Only someone like Brueggemann, at this stage of his long and fine life, could write something like this - clear, powerful and utterly faithful to theOnly someone like Brueggemann, at this stage of his long and fine life, could write something like this - clear, powerful and utterly faithful to the many voices of Scripture. I wish every Christian in America would read this ... so timely, in these days of uncertainty about how to treat the "stranger" in our midst. Hats off to Brueggemann for this remarkable book, and God be praised for Brueggemann's life....more
Alison Weir pulls back the curtain on Zionism to expose its lurid story. Her book, so carefully annotated, reveals a story that very few know and theAlison Weir pulls back the curtain on Zionism to expose its lurid story. Her book, so carefully annotated, reveals a story that very few know and the State of Israel hopes will never be known. All along the way, whenever American journalists or theologians spoke out on behalf of the Palestinians and questions what was happening in Palestine, a massive smear campaign began, labeling them as Anti-Semitic. Lives, careers, were ruined by Zionist efforts to squash criticism of its violent rampage in Palestine. Violence often turned against Jews themselves in Iraq and Poland who resisted moving to Palestine.
This is not a pretty picture, but if anyone cares about the Middle East and why America seems so entangled in Israel's fate, here's the story. Strange, to think, that this little nation could literally have a strangle hold on American politics and financial streams. Beginning with Wilson and WW1, Zionists persuaded Britain to issue what came to be called the Balfour Declaration with a promise that American Jews would persuade Wilson to enter the war, thus saving Britain from, not a surrender, but a negotiated peace with Germany.
Had Britain negotiated peace, Palestine would have been lost; Zionism rejected other locations of safety all the way up and through WW2, looking only to Palestine, and in order to gain Palestine, it was essential the war go on, with America in it, so that Britain could eventually gain the Ottoman Empire (a la Lawrence of Arabia).
Only one problem - the Palestinians, and when the UN declared Israel a state, the Palestinians were terrorized and attacked and driven from their homes, their property confiscated, with tens of thousands of deaths.
To this very day, Israel continues its onslaught, and the Western Powers turn a blind eye, though it seems that Israel has finally overstepped its boundaries sufficiently to call critical attention to itself.
Israel can no longer play the Anti-Semitic card. Yes, there is, and has been, Anti-Semitism, but criticism of the State of Israel is NOT Anti-Semitism, it's truth in search of peace.
To the tune $8.5 millions dollars a day, the US supports Israel's torturous policies, policies aimed at eradication of the Palestinians, both Arab and Christian, and claiming 100% of Palestine for the State of Israel. This has nothing to do with Judaism or being Jewish (many a Jew is NOT a Zionist, and many have opposed and continue to oppose its murderous policies), but being a terrorist nation, a lover of violence and cruelty.
Ms. Weir's book deserves wide reading if anyone wants to understand the anomaly of Israel, American's "special relationship" with Israel, the horrors of the Middle East, and why the Palestinian Cause needs to be defended....more
Came across this earlier work of Furst's ... having read all of his European Espionage books.
A fun read, as is all of his stuff - can clearly see theCame across this earlier work of Furst's ... having read all of his European Espionage books.
A fun read, as is all of his stuff - can clearly see the outlines of the mature writer he's become. This work included a great deal more "sex" than his later works, which rely on story-telling amidst the cracking social work of pre-WW2 Europe.
This book had me biting my nails a time or two ... didn't want to put it down ... never a clue as to what might happen next.
Will try to read the two that preceded this work ...
Furst is, for me, a first-rate writer, and has been so from the beginning.
He understands, I believe, the complex nature of good vs. evil ... how the best in us is mostly accidentally discovered as we're pulled into doing something from which we would ordinarily run.
He's a terribly optimistic writer, in my view of things - though life can be mean, and death lurks just around the corner, and sorrow can be deep and devastating, there is in his work always the promise, that love finds a way, that good prevails, that the work needed gets done.
Had to slog through it at times, but learned a lot - politics are mostly always dirty ... money makes the rules ... conservatives control the media (iHad to slog through it at times, but learned a lot - politics are mostly always dirty ... money makes the rules ... conservatives control the media (in Pearson's day, the press, radio and then TV) ... but good people don't give up the fight, because conservatives never do. Liberals are often lost in their own second-thoughts; conservatives never have doubts. The world has always been a mess ... oil is everything ... fear of Communism was a great tool to rouse the folks and raise money ... fundamentalist christians are mostly dumb clucks ... selling the soul is the easiest thing in the world ... the rich are different: they seriously believe the world owes them even more ... racism has ruled the South forever ... there used to be some moderate Republicans ... Nixon was always a scoundrel, Eisenhower was more interested in golf, Harry Truman over-reacted to criticism, but was forgiving in time ... Kennedy played his cards close to the vest, Johnson was an incredible deal-maker, but owed a lot to Texas Oil ... Democrats who voted for Civil Rights mostly lost their seats ... Eisenhower made a powerful decision on Arkansas and integration ... Dulles was terribly inept ... war-mongers always make for great press ... compassion often has a bad day of it ... McCarthy was just plain evil ... politicians can be first-class cowards ... and, money makes the rules....more
My second read of this book ... always fun to read Ambler, the godfather of espionage, and in one of the time periods so fascinating to me - just befoMy second read of this book ... always fun to read Ambler, the godfather of espionage, and in one of the time periods so fascinating to me - just before the outbreak of WW2. In this book, with some rather profound quotes about the hyper wealthy and their control of politics and workers, the good guys are a couple of Russian spies intent on recovering some photographs of hypothetical war plans that, if released to the Rumanians, would have driven them quickly into Hitler's arms. The protagonist is a down-on-his-luck British journalist who is hired by a stranger to deliver a package across the frontier. Enough said ... a lot of action jammed into but a few days....more
Jean Edward Smith is a master historian ... this is the third book of his that I've read - "Eisenhower in War and Peace," "Lucius Clay," and now "FDR.Jean Edward Smith is a master historian ... this is the third book of his that I've read - "Eisenhower in War and Peace," "Lucius Clay," and now "FDR."
I've learned a lot about the 20th Century, WW2 and FDR, one of the greatest of our Presidents, including Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Reagan (I don't like him, but he played, for ill, I fear, a pivotal role in shaping the America we know, or lament, today) and Obama, who's race is a crucial piece of the American puzzle and who's policies and vision mirror much of FDR's greatness.
No one is perfect, whatever that really means. FDR had his foibles and his failings, but his greatness remains intact - his social vision and economic acumen took us through and beyond the Depression; his skill in dealing with world leaders enabled him to win the trust of the Allies and guide the free world to victory over the Axis Powers. His fortuitous choice of Truman for VP gave us a President who finished WW2 and led us into the post-war era with skill and courage.
Jean Edward Smith writes with ease, as smooth as hot fudge on vanilla ice cream. What a gift, and what a vast pool of knowledge out of which he draws forth facts and plenty of entertainment as well....more
My gratitude for this book exceeds whatever I might say: Smith is, of course, a remarkable biographer and writer (though his "acknowledgements" creditMy gratitude for this book exceeds whatever I might say: Smith is, of course, a remarkable biographer and writer (though his "acknowledgements" credit a host of folks who have contributed to this book's success). There were times I found my heart racing as Smith recounted the days before D-Day, and the fateful days when President Eisenhower was making decisions regarding Indochina, Iran, Guatemala and Suez. The chapter on Little Rock was riveting.
For me, his Indochina and Suez decisions were right; his decisions regarding Iran and Guatemala were tragic (and we've been paying for them ever since, and so have the citizens of those nations).
After leaving office, he buttressed Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs and refrained from criticizing Johnson for Vietnam.
Ike was a great general (he learned his lessons well) and a great President who made profound decisions (most, in my opinion, solid and good) and took responsibility for failure (the U2 incident).
He was a human being, no god, but a leader with a growing conviction that the only way to win WW3 was to never fight it. He understood the positive role of government, expanded Social Security and hoped for a national health care program similar to what the military enjoyed.
I learned a lot about the GOP - and was surprised to learn that much of what Ike accomplished was with a Democratically held House and Senate the last 6 years of his 8-year tenure. He got along with Rayburn and Johnson, noting that his worst difficulties were from Republicans.
He is one of great Presidents.
And this one of America's great biographies....more
Much the book is painful reading, as Ms. Fishkin takes us into the world of Hannibal, MO, Twain's world, and explores with the reader how a boy growinMuch the book is painful reading, as Ms. Fishkin takes us into the world of Hannibal, MO, Twain's world, and explores with the reader how a boy growing up in the midst of slavery could become such an advocate of Civil Rights. In some ways, then, Fishkin still asks that question of us: because racism persists, in spite of our sometimes feigned wide-eyed confusion at the very suggestion of it, and through Twain, helps us explore our own development and insight.
Fishkin doesn't let us off the hook, and in view of recent SCOTUS decisions and the simmering racism that pervades so much of our culture, her questions remain unanswered, even as Twain's famous book ends sadly - waiting for America to write a better ending.
Loaded with research on Twain and his times, and lots of conversation with Twain's critics, those favorable and those not. Fishkin clearly demonstrates that critics who accuse Twain of racism are way off the mark, failing to understand the character of irony and Twain's purpose - to show us how "good people" can be so wrong.
For anyone who wants to know more about Twain and his most famous work, "Huckleberry Finn," and who wants to think a bit about America's continuing struggle to define its national self, what with our highest pronouncements on equality and our lowest forms of behavior, then this book is for you.
Not always a quick read, but a necessary read to understand Twain and see a little more clearly the struggles that yet lie ahead for America. ...more
Delightful is one word that comes to mind, in reading of bygone days so aptly described by Catton. Yet, disturbing, comes to mind as well, because ofDelightful is one word that comes to mind, in reading of bygone days so aptly described by Catton. Yet, disturbing, comes to mind as well, because of Catton's keen political insights into a world that wantonly cut down its timber and mined its copper because technology knows only one speed, and that's full-throtle. His reflections on WW1 and subsequent wars are profound and revealing - there is a madness in the human race, a lust for death of others, perhaps to postpone our own. He reminds the reader: There is no Golden Age. Those who lived then had no idea that we would discover their era and call it Golden. They would laugh at us.
The book has the feel of a morning breakfast with old friends - memories triggering memories, building upon one another with both reason and not ... a flow of consciousness ...
His treatment of Christianity comes from the inside of the faith - he reaches for the biggest ideas, but remains skeptical, as we all should. Certainty is the death of truth; skepticism is truth's best friend.
His views of the human race are dour - Catton knows too well the stories of war - what it does to us all, and how we love to glorify it, lest we see its true horror.
Purchased a good many years ago, this was the second or third attempt at reading, and this time, successful. It was tedious reading for me, but now thPurchased a good many years ago, this was the second or third attempt at reading, and this time, successful. It was tedious reading for me, but now that I live in California, my interest in Dana's description of the California Coast from San Diego to San Francisco and ports in between - the geography, the missions, the people, the hide trade, the storms and the absolute hardship of the sailors - was very interesting.
The heart of the book is essentially a diary - not every day, but daily logs of sails furled and unfurled, with lots of sailing jargon that was mostly beyond my grasp, other than how hard the labors.
The book ends "many years later," with Dana's description of a return journey, this time, as a ship passenger on a steamer, and San Francisco is no longer an unsettled bay, but now a bustling city. He's greeted as a celebrity, a writer of note, who gave to the world an accurate picture of both the sailor's life and the California coast.
The last piece of the book is Dana's "interesting" concern for sailors - while noting the usual hardships of a sailors life, sometimes made far worse by greedy owners and harsh captains, Dana is thankful for current laws, but cautions the reader to seek no further legal redress for sailors, suggesting that current laws are satisfactory, and where improvement is needed, and it is needed, it will happen in time. But for now, sailors are a rowdy bunch and need the firm hand of a captain - any diminution of a captain's absolute prerogative would jeopardize the success of the journey.
Dana captures the difficulty a sailor has in filing a complaint - the game is rigged, clearly, in favor of the owners and the captains, who most often get away with murder, metaphorically and sometimes literally with cruel lashings and withholding of medicine.
Of great interest to me is Dana's view of religion and its importance in taming the sailor - no sense giving an education to the sailor without first converting him to Christ - without conversion, the sailor, already a sinner, only becomes a smart sinner, and after education, the likelihood of conversion decreases, says Dana.
So, convert them early on, and then educate them.
Dana also suggests that a Christian captain is likely to run an easier ship.
I learned a good deal about sailing, and read much that I couldn't follow - as the ship was made ready to sail, to meet a storm, to enter or leave a harbor - Dana's descriptions are detailed, and for a landlubber like myself, opaque.
Nonetheless, Dana captures the daily grind of the sailor - the lousy food for the most part, getting sick, the back-breaking labor of procuring hides, getting them from shore to ship, wading through cold water, up in the rigging with snow and sleet, frightful storms, the longing for home.
If Dana were alive today, he'd likely be a Republican! The owners and the captains have to maintain rigid control of men otherwise given to careless living. Religion being the key to transforming a sailor into a better human being, which, says Dana, would give them more credibility in a court of law, if a complaint is being filed against either the owners and/or the captain.
Not without sympathy for the sailor, Dana is nonetheless quite content to let things as they are - in the hands of the owners and the captains.
A finely done piece revealing the complexity of its subject, Olivia Manning, an author in search of recognition, a human being in search of love, ofteA finely done piece revealing the complexity of its subject, Olivia Manning, an author in search of recognition, a human being in search of love, often spiteful and irritable, but with a great kindness for animals. A gifted writer who created some enormously fascinating characters and in her final years, gives us extraordinary insights into the War Years for an English Couple living, first in Rumania, then Greece and finally Egypt, one step ahead of the Nazis. The Braybrookes capture her eccentricities, her loves and lovers, her brilliant and unusual husband, her sorrows and fears, her joys, which were few, and her closest of friends. Anyone who wants to know about Olivia Manning must start here....more