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Search tags: world-after
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review 2018-04-16 03:08
A good story about a child and an old man who learn from each other.
News of the World: A Novel - Paulette Jiles

Captain Jefferson Kidd travels around from small town to small town, like Cyrano de Bergerac, reading from newspapers and sharing the news of the world with those who pay a dime for the privilege of listening to him read it. Newspapers were scarce then and not everyone could read. For some it was a social event, and for some it was a time to raise a ruckus. Once, the captain had his own printing press, but the wars during his lifetime had taken their toll. He had lived seven decades, and he missed both his deceased wife and his former newsman’s life. His two daughters lived in Georgia, where the Civil War had also altered their lifestyles. They did not have the money to rejoin him in his home town in Texas, but he hoped they would some day soon.

During his travels, he arrived in a town and noticed the same man he had seen at his last couple of readings. He wondered why he had been following him. The man, soon revealed his reason. Britt Johnson*, asked the captain to take a child back to her German relatives. He offered him the $50 gold coin he was given for the task, because he said the child was belligerent and white. He did not think, as a black man, that he could guarantee her safety or his own. The child had been kidnapped at the age of six. She witnessed the death of both her parents and her younger sister who were murdered by the Kiowa. Now, after four years, she had forgotten her past and fully identified with the Indian tribe more than with her own true biological background. The captain agreed to take Johanna home to an aunt and uncle because, although he was old and the journey would be hard, he felt it was the right thing to do. How he managed to get Johanna to her relatives and what he learned about them, was the crux of the novel.

As they traveled together, they both learned more about life from each other. Just as the captain tried to help Johanna adjust to the more civilized world, this precocious child showed him how comfortable it was to live in the more savage world of her last four years. She was a survivor and she became a great help to him. She was resourceful, intuitive, precocious and far more mature than her years.

Soon, although the child and the captain were burdened with their memories, they learned how to comfort each other and fulfill each other’s need for affection and someone to trust. The story of their travels and relationship was both interesting and exciting to read as the lawlessness and danger of the territories began to surface on each page. The author’s description of the time and place made the reader feel right in the thick of it. How they survived and moved off into the future was simply a good story. However, the writing style was unusual because no quotations were used to delineate speech from pure narrative which sometimes led to confusion. Also, it was difficult to tell which parts of the story were based on real history and which were based on the author’s imagination.

*Britt Johnson is the stuff of legends. A hero, Johnson was the slave of Moses Johnson who freed him and gave him money enabling him to rescue his own family from the Indians.

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review 2018-04-13 18:25
Judy Moody Saves The World, Megan McDonald
Judy Moody Saves The World! - Megan McDonald,Peter H. Reynolds

This middle school age book was fun. I received it for free and voluntarily chose to review it. While it was fun with a lot of action, the characters lacked any real depth. I would have liked to see a little more. While it was centered on recycling and saving the world, I would have liked to have answers as to why. I would hope that this would make some of our teenagers think about it more. Because it was a little fun and a good subject matter, I've given this a 4* rating and I'll be sharing this with my grandchildren.

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review 2018-04-13 16:59
Romania and the First World War
The Romanian Battlefront in World War I (Modern War Studies) - Glenn E. Torrey

While there is no shortage of books covering the various battles and campaigns of the Western Front, other areas of the war have long gone unaddressed by English-language historians. One of those areas is the Romanian front, where a country surrounded on nearly all sides by members of the Central Powers nevertheless joined the conflict in 1916 and suffered mightily as a result. One of the few scholars outside of Romania to have studied this period is Glenn Torrey, and this book represents the culmination of his work. The fruit of a lifetime of archival labors, it provides to English language readers for the first time an accessible history of the Romanian war effort and its impact on the broader conflict.

 

Beginning his book with Romania’s decision to join the war in 1916, Torrey describes ambitions unmatched by preparation, as the Romanian leadership courted war with their desire to annex Transylvania yet did little to ready the Romanian army for the conflict. Though they initially enjoyed the advantage of surprise, the Romanians were soon reeling under the successive counter-offensives launched by the Central Powers. With French assistance the Romanians were able to rebuild their devastated army, but the collapse of the Russian war effort over the course of 1917 left the Romanians facing insurmountable odds and with little other choice but to surrender. Having promised to demobilize their army, the Romanians dragged it out as news of the failure of the Ludendorff Offensive gave them new hope. As Torrey makes clear, however, their reentry into the war in its last days proved less important to their subsequent success at the Paris Peace Conference than their efforts to stabilize the Balkans once the Central Powers had surrendered.

 

Overall, Torrey’s book provides readers with a superb history of this unjustly-overlooked front of the war. Its main flaw is in Torrey’s habit of overstating the importance of events in the area to the overall events of the war. This is a minor complaint, though, when assessed against the magnitude of the author’s achievement. What he had provided is a history of Romania’s war that will serve as the go-to study for decades to come for anyone interested in the topic.

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review 2018-04-13 16:21
Looking for death in all the right places
From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death - Caitlin Doughty

Here I am talking about death again. Part of me worries that 'harping' on about this subject and these books will turn away the average reader to my blog but the larger part of me (and the one who runs things) believes that if I am going to be authentic with my reviews then I have to follow my mood with what books I voluntarily choose to read. That being said, I'm here to talk about Caitlin Doughty's second book From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death. As the title suggests, this is a bit more of a travelogue piece about the death industry. This book explores in depth the way that death is viewed, celebrated, and treated in different countries and cultures. [A/N: I don't know that it needs to be necessarily spelled out but just in case: This book is not for those who shy away from talk of decomposition and graphic depictions of death in general.] Caitlin visits places both far-flung and just around the riverbend all in search of what she terms the Good Death. (For more info visit her website to see if you'd like to join her group.)  She attended an open air cremation where the body is laid atop a pyre and the ceremony is experienced by all members of the community (Colorado). In Japan the families are brought in after the body has been cremated so that they can extricate the bones by chopstick to place them in an urn for safekeeping. She experienced Fiesta de las Ñatitas in La Paz and spoke to those who celebrate these saints by collecting and displaying shrunken skulls (and in some cases mummified heads). One of my favorite places that she described was the Corpse Hotel in Japan where you can visit your deceased family member in the comfort and splendor of an upscale hotel. Overall, From Here to Eternity is a fascinating look at the way that death is addressed by various cultures around the world. It serves as a sobering reminder that death is not accepted but rather feared here in America. If you are interested in the ways that others approach death and how they treat their dead (some cultures revisit the dead to clean and redress them as a sign of honor and remembrance) then I urge you to read this book. 9/10

 

P.S. I'm not done with books on this subject. Keep an eye out for at least 1 possibly 2 more in the not too distant future.

 

What's Up Next: How to Love the Empty Air by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-04-13 03:24
Precursor to "the Blitz"
The Sky on Fire: The First Battle of Britain, 1917-1918 - Raymond H. Fredette,Tom D. Crouch

Today the Battle of Britain has become an indelible part of the British historical identity, one with which nearly every Briton is familiar on some level. In the process, however, the air battles between the British and the Germans often obscure the fact that the air campaign was hardly unprecedented even in British history. For during the last two years of the war, the German Luftstreitkräfte launched a bombing campaign of London and the Home Counties, one which Raymond Fredette argues was a forerunner for the more famous sequel nearly a quarter of a century later.

 

To demonstrate this, Fredette charts both the development of the German’s air campaign and the British response to it. As he describes it, the German campaign was a product of evolving technology, namely the improvement in German aircraft design. With British air defense forces increasingly successful in their efforts to shoot down the zeppelins used in Germany’s initial bombing campaign, the Germans turned to large biplane bombers as a means to strike their enemy across the channel. Though the flights were generally small and the damage they inflicted had a negligible impact on Britain militarily, they elicited a response out of all proportion to their effect. Numerous guns and fighters were diverted from other missions to provide for the defense of London, which proved a considerable challenge as the bombers proved to be much more difficult targets to locate (let alone shoot down) than the ponderous zeppelins. Yet it was the weather and the turn of the larger war against the Germans that doomed the campaign, as by the summer of 1918 the bombers were diverted to support the doomed offensive on the Western Front, having nevertheless established a precedent that would be followed by others.

 

Though Fredette draws primarily from contemporary news reports and other published accounts for his information, he uses this information to good effect. As a career air force officer he infuses his narrative with a professional’s understanding of the challenges the pilots and their superiors faced in both mounting and responding to the bombing campaign. Written with a sense of the dramatic, his book provides an engaging narrative of the “first battle of Britain,” one that makes a good case for its underappreciated significance to the history of strategic air warfare.

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