Frank Sinatra. It's not as though I grew up having this as a defined goal in life. Inevitably, I would be in a uI sure do have a bunch of books about Frank Sinatra. It's not as though I grew up having this as a defined goal in life. Inevitably, I would be in a used bookshop somewhere and another Sinatra volume would go home with me. That's how this one hitched a ride home and it's been with me for a while. Published in 1976, when The Man was still very much alive, it aims to be one of those tell-all biographies that ends up being a bit sensationalistic (is that even a real word). Perfect book for summer pool parties or languid days at the beach.
Here's Sinatra, for real, baby! Can you dig it?
Did people talk like that in the 1970s? It seems more in tune with the Swinging Sixties. Anyway, the author is described as a top investigative reporter who has "dug deep" into Frank's life to get at the truth. Of course, with Frankie, one will never really know the full truth, but that's why this mass market puppy is soooo perfect for summer. Read about the Frankster, sip a Mint Julep, put your toes in the water, sigh, then read some more about Mr. S.
A two-fisted, four-letter man in expensive clothes.
For any Sinatra fans, this can be in the collection on the 'for realsies?' side.
Book Season = Summer (don't splash me, baby)...more
If there is any bird that resembles the direct lineage to dinosaurs, it must be the Roadrunner. A fearsome predator (it eats just about anything) withIf there is any bird that resembles the direct lineage to dinosaurs, it must be the Roadrunner. A fearsome predator (it eats just about anything) with the only x-shaped toe pattern in North America, it is a truly unique bird. I mean, look at this one:
It just looks like a velociraptor. The Roadrunner is not a cartoon, as most non-Westerners seem to believe. It is a real species, a very intelligent one, and a very fierce one which kills its prey by slamming it against the ground until dead. In particular, this bird has a passion for rattlesnakes, which is why it is so revered in California.
These be dinosaur feet!
This slim volume is meant for folks who want to walk the desert and learn about this magnificent bird while holding the book in one hand. The facts come at you left and right, until you simply gush with admiration for this wicked fast force of nature. Known locally as "Retirement Birds", they love to hang around the senior citizen communities where they have shelter and peace and quiet along with friendly handouts.
This is a baby Roadrunner!
As usual, James W. Cornett does an airtight job of gathering the pertinent data and then laying out the information in a crisp to-the-point fashion. His books continue to accumulate in my collection (Rattlesnakes, Venomous Animals Of The California Desert) because they are perfect for those desert walks when one needs to keep one's eyes on one's path and not on social media. I have seen adults reading his books to their children as they traverse the The Living Desert as the Roadrunners flash past.
The last time I was there, I took a picture of a Roadie in the brush, as I hiked past. He/she was actually looking at a snake.
Overall, an excellent primer on the baddest ass bird in town.
Sometimes, a book surprises me. By that, I simply mean that I don't expect much but get amply rewarded. This is a well put together collection of art,Sometimes, a book surprises me. By that, I simply mean that I don't expect much but get amply rewarded. This is a well put together collection of art, photos, stories, facts, and history, all of which focus not just on the ancient Egyptian rulers, but on the subjects themselves.
We can never know if the Egyptians reached the afterworld they dreamed of. But we can follow the people of the Nile on their earthly journeys and learn what their life was like.
Perfect summation of what this book holds. As I was reading this, I found myself far more absorbed in the ordinary details of the merchants and scribes and tomb-builders than I ever thought I would. This is due to easy text and well-placed illustrations to support the words.
For instance, the world of the workers who had to live away from the Nile sounds very similar to the world of the worker in a modern Silicon Valley campus. The Egyptian rulers wanted their workers to be productive, so laundry service was provided, fresh water was delivered daily, meals were made on-site, and housing was built. By doing this, the Pharaohs ensured their statues and monuments would be created by a productive and, relatively, happy group of workers.
"With a beaming face celebrate the joyful day and rest not therein. For no one can take away his goods with him. Yea, no one returns again, who has gone hence."
This is a very good read for a decent overview of basic life in ancient Egypt, and I recommend it as an accompaniment to Chronicles Of The Pharaohs. This way, the reader can get both the upper and lower class side of the Egyptians. I finished this book with a greater understanding of why the Pharaohs and their empire lasted far longer than any other ancient civilization.
I really wanted to like this book. While I'm not a big fan of Eco's books, I somehow seem to collect them, nonetheless. The premise wowed me, the coveI really wanted to like this book. While I'm not a big fan of Eco's books, I somehow seem to collect them, nonetheless. The premise wowed me, the cover art is righteous...and yet. And yet. The main character drove me crazy, Hamlet-style. He reminded me of the fear mongers who work 9-5 jobs, but never leave their unhappy jobs and go through life blaming others. It's like driving in the slow lane, even though all the other lanes are empty, and then getting unhappy because the slow lane is bumper-to-bumper. Do something!
Eco is a very intelligent writer, perhaps too intelligent for moi. Try I did, but success eluded me. Instead, I felt like Tantalus, with the grapes always eluding my grasp, the water always receding. Sadness envelops me, not worthy of Umberto. Me sorry!
Here lie the bones of twenty trees, lost far from home under gallons of seas.
A shipwreck in the locker of Davy Jones never sounded so yearning, taken fHere lie the bones of twenty trees, lost far from home under gallons of seas.
A shipwreck in the locker of Davy Jones never sounded so yearning, taken from the viewpoint of the decaying wood. It's an example of the ocean poems by Kate Coombs, written for children but useful to the wee adult, too. Accompanied by shimmering watercolours from Meilo So, this is a good book for parent and child to either read together or for children to begin learning easy poetry.
Deep water shimmers, A wind-shape passes, kimono trailing.
Doesn't that describe a floating jellyfish? "Kimono trailing"...beautiful image in words. Some of the poems are whimsical (comparing seagulls to beagles) and some are serious (the shark), but all are enjoyable. A nice read on a hot day in front of the shimmering sea, the beautiful sea.
For the water sings blue and the sky does, too, and the sea lets you fly like a gull.
That is why I purchased this memoir by Andy Williams. While I had heard his music and knew him as a famous singer, What happens in Oslo, stays in Oslo.
That is why I purchased this memoir by Andy Williams. While I had heard his music and knew him as a famous singer, it was an appearance he made on the radio show, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me that had me looking at him in a different way. The boyish tenor had a sense of humor? Okay, let me read about that.
Williams does not spend the book dissing his peers or going on too much about himself. The reader discovers that Andy never had great confidence and he mostly dreaded going onstage to perform. As he grew older and more famous, he eventually learned to love his profession and his one chapter on the dark side of his life, when he had to sing in tiny clubs to people who didn't care, showed he made his own luck. Williams had a father who drove Andy and his brothers to perform as a group (they were the Williams Brothers before Andy broke out) and the book compares the stressful situations to the fathers of the Osmond Brothers and the Jackson 5. Interesting. Thanks to YouTube, I found a clip featuring the brothers Williams and Osmonds performing a Christmas show.
I didn't know that Williams had an ex-wife who was accused of killing her famous skiing boyfriend. Williams believed she was innocent and stuck by her, although I always have suspicions whenever a person is "accidentally" killed in their bathroom as they are just about to step into the shower. I didn't know that Andy Williams was the very first host of the Grammy Awards or that he changed the Branson, Missouri scene when he opened his top-of-the-line showplace there. I didn't know that it was Williams who paid to have the "W" letter replaced in the iconic Hollywood sign when Hollywood was staggering. So I did learn a few things.
But I prefer the Andy Williams of the 1960s, wearing those cool Sixties sweaters and singing in that angelic tenor. Later plastic surgery made him look rather strange to me, but his music lives on. Music which, thanks to this book, I am now downloading and appreciating.
If I'm remembered at all, I hope to be thought of as a good man who brought much joy to many people, but above all I want to be remembered for my music.
The ocean to be cross'd, the distant to be brought near, The lands to be welded together. -Walt Whitman
The stories of the great explorers have always enThe ocean to be cross'd, the distant to be brought near, The lands to be welded together. -Walt Whitman
The stories of the great explorers have always enchanted me. I assumed they went off on their wild adventures simply for the heck of it all, but as this book makes clear, the main reason for the beginning of the 'Pathfinders' was to overcome the adverse balance of trade. Because China and the lands of the Indian Ocean provided silks and spices and gems, the Romans and later Europeans were the end-consumers with a burning desire to control the sources.
This book looks at exploration from the ancient times, providing chapters on every corner of the globe. Each discovery is presented chronologically, so that we see mankind grow braver as the centuries roll on. The Polynesians were quite exceptional, as they developed a system of sailing against the wind, which sounds crazy. However, by doing this, the masters of the currents could ensure the ability to return quickly with the wind, which could be life-saving. Hawaii was a one-off discovery, which allowed its culture to develop in isolation until Mr. Cook came along.
What makes an explorer go through great perils? The Norwegians felt the answer was in man's threefold nature. One motive is fame, another curiosity, and a third is lust for gain. Magellan's famous voyage was barely survived (minus the leader) thanks to scurvy and absolute fear. Franklin's men died in the frozen wastes of the Arctic. Chinese explorers fought with dragons who spit wind. Mysterious demons were blamed for lost paths and treacherous reefs.
"We are in an unknown world and we stop for...blubber."
The book shows there were always disputes about priorities. Find new lands or exploit new lands. Or do both. Propaganda was used to build up dreams of glory, such as naming the southern tip of Africa, the 'Cape of Good Hope'. As anyone who has ever sailed in those wild seas filled with huge rogue waves would know, the name was a misnomer. The greatest ocean in the world was named the 'Pacific' so that the next set of explorers would believe it was a benevolent and glassy field of blue.
Patriotic pride exempts explorers from sanity.
The author does not hold back on occasional slipped-in thoughts about various countries and explorers.
1. "Cortes is overrated as a conqueror."
2. "The English tend to be self-congratulatory about their maritime traditions."
3. "England was a realm of lightly gilded savagery and serious underachievement."
4. The Lewis and Clark Expedition was a "heroic failure".
I am right in the middle as to my thoughts about this publication. The research is there and I did rather enjoy some of the revisionist razzing. But the writing feels academic and the weird orientations of the maps...disoriented me. I had to keep turning the book around to get a feel as to where I was when a map appeared. Still, I could not stop reading, hearing the sirens much as the sailors heard the seas.
"Stop staring at the sail and steer by the feel of the wind on your cheeks."
Book Season = Summer (broiling sun, no water, no land)