Before I say how great this book is, let me say that I never read Civil War things, in fact no books about war. Then I read some quotes from Grant's memoirs in another book and was struck by his lean wording and deep meaning. He was as wise and discerning regarding the Constitution as any Supreme Court Justice I've ever read. He was much more quoatable than most presidents. He was a paragon at military discernment and prediction as to what the enemy would do next. Reading his worda alone would be pleasurable, but having Brands standing in the background, shaping and explaining really makes this book a masterpiece. I have never read history in a clearer, better documented, more readable form. Except for some small battlefield diagrams, the book was very understandable, even for a woman, even one who doesn't read about battlefields. There were human touches in every scene, often descriptions of in individual habits or mannerisms, that made it real. A man with no strong political opinions, Grant decided that he should offer his services in the war to the entity that had educated him at West Point, i.e. the Union. He was comfortable in war, although he deplored the bloodspill. He took every precaution possible beforehand and simply let events go as they would. He was able to see the bigger picture of the war and see the enemy's weak points and strengths and determine what he needed to do to penetrate the weak points. He could see the smaller diagram of an encounter and determine what the enemy would do before he did it. He had early on established respect and trust with his troops, so that he could guide them to best effect in their efforts. Yet after the surrender of the Confederate States, Grant was gracious and great, never suffering glorification or jubilation over the subjugated enemy. Hating and dreading to make public speeches, he talked little in private life either, except perhaps as he played with his children with whom he was very close. He was elected and re-elected President without campaigning because he was so respected. He tried to make reconstruction of the south as painless yet just as possible; he treated Indians with a sympathy and respect they had never experienced before, and he was instrumental in passing civil rights legislation intended to protect the rights of all citizens, even blacks and Republicans in the south. Grant's was a genius hardly ever acknowledged or given due recognition either in his own lifetime or later, entil now. That humble little man was one of the great ones. Burns has well captured the character of Grant and those about him, making this book, altogether, a fine and very readable history of the entire era.
I can't be objective about a book that I so did not want to read. I hate future dystopian novels because they are sad, distorted, usually brutal, and create fear in people for no reason. Certainly this book has the deeper meaning expected from Bradbury. Certainly it has his lyrical writing to pull the reader in initially. The people become so cardboard and boring that it almost becomes a morality play. This points to some of the causes of the desire to censor and the reasons why doing so is a dreadful mistake.
This presents what appears to be a realistic view of Egypt at the turn of the last century, with its color, noise, poverty, and lack of conscience in power hungry aristocrats, both Egyptian and British. I don't know if this is what the times really looked like, but the scene painted certainly seems real because of all the detail, appeal to all five senses, and the reflections of the characters. Women of this era still had almost no rights, even the rich woman was powerless over her own wealth and to keep her husband from cheating on her. Medical knowledge was so scarce in the day that there seemed to be no help for a condition that might today be cured. Religious snobbery, powerlessness of most women, and class boundaries create a horror story of the life of a woman who had spent most of her life working as a faithful lady's companion after she became a loving wife and mother. Betrayal by men is one of the key themes in the novel, sometimes simply because of the different standards for men and women, and sometimes because of the pressure of finances.
Reading the Dan Rhodes books by Bill Crider is always like a visit with a few old friends: comfortable, warm and friendly, people you know and like, familiar setting. If you're from Texas, it's even more familiar. This volume of the series has a few interesting twists, including an ownerless cat, a metal detector club, and a new understanding of women's clubs in small town America. Dan Rhodes is just one small man trying to understand and make his peace with the universe, and I find I like him a lot, and smile at his predilection for Dr. Pepper and cholesteral.
This is a mild escape for the weary woman who needs a little escape that can match her problems but actually solve some of them. When Noreen takes an early buyout from her company, she finds herself at loss at first, but then gets to know two of her neighbors and finds that she likes them. She goes to the adjustment classes that are part of the deal from the company and meets men that she likes. After her mother comes for a surprise visit, Noreen even gets to know her better and like her more. She develops a real interest in her neighbor's lavender farm, takes part in a local political protest, and arranges what may be a new job for herself: her own company.
As nicely detailed and vivid as the book may be, and as corrupt as the villains may be, the book is rather boring and pointless. Little is solved, less is made straight, and almost nothing eventually happens. Justice receives little service, especially for the children who have suffered in this sort of semi-legal skullduggery. It is really a mystery of whether the middle aged, often drunken fat man has any character or backbone or if the honored judge who has been his benefactor for years does or not?
Although things are continually happening and the tension tightens, the book has little plot, in my opinion, because it doesn't have a real ending or point. It explores old age caught in difficult circumstances with change being demanded. A lady remembers her first sight of the house and her future husband and all the memories collected in the house over the years, good and bad. So as the demolition crews move closer and closer, she refuses to move.
This book is full of fabulous new information that has been discovered about the pre-Columbian Americas and the devastating effects of the coming of the Europeans. I read both the Young Adult and Adult versions, one with more pictures and one with more material, and the complement each other but both are great. These books give so much new insight into the way history works and the way our land was conquered and devastated by the Europeans. There is much information and history of the natives who were here before and how they got here. There is a lot of extra information, such as explanations of weather phenomenon and climate as well as chemical reactions of pertinent materials as well as the development of technology. Naturally, this all opens and leaves as many questions as are answered and leave the reader with a thirst for more material on the subject. A fascinating introduction.
Giving this a star is actually stretching it a bit. I couldn't decide if this book was a pop science piece dolled up with a little soap opera or if it was a melodrama dusted with a little science information to give it some respectability (or try to). These were the flatest and least original characters I can remember all together in one book. Turns out I didn't really care enough to finish the book and find out. It wasn't even worth the effort it took to remember how to spell the title.