I bought this book because I read a news article about the author's claim that M. Night Shyamalan stole the story for his movie, "The Village." While...moreI bought this book because I read a news article about the author's claim that M. Night Shyamalan stole the story for his movie, "The Village." While the plots are similar, I didn't think this book could be seen as the basis for the movie.
The book is well-written and fast-paced, and I'd be interested in reading more by this author in the future.(less)
An in-depth look at Hitler's final hours, including detailed descriptions of the bunker in which he committed suicide. Provides a lot of detail on his...moreAn in-depth look at Hitler's final hours, including detailed descriptions of the bunker in which he committed suicide. Provides a lot of detail on his "final solution" as well, but only in clinical terms. It's chilling how blasé everyone involved was about the systematic extermination of so many millions of people. Still, an interesting read for those who enjoy historical war books.(less)
This collection of stories about children who survived the Holocaust is well-written for its intended age group, and would be an excellent way to intr...moreThis collection of stories about children who survived the Holocaust is well-written for its intended age group, and would be an excellent way to introduce young adults to the horrors of the Nazi army without providing too many in-depth details parents may not appreciate. Each story is slightly different, showing the variety of ways Jews managed to survive.(less)
I met Tony Horwitz at the 1st annual James River Writers Festival (now in its 3rd year). Hearing him talk about the adventures he encountered while wr...moreI met Tony Horwitz at the 1st annual James River Writers Festival (now in its 3rd year). Hearing him talk about the adventures he encountered while writing this book persuaded me to purchase it. I read it in less than two days and loved it. The writing is crisp, the prose flowing, and the story pulls you along from the first word to the very end ~ I simply couldn't put it down.(less)
Basically this is an in-depth investigation of how the character of Satan came into being based upon references in the Jewish and Christian bibles. It...moreBasically this is an in-depth investigation of how the character of Satan came into being based upon references in the Jewish and Christian bibles. It's very well-researched and informative, and draws from the climate and surrounding religions in the Middle East to strengthen our understanding of why man felt the need to create a minion of evil in a monotheistic religion.
While reference was made to Islam as another religion with one God and a contrasting evil character, nothing from the Qur'an was referenced to show the Muslim take on Satan. I would've liked to have had that included, as well.
This book isn't for those seeking to reaffirm their own Jewish or Christian faith, as it speaks of both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament as historical literary works written in a specific time and place by people for an explicit purpose. Many believers of the Bible don't like the think of it in those terms.
Overall a good read. Well written and informative, though I would've liked more on the Islamic idea of Satan. There was some mention of Satan "through the ages" but this was very brief and almost besides the point. The main goal was to explore how Satan appears in the Bible and how that appearance changed over time as ideals and issues shifted from the Jewish Bible to the Christian Testament.(less)
A very interesting book about the history of cotton, not just in the US but abroad as well. From the cotton mills in England to the early factories in...moreA very interesting book about the history of cotton, not just in the US but abroad as well. From the cotton mills in England to the early factories in the northern United States, it's informative, well-written, and flows nicely. The author also describes how cotton production was a contributing factor leading up to the American Civil War, and goes into great detail about how that changed after the war and the infestation of the boll weevil.
Probably the best thing about this book is the depth of the author's research and the volume of information I learned about cotton while reading ~ how it's grown, gathered, processed, and manufactured, and how much we rely on it as a part of our lives. I enjoyed learning about the different businessmen and inventors who brought the crop into our homes as furniture and clothing. A very accessible and interesting read.(less)
From the first pages of this story, the reader learns that Kate Milledge makes her living as Blue-Eyed Nick, a dashing rogue who robs from the wealthy...moreFrom the first pages of this story, the reader learns that Kate Milledge makes her living as Blue-Eyed Nick, a dashing rogue who robs from the wealthy who travel England's darkened heaths late at night. One evening, she stops the carriage of Rebeccah Dutton and is immediately smitten by the gentlewoman. Their meeting stirs unusual feelings in young Rebeccah, who keeps them a secret from her traveling companions (her mother, sister, and their maid).
As the story progresses, neither woman can forget the other. Rebeccah is sure she's falling for a less than desirable man whom her breeding would never allow her to marry, while Kate's infatuation makes her realize that the relationship she's in currently with her landlady isn't what she wants out of life. A series of events conspire to bring Kate and Rebeccah together again, and infatuation turns to love.
Kate is a great character, full of zest and heart. Despite her occupation, she doesn't keep much of the money she steals, instead giving it to family members whom she alone supports. Larger hauls are divvied up among prisoners at a debtor's prison. She knows her lifestyle will one day force her to hang for her crimes, but her brand of "highway robbery" is in marked contrast to others who kill or rape their victims. Kate takes their valuables only, and even comes to the defense of those targeted by baser criminals.
The story is quick-paced, a fast read that would translate well into an epic period piece on the big screen. The historical details are rich, bringing the story to life before the reader's eyes. I found myself easily engrossed in the plot, turning pages quickly in my haste to find out how Kate escapes the noose and whether or not Rebeccah gets her "highwayman" in the end. The intimate moments between the characters are sweet, and even the more lustful trysts Kate is involved in fade to black, allowing the reader's imagination to kick in.
If you love unconventional historical romances spiced with suspense and adventure, this book is a fun read that will have you looking forward to more from this talented author.(less)
This book is laid out as a series of one-page articles highlighting different "uppity women" from the past. It begins in pre-Biblical times and mentio...moreThis book is laid out as a series of one-page articles highlighting different "uppity women" from the past. It begins in pre-Biblical times and mentions some women you may have heard of in your history class, but a good number of the subjects in the book were new to me. It's interesting to read about how some women managed to make a name for themselves in patriarchal societies that viewed them as inferior creatures, and surprisingly their memories survive until this day.
Very interesting read, of particular interest to feminists and historians. Note that many of the women mentioned in the book are notorious due to their (at the time) scandalous sexuality, so this might not be a good read for a young teen despite its empowering message.(less)
Argentina has often been a hotbed for political activism. Even those unfamiliar with foreign governments know of Juan Perón and his wife Eva, immortal...moreArgentina has often been a hotbed for political activism. Even those unfamiliar with foreign governments know of Juan Perón and his wife Eva, immortalized in Andrew Lloyd Webber's catchy musical, Evita. For many of us, the concept of a military coup is unfathomable ~ such actions are relegated to footnotes in history books, dates learned in school and forgotten once we're tested on them. The fear that someone could barge into our homes and take us prisoner against our wills is unfamiliar to Americans. We say what we want, when we want, in ways that loudly broadcast our own beliefs, mostly without fear of reprimand or repercussion.
Alicia Partnoy's book, The Little School, is an eye-opener, to say the least. Within the pages of this slim volume lies a fictionalized account of her own imprisonment at the hands of the military that overtook her government. What makes her stories more profound is the knowledge that this didn't happen a lifetime ago but in the late 1970's, when most Americans were reveling in newfound freedoms of expression. While teenagers in the United States were expressing their views on warfare, feminism, and sexuality, their peers in Argentina were being silenced for daring to speak out against the government.
By 1979, over 30,000 people "disappeared." Most of these were young adults between the ages of 18 and 35, though Partnoy's book mentions some friends of hers who were abducted when they were merely 15 years of age. Parents watched helplessly as their children were taken by force from their homes; small children cried on doorsteps or were scooped up by relatives as their own parents were taken from them. These "disappeared" were transferred and held ~ blindfolded, immobilized, inadequately fed and clothed, tortured ~ in a secret concentration camp Partnoy calls "The Little School."
This book documents the stories of those imprisoned. Though the preface states that the stories are fictional accounts, the truth of Partnoy's experience is poignantly clear. Without detailing exact punishments or tortures, she nonetheless spells out clearly for her readers the agony and pain the prisoners endured on a daily basis. They were kept blindfolded and bound, forced to stand or lie completely still for hours on end in a room full of fellow prisoners with whom they were forbidden to speak.
It is the small details that make these stories so heartbreaking. A child's nursery rhyme that runs endlessly through the mind of one prisoner while being tortured. A friend's jacket that shields the guard's blows once that friend is removed from the school, possibly killed. A broken tooth kept in a matchbox that reminds one prisoner she is still "whole." The glimpses of life another prisoner catches through the bottom of the blindfold, where it doesn't quite lay flat against her cheeks. The sheer delight in catching raindrops in the palm of a hand where the window leaks during a storm.
These elements drive home the desperation and despair hinted at in the stories. They make the moments real, in a way more detailed explanations of the torture endured could not. Even without knowing the exact political views that caused the prisoners to be kidnapped and held, readers will empathize with the stories ~ feeling both a lingering helplessness at the prisoners' plights and an overwhelming indignation at the injustice imposed upon the rights of fellow human beings. Such a book will encourage readers to recognize their own freedom, which many take for granted, while serving as a constant reminder to be vigilant against atrocities that endanger freedom everywhere.(less)
The Japanese concentration camps during WW2 are one of the best kept secrets in American history. I didn't hear about them until college, when a film...moreThe Japanese concentration camps during WW2 are one of the best kept secrets in American history. I didn't hear about them until college, when a film class I was in discussed the internments. This book is an excellent look at life for Japanese-Americans immediately following the events of Pearl Harbor, from the first fears against the Japanese to the relocation of thousands of citizens to camps in the heart of the US. The author details daily life in the camp without rancor, but through her stark prose, I found my own indignation rising at the treatment of the Japanese-Americans.
A must read for anyone interested in human rights, and a caution against blind bigotry which should never happen again.(less)
This was an interesting book. Each chapter is a different state in the South US, detailing famous people who have been buried in that state. This isn'...moreThis was an interesting book. Each chapter is a different state in the South US, detailing famous people who have been buried in that state. This isn't just a list of grave sites ~ instead, each entry gives a brief biography of the person, concentrating mostly on how they died and why their remains are buried where they lie. Some entries also include descriptions of the grave site and how to find it (if it's particularly hard to find).
Overall, I found this a very interesting and fascinating book. I learned quite a bit about famous people who I hadn't thought of in years (this being a Southern edition, it contains a lot of country singers I remember listening to in my youth). A neat read for celebrity fans or those who like graveyards and tombstones.(less)