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rtpoe

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Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #585 on: July 05, 2017, 02:22:21 AM »
Scars of Independence: America's Violent Birth
by Holger Hoock

A look at the Revolutionary War, concentrating on those other aspects of war that aren't often included in the history books.

The mob violence between "Patriots" and "Loyalists" in the years before the shooting started. There's a good description of what it's like to get tarred and feathered.... The plundering and pillaging that accompanied the armies, and looting by the populace. Hoock tells of one coastal town in Maine that was only lightly shelled by the British - but was completely destroyed by looters. The treatment of prisoners of war....

Hoock rightly calls it a "Civil War", since a good deal of the conflict pitted Colonial against Colonial. The Battle of Kings Mountain, for example, was fought between Patriot and Loyalist militias. There was nary a Redcoat in sight.

It's a very good look at something you thought you knew all about....
rtpoe

This is the start of our gentle time, Gladys...our season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, close bosom friend of the maturing sun. On the farm there was almost a sense of the veld sighing with relief when autumn finally set in. We certainly did. Man and animal. Months of grace while we waited for the first rains.

Athol Fugard, A Lesson From Aloes.

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TheZookie007

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Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #586 on: July 05, 2017, 05:11:14 AM »
I can only do 1 chapter at a time, since I get angry

I know the feeling. That was exactly how I felt when I read:

The Man Died: Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka, by Wole Soyinka

During the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970), Prof. Soyinka was imprisoned by the military government, without trial, for 22 months. He spent most of that time in solitary confinement, tortured almost every day, and banned by the government from access to books, pens, and paper. Despite this great privation, Soyinka was somehow able to produce this prison memoir, largely on pieces of toilet paper with homemade ink, and have it smuggled out of his jail cell.

"In October 1969, when the civil war came to an end, amnesty was proclaimed, and Soyinka and other political prisoners were freed. For the first few months after his release, Soyinka stayed at a friend’s farm in southern France, where he sought solitude. He wrote The Bacchae of Euripides (1969), a reworking of the Pentheus myth. He soon published in London a book of poetry, Poems from Prison. At the end of the year, he returned to his office as Headmaster of Cathedral of Drama in [the University of Ibadan]."

In 1971, The Man Died was published.

In 1986, Wole Soyinka was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first African to achieve the honor. The citiation described him as one "who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence." His Nobel acceptance speech, "This Past Must Address Its Present", was devoted to South African freedom-fighter Nelson Mandela, and was an outspoken criticism of apartheid and the politics of racial segregation imposed on the majority by the Nationalist South African government.

Even all these decades later, Prof. Soyinka has never received a formal apology for his imprisonment and torture by the Nigerian government. Nor has anyone ever explained why exactly he was jailed.

Like I said, I can only take one chapter at a go of The Man Died. In fact, I don't think I've ever read the entire book, so infuriated does it make me.
"When your city is French in origin, and your Mayor and Governor are Democrats, and those most affected by this natural disaster are Black, don't expect much help from Bush." -- Left of Y'all (and the link works now too! )

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rtpoe

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Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #587 on: July 23, 2017, 04:04:14 AM »
Liberty's First Crisis by Charles Slack

The story of the Sedition Act of 1798, which came about when one political party tried to silence dissent...

Slack digs deep to find (and tell) the stories of the handful of people who were actually prosecuted under the law. An inebriated boatman who complained about the noise from President John Adams' parade.... The publisher of the newspaper Aurora, the loudest critic of the government.... A pugnacious Congressman from Vermont....

He spends some time at the end discussing what the First Amendment really means in this regard. He concludes that while certain types of speech can be punished after the fact (to refer to a famous example, if you shout "FIRE" in a crowded theater, you're responsible for what happens next), the government cannot make laws that specifically prohibit a type of speech in advance.

A worthwhile read, considering the current political climate...and it was written two years ago....
rtpoe

This is the start of our gentle time, Gladys...our season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, close bosom friend of the maturing sun. On the farm there was almost a sense of the veld sighing with relief when autumn finally set in. We certainly did. Man and animal. Months of grace while we waited for the first rains.

Athol Fugard, A Lesson From Aloes.

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rtpoe

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Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #588 on: October 05, 2017, 02:07:23 AM »
October: The Story of the Russian Revolution
by China Miéville

I knew the author as a SF writer, not a historian. This work is a non-fiction chronicle of the Russian Revolution in 1917. It's a really, really good account of the events, unencumbered by ideology or commentary.

I found that a bit of a drawback, though. Miéville doesn't get into any motivations or psychology of the principals involved. But it's still a good start if you want to know *how* Russia went from the Tsar to Lenin in one year.
rtpoe

This is the start of our gentle time, Gladys...our season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, close bosom friend of the maturing sun. On the farm there was almost a sense of the veld sighing with relief when autumn finally set in. We certainly did. Man and animal. Months of grace while we waited for the first rains.

Athol Fugard, A Lesson From Aloes.

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TheZookie007

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Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #589 on: October 10, 2017, 05:09:02 PM »

I found that a bit of a drawback, though. Miéville doesn't get into any motivations or psychology of the principals involved. But it's still a good start if you want to know *how* Russia went from the Tsar to Lenin in one year.

That sounds like a great book, because I too have always wondered why the October Revolution was so successful in the land of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great.
"When your city is French in origin, and your Mayor and Governor are Democrats, and those most affected by this natural disaster are Black, don't expect much help from Bush." -- Left of Y'all (and the link works now too! )