Those Who Love by Irving Stone (Post 1)

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.Continue Reading

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

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.Continue Reading

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown (published 1970, reissued in ebook form by OpenRoad Media) is an incredibly painful book to read. It is a straight-forward historical account of the last three decades of Native American Indians in the American West, an account of the great leaders and cultures that are no more.

Although I felt I had an understanding of the conflicts that happened in the American West during the 1800s, I feel now that I had no idea of the extent of the genocide. Before, I thought the Native American Indians tragically died out, due to disease and relocation. Now I see better that the local American government routinely slaughtered whole communities.

Brown’s book is written with the Native American perspective at the forefront, so of course there is bias. However, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a well researched record of the American historical experience, and it is a vital text for Americans interested in learning the not-so-pretty truth about American history.Continue Reading

Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis

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.Continue Reading