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.Continue Reading
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
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 (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