As soon as I started listening to this, my first impulse was to trash it as trash. And I have not changed my opinion – but only put it into context – the natural work of a trashy culture. It is not literature – but people are no longer interested in that. They want trash – and Domenica Ruta knows how to dish that out.
She has a big advantage over me – she can remember her dysfunctional childhood – in amazing detail. I cannot remember much of anything before I was ten. It was too terrible for me to remember – and no one who was there during that terrible time wanted to remember it either.
Her family relished their terrible lives and wanted to remember all of it. Not knowing that one of their own would cash in on it with this book.
The book starts out with a bang: with an explanation of how the atomic bomb and the computer were motivated by the same forces, with the same potential for destruction.
But it quickly gets bogged down details, instead of keeping the overall story firmly in mind. The author uncovered tons of details, and cannot resist showing them off.
I didn't even make it though the first part.
I can’t believe the moral indignation of the other reviewers. Once again, I am reminded that our world regressed in the last century, not progressed.
I have to admit that after hearing the first chapter, when she tells how the story of her adolescent affair with JFK forty years earlier hit the news, I felt ashamed to be interested in it. But she quickly set me at ease, and make me part of the story – as any good writer can do – and she is a excellent writer. I assumed at first it was ghost-written, but became convinced she wrote it herself – at least most of it.
This is history, and should be regarded as such – history written by an insider with a special background. That is probably also why I could identify with her, because I had a similar, sexually repressed childhood. Something nearly impossible to get over.
Back in the early Sixties, when this history was happening, my life was also centered on New York City. Beth and I got married when we were living living in Manhattan. We later moved to California, but our New York years stand out as some of the best in our hectic, short life together.
In the Sixties America had its last chance to redeem itself – and failed. Mimi’s history is a vital part of that story.
This book sounds like it was written by a gossip columnist. I realize it was written by a fine historian, but in dealing with Andrew Jackson, he didn't have much other material to work with.
When Jackson became President, the era of the Founding Fathers was over, and our modern political system was born. If this had been its purpose, the book could have been much shorter - and for me, more interesting.
Jackson, to use his words, was a man of the people - of the political mass, which he identified with completely. The American frontiersmen were just that - crude and greedy - as they made clear by their treatment of the Indians.
This could probably be made into a movie, with the most salacious parts emphasized. The jealousies of the women would provide some interesting character studies, much like a soap opera - which it resembles.
Only it they had plenty of time on their hands.
The young man kept making the same mistakes, over and over.
Only it it were abridged.
This was originally published as three volumes. The first one would have been adequate.
If blood, gore, and witches are your taste, you will get plenty of these. I enjoyed all the action, blood and all.
It must have been written with a movie in mind, and I am sure the scenery was magnificent - and the heavy-handed plot (lots of muscle, but little brain) would be no difficulty there.
After MacBeth became King, the story started falling apart, and I stopped listening to it.
Where he killed the traitor, realized he had probably made a mistake, but put it out of his mind.
Narration is excellent, sounds like a Scot
His story about his experiences with Fitzgerald in Paris is the largest of these stories, and it really a biography in its own right. His ability to describe Fitzgerald’s looks and quirks shows his own writing genius. This is Hemingway at his personal best: the man who supported another genius even though that genius had severe mental handicaps.
The character of Lily is never developed consistently - and the changes in her moods, which form much of the novel, were often baffling to this male reader. This was not helped by the narrator - who in the long dialogues, does not make it clear which person is speaking. I was often left in the dark about what was going on.
I was not interested in the habits of the rich either - which must have been of great interest to many of the readers of this novel of manners.
One thing I did not miss, however, was the obligatory sexuality that now prevails. It was refreshing to hear of intense affairs between men and women without overt sexuality ever being mentioned.
The amount of research that went into this book was amazing. He must of read nearly everything available in American, German, and Soviet sources - including many diaries.
Professor Dodd was the central Character - but his daughter is was far more interesting. She committed nearly every indiscretion imaginable - and some of them several times.
We will never be able to understand the Nazi era, but this at least helps us.
I was so impressed by this book, I am going to buy the paper book, and read it while I am listening to the audio book, so I can understand what she is saying.
However my friends, including my lesbian friends, wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. This is one subject they stay away from as far as possible. For them it is too serious, too intellectual, says too much about the ambiguities of love - and the human condition in general.
It seems to me we are all alike - whether we like it or not.
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