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weezo
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« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2007, 04:35:25 PM »

I've started a list of books for me to order when my money frees up again. The March of Folly sounds like a good starting point, and I also like the idea of Salt and Cod.

I've read the discussion on the caravels in The Discoverers, and wonder why anyone would want to compare them to the large Chinese Junks described in 1421. The caravels were much smaller than many of the trading ships used on the Mediterranean, since their purpose was different. They were not designed to carry large numbers of people or large amounts of trade good. The caravels were designed for making the return trip against the wind, while the junks were intended to be guided by wind and current. The junks were expected to circle the world, not to go out a bit further than last time and explore a little bit more. The Discoverers does describe the beginning of the African slave trade.

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« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2007, 05:10:01 PM »

MARCH OF FOLLY is an excellent book. Anything by Barabara Tuchman is very good.
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« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2007, 01:26:59 AM »

Thebiz, Blessed Unrest is an odd title (and don't ask me what should have been used in its place) for a book about the Internet's influence on "movements" of every kind including, and especially for Hawken, the ecological movement, now generally known as "being green" or just "green."  The hundreds of thousands of groups, from 1-2 people to the very large with thousands of members, linking together like a mighty brain with no restraint on ideas.  The world sitting down and assessing its condition and trying to problem solve with the technology available.  Hawken writes very well.  Your library should have it.  That's where I got it, but I intend to buy it since there is lots of reference material in the back that I want to have all in one place.
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« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2007, 03:10:05 AM »

I've been reading The Black Sea by Neal Ascherson.  I think it was Desdemona who recommended it sometime back, and I had long been meaning to read it.  I really enjoyed Ascherson's journey through his native Scotland in Stone Voices.  Ascherson doesn't talk much about the early Lithuanian kingdom which at one time stretched all the way to the Black Sea.  In the early going, he focuses on the Tatars and their control over Crimea for many years, before Russia laid claim to it.  It was interesting to read that it was Khrushchev who ceded Crimea to his native Ukraine during his tenure as Soviet premier.  Ascherson mixes contemporary with historic events in the form of a journal, which is very interesting to read.  In Eastern Europe, events that occurred 700 years ago are as fresh in many minds as if they had happened yesterday.
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desdemona222b
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« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2007, 04:04:27 PM »

Wow!  I'm excited to see this new forum since I'm not interested in American History at all.  I'm interested in reading more about Stalin.  The ultimate book about dictators in the 20th century for me is Alan Bullock's Hitler and Stalin, but it's not a good discussion book since it takes months to read.

Madupont -

I've been wanting to read Peeling the Onion for quite some time now, but I don't have the book.  Wonder who sent you that message? 
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« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2007, 09:29:38 PM »

There's a new book out on Lenin, Stalin &  Hitler. I have it at work. I think its  about 600  pages, but I'm not so sure its up to the quality of the Bullock work.
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« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2007, 10:39:53 PM »

http://www.amazon.com/Wretched-Earth-Frantz-Fanon/dp/0802150837

The Wretched of the Earth by Franz Fanon may well be the best modern day history book.  For those who wonder why ''terrorism'' exists at all, this book explains why people fight for their liberation from Western imperialism and terrorism.
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« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2007, 10:51:57 PM »

Hi! Desdemona, re:#19

I picked it up some time ago, after reading the excerpt in The New Yorker. Which I mentioned to teddy174c; she was not interested in reading Grass at this time.  I thought this was posted in Meander but,just now when I checked, it didn't come up in the search feature; what came up was what I had found interesting about reading Crab-walk a couple of years ago.  It repeatedly would be suggested in the Book Forums by Mike at the start of each month but there were no takers. I finally got tired and just plowed into it making notes as I went. 

As I recalled to teddy, who had a note from you at the top of my post, in a quote, apparently Grass had some fascination with how the internet was used by younger people than himself.  And he worked this into Crab-walk before we were as thoroughly aware of how "spinning" is used politically in numerous forums at nytimes.com which has of course increased ten-fold or perhaps some astronomical figure since.

Gunter Grass took it up as a device by recounting how  "a nephew of his, or perhaps a great nephew" was posting regularly to a contemporary poster about an historical event that happened when Grass was young.
The two younger posters went from debate to vicious argument, taking political sides about the significance of the event until, in an odd parallel they repeat an occurence, that led to the "christening of the ship" by the name of a victim of assassination.  In other words, the younger generation re-enacts an earlier scandal. During the Third Reich, the 'heroically" named ship becomes a pleasure cruiser for ordinary citizens and ideological groups going on the Baltic in a program that the Nazis referred to as "Strength through Joy. Until the fateful day it is torpedoed by a Soviet submarine.

It's a nice neat short example of Gunter Grass intertwining two stories from two different eras in one novel in which he is the narrator.

He of course does this again in, Peeling the Onion, narrating his memoirs-- of himself as a young man.

I've gone back to The New Yorker, and once again cannot locate the article whose link I had sent to teddy174c, following another discussion entirely about the Alice Munro story,The Bear Who Came over the Mountain, which teddy had just seen as a Julie Christy movie.

In any case, checking back on other events in these forum, I notice that I picked up the book on July 31st. because I was so impressed with Grass' own account of the unfolding of events at Danzig under the Third Reich, as excerpted in The New Yorker either in June or perhaps earlier. 

A second article in The New York Review of Books, this August, was far less favorable. The German public is fastening on his silence to relieve a collective guilt  for society's participation in WW2

In the meantime, I had seen the televised interview at the New York Public Library by O'Hagan.  I first watched it on the internet but the sound was much clearer when finally viewing it on tv. This runs close to three hours during which O'Hagan interviews Gunter Grass, then interviews Norman Mailer (an order in reverse when shown on the web-site),and then in the third hour interviews the two writers together. Mailer who thinks this may be his last public interview provides the most definitive explanation, in his own understanding of why a writer waits to discuss an issue until the method of writing clarifies itself; he states, in his own life, he has been unable to publicly bring forward in writing the incident of many decades ago in the past when he stabbed his wife. He has not yet, and perhaps never well. But he chose to take it as an example of understanding why Gunter Grass had not publicly discussed his own mind on his youthful experience when school boys served, particularly in "manning" anti-aircraft guns. So of course,this is very much an examination of conscience, as Grass was raised a German Catholic.  Most of us are also aware that another young student serving in anti-aircraft duty was the present Pope Benedict XVI.

Gunter Grass was considered too young and underdeveloped to be trained and placed as an active-helper, until a couple of years passed and he was conscripted to report to the Waffen SS.  There are two or three reasons that I do not find this particularly remarkable. Following the war, I had occasion to discover in the midst of a conversation  with somebody who was rehearsing me in my lines for several ingenue Shakespearean roles that it was an ordinary event in German-American communities for young men,whose families had  previously  emigrated from Germany,  to  receive  their official draft  notices  from  the  Third Reich. On the other hand many people were now in the US in these communities after having received their clearance through de-nazification examinations and investigations by allied and American authority, who in their school days been in the membership of the Hitler Jugend.  I found it more difficult how to handle something that occurred in early 1970s when arranging for a car to pick up a friend of mine who wished to visit her old friends locally after returning from Asia and before returning there.  She had been visiting with her father who was now a widower, in a small Midwestern cross-roads, farming village, not much more than
where  trains watered,
 
I drew a complete blank until actually arriving there, expecting that she would be ready to leave and,after a short while, she asked if I had looked at her father's "gross" garden or Schweps garten. I replied in the negative; that I had not. It was a complete impasse because I had simply not dealt with supposing he was there, he was no where in sight,and I had of course known his history through mutual friends of hers and mine. Never at any time, had she ever indicated any awareness of the significance, for instance when seeing photographs of him in uniform,at home, during her childhood once in the US.   There was an entire generation like this who were approximately 13 years younger than myself, or about the age of my sisters, who were their contemporaries but had a "blind" past.

I see this situation as very much repeating at present. We live currently when young students have been recruited by ingeniously clever means in the US; and this is met with  silence to relieve a collective guilt  for society's participation  in the war against Iraq which the interested forces may extend into Iranian territory.

That is why I was particularly interested in reading,Peeling the Onion, to get Gunter Grass' description   from memory,and in his own words, of this process that we are now undergoing because we will surely be held accountable in the future and by future generations for this particular atrocity.

Now then, to what were you referring when you mentioned,"Wonder who sent you that message?" ?
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« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2007, 10:59:53 PM »

http://www.amazon.com/Wretched-Earth-Frantz-Fanon/dp/0802150837

The Wretched of the Earth by Franz Fanon may well be the best modern day history book.  For those who wonder why ''terrorism'' exists at all, this book explains why people fight for their liberation from Western imperialism and terrorism.


Although this has a date from Grove as officially 1965, thanatopsy, how much does it vary or is it derived from Black Faces, White Masks, which I read approximately in 1959 ?  Although my husband was no longer practicing as a psychologist at that time, my younger brother-in-law had just begun his education in the field, and I recommended this book to him, the point being that psychologies are cultural as well as political. They always have a context.  He went on to take his doctorate.
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« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2007, 08:03:54 AM »

 I did not read Black Skin, White Masks but it probably is a worthy read. 

Right wingers decry ''terrorism'' and find every stupid excuse in the world for why they hate us.  But none of those imperialistic warmongering Hitlerians ever bother to do their homework.  If they bothered to read books like these so that they would learn how the Western powers have been terrorizing Third World peoples for centuries, they just may possibly understand that violence begets violence.  And that it is Westerners who have been guilty of this all along! 

This is not to say that there is any justification for the 9/11 attack --- there certainly is none.  But it wasn't anyone from Congo who invaded and decimated Belgium, it wasn't Iran who invaded Britain, and it wasn't Vietnam that invaded the USA. Millions upon millions have died because of Western invasions and terrorism. And the time has come for those warmongering profiteers to pay back the debts they owe to those victimized peoples.
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« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2007, 10:42:27 AM »

thanatopsy

Why the "imperialistic warmongering Hitlerians" don't read  books that disagree with their "mission" to  "civilize" us. They operate from a pre-conditioned, pre-determined value system that is "beyond reproach" because often they believe in the Superior Man, Family Values, Intelligent Design, their own Racial Supremacy, etc. something like Gott mit US  And they do get around.

One of the most surprising shocks I had back in the mid-Fifties was a book by Colin Wilson that doesn't seem to be kicking around anymore. At the time,  he was nearly as young as me and he was dealing with The Outsider, and The Angry Young Men,being British as Wilson was and is.

But when he got to discussing the Occult, about the only books of his you find today are those discussing "practices.   I can no longer find that rather smaller book in which he has just a few sentences that set your hair to standing on end, he mentions offhandedly that only about 5% of the human population is alert enough at any one time to pick up the Politics which is occulted for the general population with the frosting on the cake and the code-words so that they cannot analyze and decipher what is occulted beneath.

The vast majority, whom the Imperial Worldling considers "expendable", are already busy slaving at production  of what can be commodified, exchanged, invested, and lead to corporate wealth; if you review history this way, it is obvious. But as Colin Wilson remarks only about  5% will notice; nobody is likely to believe them either because they will be accused of "Science Fiction". Everybody else is already too tired and exhausted from the production quota and if they are not the recently colonialized, they are having some passive recreation down-time tuned in or signed on to fictional reality.

I know we can tick off the names of contemporary contributors, on our fingers, more than ten guys and gals, communicating a way out, and then we realize that we have lost count on our fingers, and that maybe there aren't so many thinkers after all. Compared to the otherwise employed who are trying to keep up. But one of the things that I definitely learned at NYT,the Guardian Unlimited, the Huffington Post,The Progressive, and in less than six months at Melba's Place, is to pay especial attention to the names that the spinners rattle off for condemnation.  When pressed as they sometimes were in Western Europe forum at nytimes, they were less familiar with the work of whom they were speaking (or, actually, "naming" for condemnation); but they had been given a list of those names when they were hired for propoganda detail on the internet forums.  It was up to them to follow up and find out how to use those names; usually they just castigate them strongly and often, as vociferously as possible. We acquired a new coinage in 2004 for what to call this practice: "swift-boating", as a verb.

Ps, Frantz Fanon writes a wake up call for colonized populations in how to recognize  the conditioning, the psychology of how it is done and how to undo it.  His insights are partly the result of familiarity with French Existentialism or how a post-war population copes psychologically; and it was interesting to me at the time, the choice of words for his title: Black Faces, White Masks, because it had just been brought to performance familiarity as a concept in theatre here in New York in productions of Jean Genet using these White Masks when criticising the Authoritarians in our society: the Judge, the Bishop,the General.
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« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2007, 11:42:44 AM »

maduy
Hi! Desdemona, re:#19

I picked it up some time ago, after reading the excerpt in The New Yorker. Which I mentioned to teddy174c; she was not interested in reading Grass at this time.  I thought this was posted in Meander but,just now when I checked, it didn't come up in the search feature; what came up was what I had found interesting about reading Crab-walk a couple of years ago.  It repeatedly would be suggested in the Book Forums by Mike at the start of each month but there were no takers. I finally got tired and just plowed into it making notes as I went. 

As I recalled to teddy, who had a note from you at the top of my post, in a quote, apparently Grass had some fascination with how the internet was used by younger people than himself.  And he worked this into Crab-walk before we were as thoroughly aware of how "spinning" is used politically in numerous forums at nytimes.com which has of course increased ten-fold or perhaps some astronomical figure since.

Gunter Grass took it up as a device by recounting how  "a nephew of his, or perhaps a great nephew" was posting regularly to a contemporary poster about an historical event that happened when Grass was young.
The two younger posters went from debate to vicious argument, taking political sides about the significance of the event until, in an odd parallel they repeat an occurence, that led to the "christening of the ship" by the name of a victim of assassination.  In other words, the younger generation re-enacts an earlier scandal. During the Third Reich, the 'heroically" named ship becomes a pleasure cruiser for ordinary citizens and ideological groups going on the Baltic in a program that the Nazis referred to as "Strength through Joy. Until the fateful day it is torpedoed by a Soviet submarine.

It's a nice neat short example of Gunter Grass intertwining two stories from two different eras in one novel in which he is the narrator.

He of course does this again in, Peeling the Onion, narrating his memoirs-- of himself as a young man.

I've gone back to The New Yorker, and once again cannot locate the article whose link I had sent to teddy174c, following another discussion entirely about the Alice Munro story,The Bear Who Came over the Mountain, which teddy had just seen as a Julie Christy movie.

In any case, checking back on other events in these forum, I notice that I picked up the book on July 31st. because I was so impressed with Grass' own account of the unfolding of events at Danzig under the Third Reich, as excerpted in The New Yorker either in June or perhaps earlier. 

A second article in The New York Review of Books, this August, was far less favorable. The German public is fastening on his silence to relieve a collective guilt  for society's participation in WW2

In the meantime, I had seen the televised interview at the New York Public Library by O'Hagan.  I first watched it on the internet but the sound was much clearer when finally viewing it on tv. This runs close to three hours during which O'Hagan interviews Gunter Grass, then interviews Norman Mailer (an order in reverse when shown on the web-site),and then in the third hour interviews the two writers together. Mailer who thinks this may be his last public interview provides the most definitive explanation, in his own understanding of why a writer waits to discuss an issue until the method of writing clarifies itself; he states, in his own life, he has been unable to publicly bring forward in writing the incident of many decades ago in the past when he stabbed his wife. He has not yet, and perhaps never well. But he chose to take it as an example of understanding why Gunter Grass had not publicly discussed his own mind on his youthful experience when school boys served, particularly in "manning" anti-aircraft guns. So of course,this is very much an examination of conscience, as Grass was raised a German Catholic.  Most of us are also aware that another young student serving in anti-aircraft duty was the present Pope Benedict XVI.

Gunter Grass was considered too young and underdeveloped to be trained and placed as an active-helper, until a couple of years passed and he was conscripted to report to the Waffen SS.  There are two or three reasons that I do not find this particularly remarkable. Following the war, I had occasion to discover in the midst of a conversation  with somebody who was rehearsing me in my lines for several ingenue Shakespearean roles that it was an ordinary event in German-American communities for young men,whose families had  previously  emigrated from Germany,  to  receive  their official draft  notices  from  the  Third Reich. On the other hand many people were now in the US in these communities after having received their clearance through de-nazification examinations and investigations by allied and American authority, who in their school days been in the membership of the Hitler Jugend.  I found it more difficult how to handle something that occurred in early 1970s when arranging for a car to pick up a friend of mine who wished to visit her old friends locally after returning from Asia and before returning there.  She had been visiting with her father who was now a widower, in a small Midwestern cross-roads, farming village, not much more than
where  trains watered,
 
I drew a complete blank until actually arriving there, expecting that she would be ready to leave and,after a short while, she asked if I had looked at her father's "gross" garden or Schweps garten. I replied in the negative; that I had not. It was a complete impasse because I had simply not dealt with supposing he was there, he was no where in sight,and I had of course known his history through mutual friends of hers and mine. Never at any time, had she ever indicated any awareness of the significance, for instance when seeing photographs of him in uniform,at home, during her childhood once in the US.   There was an entire generation like this who were approximately 13 years younger than myself, or about the age of my sisters, who were their contemporaries but had a "blind" past.

I see this situation as very much repeating at present. We live currently when young students have been recruited by ingeniously clever means in the US; and this is met with  silence to relieve a collective guilt  for society's participation  in the war against Iraq which the interested forces may extend into Iranian territory.

That is why I was particularly interested in reading,Peeling the Onion, to get Gunter Grass' description   from memory,and in his own words, of this process that we are now undergoing because we will surely be held accountable in the future and by future generations for this particular atrocity.

Now then, to what were you referring when you mentioned,"Wonder who sent you that message?" ?

I was referring to the message you said you received from the administrator - thought it sounded like maybe someone was playing a trick on you or something.

Anyway, you've talked me into ordering Peeling the Onion - I'll get that done today.
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« Reply #27 on: September 11, 2007, 04:03:51 PM »

desdemona

Well, what he said was( what MSuss always wanted to do but couldn't because he was working for somebody ): "...I hadn't planned to moderate but let me know..."   Recently, checking back, it was clear to me that admin said administrator. Frankly I think the work load just got too heavy by 2004 New York(eastern standard)Times.
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« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2007, 05:46:31 PM »

maddie,

Reply # 25 was quite interesting.

  While many read history books in order to learn certain facts as explicated by historians, my approach has been, and will always be, just a tad different.  My view is to read these books, not so much because I wish to accept a writer's research, but because I wish to glean lessons from history that we can all use in order to better the world today.

Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth provides lessons that refute the myths expounded by warmongers and other extremist right wing apologists.  Third World ''dissent'' against Western imperialism did not arise by accident.  It arose for valid reasons and Fanon explains why.
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« Reply #29 on: September 11, 2007, 08:18:25 PM »

GLORIOSKI!!!! That's a blast from the past....Frantz Fanon?Huh Is the book still in print?  Good God, that goes back to the sixties if I'm not mistaken and was a very radical view of things---wasn't it that a Black Power text of sorts--Huey Newton and the guys?

Seriously, I remember the title, I don't think I read it but my recall is that it was way, way to the left....of course its now forty years later and it might be more in vogue now with Communism dead. Wasn't Fanon a Marxists--not a Communist, but a Marxist?

I'll bet discussing it would produce some animated responses.

I like your reasons for reading what you read. I try much the same thing. What I do is to try to get a book on the other side of an issue I just read about. I try never to read just one book on a subject, preferring to read two or three so I can get  balanced views. Fanon will certainly give you a different view of things--make you think!!!

Let me see if its still around.
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