A diverting story. Poignant enough to be a version of the truth. Tormented love isn't my favorite, but this story of Johannes Vermeer and the maid, Griet, is exotically dramatic. It suggests the strength of inescapable, lifelong emotions.
Very hard cheese to read this and try to be sympathetic to both Danny Saunders and Reuven Malter. If the insights into Hasidic and otherwise orthodox Jewish culture are accurate, it is depressing. This is a window into the sad distraction of so many human beings with the limitations and constraints of their culture and religion. It is difficult to think of Danny or Reuven living a productive, exuberant, joyous and emotionally/morally satisfying life. Their religion and culture puts too many obstacles in their path.
A peculiar history of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair (World's Columbian Exposition), Director of Works Daniel Burnham and the serial murderer H. H. Holmes (Herman Webster Mudgett). The history of each of them is engaging enough. It seems like two separate books interleaved into one. The prose is doggedly correct and without style. The organization of the Fair management is predictably muddled. The central role of architects including landscape architect Olmstead is fascinating and soooo 19th century.
A powerfully engaging book, heavy on history and heavy on observation and assessment of historical and current technology of communication. "Technology changes the way we think," is one of my takeaways. From the jacket: "…the story of information technologies that changed the very nature of human consciousness."
Most provocative book I've read on American life since Jane Jacobs' "Death and Life of Great American Cities." Bishop says gerrymandering isn't the key cause of entrenched Washington members of Congress; rather, Americans have been segregating themselves sociologically and politically since 1965 into increasingly homogeneous counties and election districts. People are clustering with PLUs, "people like us." This clustering generates increasingly partisan and intemperate political results, as members of the majority socially vie with each other to be "more" mainstream, and the disaffected minority increasingly opts out of political activity or simply moves to a more socially/politically comfortable town. Very scary.
This AFSCME account reveals the raw functioning of political power and the use of patronage (providing jobs) as a means of maintaining power. Also, candidly, it shows the noble origin of the laborers' unions and the ultimate corruption of the union leadership.
I heard Beschloss speak recently at a local college, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. He sounded just like his book: anecdotal, marginally interesting, uninspired.If you're a serious student of history, you don't need this book on your shelf. For public school students, it could be an appealing way to start learning about presidential history.
Fascinating story of the life of a libriphile or book-o-phile. Worth re-reading for book collection tips.See Taste and Technique in Book-Collecting by John Carter.See Clegg's dictionary of the world book trade