I really liked this book. I honk of all Erdrich's books that I have read thus far, this provided the most complete portrait of a Native American familI really liked this book. I honk of all Erdrich's books that I have read thus far, this provided the most complete portrait of a Native American family in general and the life of a Native American youth on the edge of manhood that I have seen in her books or elsewhere. Even the peripheral characters were fully ealized as people and individuals with their own stories. I found myself wanting to know more about Sonya and Whitey as well as the details of other relationships developed in the story. The story and the people felt real from page one. ...more
This is an older book, and the writing is in the style and heavily overlaid with Victorian and English values. Nonetheless, the novel seems to be relaThis is an older book, and the writing is in the style and heavily overlaid with Victorian and English values. Nonetheless, the novel seems to be relatively accurate historically despite an obvious English bias. I found it to be an entertaining read and upon further investigation discovered an enormous trove of titles by Henry taking a closer and more detailed look at English history from King Alfred in A.D. 870 through a retrospective of Queen Victoria set in 1901. There are additional titles from ancient history as well including settings in ancient Egypt, Rome, Carthage, and Jerusalem.
This particular volume recounts events of the Thirty Years War from the viewpoint of a young English soldier, who rises from the ranks to become an officer. Although the style is somewhat antiquated and wordy, the history appears to be accurate to my knowledge, and the story moves rapidly. I felt that there was an effort to accurately represent a sense of the texture to the times in terms of how the people and the soldiers lived, socialized, and conducted battles. I'll definitely read more from this author. ...more
There is a lot of stream of consciousness writing in this narrative, which may be a distraction. I found it so at times, but it did capture the voicesThere is a lot of stream of consciousness writing in this narrative, which may be a distraction. I found it so at times, but it did capture the voices and characters of Tike and Ella May, who live in a one room shack in the Texas Panhandle during the dust bowl years and dream of an adobe "house of earth," based on a government manual. I liked the book, but I did find the narrative a bit tedious at times. These are the author's parents, and the story does convey a very vivid sense of what the "Dust Bowl" was like and the struggle to live during those times. ...more
This was a good book and a good story. It is based on factual events that occurred in the years immediately following the Civil War here in the BlueriThis was a good book and a good story. It is based on factual events that occurred in the years immediately following the Civil War here in the Blueridge Mountains of North Carolina. I've read a number of Sharon McCrumb's books that I've liked better, but that was because I did not find these characters altogether sympathetic. The main characters were selfish, uneducated, and lacking in any sense of social responsibility of their actions. The story was broken up into sections by a far more erudite and objective narration by North Carolina's Civil War Governor,Cyrus Vance, who was the defense attorney in the case. Vance is cast as reflecting back on the story and the case as he prepares to write his memoirs. McCrumb has cast Vance in many of her stories, owing to his large presence in the history of the area and the fact that he was a rags to riches story, having been born poor in a mountain cabin, and raised by his widowed mother.
Vance reflects on his life and the advantages provided by his family in terms of both education and moral guidance, noting that these elements were missing from the upbringing and early adult lives of the main characters in the Tom Dooley story. He notes as well the highly corrosive impact of the Civil War on the lives of the mountain people.
The author provides some detail on how her research was conducted along with the present day names and places, where one might visit and acquire a more personal feeling for the events in the lives of Tom Dula, Anne Foster Melton, Laura, and Pauline Foster, the actual participants in the story. Wilkes County, N.C., where the main events took place was largely pro Union during the Civil War, so the trial venue was changed to avoid jury prejudice against the Confederate Governor Vance in his capacity as defense attorney. The trial records have been preserved along with land ownership, population, and geneological records from Wilkes County, so there was considerable material from which the author was able to flesh out and recreate a plausible narrative of the events. As regional, fictionalized history, this was a good read. As a novel, I did not find the story or characters nearly as compelling as I had hoped....more
I thought this was a spectacular book. The narration was seamless, clear, and straightforward. Of course, I was very interested in the setting and theI thought this was a spectacular book. The narration was seamless, clear, and straightforward. Of course, I was very interested in the setting and the context; anybody interested in American literature would likely want to read this and learn more about Hemingway and the "Lost Generation" writers and artists that centered on Paris in the 1920's following transformative years of the First World War. I did not find a great deal of sympathy within myself for Hemingway, but the writer provided deeply realistic and textured sense of how Hemingway and Hadley had lived in those times. The writing was so readable and the narrative flowed so easily that it was really a pleasure to read. Don't think I give out too many four star ratings, but this book gets one. ...more
It was a light, relatively entertaining read. I had read a really long involved book before this one, and wanted something light and quick. This filleIt was a light, relatively entertaining read. I had read a really long involved book before this one, and wanted something light and quick. This filled the bill in that regard, but I am generally looking for a little more in the way of character development and literary aspects from the books I read. The Jack Reacher novel would play better for me as a movie, while many other books don't seem to translate as well to film. Different media have different requirements, so saying the book is "better " than the movie or the reverse is a false comparison of different media. I think the most one can say in this regard is simply that one liked or misled a movie and liked or disliked a book. Saying one is better than the other is like saying that somebody is a better high jumper than another person is a swimmer; a false comparison. ...more
This is a huge book with fairly small print. I went with the print version, because my Kindle doesn't do maps very well, and there are a lot of maps aThis is a huge book with fairly small print. I went with the print version, because my Kindle doesn't do maps very well, and there are a lot of maps and diagrams depicting various battles and troop positions. Halberstam is his usual thorough and detailed self in this book, and provides a good background on the political machinations behind the war effort. Viewed from the present perspective of roughly half a century, it becomes all the more tragic that we went to war and that people's lives were lost and changed forever through death, injury, and the experience of combat in general. MacArthur doesn't come off very well; nor does General Almond. Lives were lost due to egos seeking gratification by pursuing diverse agendas other than the war effort. There were a lot of lessons to be learned here in the late 1940's and early 1950's, but considering our record in later conflicts in Viet Nam, Cambodia, and Laos, our political leadership remained as steadfastly ignorant as ever, and the price had to be paid in the blood of the young men and women in their armed forces. This is a book for those definitely interested in the history and the subject. Reading it is a commitment. ...more