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deslily
11 June 2017 @ 10:23 am

The Lance and the Shield (The Life and Times of Sitting Bull) by Robert M. Utley.

Hardcover: 413 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co (June 1, 1992)
ASIN: B001XGEX6M

 

 

"His narrative is griping....Mr. Utley transforms Sitting Bull, the abstract, romanticized icon and symbol, into a flesh-and-blood person with a down-to-earth story....THE LANCE AND THE SHIELD clears the screen of the exaggerations and fantasies long directed at the name of Sitting Bull."
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
Reviled by the United States government as a troublemaker and a coward, revered by his people as a great warrior chief, Sitting Bull has long been one of the most fascinating and misunderstood figures in American history. Now, distinguished historian Robert M. Utley has forged a compelling new portrait of Sitting Bull, viewing the man from the Lakota perspective for the very first time to render the most unbiased and historically accurate biography of Sitting Buil to date.

After reading "Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee", this book on Sitting Bull is no surprise that it too is sad.  But, always something to learn when you read these books.

I found Sitting  Bull to be much more then a Warrior.  He was "head of a household".  He cared for all his people.  Once again the "intruders" into a land of Natural Born Americans, mistreats him and all Indians, like THEY are the intruders.  You really get a sense of how many "lies" (broken truths) the Lakota (Sioux) and others had to endure.

I truly wonder why more History is not taught in schools. It is a HUGE part of American History.  But then,... it shows how the immigrants treated them.  How the lied to them.  How the took everything from them.  Mother Earth, no longer was allowed to care for them.  They were taught to be useless and hopeless, and to have the "government take care of them".   Today it's called "welfare" and those on it are told to get off their butts and go to work... yet, back then they told the Indians, "we will care for you for all we have taken from you."..  It would seem some things never change. 

I do recommend this book. And the book of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.   I give high praise for the authors for putting out the books so others can learn of the most horrid (and seemingly forgotten) of Genocides.

 
 
deslily
23 April 2017 @ 12:37 pm

Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown.

Hardcover
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (1617)

487 pages.
ASIN: B01JXQNN28

(Book 13)

Immediately recognized as a revelatory and enormously controversial book since its first publication in 1971, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is universally recognized as one of those rare books that forever changes the way its subject is perceived. Now repackaged with a new introduction from bestselling author Hampton Sides to coincide with a major HBO dramatic film of the book, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is Dee Brown's classic, eloquent, meticulously documented account of the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the second half of the nineteenth century. A national bestseller in hardcover for more than a year after its initial publication, it has sold over four million copies in multiple editions and has been translated into seventeen languages.

Using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions, Brown allows great chiefs and warriors of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes to tell us in their own words of the series of battles, massacres, and broken treaties that finally left them and their people demoralized and decimated. A unique and disturbing narrative told with force and clarity, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee changed forever our vision of how the West was won, and lost. It tells a story that should not be forgotten, and so must be retold from time to time.

There is not a lot I can say about this "history" book. Some of it we have heard or read about over the years.

The first 12 pages of this book is more then heartbreaking.  The people who came to this country were, in my opinion, truly "sick of mind"... sadly, some things never change.   Greed.

Quoting from the book cover:

"Traditional texts glory in our nation's western expansion, the great conquest of the virgin frontier.  But how did the original Americans... the Dakota, Nez Perce, Utes, Poncas, Cheyenne, Navaho, Apache, and others... feel about the coming of the white man, the expropriation of their land, the destruction of their way of life?  What happened to Geronimo, Chief Joseph, Cochise, Red Cloud, Little Wolf, and Sitting Bull as their people were killed or driven onto reservations during decades of broken promises, oppression, and war?

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a documented account of the systematic plunder, of the American Indians during the second half of the nineteenth century, battle by battle, massacre by massacre, broken treaty by broken treaty.Here for the first time is their side of the story.  We can see their faces, hear their voices as they tried desperately to live in peace and harmony with the white man."

This is one of those rare books that will  have to be pried out of my cold dead hands.  That's all I can say.

 
 
deslily
10 April 2017 @ 03:44 pm

Cheech, Is not my Real Name ...but don't call me Chong! by Cheech Marin.

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing;(March 14, 2017)
ISBN-10: 145559234X

 

The long-awaited memoir from a counterculture legend.

Cheech Marin came of age at an interesting time in America and became a self-made counterculture legend with his other half, Tommy Chong. This insightful memoir delves into how Cheech dodged the draft, formed one of the most successful comedy duos of all time, became the face of the recreational drug movement with the film Up in Smoke, forged a successful solo career with roles in The Lion King and, more recently, Jane the Virgin, and became the owner of the most renowned collection of Chicano art in the world.

Written in Cheech's uniquely hilarious voice, this memoir will take you to new highs.

My girlfriend Cathy bought me this book for my birthday.  Cheech had been on shows promoting the book and it was being said that it was written with much humor.  I figured I needed some humor and mentioned the book and the next thing I know there it is!

The book IS written with humor. 

I can't say I followed his whole career so it was interesting to read that I knew more of his career than I thought I knew.  And still much I didn't know. It was a good story if a rise to fame and the good and bad that comes with it.  I did have one disappointment.. I knew drugs were involved with Cheech and Chong, but for whatever reason I thought it was more Chong, then Cheech.  It probably was but the disappointment (for ME.) was to hear that many still use some.  But that's just me.  I never felt that anyone needed "help" to enjoy yourself or to be happy.  To me, that's a false happiness.   So.. whatever... I still enjoyed the book and thin "Cheech" did a lot of good to make people happy.  That's got to be a good feeling for all comedians... making others happy.

Thanks Cheech.  And although you thought Cheech and  Chongs Corsican Brothers was your worst movie.. I loved it!

 
 
deslily
01 April 2017 @ 07:49 am

Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child.

Paperback: 621 pages
Publisher: Warner; P edition (2007)
ISBN-10: 0446618500

 

Amazon review

An FBI agent, rotting away in a high-security prison for a murder he did not commit...
His brilliant, psychotic brother, about to perpetrate a horrific crime...
A young woman with an extraordinary past, on the edge of a violent breakdown...
An ancient Egyptian tomb with an enigmatic curse, about to be unveiled at a celebrity-studded New York gala...

This book took me a long time to read.. NOT because I wasn't enjoying it though.  Life got in the way.  But I finally finished it  and can say I still enjoyed it.

I came to find out that the main characters did 2 books before this one.  It didn't seem to bother the reading of this book. I thought about reading the other two books, but looked around at all the books I have here and decided to not push my luck. 

There was a multitude of "mysteries" going on at once.

Why was the FBI agent in prison?

Who stole the diamonds and sent them back all crushed?

Why were people who went into the tomb being found dead? 

To find out the answers.. you'll have to read the book!

 
 
deslily
06 March 2017 @ 05:58 pm

Let the Mountains Talk, Let the Rivers Run: A Call to Those Who Would Save the Earth  by David Brower (1995).

(Book 10 for 2017)

Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: New Society Publishers; 2nd edition (April 1, 2000)
ISBN-10: 0865714118

Amazon:

This is the testament of one of the few authentic sages of our time. Brower's voice is passionate, perfectly cadenced, humorous, and very wise. And original: while most writers point to where we are, this one draws the map.?Edward O. Wilson, author, The Diversity of Life and Naturalist

Credited with galvanizing an entire generation of environmentalists in the 60's, David Brower, the highly respected "archdruid" of the modern environmental movement, recalls with wit and wisdom his 50 years of controversial activism and offers an inspired strategy for the next generation of "those who would save the Earth."

In this intelligent and engaging chronicle of his years as an agitator for the planet, Brower points out the irony that since the first Earth Day 25 years ago, we've lost one-seventh of the world's productive land to pollution, clear cutting, and pavement-and our population has doubled! From the politics of preserving the environment and how to use New York-style PR to save tigers and dolphins, to reengineering cities, the future of hypercars, and his vision for the Earth Corps, Brower takes us on a sweeping journey of what has been and what could be if we apply CPR (Conservation, Preservation, Restoration) to our wounded world. Printed on entirely tree-free kenaf paper, Let the Mountains Talk, Let the Rivers Run follows its own prescription for saving the world's forests.

This book is about saving our environment.  Animals, Land, Air, and Water... if you have no interest in the Earth we live on then a book such as this will never go on your TBR list.

I found parts I want to share.. just in case it matters..

(pg. 16)  What happened? Sometimes we have been greedy and unthinking, but at other times the road to environmental disaster  has been paved with good intentions.  Too often in what we do, we fail to consider the two most important things: the cost to the future, and the cost to the Earth. We can be very clever, we humans, but sometimes not so smart.

(pg. 24)

Consider what my friend Justice William O. Douglas once told President Franklin D. Roosevelt: Andy government bureau more than ten years old should be abolished, because after that it becomes more concerned with its image than with its mission.

(pg 59)

What we need in these perilous times is  consummate negotiator between the Earth and its human predators.

(pg 94)

You don't know how to fix the holes in our ozone layer.

You don't know how to bring salmon back up a dead stream.

You don't know how to bring back and animal now extinct.

And you can't bring back the forests that once grew where there is now desert.

If you don't know how to fix it, Please stop breaking it!

(pg 126)

We need to tire of trashing wildness.  It's not making us happy.  It's not making us healthy.  It is making us miserable and despairing.  Killing trees, habitat, and animals and separating ourselves from nature is making us all a bit crazy.  We nee to save the wild in order to save ourselves.

(pg 131)

In wilderness is the preservation of the world.

(pg133)

Nevertheless, I concluded that our own major wilderness areas in North America are wilder than anything in the Galapagos, although our wildlife will never be as untroubled by people.  Our wilderness will remain wilder so long as we stop chopping away at it. That said, let's remember that only about 4 percent of the United States is designated wilderness, and half of this is in Alaska. Loopholes abound in the legal language protecting these  remnants, and each generation must review the gems left it by the generation before, and be ready to guard the house against burglars.  The well-traveled Sierra and the lonely Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana, according to an army study for World War II, are the only two places in the Lower Forty-eight where you can get more than ten miles away from a road.

(pg 178)

In the not so distant past, I saw Murray's remark on commitment serve almost as religion for the people, including me, who helped keep dams our of Dinosaur National Monument, the Yukon, and the Grand Canyon, who helped keep loggers with itchy axes out of Olympic National Park, who helped ban DDT, who helped establish the National Wilderness Preservation System and additions  to the National Park System in the North Cascades, Kings Canyon, the Redwoods, Great Basin , at Point Reyes, and the Golden Gate, Cape Cod, Fire Island.

   We helped do all this with a Sierra Club membership less than one-tenth of its present size.  Even our success in gaining passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 was accomplished with a far smaller club than now exists.

  There are now millions of dues-paying environmentalists in the United States alone.  Some count the number at 10 million.  There are more; they just haven't signed up yet.  But whatever the number, they don't seem to have near the power they should.

This is the type of book that is totally up to the person who realizes they have an interest in the destruction of our World, and into Americas portion of it all.

 
 
 
deslily
02 March 2017 @ 10:20 am

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley.

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bantam (December 30, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0385344066

(Book 9 for 2017)

 

On a spring morning in 1951, eleven-year-old chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce gathers with her family at the railway station, awaiting the return of her long-lost mother, Harriet. Yet upon the train’s arrival in the English village of Bishop’s Lacey, Flavia is approached by a tall stranger who whispers a cryptic message into her ear. Moments later, he is dead, mysteriously pushed under the train by someone in the crowd. Who was this man, what did his words mean, and why were they intended for Flavia? Back home at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ crumbling estate, Flavia puts her sleuthing skills to the test. Following a trail of clues sparked by the discovery of a reel of film stashed away in the attic, she unravels the deepest secrets of the de Luce clan, involving none other than Winston Churchill himself. Surrounded by family, friends, and a famous pathologist from the Home Office—and making spectacular use of Harriet’s beloved Gipsy Moth plane, Blithe Spirit—Flavia will do anything, even take to the skies, to land a killer.

Wow! I forgot how much I enjoyed Flavia  and her chemistry and her very special family!   This is book 6 in the series and all of them have been totally enjoyable!

This book had a bit of sadness to it and yet it didn't slow down.  Quite a few family secrets and surprises in this one!

If you've read any of them I suggest you keep reading.  And, if you haven't read any of this series I think you would enjoy them.. It all begins with Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie...

I still love t hat Favia named her bicycle! (I named mine too! Mine was Nellie Belle )

There are two more yet to read but one has so many choices that I now can no longer make up my mind! lol

 
 
deslily
26 February 2017 @ 09:01 am

When Falcons Fall by C.S. Harris.

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Berkley;(March 7, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0451471172

(Book 8 for 2017)

 

Ayleswick-on-Teme, 1813. Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, and his wife, Hero, have come to this deceptively peaceful Shropshire village to honor a slain friend. But when the body of a young widow is found on the banks of the river Teme, the village’s inexperienced new magistrate turns to Sebastian for help. Sebastian soon realizes that Emma Chance was hiding her true identity, and she was not the first beautiful young woman in the village to be murdered. Also troubling are the machinations of Lucien Bonaparte, the estranged brother of the megalomaniac French Emperor Napoléon. Held captive under the British government’s watchful eye, Bonaparte is restless, ambitious, and treacherous.
Home to the eerie ruins of an ancient monastery, Ayleswick reveals itself to be a dark and dangerous place with a violent past that may be connected to Sebastian’s own unsettling origins. And as he faces his most diabolical opponent ever, he is forced to consider what malevolence he’s willing to embrace in order to destroy a killer
.

Wow, hard to believe I've read this whole series of books... 11 of them! Number 12 comes out in April.

I find the main characters very likeable and "their" story has progress along with the murder mysteries that they have worked on.  That's not really saying you have to begin at book one, but I did.  So spread them out and I've read them over a few years. I also have to mention that it's one of the few women authors that I read regularly. Not the ONLY one but there are only a few that seem to write murder mysteries. 

So.. it's a very readable series.  Short chapters.  Good characters.  And just plain enjoyable.

 
 
deslily
18 February 2017 @ 08:52 am

The Inheritance by Charles Finch.

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books (November 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1250070422

Charles Lenox has received a cryptic plea for help from an old Harrow schoolmate, Gerald Leigh, but when he looks into the matter he finds that his friend has suddenly disappeared. As boys they had shared a secret: a bequest from a mysterious benefactor had smoothed Leigh’s way into the world after the death of his father. Lenox, already with a passionate interest in detective work, made discovering the benefactor's identity his first case – but was never able to solve it.

Now, years later, Leigh has been the recipient of a second, even more generous bequest. Is it from the same anonymous sponsor? Or is the money poisoned by ulterior motives? Leigh’s disappearance suggests the latter, and as Lenox tries, desperately, to save his friend’s life, he’s forced into confrontations with both the most dangerous of east end gangs and the far more genteel denizens of the illustrious Royal Society. When someone close to the bequest dies, Lenox must finally delve deep into the past to uncover at last the identity of the person who is either his friend’s savior – or his lethal enemy.

This was an enjoyable read. Obviously a much faster read than my last book.

Charles Finch has written a number of books using the same main character of Charles Lenox, but this was my first read of his detective.  There were some really good twists and turns and as much as the case seems solved with still chapters to read.. it comes up with enough to be sure they cover every little thing along the way.

Gerald Leigh, the school mate he is helping stays in the background yet when he pops up he is most memorable.

A good quick read  and easy enough to follow that you never forget where you are in the case.

 
 
deslily
13 February 2017 @ 07:18 pm

Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De  Quincey by Frances Wilson.

Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (October 4, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0374167303

 

Publishers Weekly Ten Best Nonfiction Books of 2016

Thomas De Quincey was an obsessive. He was obsessed with Wordsworth and Coleridge, whose Lyrical Balladsprovided the script to his life, and by the idea of sudden death. Running away from school to pursue the two poets, De Quincey insinuated himself into their world. Basing his sensibility on Wordsworth’s and his character on Coleridge’s, he forged a triangle of unusual psychological complexity.

Aged twenty-four, De Quincey replaced Wordsworth as the tenant of Dove Cottage, the poet’s former residence in Grasmere. In this idyllic spot he followed the reports of the notorious Ratcliffe Highway murders of 1811, when two families, including a baby, were butchered in their own homes. In his opium-soaked imagination the murderer became a poet while the poet became a murderer. Embedded in On Murder as One of the Fine Arts, De Quincey’s brilliant series of essays, Frances Wilson finds the startling story of his relationships with Wordsworth and Coleridge.

Opium was the making of De Quincey, allowing him to dissolve self-conflict, eliminate self-recrimination, and divest himself of guilt. Opium also allowed him to write, and under the pseudonym “The Opium-Eater” De Quincey emerged as the strangest and most original journalist of his age. His influence has been considerable. Poe became his double; Dostoevsky went into exile with Confessions of an English Opium-Eater in his pocket; and Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, George Orwell, Alfred Hitchcock, and Vladimir Nabokov were all De Quincey devotees.

There have been other biographies of Thomas De Quincey, but Guilty Thing is the first to be animated by the spirit of De Quincey himself. Following the growth of his obsessions from seed to full flowering and tracing the ways they intertwined, Frances Wilson finds the master key to De Quincey’s vast Piranesian mind. Unraveling a tale of hero worship and revenge, Guilty Thing brings the last of the Romantics roaring back to life and firmly establishes Wilson as one of our foremost contemporary biographers.

 

So...

After reading David Morrell's trilogy, which included a character named Thomas De Quincey. And after my girlfriend in England, Cath, told me he was a real person, I wanted to know about him.    Several months ago I downloaded his Autobiography of Confessions of an Opium Eater, but when I read it, it was only 48 pages, so I thought it wasn't the whole book. I have since found out the "book version" isn't very long either.  I therefore put it on the back burner, so to speak, and forgot about it until recently when I read the third book of Morrell's trilogy, Ruler of the Night.  My interest got sparked again.  So I sent for this book, Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey.

I did find out what parts I read of him in Morrell's novels were true and what was not.

I found out De Quincey added the "De" to his name, it was only Quincey.

He was but 4 foot 11 inches tall.  He had 7 siblings, he loved poetry and taught him self how to speak and write fluent Greek.

De Quincey, was known as the Opium Eater, because he chose to present himself as he really was.  He began on Laudanum drops for a headache and it escalated  and by 1813 he was taking 8,000 drops a day.

His other addictions included books and indebtedness.  Living much of his time on the streets. 

Eventually, he married his servant and had 8 children . 

The book was not easy for me to read.  I am not literate in many long words and the author chose to write in the manor or the literate people such as De Quincey to write the book.  I did persist and did read the entire book, and it was interesting.  It also spoke of the era in which he lived and other authors known in literature of that time.

Not a book for everyone, but surely a book for someone who wanted to know about Thomas De Quincey: the Opium Eater. 

 
 
deslily
03 February 2017 @ 09:02 am

Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James.

(Book 5)

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: NAL; 1st edition (April 5, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0451476190

Amazon Review:

England, 1921. Three years after her husband, Alex, disappeared, shot down over Germany, Jo Manders still mourns his loss. Working as a paid companion to Alex's wealthy, condescending aunt, Dottie Forsyth, Jo travels to the family’s estate in the Sussex countryside. But there is much she never knew about her husband’s origins…and the revelation of a mysterious death in the Forsyths’ past is just the beginning…
All is not well at Wych Elm House. Dottie's husband is distant, and her son was grievously injured in the war. Footsteps follow Jo down empty halls, and items in her bedroom are eerily rearranged. The locals say the family is cursed, and that a ghost in the woods has never rested. And when Jo discovers her husband’s darkest secrets, she wonders if she ever really knew him.  Isolated in a place of deception and grief, she must find the truth or lose herself forever.
And then a familiar stranger arrives at Wych Elm House…

I enjoyed this book.  It's a book with family history and secrets.. so, what's not to like? It was fast reading and interesting.  And yes... part of the secrets was a "possible" murder!

It had ghosts... but not overly  used.

It takes place in a old large home with (or without) servants, and it took some unexpected twists and turns.  It also held true to the England of 1921. 

This was a nice break from having detectives solve something. 

I've read one other book by Simone St. James called The Haunting of Maddy Clare, which I enjoyed also.