Thought provoking look at the role of cooking in the evolution of man. In fact, the most important influence. Very logical argument that takes you to places that you night not have considered such as we are hairless upright running apes because we tamed fire thus making body fur unnecessary which makes us much more efficient at cooling and thus able to outrun furred game that overheats after a short period. Gets into the relationships between men and women, the expansion of the brain, the growth of society, etc., all traceable to cooking of food. Short and thought provoking. Arguments well supported and well narrated. I recommend.
I strongly recommend for perspective on European attitudes and relations with USA today.
Description of the fall of communism after 1989.
This book covers a lot of ground, for a lot of countries, but does an adequate job of giving at once the general historical and cultural trends, and enough detail of the personalities and events that shaped the era. The book stops around 2005, however, before the current economic difficulties. This would be an entire new chapter because as of 2005 Europe was in the ascendency, optimistic and successful. What a difference 5 years can make. As we leave the narrative, Europe is more anti-American, richer and confident that it is now. I urge Mr. Judt to update his book with a sequal or second edition to cover more recent events.
This was a great listen. Brings what is unfortunately an obscure historical subject for most North Americans to life. Reads like a novel, driven by greed, violence, brutality and the personalities of the principals. The last section of the book, on the American "discovers" of the Incan ruins is a change of pace, but nonetheless interesting. Focuses on the personalities, errors and ambitions of the finders. Made me look into the geography of Peru to get a sense of the stage on which this tragedy was played out. Highly recommend.
I was not a Vietnam vet but this is probably as close as I will ever get. A compilation of vignettes, mostly fictional but possible and based on the author's wartime experiences. I was not sure whether to sympathize with the author or not and sometimes his remembrences can be maudlin, but the book has staying power and I read on for the up front, in your face feel of war and the times the war and the people existed in.
I had never read McCarthy so this was just a whim. The action is graphic and often horrific; humanity can be bestial and merciless. There is very little human compassion in this book, and there may have been none on the frontier. The prose is often poetic, and the dialogue seems authentically 19th Century -- either monosylabic or ornate depending on one's education. There seems to be no moral, no uplifting lesson, and no deeper meaning to the violence. The Kid only matures in his accumulation of experiences and he does not seem to draw philosophical conclusions from them. He carries the ears of his victims to his (possible) death, so no remorse.The reader is free to read whatever meaning he desires into the events. Most characters die violently except the enigmatic Judge. He is the cause of, and often the solution to, the violence and salvation that occurs (the latter is always fleeting). If you agree that the lot of humanity is cursed, violent, hopeless and without charity, but that we realize that fact, accept it, but perservere nonetheless, then you will appreciate this book. I could not put it down.
I am of two minds about this book. On the one hand it is well written, fast paced, with good characterizations of the generals and dialogue based on historical behavior, graphic and gripping battle descriptions that had my hair on end. It focusses on well known personalities such as Hunt, Chamberline and Armistead so. But as the book progressed I found myself not wanting to read on as the novel more and more digressed from reality. Part of this is due to my northern leanings, my dislike of Newt and what he stands for, and the idea that he and his ilk could have prevailed -- evil over good. But part of me rebelled at how the rebels make all the correct moves and have all the good luck, while the yankees make all the wrong moves and have all the bad luck. As a civil war buff with passable knowledge of the Gettysburg campaign, the authors' premises -- a more involved Lee, taking Longstreet's advice not to attack, and executing flanking marches ala 2nd Manassas and Chancellorsville -- are very plausible. But then everything goes right. Even Lee's few missteps such as Ewell's failure to attack on the left flank on July 4, has no detrimental effect because Lee takes personal charge late in the day and prevails. I doubt whether this outcome was likely or even possible, and became furious as I watched the alternate historians seemingly rewrite history to minimize all of Lee's problems and maximize Meade's. I suspect that this is the history that Newt and many others wish had happened, and I, the reader, am powerless to stop them. They obviously idolize Lee and Longsteet (how many times does Lee say this in the book about his men?). I do recommend this book to Civil War history buffs. Those with limited knowledge of the actual campaign and the personalities will probably find little to engage them. The author's play off Lee's historical complacency and indecision but gives far too little credit to the union commanders. For want of horse . . .
I am a sucker for alternate reality. That said, this book was interesting. The initial battle sequence is excellent as are later battle sequences. The world they discover is interesting. Characters are shallow and I feel the author missed lots of opportunities to work the character differences and to make the plot more interesting. This is pure good guys/bad guys but as an escape, it rates a listen. I will probably try the next book. The love interest crept in at the end. Kind of clumsy and clunky. Stick with the action, monsters and technology.
I love time travel and this is well done. There are some strange plot contrivances (the hero is a female, black, gay ninja coast guard officer)but the battle scenes are gripping and fast and the adaptation of the moderns to bronze age realities is also realistic and interesting, though in my opinion, a bit optimistic. The main plot mechanism is a mutiny by a thoroughly evil subordinate so it is also a tale of good versus evil. We good; he bad. But for entertainment, the book is fast, interesting and plausible event though the precipitating "event" is never explained. The people have to live with the situation they are placed in. Hope this helps.
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