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text 2018-02-16 21:04
A sleepless night ahead????
The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election - Malcolm Nance

My library's electronic collections yielded some gems today.






I've also downloaded the Mueller indictment in PDF to read in full for myself.


I'd rather be knitting or making jewelry or writing a contemporary gothic romance, but these political issues have disrupted my very existence far too long. 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-01-28 20:10
It could only have been more perfect with more pictures
The Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis - Elizabeth Letts

As I wrote when I started reading this book, I knew the outlines of the history.  I knew how the story ended, and therefore I didn't have to fear tragedy.  In anticipation of light, engaging read, I started turning the digital pages.


This turned out to be no child's breezy account of a miraculous rescue.  I had never seen the Disney movie -- had in fact more or less forgotten that there ever was one -- and I had never read Marguerite Henry's novel about the Lipizzan horses, so I was relying on the brief overview provided in her Album of Horses, which I still have.


The title is somewhat misleading, since author Letts never really addresses the perfection of any of the horses mentioned.  So set that whole notion aside.  The tale is more about the perfect horror of war.


The white stallions of the renowned Spanish Riding School of Vienna were not the only victims.  There were also the brood mares whose foals grew up to be the famed performers, and thousands upon thousands of other pedigreed horses in Europe, among them the Arabians of Poland.  All became victims, in one way or another, of the war.  A very precious few would survive.  That any of them did was a testament to luck and the steadfast determination of a very small group of men, some of whom would otherwise be enemies.


This wasn't an easy book to read; not all the horses survived, and the horrors they endured were, to put it simply, inhuman.  No, not inhumane.  One seriously wonders how beings that call themselves human could behave with such wanton cruelty.


There is also the suspense.  Even knowing more or less how the book ends, I felt the adrenaline rush of tension.


But it's powerfully written, with expansive portraits of the soldiers, riders, veterinarians, and horse-humanitarians involved.  Just be sure to have either a tight rein on your emotions or a healthy supply of tissues.  The ending is the same, but only after a pretty rough roller coaster ride.



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text 2018-01-17 22:13
I needed something nice to read
The Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis - Elizabeth Letts

I first learned of the Lippizan stallions and Col. Alois Podhajsky's rescue of them via Marguerite Henry's Album of Horses when I was about eight years old.


Mary Stewart's Airs Above the Ground was entertaining, but I had most of the plot figured out ahead of time, also thanks to Ms. Henry's book.


Today I needed something nice to read, something that wouldn't increase the stress I'm already dealing with.  More back pain -- not spasms but still painful.  Car repairs.  House repairs.  Health issues.  Financial insecurity.  I need something that will slow the panic.


I found this on the public library's ecloud catalogue.  I pretty much know how it's going to end.


Now, leave me alone!  ;-)

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text 2017-12-26 03:48
Reading progress update: I've read 96 out of 454 pages.
Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right - Arlie Russell Hochschild

This is a very distressing and disturbing book, but it's not giving me any new insights.


The first part, which I've now completed, is mostly about the people who live around Lake Charles, Louisiana.  Louisiana is one of the poorest, least educated, least healthy, and most polluted states in the country.  Yet the voters remain staunchly right wing, conservative, anti-regulation, anti-government, and pro-petrochemical industry which is the source of the highly toxic pollution that has virtually killed their environment and is slowly killing most of them.


They want jobs, even if those jobs are in industries that will kill them.


They are anti-abortion, even if the babies born will be poor and have few opportunities.


I really want to feel sorry for them, but somehow I just can't.


I know that it has long been a policy for companies to take dangerous operations into communities that are least prepared to defend themselves.  It wasn't news to me that the petrochemical companies of the Lake Charles area exploited a population that was poor and under-educated and desperate. 


But by exploiting these communities, the corporations have turned the victims into supporters, and now the rest of us are suffering.


I know I should feel sorry for them, but . . . . . . .

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text 2017-12-24 04:37
Reading progress update: I've read (approx) 20 out of 288 pages.
Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right - Arlie Russell Hochschild

I found this in the pubic library's digital collection, which appears to have been expanded recently.


I've read Hochschild before and have at least one of her books in my personal collection, but I've never had any personal contact with her.


The beginning of the book is disturbing to me, and maybe it's meant to be.  The author, a noted liberal/progressive, takes her research skills to Louisiana to try to find out why Tea Partiers feel the way they do, with the strongest possible emphasis on feel.  And then she intends to use that understanding of their feelings to find ways to find common ground with them.


And yes, I know I used the word "find" many times in that paragraph.


The reason the beginning was so disturbing was that Hochschild acknowledges that the divide between right and left has widened over the years because the right has moved further right but the left has not moved further left.

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