Jan 13, , pm. This is an interesting review and an interesting take on my most disliked president ever. Thanks for making me think about it. Edited: Jan 13, , pm. But of those I've been adult for, GW is among the very lowest in my personal estimation. Usually I check as I go, but missed this one and have corrected it. Perhaps I'll start with earlier books in the series though. I took the chance because it was an Early Reviewers book and I thought, eh, get it over with, the book's short and I can add him to the list of presidents I've read about.
Jen’s Rating system
This book and living through those 8 years ought to just about do it. Edited: Apr 24, , am. It's narrated by John Ames, an elderly Calvinist minister in mid-century Iowa, in a series of letters to his very young son, whom he doesn't expect to see grow up. Lila tells the story of John's much younger wife, and it's every bit the equal to "Gilead" in its power. I will be haunted by these characters for years, and re-reading their stories, and keeping company with them, will be a welcome activity for me as time passes and I search for grace in my own life.
Edited: Jan 31, , pm. I'll be interested to read other reviews. Very moving and educational, even for those of us who lived through the period. Jan 31, , pm.
Don't you just hate when that happens? There was everything to like about it except the characters! Edited: Feb 17, , pm.
This could have been such an interesting and amusing synopsis of what each book of the Bible says, but it's crude instead, and the cartoons add nothing. A great concept ruined by going for the cheap laughs. Edited: Feb 18, , am.
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Invariably I received some version of this response: "Duh! In short, what I think Armstrong is claiming is that because throughout most of our known history there has been no separation between the secular and the spiritual, even theoretically, therefore our communal identity which included the political and religious was the cause of conflict, not religion as a separate entity. Equally to blame for the beginning of organized violence was the agrarian revolution, c BCE, and civilization, with its need to support and control larger populations.
Armstrong also examines the dilemma religions have faced pretty much as soon as they developed: " Folded into the narrative are numerous digressions which add to the conclusion that the book's question requires a much broader range of scholarship than might be obvious. And there are some very interesting facts and events to read about, among them: The first Crusaders, "psychotic" as they massacred thousands of Muslims and Jews, then celebrating their actions in Christian ceremonies.
When asked by his troops how to tell the heretics from the orthodox he had them kill everyone, leaving it to God to "know his own".
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John Locke's introduction into the Western philosophical canon of "the myth of religious violence", as he pushed to separate religion and politics. The Puritan leader John Cotton, exhorting his followers on the "principle of nature" which gave "vacant" land to those who would use it and justified unprovoked attacks on the natives as "a special Commission from God to take their land"; and the Puritans' highly selective use of bellicose Old Testament excerpts rather than the pacifist teachings of Jesus as they killed their native neighbors. Early Virginia, where it was assumed that "all citizens should have the same faith and that it was the duty of any government to enforce religious observance".
The election of , in which Jefferson was accused of being a Muslim. Doesn't that sound familiar? Calvin's non-literal interpretation of parts of the Bible, including Genesis, and fundamentalism's turn to Biblical literalism and denial of science as a recoil from modern life, especially after WWI. The introduction of papal infallibility - in ! The change in Israelite belief towards monotheism - but not until 6th century BCE.
Feb 17, , pm. Ebrahim was 7 at the time of his father's arrest, and what followed was a childhood lost to confusion, fear, and poverty. As a teenager, Ebrahim was offered a job at Busch Gardens, where he finally was able to meet people of other faiths and ethnicities, and he made a complete break with religion, hate, and his father. In a moving final scene, an FBI agent who had worked on Nosair's case met Ebrahim and said she'd always wondered what happened to Nosair's children.
Ebrahim's response: We are not his children anymore. Violins of Hope by James A. Some arrive with moving and remarkable back stories, and this book brings together a collection of these. The musicians portrayed run the gamut from world-renowned violinists to young people who can play just well enough to avoid death, if only temporarily.
The stories are very interesting, but the most powerful aspect of the book is the banality of the evil perpetuated on these people. It's just one small sub-set of victims, but in some ways that makes the horror more immediate and incomprehensible. This book is aimed at a fairly select audience, one which is already familiar with current arguments over which cultures were contributory in the development of the classical Greek culture we credit with inventing democracy, history, drama, and other innovations.
There is extensive referral to Martin Bernal who favored an Afrocentric interpretation of the evidence and to others who have proposed alternative reconstructions. Most of the evidence Haarmann produces is linguistic, and this is the heaviest going for the layperson. As a layperson myself, I cannot offer an adequate judgment of Haarmann's arguments. The book is very badly edited.
There are many missing or misplaced punctuation marks and a few missing and incorrect words. In some cases this changes the meaning of sentences, and, at the least, it forces the reader to stop and consider various meanings before choosing one and moving on.
There is no credit given to a translator, which leaves me to think the author provided it himself. Unfortunately, it appears that no native English-speaker edited the finished manuscript. Feb 18, , am. Very interesting review of Fields of Blood.
It's been on my radar and your comments have me thinking I need to get to it sooner rather than later. I'm reading Lila now. I can't say I mind it, but so far there doesn't seem to be much to it. I'm only on page A lot of interesting books you have been reading. Fields of Blood leaves a lot to think about, but I don't think i could read another book by Karen Armstrong. The Terrorists Son sounds fascinating.
Gilead will always be my favorite, but I was so delighted to get back to that family. I do like Karen Armstrong. Feb 18, , pm. I was asked for a "T dictionary" and managed to find them a thesaurus.
Summer Reading Challenge
I was yelled at by the woman who asked for Oliver Twist by David Copperfield and thought I was an idiot for handing her the one by Charles Dickens. And I was called a feminizi by admitting that I hadn't read Rush Limbaugh 's fine book and didn't plan to, but that it was selling very well. Good times. The book was pretty funny. That may change now. Although there is an awkward unnamed narrator and a second story wrapped around the central narrative, the majority of the book is a superb re-telling of the Payer-Weyprecht Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition of the s, when nations were still trying to find a Northeast or Northwest passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
After two winters trapped in a ship ice-bound near the 80th parallel, the officers and crew abandon the ship and proceed to walk and row when open water is finally reached for several months to get to the uninhabited island of Novaya Zemlya, hoping to find a whale or seal-hunting boat which can return them to Europe. Feb 22, , pm. Levick was a keen observer with a warm sense of humor and obvious fondness for the penguins.
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