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review 2017-11-30 21:17
The campaigns of the "Great Commoner"
William Jennings Bryan, Vol. 1: Political Evangelist, 1860-1908 - Paolo E. Coletta

Among failed presidential candidates, few have the iconic stature of William Jennings Bryan. Though frustrated in his three campaigns for the presidency, his championing of the issues of rural Americans made “the Great Commoner” a hero to millions. Paolo E. Coletta’s book, the first volume of a three volume biography of Bryan, covers his early years and his political career through his final attempt to become president.

The son of a local politician, Bryan grew up in Illinois in a strongly religious household. After college he embarked upon law school and a career in the law, moving to Nebraska in 1883. Though successful as an attorney, his true passion was politics, and he won election to Congress in 1890 as a Democrat. There he became a staunch advocate of agrarian issues, calling for tariff reductions, the establishment of an income tax, and the free and unlimited coinage of silver. Bryan soon found himself at odds with Grover Cleveland over the silver issue, and decided to leave Congress in 1894 in a futile pursuit of statewide office.


A powerful orator, Bryan’s continued advocacy for silver coinage even after leaving Congress made him a contender for the 1896 Democratic presidential nomination. His famous and impassioned “cross of gold” speech at the convention captured the imagination of the delegates, who chose him as their party’s nominee the following day – at 36, the youngest presidential nominee in American history. Though Bryan campaigned vigorously, he was defeated by the Republican nominee, William McKinley, in what proved a historic turning point in national politics.


Despite his defeat Bryan continued his political activism. He remained true to the cause of silver, and when Cuba’s status became a national issue Bryan advocated its independence. Defeated again in a rematch with McKinley, Bryan nevertheless maintained a visible presence with highly profitable speaking tours and the publication of The Commoner, a weekly journal espousing agrarian political issues and Jeffersonian principles. Coletta argues that during this period Bryan was a prophet of progressivism, endorsing the emerging political mood for which much of his own advocacy had paved the way. His concerns about the excesses of capitalism prompted Bryan to run for the presidency a third and final time in 1908, in a campaign that ended in a frustrating and perplexing defeat at the hands of William Howard Taft.


First published in 1964, Coletta’s book represented the first scholarly biography of Bryan. Based as it was on considerable archival labors, it remains an essential source for anyone seeking to understand the course of Bryan’s iconic life. Yet the lack of a systematic analysis of Bryan’s life based upon the research Coletta undertook is a serious disappointment, as readers are forced to draw their own conclusions from the details the author provides. Because of this, anyone seeking an introduction to Bryan would be better served turning to Robert Cherny’s A Righteous Cause or Michael Kazin’s A Godly Hero, both of whom have built upon Coletta’s work to provide an understanding of Bryan’s considerable legacy as a politician and activist.

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text 2017-10-30 00:31
Books I Read in August and September 2017
Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation - Damian Duffy,John Jennings,Octavia E. Butler
Breakfast in Bed (The Innkeepers) - Rochelle Alers
Surrender to Me (The Lawsons of Louisiana) - Donna Hill
Seeking Sarah: A Novel - ReShonda Tate Billingsley
To Wager Her Heart (A Belle Meade Plantation Novel) - Tamera Alexander
Pretty, Nasty, Lovely - Rosalind Noonan
Stay with Me: A novel - Adebayo Ayobami
The Mothers: A Novel - Brit Bennett
Gravel Heart - Abdulrazak Gurnah
Children of Blood and Bone: The OrÏsha Legacy (Children of OrÏsha) - Tomi Adeyemi

I will list the rating and to the side add commentary. 



5 Stars





4 Stars


Breakfast in Bed by Rochelle Alers (solid read)


Seeking Sarah by Reshonda Tate Billingsley (solid read)


To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander (fantastic story, pleasantly surprised)


Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebeyo (unforgettable stand out read)


Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Damian Duffy (Liked this, LOVE book) 



3 Stars


Surrender to Me by Donna Hill (solid read)


Pretty, Nast, Lovely by Rosalind Noonin (interesting story)


Gravel Heart by Abdulrazak Gurnah (good story)



2.5 Stars


The Mothers by Brit Bennett 


I've been thinking what to say about my displeasure with this book. It was an okay read for me. Such a hyped book that I did everything possible to get my hands on it for months; giveaways, egalleys and such. To only be disappointed. There's nothing new here for me. It definitely wasn't what I expected in terms of the storyline. Maybe it's my age. I've read a lot of books and many heavy hitters at a young age. It takes a lot to impress me in story and writing. However, both don't have to be great. I'll take a good story with subpar writing or a well written book with just okay plot. Many love this one. It just wasn't for me. Beautiful cover and great publicity with a new up and coming author, I do believe Ms. Bennett is definitely one to watch!





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review 2017-10-28 14:59
Children's Review
Mama, I Want to See God - Vanessa Fortenberry,Leah Jennings

We received this book to give an honest review. 


In this story a child wants to see God and asks a lot of questions about visiting God, talking to him, being his friend and so forth. Questions that kids do ask because they are curious, the mother in this story has very good answers for the questions that are asked such as God is a great listener and and he loves you. God wants us to rejoice and he invites us to His table. Overall a really good book to read to kids who may have questions about God's love and what he would enjoy. I think the answers are very well thought out and honest. 

As far as pictures go they didn't see very well drawn i.m.o. though it does show the love between mother and child. 

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review 2017-08-07 01:45
Pursued - Elizabeth Jennings

I have read this twice but the other was the EC rewrite.


With that in mind... I had some issue with the first one - some of the things that got rewrote actually made the h seem brainless, and the elaborations on the H's business really didn't work.


They still don't work - at least in the vague way the author intended. He says they raise TBs, Arabians, and QH. Of course he says they breed them and train them, then after 3 years or so they send them back to their owners. Makes sense to me...not.


The h...we don't witness her arguing with the agent over her going into hiding, so we don't get that sense that she's a ditz, and she doesn't really do anything dumb. If anything, the dingbat award goes to the H and others for assuming everyone at that party was friendly, even though there were people there they didn't know. Wouldn't have been an issue if they hadn't panicked and went in to surround her, all armed up. They compounded the error by telling everyone why. Naturally there was a third hitperson who just happened to be among the crowd. Naturally after the H got his feelings hurt by something the h said after they found out the mobster with the hit on her was dead, the hitWOMAN who had been in the diner earlier, paid the h a visit.


Heh; maybe the rewrite was so the H wouldn't look so dumb.

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review 2017-08-06 23:41
Heart to Heart - Elizabeth Jennings

I had difficulty with the h. Smart but dumb comes to mind. Also, I have a hard time believing that she got to the ripe old age of 30 without one bit of sexual curiosity, even allowing for that bad experience at the tender age of 15 which seems to be highly improbable any way, and she defended the guy (honey, even if you were legal age, you were still drunk), saying it was a misunderstanding.


Ok, backing up a bit. She was an afterthought so to speak, a token kid born to a couple of bookworms of some social standing (read, old money). Packed off to private and/or boarding schools, studious, and a child prodigy (of course). She started college at 15. She went to what amounts to a frat party, drank whatever someone passed her, the guy she was talking to invited her to his room... and 15 years later, she still has no concept of what an orgasm is.


That was half of it. Her missing meals - how do you expect to fit in if you don't associate with anyone like say, over a bland machine sammich at lunch? Her distracted driving (and apparently insisting on it because independence was more important than the risk of hitting someone), her tantrums at the H every time he tried to protect her from herself. She got off work early to look over a colleague's notes - in his motel room - and was there for 4 hours. Didn't tell the H she was going to be late, or anything. And got pissed off at him for assuming the worst. Uh...well, what did you think would happen? Are you really that stupid? Remembers the frat party. Oh. Right. Guess you haven't learned anything. Blew up on him after an abused patient's crazy ex confronted her outside her apartment (was puzzled at the lack of security there - how did the creep get to her door? She lived on the 9th floor). He was scared out of his mind, and she went off on him because he wanted her to have a bodyguard.


The H...well, other than his frets of wanting to possess her violently (read, he wanted to lose control like every LMR H we've read, but was reining himself in a *lot* to accommodate the twi...er...heroine)

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