I'm really enjoying this book. I'm about 90% finished but the book is so enjoyable, I am not worried about my review changing.
Dershowitz discusses the cases that have influenced our law and politics. This book is especially interesting in light of the recent Supreme Court hearings on DOMA and same sex marriage. You don't have to be a lawyer to appreciate this book, but it does make it easier.
Dershowitz discusses cases including OJ, Mike Tyson, Klaus von Bulow, and Bush v. Gore. Keep in mind that he was personally involved in some of the cases so his opinions are different than the average person. I definitely got the feeling that he thinks OJ did it - big shocker, I know.
Keep in mind that he is very left wing so take his opinions with a grain of salt if you are not.
This is like listening to a fascinating law school lecture - and that's a good thing.
The book makes me want to visit Japan.
The book discusses the author's 10 visits to Japan and how her view of the country changes over time. Because of this book, I bought another one about Japanese culture.
She described how women and men are treated differently in Japan and how an added complication arises when the woman is an American and a professional. I felt sad for the salarymen and the endless studying for students. Her description of the island of Oki sounds wonderful - swimming around collecting glass balls used in fishing. This is in contrast with the Practice House - a house associated with a women's college where women students are taught how to behave in America. The only problem is that the Practice House is stuck in the 1960's, which matches the assumption that women's role in America is to cook, clean and make crafts.
I understand that an experience in a different country is individualistic. It is not fair to criticize the book because it doesn't match another person's experience. Just appreciate it for what it is - a retelling of events that happened to that person, at that time, in the place.
I enjoyed learning about the author's experience in Japan.
This is a fun book especially if you have an interest in cycling. First - you can't imagine how those people could ride so far on the old style bikes, fully loaded with the old heavy cameras. It's hard enough riding on top-of-the-line bikes. Second, the feats are tremendous - traveling all over the world at a time when people rarely traveled to another state.
The story is about a man who wanted to ride around the world and ended up being killed in Turkey. Another cyclist was sent to uncover the mystery and he tried his best to bring the culprits to justice.
The book is a little slow in the beginning as it jumps from one set of characters to another and you don't understand the overlay. The book puts it together at about the midway point. It gets so frustrating towards the end because of all the political bs that the rescuer had to deal with - some things never change.
Stick with the book - you'll be happy you did.
We have all heard about the Dust Bowl in grade school but the horribleness never really sunk in. I didn't know it lasted years and the extent to which the area was destroyed. The book takes you on a journey from when the land was beautiful prairie for the cowboys and American Indians and then discusses how the cultivation of the land led to a fantastic bounty which led to its demise. And as bad as things got, people wouldn't leave - some out of choice and some because they refused to let go of their dreams. We learn about things that are so heartbreaking and we hope nothing this horrible ever happens again.
One of the best books of the year - highly recommended.
The book is about one of the oldest surviving cultures in the world - the Basques.
The book discusses Basque language, cooking (including some recipes), culture, historically significant people, graffiti (3+4=1), sports (pelota), internal conflicts among the Basques themselves, the Spanish Civil War (the German bombing of Guernica), art, WWII, religion (Catholic versus secularism) and current issues. I didn't realize the Spanish government was so dictorial towards this culture.
The author is supportive of a Basque nation but that doesn't seem possible now. He almost justifies Basque violence by saying the Spanish government also engages in violence. The author thinks it is realistic for the Basques to follow their own laws but still be a part of Spain/France. That is not logical.
I gained so much knowledge and understanding of this culture. I wish I knew more about the people when I was in Spain so I could have been on the lookout for cultural references.
There is a question-answer session at the end of the audiobook. I would have liked to have heard how the Basque language sounded.
My only knowledge about Scientology was driving by their building in Los Angeles and seeing tabloid gossip.
I had NO idea what a crazy group this was.
The book takes you from the beginning of L Ron Hubbard's life to when he wrote science fiction, to when he decided to start a new "religion," to the rise of the "church," to Tom Cruise's marriage with Katie Holmes. (I wonder how the book would have addressed the breakup.) I didn't realize there was a Scientology group who rode the high seas and that there were different "bases" in the United States.
Although their beliefs aren't much different than any other religion, the group is friggin' scary. They hold church members "prisoner" if they do not follow certain standards and they chase down members who leave.
The book gives good examples of how normal people would get caught up in this craziness and crazy became normal.
Diseases can be so interesting. This book takes you on a trip back to Victorian London where people dumped crap in their basements, threw buckets of it out the window and let it sit around in open cesspools.
The story starts with a sick baby's soiled diapers and goes on to describe how Baby Lewis' waste infected water from the Broad Street Pump and killed an enormous amount of people in eight days. Dr. John Snow and the Rev. Henry Whitehead started on two separate paths to solve the mystery as to what was killing the population and ended up combining their efforts to produce a treatise on the dangers of contaminated water.
I loved the description of people who made their living collecting poo and how this process is good for society in general. The most boring part was when the author recited every question that was listed in the Board of Public Health questionnaire.
The last chapter is dedicated to what the cholera outbreak in London has to do with us now and for our future. That part is very scary.
The book is about the author's investigation into writing a Rolling Stone article (June 2010) on Gen. Stanley McChrystal who was in charge of the war in Afghanistan as well as the fallout after publication of the article.
Now that I have finished the book, I'm dying to read the RS article. The author never realized what a sh*tstorm the article would create - and it did.
The middle part of the book is a little boring but stick with it. The end where the sh*t hits the fan and the fallout at the White House is fantastic.
The story is also interesting knowing about Gen Petraeus' recent scandal in Florida.
The sad part about the book is that you realize we have no business in the war. We aren't winning, they don't want us there, they don't even want democracy and our soldiers are risking the lives for nothing. It's time to bring our troops home.
This book ended too soon. I loved learning the basic about how the body works. It was well organized by body part and made sense to a history major such as myself. There is a 73 page coursebook that comes as a PDF.
The author is funny in a dorky way and he had funny little jokes that he he enjoyed immensely.)
I would buy Part 2, 3, 4, etc or anything by this author.
The content of the book is very interesting - different ways a cadaver is used.
My only complaint is about the author's style. She must have low self esteem because she constantly crowbars comments and/or jokes to show how brave she is, how pushy she is to get interviews, how "sick" she is (yes, I get that you like dead bodies for the 100th time), how well she understands French (please - don't tell a joke in French if you don't translate it), etc. So anticipate a few eye rolls when you listen.
I loved the content but if you are sensitive to animal abuse, be careful. There are several times when animal experimentation is discussed in detail, with apparently little concern for the animals. The author even makes jokes about this subject which seems very crass. (I'm not sensitive about jokes but it's hard to listen to horrible abuse and then hear a joke after it.)
I wish the author had let the subject speak for itself and just give the information.
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