To preface this - its a history book that digs into the sources and makes some pretty interesting connections about Jane Austen's life. So I am a hist...moreTo preface this - its a history book that digs into the sources and makes some pretty interesting connections about Jane Austen's life. So I am a history major, and I love this stuff. I can't say I buy his argument all the time, but the author really looks at letters, facts, and connections to point out the key events and feelings of Jane Austen. He really shows how much her family and friends, as well as romance with Tom LeFroy though this is the most sketchy part, influenced her stories. But also that she herself was a real person with a quick wit and avid mind. She also was not the quiet domestic and eternally patient person you might expect from her writing. Instead she was very active, bored with household tasks, and struggled to control her own spirit at times. Çassandra, her sister, was Jane and Eleanor wrapped into one. Jane Austen was Mr. Darcy with a sharp tongue and talent for making people laugh. I loved it. I do think the author stretches some points a bit and has a few shaky pieces of evidence, but loved it non-the-less.(less)
This book is based on Henriette, a noble french woman who escaped the Terror in France. This book really shows the conditions of the nobility in Franc...moreThis book is based on Henriette, a noble french woman who escaped the Terror in France. This book really shows the conditions of the nobility in France, how extravagant they were, fashion, reliance on looks and wealth, also favor of King and Queen, and corruption in Church. It is told from a women's perspective so it is light on the political happenings. I liked it for its plot, style, and entertaining format. I warn others that there is some sexuality since the book is based on the Court of Louis the 16th, an age to rival the Other Boelyn Girl. (which also shows how corrupt court life was among Henry the 8th). I think the author does spend way too much time on their farm in America and not enough on their return to France, which I would have found way too interesting as French society went through major upheavals with their government changing several times up to the defeat of Napoleon. Lucy does change but you would be surprised at how little the character is really developed. Otherwise, fun and exciting to see what happens to them.(less)
This is an excellent (yet feminist) account of the many women who were wives of prominent men who helped shape the American country. These women, like...moreThis is an excellent (yet feminist) account of the many women who were wives of prominent men who helped shape the American country. These women, like their husbands helped shape the country by the actions they took. While not leading armies or speaking in politics, these women took part in boycotts, spread literature, hid troops, passed secrets, seduced men, cared for injured men, raised money for armies, and influenced the men who wrote our constitution. These actions helped a fledgling revolutionary force create a republic. Just wonderful!(less)
This is a biography of Barrie and why he wrote the play Peter Pan. I loved finding out about this author. Although he was a strange man, who really ne...moreThis is a biography of Barrie and why he wrote the play Peter Pan. I loved finding out about this author. Although he was a strange man, who really never grew up, he was decent. I liked how he was portrayed by author and it did clear up questions I had about his life. Just a good biography!(less)
This book is a chilling tale (and real) of how a police battalion of ordinary german citizens became part of the Nazi Holocaust. When Hitler ordered J...moreThis book is a chilling tale (and real) of how a police battalion of ordinary german citizens became part of the Nazi Holocaust. When Hitler ordered Jews to concentration camps and then began exterminating them, he used local police force to complete this. The men began by transporting Jews to ghettos, then to death camps, then to killing outright. The author's main question is why did these normal men go along? They were not politically active nor really passionate about Hitler yet they followed orders and became murders. What the reader learns is that any person can become a tool for evil if they follow authority. These men justified their actions, got drunk or drugged to forget, and simply followed. Only one protested and refused. Some ran away or shirked, but only one out of 200 stood up and refused because he thought it was wrong.
This is not a book for faint hearted and I admit I wanted to throw up quite often because of the horrors. But I still think of this book often, and I wonder if I would have been the one who stood up, risked his life in a regime known for brutality, or would I have gone along and let myself turn into a horrible beast? It is a disturbing question that prompts the reader to look at himself and answers the question many have about why Germans supported Hitler or helped him when they knew what he was doing. (less)