Really fascinating novelization of Catherine Parr's life that had me looking around for more biographical information about her. She had such a shortReally fascinating novelization of Catherine Parr's life that had me looking around for more biographical information about her. She had such a short life by our standards, and an awful lot happened in it. A lot of Henry VIII biographies have completely run out of steam by the time they get to her, so it was good to read something in which Henry was a relatively minor character (and not especially lionized). ...more
I first heard of this bio when I took a graduate film class on Hitchcock, and my professor didn't assign it because he felt it was too psychological aI first heard of this bio when I took a graduate film class on Hitchcock, and my professor didn't assign it because he felt it was too psychological and conjectural. We read McGilligan instead. But I finally got around to this, and my professor wasn't wrong. It's certainly a darker and more brooding story than McGilligan's, and there are rather upsetting connections between Hitchcock's films and his own personal issues, which were legion. He had to have been difficult to know and to work with, especially during the last 12-15 years of his life. Spoto also identifies an infuriating failure of Hollywood to recognize Hitchcock for the visual artist that he was, instead treating him, as Spoto says, as a sort of mercurial amusement and moneymaker. In the end, though, this bio is pretty clear that not much would make a difference. He was a man who desired and dreaded being alone with himself, and he seemed profoundly uncomfortable in his own skin. This, as we see, can make for marvelous films, but does not lead to a happy personal life. ...more
It's an excellent tool for thinking critically about one's own history education and the assumptions and privileges that inform the adult worldview thIt's an excellent tool for thinking critically about one's own history education and the assumptions and privileges that inform the adult worldview that results. I think Loewen's statistics for the last chapter are probably outdated since the rise of the Tea Party over the last five years, but this is to be expected; the new edition came out in 2005 and much has changed since then. The most vocal critics I encountered among people I knew claim that such a book is designed to replace one prejudice (conservative) with another, equally wrongheaded one (liberal). I did not find that to be the case. Loewen is interested in a factual, balanced, and unflinching US history, rather than one designed to instill nationalistic pride at the expense of real education. Nowhere does he claim that patriotism is wrong. But he believes in a patriotism rooted in the great potential of our founders, their writings and ideals, and the people who call themselves Americans, not a nationalism resulting from mindless exultation and a pride derived from a whitewashed view of our past. A proper understanding of history enables a student to grapple with and embrace complexity. This is what he wants.
The revised edition is long and dense. I found it good reading when I came back to it, but it still took me well over a year to finish it because it went on and on and on. It was worth it, though. For those less patient than I, the earlier, much shorter edition may suit....more
Thoroughly charming and hilarious. It's easier to love if you're already a fan of British literature or comedy, and there is a sameness about the storThoroughly charming and hilarious. It's easier to love if you're already a fan of British literature or comedy, and there is a sameness about the stories, but the thing is, you never really tire of the sameness of it because it's still always funny. And if you have any sense at all, you'll definitely wish you had a Jeeves in your life....more