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Carl A. Gallozzi

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The Lost Girls of Paris audiobook cover art

WW2 - SOE - Women - stories - success and failure

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-26-19

I was interested in the "history" of the British Government's Special Operation Executive (S.O.E.) during WW II.


WWI and WW II-based historical fiction seems to be a "hot genre" right now with Kate Quinn's two novels - and "The Lost Girls of Paris" - as a partial list of novels in this "genre".

I enjoyed the novel - although the ending wasn't as good as the earlier portions of the book.

The narrative is woven by Chapters - and the narrative and experiences of the significant characters is related to the reader. These principal characters (all women) show grit and determination against the forces that oppose them - some surprising (even) themselves.

I won't reveal the plot - but it details how an organization was formed; recruits selected, trained, sent "into the field" and managed as if they were chess pieces. One character in a different plot line attempts to pull the previous plot lines together.

Enjoyable - students of the subject and period would appreciate.

Carl Gallozzi

The Haunted Life audiobook cover art

Early Kerouac - Lowell, Ma. - shows brilliance

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-21-19

Disclaimer: "The Haunted Life" is the first work by Jack Kerouac that I've ever read - much less reviewed.

Commentary:

Galloway is Lowell, Ma.

A simple, yet rich & complex story about "growing up (and out)" from Lowell, Ma - right before WW II. The characters each represent different life and political philosophies. The father represents the very Conservative voices of the time (Novel written in 1944 - but published in 2014) represented by the view of Father Charles Coughlin. In the Father's introductory monologue - many of the ideas mentioned resonate today with those who are politically Conservative - and through the appropriatea Conservative news outlets.

Other characters represent wanderlust - getting out of Lowell, Ma. and ...."seeing the world as a romantic artist and adventurer with the U.S. Army.

The title comes from the idea that two of Kerouac's friends were killed in WWII - and that their loss - has "haunted" Kerouac.

A theme is also how WW II has transformed nearly everyone and everything - and this transformation was just becoming visible.

This is an "early Kerouac" work - it seems to indicate that his (Kerouac's) concerns to be expressed during his "beat era" - had their beginnings during the Great Depression and WW II.

Great writing - dealing with the "tensions of the day" - a harbinger of the greater writing yet to come.

Carl Gallozzi

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Love and Ruin audiobook cover art

A Strong Woman, a good story, Hemingway & Spain

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-17-19

I don't usually read much historical fiction. I'd read "The Paris Wife" - and had enjoyed it tremendously. Paula has a feel for a blending of history (fleshed out) and fiction - about interesting things (Hemingway and The Spanish Civil War) and Martha Gelhorn.

A story of two strong people - a difficult time - and the competition/cooperation/cooptition between them.

Martha comes into and goes out of Hemingway's "orbit" - covering Spain, The Finnish (Winter) War and WW2 - with their relationship status the inverse of her fame - the lower Martha's fame was - the better the relationship between she and Hemingway.

Other characters well drawn - I learned a great deal about The Spanish Civil War - and the time period after The Spanish Civil War - but before 09/01/1939.

Well worth a read (listen) - time well spent - enjoyed it - learned a great deal.

Carl Gallozzi

Mortal Republic audiobook cover art

History of the Roman Republic - relevant today

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-25-18

This is the equivalent of a survey plus course - concerning the Roman Republic.

It was written with at least one eye on recent (geo)political events/attitudes/gestault - because words such as populism/autocracy/"reduction of political norms" abound.

Bottom Line: The history seems to indicate that over time - there was a "loosening" of the Political Norms and process models within the Roman Republic - from the time and behavior of Marius - down to Caesar, Octavian, and the others. Then, as now - it is not only "what was done" - but the "politics and political messaging/positioning" that certain representatives of certain Roman families did as they competed for power.

In the end after a series of Civil Wars - Octavian wound up "the winner" - but he constructed a governance model for a large empire - gives roles to the Senate - but he (Emperor) was the indispensable individual.

Relevant for today - not just in the United States but in other budding autocracies (Russia, China, Hungary the Philippines) - will the other branches of political power - "stand up" to autocratic instincts - if not them - the people need to act - else the institutions may give way to a budding autocracy.

Great history - with great relevance for today - should be of interest to those who study Roman history.

Carl Gallozzi
cgallozzi@comcast.net

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

These Truths audiobook cover art

Readable Survey History - topics relevant today

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-26-18

A great overview history of the U.S.

One volume needs to be selective in topic areas, breadth and depth of coverage - this volume was selective.

In the areas covered some great new insights on the Founding Fathers - issues documented within the Federalist Papers and etc.

The Gilded Era (Post Civil War) introduces subject areas that remain relevant today. Supreme Court decisions such as Dredd Scott and Plessey vs. Ferguson are discussed and placed into an understandable context.

Of special interest to me was the coverage of the Post World War 2 era- some 15-20% of the work.

The Last Chapters and Epilogue cover the decline of the U.S. Middle Class and its impact upon the U.S.' political stability;the descent into Political Tribalism and one set of reasons for it.

Overall balanced perspective.

Should be of great interest to those interested in U.S. History.

Comment: I admire Jill LePore's capabilities as a historian - her narration skills leave something-to-be-desired.

The production value of this particular AudioBook was relatively poor (A repeat of the Epilogue as an example).

Carl Gallozzi
Cgallozzi@comcast.net

The Coddling of the American Mind audiobook cover art

Education and Wisdom - current status, changes needed and why

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-07-18

This book is about the current status of US education on College Campuses - and how the author's believe that the culture of safety-ism will make the students weaker (unprepared for real life). Key quote is "prepare the child for the Road - not the Road for the Child"...

Culture of safety-ism assumes children are at risk and fragile thus parents have overprotected them somewhat.

Sending overprotected children, used to having helicopter or bulldozer parents away to college - sets up the need for safe zones, trigger warnings and etc.

Good analysis of distributive justice and procedural justice theories.

Good analysis of the "left's " equality of outcomes" demands as opposed to either equality of opportunity or a serious, systemic analysis of the larger system, its components and interrelationships.

Louder and louder on campus - just as within the larger country - no serious dialogue about what is the problem, what might be the design of some solutions and how would they be implemented. Perhaps a beginning series of thoughts.

Relevant to those interested in what's going on college campuses and within the larger US society, its background and some going forward steps.

A worthwhile read.

Carl Gallozzi
Cgallozzi@comcast.net

Regeneration: The Regeneration Trilogy, Book 1 audiobook cover art

Well written mix of fact and fiction themes relevant today.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-05-18

Liked the very interesting mix of fact and fiction - relating to WW1 its casualties, their treatment and the then pressures of society. I'm reminded of a quote by Aeschylus "In war, truth is the first casualty."
If the belligerents public's knew of the Casualties British 102,000 in September 1917 - what might have happened?

Other threads doctors impacting patients; patients impacting doctors.

Other threads involve how societal pressures are reinforced- ..."do what the consensus says - or your ostracized..."

Sexuality referenced - homosexuality, bisexuality and heretosexuality.

Difficult to listen to the WW1 horrors and wounds.

Will take a pause before reading other novels in the Trilogy

Rating was selected because this is a well written novel, mixing fact and fiction that includes subjects relevant today.

Should be of interest to history readers.

Carl Gallozzi
Cgallozzi@comcast.net

Winners Take All audiobook cover art

Pay attention to the Elite behind the Curtain....

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-17-18

"rich relations give
Crust of bread and such
You can help yourself
But don't take too much
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that's got his own
That's got his own.

From the Second Verse of
"God Bless The Child"
Billie Holiday and Arthur J. Herzog, Jr.
1939

Anand Giridhardas has generated a very readable and important book about the subtle and not too subtle of Philanthropy undertaken by Winners in the Global Competition.

Just a few nuggets:

There is no intellectual counterweight to the current state of hyper capitalism.

Significant private Philanthropy is basically opaque - who's giving what with what strings for what purpose.

Private Philanthropy spends a great deal of money, time and effort on implementing the "apparatus of justification" for their wealth, how it was accumulated and what they are doing with it- sort of Pity the Poor Billionaire that has to follow regulations and pay taxes.

Private Philanthropy in some instances is undertaking some tasks that had been the province of Governments - although now with opaqueness and no accountability.

This is an important subject related to inequality.

Before I read this book I hadn't thought too much about Private Philanthropy and where these people originally got their money - was it legal, ethical and for a better good?

I liked that he generated this enlightening premise - he said the same theme 'n' times.

I would recommend to any individual who has an interest in wealth and income inequality - it's short and longer term effects.

The rating was chosen as the story, subject are speaks for itself - whatever shortcomings are made up during the read.

Carl Gallozzi
Cgallozzi@comcast.net

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

Imperial Twilight audiobook cover art

Balanced readable narrative about the Opium Wars

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-05-18

A thorough narrative of the Opium War(s) - between Great Britain and China in the 1800's.

A history of how the Dutch, French, Portuguese and British "got there" - and how the British merchants established themselves by trading in legal goods (tea, silk) and illegal goods (opium grown in India and transported from India to China).

There was more than enough "blame" to go around - the Chinese Empire had significant levels of corruption - bribe taking - but there were more than enough opportunities to reconcile and not have a trade or real war - but these opportunities were not seized by either party. Instead appeals were made to British nationalism, pride for alleged insults to national honor and etc. Similar type thinking is detailed on the Chinese side.

In the end the British "won" - continued the trade in both the legal and illegal trade. This also doomed the Chinese Emperor system - and began (what the Chinese see as ) the Century of Humiliation - from approximately 1840 through 1949. The Chinese Government uses this to fire up nationalistic spirit of the Chinese - that China will "never again" be beset by Western Powers. This is the going forward lesson.

Worth a read - an important part of (now) current history - which isn't well understood.

Carl Gallozzi

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

A Handful of Dust audiobook cover art

A social commentary- a cautionary tale

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-05-18

A story set in England in the 1930's where the main character is challenged by life events that "strip away" the illusions of his life. The illusions that are stripped away include that he is safe because of his money and position and the illusion that he is valued having been a both a loving husband and a loving father.

In the course of a short time period he is beset both by the death of his son; and his wife's filing for a decree of divorce.

Initially he agrees to the divorce terms - but when revised terms are presented that would require him to sell his ancestral estate - he fights the divorce decree, changes his will leaving the estate to his family - and travels to Brazil where he is thought to have perished.

Which are the most dangerous jungles - Brazil or a portion of London Society of the 1930's with their cliques and behavioral expectations - brought about from their "bubble like" existence?

What is a man stripped of his relationships - but a "Handful of Dust?"

A reminder (as if one is needed) how quickly all can be taken away from us -and how we persist with the illusion of "being in control".

What to do when. "It all goes bad?"

A sharp commentary on English society.

Carl Gallozzi
Cgallozzi@comcast.net