the first part of the book was almost painful to read. i am not sure if i would have finished it if it hadn't been for book club - i do notboy howdy.
the first part of the book was almost painful to read. i am not sure if i would have finished it if it hadn't been for book club - i do not have a background in art history and i was bored with this weird intersection of art history, art criticism, biography, and memoir. i couldn't tell what it wanted to be, and it wasn't charles that i had a hard time connecting to, it was edmund.
but like everyone said, the last 100 pages made it worth it. but it was a total chore to get there.
plus, the book is infused with class issues that made the questioning of the second class citizenship of jews a little unsettling. (ANNA.)
that said, i loved the story in vienna, and not just because i actually knew who luegar was before. yay, history.
japan was interesting, mostly because of iggie.
but oh, the first half of this book. of course the new york times loved it - it's full of pretension and condescending and about things like whether or not art is meant to be touched. it doesn't seem to be meant for mainstream consumption. how many people spend time in museums looking at pots? but i do appreciate his dogged pursuit of the story, spending time in the archives, reading the marginalia. ...more
okay. so if this is stephen king, then i clearly have been missing out.
as a history nerd, i LOVED this. i loved all of it.
al and the diner. sadie anokay. so if this is stephen king, then i clearly have been missing out.
as a history nerd, i LOVED this. i loved all of it.
al and the diner. sadie and the sadie hawkins dance. miz mimi. jake and his stupid bets.
i couldn't put it down, and it's a BIG book.
even if you know the outcome, this is a case of how the journey is the important part. oh, be still my heart. the butterfly effect, except not. falling in love with a different time. feeling "home" for the first time somewhere other than your "home".
have an ARC thanks to netgalley. will post full review two weeks before the release date, but i am putting this on my pre-order list right now! haunting, gothic, creepy and almost crawly - in a historical sense. hits the spot on a rainy night. ...more
i liked him better at the beginning of the book than the end, but.
mostly i still think that bush 43 aclistened to this in the car during my commute.
i liked him better at the beginning of the book than the end, but.
mostly i still think that bush 43 acted and made decisions with his heart and his head and that he did what he thought was best for the country. i might disagree with his choices and priorities, but i don't think he was evil or anything. i do think he does shift a lot of the blame off himself by repeating over and over how he "listened to the experts around him", but that might not be obvious if you aren't really listening/reading it.
i would like it to have an epilogue now that bin laden has been killed.
also, i realize again that his greatest priority was keeping america safe from another terrorist attack. i found his talk of the "blood lust" at ground zero to be extremely offensive and off-putting, not just because i was there, but because that was NOT the mood that pervaded new york in those days. at all.
in a way, he didn't seem to be explaining his decisions, but rather, defending them. i don't know if that was because i was listening to it rather than reading the print, but.
i still maintain the most off-putting part of this book is the structure. it wanders all over the place, and i had a difficult time keeping the time, players and locations straight. i definitely think he needed a better editor - or, at least, to listen to one.
interesting read though, especially since it's such contemporary history. ...more
and man, i would have broken. this book stands as a testament to the human spirit, and opens up an avenue obrilliant.
i couldn't put it down.
and man, i would have broken. this book stands as a testament to the human spirit, and opens up an avenue of history that has been previously . . . not overlooked, but perhaps, glossed over.
war is horrible thing. no matter how you are going into it, it changes you.
i thought the end wrapped up a little quickly, but then again, it was kind of a relief.
what an amazing amazing life, and seriously, laura hillenbrand can really *really* write. and about historical events with accuracy! (some of her depictions of the japanese were a little biased, but this is a story about Japanese POWs, and so it can be forgiven. but it's a little weird to realize that they go back to these tiny places where 9 people died, etc. and honor them so, while hiroshima and nagasaki have disappeared, and tokyo is napalmed . . . but this was the first book i read that really gave me a concrete sense of why the smithsonian exhibit on the enola gay was so controversial - those bombs did save their lives. (then there's the question of - at what cost?) but i can understand now, especially the POWs, why they were so upset in such a dramatic fashion.)
fantastically engaging read.
can't wait to see what her next project is! ...more
the truth about columbine - the real truth. what we were told, and why.
this is brilliant. it's a study of the media's reaction to the event, the contthe truth about columbine - the real truth. what we were told, and why.
this is brilliant. it's a study of the media's reaction to the event, the context that created it, the mess ups that the police and the feds made, the bravery of the children, the depression, the sociopathy . . .
i adored this book. and it's engaging and fabulously researched but still easy and a great read.
the art in this isn't incredible. but the words, this time. the words totally enthralled me. and sacco seemed to get more and more comfortable with ththe art in this isn't incredible. but the words, this time. the words totally enthralled me. and sacco seemed to get more and more comfortable with the medium as the book went along.
this is a book about sacco's trip to the occupied palestinian territories in the early 90s. while i know there is a lot of change since then, it's kind of crazy to see this, at least, for me, in new york, where israel is such a political topic. and in america - we tend to almost pathologize the palestinians as terrorists, as part of the islamic extremist movement - and so this was a little eye-opening.
of course, there's spin, and these are the stories out of gaza and the west bank. there isn't a lot of balance - there are almost no mentions at all of the israelis outside of them being soldiers.
but it's a brilliant way to tell the story. the repeated images of the rain, the mud, the curfews, the tea, make sense with the words and kind of allow a more comprehensive story to be told. check it out, seriously, this is one i'm going to buy and put next to Maus, Barefoot Gen, and Persepolis.
the only thing i wish that this book would have had was an updated epilogue. i want to know where the pairs are now! especially the chinese . . .
ANYWthe only thing i wish that this book would have had was an updated epilogue. i want to know where the pairs are now! especially the chinese . . .
this is the story of the 2002 olympic pairs competition. (now that i've read this, i want to watch all the performances again.)
it's not just the story of the games, which is nice. there's background on how all the teams got to that point in 2002. i fell in love with the russians, and still love the canadians, and hope that the chinese are doing okay. the difference between the state system and the free-market system, the preference of the former soviet judges vs. the north american ones - it's kind of fascinating.
the book also addresses the judges, the CRAZY federation rules, and the insanity of the ISU. i also wonder what would have happened if the games were somewhere outside of north america - would the media have stuck so hard on the story? would a double gold have been given?
i honestly will never look at figure skating the same way again. it IS a giant popularity contest! i mean, yeah, it's totally a sport, but the judging is soooo subjective with that second mark (the artistic). i also feel really badly for kids who want this to be their life. and the way shen xie can't eat . . . it breaks my heart.
oh, and guess what? THERE MIGHT BE A RUSSIAN MOB CONNECTION TO THE WHOLE VOTING SCANDAL. HAH. (no, seriously.) ...more
super-accessible writing, but unfortunately, not really . . . supported by much. at least, it might be, be he does not cite enough sources for me to fsuper-accessible writing, but unfortunately, not really . . . supported by much. at least, it might be, be he does not cite enough sources for me to feel comfortable revising my whole theory of the persephone myth. i didn't like the greek/roman section, and if i knew more about the other myths, i might feel the same way.
i really liked how easy it was to read, though, and how it made history interesting to the average joe.
i still like edith hamilton better. even if she's a little out-dated. nothing necessary though. (except i did like the parts where he could talk about recent excavations, because it revived the part of me that wanted to be an archaeologist. i want to go on a tour of ancient ruins now.)...more
i almost like this installment better than Persepolis, but i know that's because of how amazing the first book was.
this installment finds marji in ai almost like this installment better than Persepolis, but i know that's because of how amazing the first book was.
this installment finds marji in austria, where she is shuttled from place to place, getting her french education, while her family and friends remain in tehran.
it's the story of a "third-worlder" in the west, and then an attempt to return home. it's almost more heartbreaking than the first book, because there is so much in here that is familiar while different, and so much that makes you realize how lucky you are. it's brilliantly written, again, and wonderfully illustrated, and it's a traditional coming of age story that is anything but traditional.
it's beautiful, from the snow scenes in vienna to her joy at seeing snow in tehran again. the way she is older, the way she tries to fit in, the disintegration of relationships - the author writes with a wisdom that can only come from years of reflection, and we are all the better for it. her insights into her behaviors and actions are so clear and true, even though they might not reflect greatly on her, are masterful. the story doesn't lag, it goes forward, and forward, and at the end, i desperately wanted the next installment to magically appear in my hands.
it's especially interesting to read this in light of where america stands on iran these days - and makes me think of theodor herzl calling people like me "amiable dreamers" but. books like this give me hope. it's truly a remarkable piece of work, unlike anything i have come across before. ...more
so after owning this book not reading it for more than two and a half years, i finally read it.
and thank heaven.
it isn't perfect. it isn't balancedso after owning this book not reading it for more than two and a half years, i finally read it.
and thank heaven.
it isn't perfect. it isn't balanced all the way. but it is really good at conveying a sense of how one person can dedicate their lives to something, and how cultural and political consequences can show up anywhere, anytime. that humanitarian missions need to be more than dropping food.
also, it doesn't really preach at you, which i appreciated.
i read this in my "history of the pacific" course. it's a travelogue, of sorts, but is beautifullly, beautifully written, and touches on some civilizai read this in my "history of the pacific" course. it's a travelogue, of sorts, but is beautifullly, beautifully written, and touches on some civilizations that hadn't yet been "discovered" by the west (or east, really). it's a little patronizing towards the peoples, but then again, that's emblomatic of the time, and is a really good critical point in time to realize that the history of the pacific is a varied, disparate, and debatable thing. ...more
carol gluck. like i wouldn't read anything this woman wrote. series of essays about life in japan during the showa period (1928-1980-something) - so bcarol gluck. like i wouldn't read anything this woman wrote. series of essays about life in japan during the showa period (1928-1980-something) - so basically all of modern japan. hard to believe one dude was in charge that whole time....more
this is a fast and easy read. overy's writing is very very accessible and enjoyable, and you won't want to put the book down.
because the cold war stathis is a fast and easy read. overy's writing is very very accessible and enjoyable, and you won't want to put the book down.
because the cold war started immediately after, americans don't really have a sense of how important the soviet effort was to the war, to the fact that america was even involved. the soviets literally held the germans off all by themselves for years - on an entire front. the western front collapsed in seconds, england would have been crushed if stalin didn't keep throwing bodies at hitler.
and that is very much what happened. bodies were sacrified to the war effort in a way that didn't happen in any other country. the death tolls prove that - even with the nazi-soviet non-agression pact, (granted, didn't last long, but) the soviet death toll was sky-high. it's incredible, really.
everyone should read this book, just to get some idea of what the eastern front was like. we all know the germans froze in the russian winter, but we don't know about all those soviet peasants who froze right along with them. they followed a scortched-earth policy - they starved, they froze, they died, and they kept throwing bodies. the question of why the soviets didn't stop fighting is brought up, and i don't think overy answers it well - partly because i don't think there is a good answer. were they afraid of the NKVG? were they going to die one way or another? it's unclear.
what is clear is that europe owes its current existence to those dead soviets, as hard as it might to be to admit. ...more
one of the best books that asks the question: was dropping the bomb on hiroshima necessary? what about nagasaki? what ramifications did they have forone of the best books that asks the question: was dropping the bomb on hiroshima necessary? what about nagasaki? what ramifications did they have for the world sphere?
american war vets will tell you the bomb was dropped to save millions of young american lives, because japan wasn't going to surrender and an invasion of the main island was going to have to happen. other people will tell you the bomb was dropped because it was easy. others will say that it was dropped to show the soviets exactly what we had.
sherwin argues, quite convincingly, that truman decided to drop the bomb because stalin had signed a pact agreeing to intervene in the pacific sphere if the war was not over by a certain date. that day was set two or three days after japan's complete surrender after nagasaki.
i think that both issues were at play - keeping the soviets out (so we could negotiate the peace we wanted, without having to give anything to stalin - who had a pretty bad relationship with truman as opposed to FDR) and ending the war that seemingly wasn't going to end until the japanese were wiped off the face of the earth. (japanese propaganda fueled this - they were in a much worse state than we were led to believe, because as we all know, the japanese did not believe in a white flag.)
interesting debate, anyway, and an excellent book to get you started in the debate. ...more
all my books are going to be rated 5 in here, because i'm going off the books i kept all these years, but hell, they are so worth it.
dower is an exceall my books are going to be rated 5 in here, because i'm going off the books i kept all these years, but hell, they are so worth it.
dower is an excellent historian. this is more a look at american-japanese relations and how each side painted the other than a story of the war - which i think is necessary. so it's more of a cultural/social history of the pacific war, which provides such a needed light in a war that is largely defined and remembered by military history. ...more
fucking brilliant. what can i say? carol gluck is my personal goddess/guru of the way history should be, and the way to live your life. i am waiting ofucking brilliant. what can i say? carol gluck is my personal goddess/guru of the way history should be, and the way to live your life. i am waiting on pins and needles for her book on history and memory, which is hung up on illustration copyrights.
i guarantee you'll learn more about japan, past and present, just by reading this one book. which, japan is so important in twentieth-century american history, everyone should read this. ...more