My grandfather was born in Hreljin in 1923, when it was Yugoslavia and in what is now Croatia. When I heard about Yugoslavian Ivo Andric’s 1945 novel The Bridge on the Drina, I had hoped for a glimpse of what life was like in my ancestor’s homeland during a tumultuous time. Although my grandfather’s home town is far from the Bosnia-Serbia border on which this novel takes place, it was still an interesting look at the complex history of the Balkans. I did not really enjoy reading the book, but it was somewhat interesting. (more…)
I am still at the very beginning of Irving Stone’s novelization of John and Abigail Adam’s story, but I feel I must touch base and let you know about it. Reading a novel about the era has brought the issues to life.
Right now in the novel, John and Abigail have been married for just a few years. The Stamp Act angered many of the colonists, and John and Abigail received word that Bostonian civilians have been rebelling. Boston is 10 miles a way from John and Abigail, a safe distance. Yet, the burning of effigies and raids on parliamentary leaders’ homes affects them deeply. I am fascinated to recognize that these basic facts I would otherwise read about in passing, things that seem like sidebars compared to the later Boston Massacre and the fight at Lexington and Concord, were so really revolutionary when they happened. Violence against the crown’s representatives: wow, what an amazing first step. (more…)
Somehow, my thoughts on A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (1929) were never recorded! I finished it quite a few weeks ago. As a novel to enjoy in my free time, A Farewell to Arms fell short. However, as a novel that perfectly captures the era in which it was written and the subtlety of its message with masterful writing, A Farewell to Arms certainly has its place. It is well deserving of its classic status, even though I personally can’t say I was a fan. (more…)
World War I: History in an Hour by Rupert Colley (HarperPress, 2012) is just what it says it is: a brief look at the war for those interested in a taste of what it is about. HarperPress provides ebooks in this series for a very low cost (it appears to be a $1.99 or $2.99 price; see here). For people interested in history but that don’t have time for a full-length nonfiction book about it, this series may satisfy your curiosity as it did for me!
True, I felt like names, dates, and places were thrown at me, and yet, even after a brief hour of reading, I do feel a little bit more satisfied. There is a lot of history to be learned and only limited time in which to learn it. I must admit that World War I has never interested me to the same extent that World War II has. This book satisfied my curiosity for now. After I finished, I found a few novels that take place during the World War I era that I want to read from my Classics Club list and started them. I like having the context of the war in mind as I read.
I look forward to revisiting this series in the future! It was very convenient.
Note: I read a digital review copy from the publisher via netgalley.com.
As I’ve scoured the lists of books about revolutionary America for a book to read for my own education, I struggled to find one that covered a variety of people (I love biographies, but I can’t read one about everyone!) and eras (I would love to learn about all eras of the revolution, from the pre-revolution, the actual war years, to the beginning of the republic and later political fall out). At the same time that I’m I’ve been searching for the perfect book about the revolutionary era, I remembered I had picked up a used copy of Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis (Vintage Books, 2000) in a previous year’s book sale. I decided it was the book to read right now.
I was expecting Founding Brothers to be a collection of mini-biographies about the “brothers” of the revolutionary generation. Or maybe it would be about the Constitutional Convention and how they all worked together. Honestly, I did not know what it was, but any expectations I did have were far surpassed in Ellis’s complex portrait of the generation that founded the country. His work is both thorough and completely readable. (more…)