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text 2018-04-18 17:27
Will the real Thomas Jefferson please stand up?
Burr - Gore Vidal
America's First Daughter: A Novel - Stephanie Dray,Laura Croghan Kamoie

Jefferson according to Burr. Jefferson according to his daughter. These are fun to read at the same time!

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review 2018-04-15 20:34
A Lucky Child (A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy)
A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy - Thomas Buergenthal,Elie Wiesel

For being about the horrors of Nazi occupation of Europe and the Holocaust, this wasn't a difficult  read. The author, Thomas Buergenthal, writes about his childhood in an approachable manner. It probably helps that he's writing it several decades after the fact - the pain and anger he would have felt during and immediately after the events have had time to heal. It's light on details of the day-to-day activities of those years, as he and his family were first on the run from Germans, then living in the Jewish ghetto in Poland, then the various concentration camps he was imprisoned in. As a result, it glosses over a lot of the horrors, focusing instead on events that stick out to him most - but those events are rather harrowing in themselves. He doesn't linger on them though. Some might find this lack of detail frustrating, others may be relieved. I've read other accounts of the Holocaust, most memorably Elie Wiesel's Night, so I was able to fill in what wasn't there. 

 

This felt like a very honest and intimate account of his days surviving WWII and the Holocaust. His writing here is flowing and stark, and he doesn't get bogged down with unnecessary repetition like last few autobiographies I've read. He was indeed a "lucky" child to survive Dr. Mengele and Auschwitz. Speaking of Night, they were both clearly in Auschwitz at the same time, as they both describe the Death March with the same sort of dreadful resignation. He was lucky many other times in order to survive, and that continues even after his liberation as he details how he was eventually reunited with his mother.

 

One cannot stress enough how important this time period was to the shaping of the world as it is today and why it's necessary that it continue to be taught in our schools. Buergenthal's work in international humanitarian law is inspirational and reminds us that, no matter how bleak things can still appear, there is hope for improvement and that things already have improved in many places. We can make the world a better place, but we can only do that by remembering the atrocities that came before and striving not to repeat them.

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review 2018-04-13 19:17
Broken Promise by Tara Hall
Broken Promise - Tara Q. Thomas

Third in this series. All the plot twists come to fruition and there are some well kept secrets here. The previous books are not necessary to understand the story, but they would enhance this read. I knew who the bad guy was before starting this and he is a piece of work. There is steam but the story is not overwhelmed with it. A lot of intrigue and just plain crazy. Good read.

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review 2018-04-09 00:20
The Silent Woman by Terry Lynn Thomas
The Silent Woman - Terry Lynn Thomas
I love a good WWII genre book 
and this is one I truly enjoyed.
The author made me feel the
pressure of living in London right
before WWII and not knowing
what was coming next.
The mystery of 'who done it"
was an extra bonus in a well told story. Well developed characters that you will
love and some you will hate.
I would recommend this book to friends
and give it a 5 star rating.

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review 2018-04-02 14:26
A good biography of a principled politician
Independent: A Biography of Lewis W. Douglas - Thomas G. Smith,Robert Paul Browder

Though the name Lewis Douglas may not be familiar to most Americans today, in his time he was a figure of national prominence.  The son of a mining magnate, Douglas grew up in comfort amidst the rough life of the mining towns of Arizona and Sonora before being sent east for an education at elite prep schools in New York and New Jersey.  After service in the First World War, he returned home and entered politics, winning election to Congress in 1926.  Quickly developing a reputation as a fiscal conservative, Douglas was asked by Franklin D. Roosevelt to serve as his first budget director and played a critical role in the development of the New Deal, but left the post less than two years into his administration due to his objections to the increasing amount of deficit spending.  He returned to government during the Second World War, serving a vital role in the War Shipping Administration before concluding his career as the American ambassador to Great Britain in the late 1940s.

 

Covering such a varied life requires command of a formidable body of information.  In this his biographers, Robert Paul Browder and Thomas G. Smith, prove more than equal to the task.  Using a wide array of sources, they write about issues as diverse as the fight over Colorado River water, the budget debates of the early New Deal, and the efforts to tackle postwar reconstruction in Europe with equal authority.  They portray Douglas as a charming and capable man who remained true to his principles, never deviating from his conservative beliefs even when they were out of step with the times.  Such principles won him considerable admiration but stunted what started out as a promising political career, one which could have led to even greater political heights than the ones he achieved.

 

Well written and informative, Browder and Smith’s biography is a good book about an unjustly overlooked political figure.  The product of meticulous research in a range of archives, it easily stands as the definitive work on Douglas’s life and career, one unlikely to be bettered in the future.  With it, readers can gain a better appreciation of a capable and talented man, one whose political career ultimately was defined by principles to which he held fast regardless of the limits they imposed on his prospects.

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