logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: history-general
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-09-17 18:39
THE NEVER-ENDING WRONG
The Never-Ending Wrong - Katherine Anne Porter

"THE NEVER-ENDING WRONG" is essentially Katherine Anne Porter's account of the experiences she had during the 1920s working with a group protesting the conviction of the shoemaker Nicola Sacco and the fishmonger Bartolomeo Vanzetti (both by political conviction, anarchists) on the charge of murder by a Massachusetts court. Porter focuses on what she observed and experienced during the final hours leading to the execution of both Sacco and Vanzetti in August 1927. In its time, the Sacco-Vanzetti case was a cause célèbre that garnered considerable support and attention - both nationally and internationally - among notable people like Porter who believed that both men had been wrongly convicted. This book, originally published in 1977 - 3 years before Porter's death at age 90 -- is also a retrospective for the author on the previous 5 decades.

"THE NEVER-ENDING WRONG" at 63 pages is a short book. But one rich in insights such as the following observation made by the author: "... the grim little person named Rosa Baron ... who was head of my particular group during the Sacco-Vanzetti demonstrations in Boston snapped at me when I expressed the wish that we might save the lives of Sacco and Vanzetti: ' Alive --- what for? They are no earthly good to us alive.' These painful incidents illustrate at least four common perils in the legal handling that anyone faces when accused of a capital crime of which he is not guilty, especially if he has a dubious place in society, an unpopular nationality, erroneous political beliefs, the wrong religion socially, poverty, low social standing --- ... Both... Sacco and Vanzetti, suffered nearly all of these disadvantages."

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-08-31 08:19
LE SCANDALE BETTENCOURT
The Bettencourt Affair: The World's Richest Woman and the Scandal That Rocked Paris - Tom Sancton

I was attracted to "THE BETTENCOURT AFFAIR: The World's Richest Woman and the Scandal That Rocked Paris" by its cover. It caught my eye in a local independent bookstore several weeks ago. I weighed the book carefully in my hands and glanced through its pages before deciding to buy it. What an unexpected merry ride this book has given me! 

"THE BETTENCOURT AFFAIR" at its heart is a story about a scandal that arose over the past decade from one of France's wealthiest families (who normally kept a very low profile). It was a scandal that began as a family drama between mother (Liliane Bettencourt, daughter of Eugène Schueller [1881-1957], a pharmacist by profession who founded L'Oréal, "the world's leading company in cosmetics and beauty" products -- who herself was one of the world's wealthiest women) and daughter (Françoise Bettencourt Meyers) which, once leaked to the press in France, became a major scandal touching upon politics and L'Oréal's shadowy history, as well as the family's murky secrets arising out of the Second World War. This book had many layers that captivated my interest and read at times like a spellbinding thriller. 

Before reading "THE BETTENCOURT AFFAIR", I knew very, very little about L'Oréal. For me, it was a simply a name of some big cosmetics company that dealt with beauty and fashion whose products I had seen advertised on TV over the years. Thank you, Tom Sancton, for this book. It's truly impressive and reflects well the research that went into its creation and development. The author taught me a lot and deepened my already wide-ranging fascination with French history and culture. This book is a keeper.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-07-12 06:52
Mortal Republic by Edward J. Watts
Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny - Edward J. Watts

TITLE:  Mortal Republic:  How Rome Fell Into Tyranny

 

AUTHOR:  Edward J. Watts

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  6 November 2018

 

FORMAT:  ARC ebook

 

ISBN-13:  978-0-465-09381-6

_________________________________

 

NOTE: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

_________________________________

 

Book Description:

"A new history of the Roman Republic and its collapse.

In Mortal Republic, prizewinning historian Edward J. Watts offers a new history of the fall of the Roman Republic that explains why Rome exchanged freedom for autocracy. For centuries, even as Rome grew into the Mediterranean's premier military and political power, its governing institutions, parliamentary rules, and political customs successfully fostered negotiation and compromise. By the 130s BC, however, Rome's leaders increasingly used these same tools to cynically pursue individual gain and obstruct their opponents. As the center decayed and dysfunction grew, arguments between politicians gave way to political violence in the streets. The stage was set for destructive civil wars--and ultimately the imperial reign of Augustus.

The death of Rome's Republic was not inevitable. In Mortal Republic, Watts shows it died because it was allowed to, from thousands of small wounds inflicted by Romans who assumed that it would last forever.
"

______________________________

 

I usually battle to enjoy history books that deal with the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire - they are just too confusing and boring.  THIS book is different.  I actually enjoyed reading it.  The writing is clear and accessible, the subject straightforward, and the relevance of that subject to the current political climate highlighted.  

Mortal Republic covers the Roman Republic period between 280 BC and 27 BC, when the Roman Senate formally granted Octavian overarching power and the new title Augustus, effectively marking the end of the Roman Republic.  This book is not a biography of any particular set of Romans nor is it exclusively a military history.  It does however successfully weave together politics, military, social and biographical details, along with the how and why events occurred and what this meant for the Repbulic in the long term.  
 
In addition to a general history of the Roman Republic, Watts attempts to understand the current political realities of our world by studying what went wrong in the ancient Roman Republic, upon which many modern republics are based.  The author makes evident that serious problems arise from both politicians who disrupt a republic's political norms, and from the citizens who choose not to punish them for doing so.  In the end, Romans came to believe that liberty - political stability and freedom from domestic violence and foreign interference - could only exist in a political entity controlled by one man.  This book explores why one of the longest-existing republics traded the liberty of political autonomy for the security of autocracy.  

I found this book to be enjoyable, well-written and providing a new perspective on an old topic.

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-06-04 06:03
The Big Ones by Lucy Jones
The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us (and What We Can Do about Them) - Lucy Jones

TITLE:  The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us (and What We Can Do about Them).

 

AUTHOR:  Lucy Jones

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2018

 

FORMAT:  Hardcover

 

ISBN-13:  9780385542708

 

_____________________________

From the blurb:

"By a veteran seismologist of the U.S. Geological Survey, a lively and revealing history of the world's most disruptive natural disasters, their impact on our culture, and new ways of thinking about the ones to come.

Natural disasters emerge from the same forces that give our planet life. Earthquakes have provided us with natural springs. Volcanoes have given us fertile soil. A world without floods would be a world without rain. It is only when these forces exceed our ability to withstand them that they become disasters. Together, these colossal events have shaped our cities and their architecture; elevated leaders and toppled governments; influenced the way we reason, feel, fight, unite, and pray. The history of natural disasters is a history of ourselves.


The Big Ones is a look at some of the most devastating disasters in human history, whose reverberations we continue to feel today. It considers Pompeii, and how a volcanic eruption in the first century AD challenged and reinforced prevailing views of religion for centuries to come. It explores the California floods of 1862, examining the failures of our collective memory. And it transports us to today, showing what Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami can tell us about governance and globalization.


With global temperatures rising, natural disasters are striking with greater frequency. More than just history, The Big Ones is a call to action. Natural disasters are inevitable; human catastrophes are not. With this energizing and richly researched book, Jones offers a look at our past, readying us to face down the Big Ones in our future."

_________________________

 

This book provides a superficial look at a few of the world's biggest natural disasters and how these disasters effected societies.  Jones explores how the disaster victims and relevant governments dealt with the catastrophe and what they are doing to mitigate the adverse effects of any subsequent natural disasters.  This is a history book with minimal, superficial science.  The book is informative with an easy going writing style, however, I was hoping for more specific information on the disaster themselves and the engineering options used to mitigate disaster impacts.  This book makes for a good introductory text to the subject.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-02-02 05:46
The Accidental Scientist by Graeme Donald
The Accidental Scientist: The Role of Chance and Luck in Scientific Discovery - Graeme Donald

TITLE:   The Accidental Scientist: The Role of Chance and Luck in Scientific Discovery

 

AUTHOR:  Graeme Donald

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2014

 

FORMAT:  Hardback

 

ISBN-13: 9781782430155

 

___________________________________

 

This is a rather short, but interesting, book that takes a look at the history behind various scientific discoveries and inventions.  All of the topics were chosen because chance or luck were involved in their discovery/invention.  Each chapter is a separate unit that covers a particular topic, such as botox, explosive cellulose, synthetic dyes, penicillin, post-it notes, lobotomies, the cellphone, LSD etc.  This book isn't in-depth science or history but is entertaining and informative without being boring.  The writing style is particularly conversational and witty.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?