What book(s) are you currently reading?

delcoLion

Well-Known Member
Gold Member
May 29, 2001
13,645
1,766
1
Band of Brothers by Ambrose. The TV show was on the History channel just before the holidays and we watched from beginning to end and I wanted to read the book.

On deck: The British Are Coming by Atkinson.

In the hole: Twilight Of The Gods by Toll
 
  • Like
Reactions: Obliviax

TangSoo

Well-Known Member
Oct 30, 2015
1,854
3,446
1
513FVfiK2jL.jpg


Sort of a history of the mob in Johnstown through the eyes of the grandson (an accomplished author) of one of the bosses.
 

4theglory54

Well-Known Member
Nov 11, 2012
165
352
1
Just finished "Walden", another Classics Club book that has been sitting up on the shelf for decades.

I had attempted reading it many years ago, but got stuck in the opening segment, Economy, which became tedious at that time. Very glad I persevered this attempt. The second half of the book, especially the chapters dealing with the pond in winter and spring, are pure poetry, and simply delightful in my current state of mind.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DELion

GSPMax

Well-Known Member
Jun 21, 2018
1,365
1,864
1
Reading "The Great War in America" by Garrett Peck. Author claims it is not a bio of Wilson but at times it reads like one of Wilson during the years up to and including the war years.

Very interesting comparison about the infringement of civil liberties, the creation of the treason and sedition acts, as well as other factors currently in play with today's politics.

History is indeed important and efforts to cancel/hide our history will continue to lead us to a totalitarian state.
 

LionJim

Well-Known Member
Oct 8, 2003
36,357
17,117
1
Levittown, PA to Olney, MD
Just finished "Walden", another Classics Club book that has been sitting up on the shelf for decades.

I had attempted reading it many years ago, but got stuck in the opening segment, Economy, which became tedious at that time. Very glad I persevered this attempt. The second half of the book, especially the chapters dealing with the pond in winter and spring, are pure poetry, and simply delightful in my current state of mind.
That’s nice. As a follow up to Walden, may I suggest “A River Runs Through It?” It’s one of the most elegantly written books I have ever encountered. This from memory: “The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time.”
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4theglory54

MacNit07

Well-Known Member
Aug 5, 2017
3,456
3,048
1
I have been wanting to read this one for some time. Although, I have heard it almost comes off as justification for occupation and also doesn’t talk much about loyalist terrorism. My family are Irish Catholics from Maghera in Derry and our sympathies lie with the oppressed.
I wonder what Brexit may have in store. Unification I hope.
I am Irish and very Catholic...the book is very balanced and descriptive of the cruelty and inhumanity (and utter stupidity?) on both sides. Take the plunge...it is well worth it...riveting.
 

kgilbert78

Well-Known Member
Apr 9, 2013
8,413
5,121
1
41WHPvAiStL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg


I finished this a few weeks ago. It was interesting, in that I never really thought of these two Founding Fathers as having a partnership. Edward J. Larson makes a good case that they did, though you could also argue that they were two Founders that just were extremely competent in their roles, which were quite different before, during, and after the American Revolution.

I'd give it a 3, possibly a 3.5, on a 5-star scale. It's well written, and was easy to read. It did have a few tacts that I had forgotten, but at least for me, there wasn't enough really new info to make this a great book.
I just found out that there will be a free webinar on this book (with the author) on February 24 sponsored by the New England Genealogical Society (I have an e-subscription to their weekly newsletter, as my dad's family is from Essex Co.).

Link

You have to scroll through the online activities bar to find it.
 

kgilbert78

Well-Known Member
Apr 9, 2013
8,413
5,121
1
I have been wanting to read this one for some time. Although, I have heard it almost comes off as justification for occupation and also doesn’t talk much about loyalist terrorism. My family are Irish Catholics from Maghera in Derry and our sympathies lie with the oppressed.
I wonder what Brexit may have in store. Unification I hope.
I'm part Irish, and I cannot take sides (though I can deplore the violence and hatred). My maternal great-grandfather was a Protestant from Belfast. My parernal great-grandmother was a Catholic from Dublin. So if I did, I'd have a civil war inside my own body. I suspect, given the melting pot that is the US, that I'm not alone in this.
 

DELion

Well-Known Member
May 23, 2020
69
102
1
Newark, DE
Just starting "James Madison: A Life Reconsidered" by Lynne Cheney. Was looking for a good biography on Madison but some of the available ones sounded pretty dry. I probably should have asked Mr. McAndrew for a recommendation.
 

Tom McAndrew

Well-Known Member
Staff
May 29, 2001
53,492
36,209
1
I just found out that there will be a free webinar on this book (with the author) on February 24 sponsored by the New England Genealogical Society (I have an e-subscription to their weekly newsletter, as my dad's family is from Essex Co.).

I knew of the presentation, as I had noticed it on the web site of the Boston Athenaeum web site. My recollection is that it was open only to members, and clicking on the registration link, it appears that you do need to indicate whether or not you are a member of the three organizations that appear to be sponsoring the talk. I saw Ed Larson talk about the book in question in the spring (or early summer) in an online event sponsored by Mount Vernon.
 

Tom McAndrew

Well-Known Member
Staff
May 29, 2001
53,492
36,209
1
Just starting "James Madison: A Life Reconsidered" by Lynne Cheney. Was looking for a good biography on Madison but some of the available ones sounded pretty dry. I probably should have asked Mr. McAndrew for a recommendation.

Yeah, I would not have recommended Cheney's bio. It's more a review of early America than a bio of Madison.

My favorite bio of Madison is by Ralph Ketcham, titled, James Madison: A Biography. It was initially published in 1971, but it really stands the test of time. If you wanted a shorter bio of Madison, I'd go with James Madison, by Richard Brookhiser. It lacks some of the depth and the analysis of Ketcham's bio, and doesn't always give you a sense of what Madison was thinking, but it certainly captures the salient aspects of his life.
 
  • Like
Reactions: delcoLion

GreggK

Well-Known Member
Jan 19, 2002
12,459
4,044
1
I'm part Irish, and I cannot take sides (though I can deplore the violence and hatred). My maternal great-grandfather was a Protestant from Belfast. My parernal great-grandmother was a Catholic from Dublin. So if I did, I'd have a civil war inside my own body. I suspect, given the melting pot that is the US, that I'm not alone in this.
Oh certainly. Although, I would say, I generally don't view the troubles in a sectarian way. Lots of protestants on the rebel side as well, including the great Wolfe Tone. Although that was a different "troubles". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfe_Tone
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: kgilbert78

kgilbert78

Well-Known Member
Apr 9, 2013
8,413
5,121
1
I knew of the presentation, as I had noticed it on the web site of the Boston Athenaeum web site. My recollection is that it was open only to members, and clicking on the registration link, it appears that you do need to indicate whether or not you are a member of the three organizations that appear to be sponsoring the talk. I saw Ed Larson talk about the book in question in the spring (or early summer) in an online event sponsored by Mount Vernon.
I'm not a paid member, but I am registered with American Ancestors for the stuff you can have free access to--like this.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tom McAndrew

83wuzme

Well-Known Member
Apr 27, 2005
11,714
10,220
1
With Lent coming up, I just finished “ Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls “
This book provides some historical interest, even if your theological interest is limited.
In 1947, Bedouins discovered some very ancient scrolls in a series of caves in the West side of the Dead Sea. These scrolls made it into the hands of some antiquities dealers and it was soon determined that these were about 2000 years old. Archaeological expeditions were mounted and additional scrolls were discovered.
The Scrolls were the property of a monastic community that lived in the aforementioned caves between about 200 B.C. and 70 A.D. The community was a celibate, male group of what we would today call “ monks “. Others referred to them as the Essenes, although they probably would have referred to themselves as Israelites. They were a third main branch of Judaism in the first century, the others being the Pharisees and the Sadducees. In addition to the monastic community, there were many other Jews at the time who were either part of the wider Essene community, or were at least very familiar and somewhat sympathetic to it’s beliefs.
The Essenes were focused on the coming of the Messiah and were heavily occupied with liturgical and ritual purity. Most of them actually expected not one, but two Messiahs in the separate roles of priest and king. Learning about this branch of first century Judaism fills in a lot of the puzzle pieces in the New Testament that might take too long in this post to adequately cover. However, numerous details that sometimes seem trivial begin to make more sense. The language of the Gospel of John can be seen as something contemporaneous with the time of the Apostles. John The Baptist becomes a much more understandable and important figure. The Sacramental aspect of early Christianity also comes into sharper focus. Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem at the culmination of his ministry is more appreciable, along with his execution by Roman officialdom less than a week later.
The author is a Catholic, so most readers would likely conclude there is a mostly Catholic interpretation of the available evidence. It is, however, a fascinating and well researched review of an overlooked and rather foundational aspect of first century history.
 
Last edited:

DELion

Well-Known Member
May 23, 2020
69
102
1
Newark, DE
Yeah, I would not have recommended Cheney's bio. It's more a review of early America than a bio of Madison.

My favorite bio of Madison is by Ralph Ketcham, titled, James Madison: A Biography. It was initially published in 1971, but it really stands the test of time. If you wanted a shorter bio of Madison, I'd go with James Madison, by Richard Brookhiser. It lacks some of the depth and the analysis of Ketcham's bio, and doesn't always give you a sense of what Madison was thinking, but it certainly captures the salient aspects of his life.
Thanks - wishing I had asked you first. I looked at the Ketcham bio but thought it might be a tedious read. If Cheney doesn't get the job done I will consider Ketcham as well.
 

PrtLng Lion

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2017
1,289
1,412
1
south FL
I changed delivery method for now... learning online from The Great Courses Plus instead of reading a book. Currently doing Intro to Astrophysics, with Joshua Winn from Princeton. Lots of use of mathematical modeling to describe the fundamentals, and I'm enjoying it. Will be doing another topic when this 25-lecture astrophysics one is done. Definitely worth it for $120 for the year.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LionJim

LionJim

Well-Known Member
Oct 8, 2003
36,357
17,117
1
Levittown, PA to Olney, MD
I changed delivery method for now... learning online from The Great Courses Plus instead of reading a book. Currently doing Intro to Astrophysics, with Joshua Winn from Princeton. Lots of use of mathematical modeling to describe the fundamentals, and I'm enjoying it. Will be doing another topic when this 25-lecture astrophysics one is done. Definitely worth it for $120 for the year.
$120 is nothing for something like that. Very cool.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PrtLng Lion

aalion

Well-Known Member
Gold Member
Jun 4, 2001
2,312
2,350
1
About 200 pages into Ian Toll’s Twilight of the Gods, the long awaited 3rd volume of his Pacific War trilogy. It is worth the wait.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LionJim

Woodpecker

Well-Known Member
May 29, 2001
17,330
9,825
1
I changed delivery method for now... learning online from The Great Courses Plus instead of reading a book. Currently doing Intro to Astrophysics, with Joshua Winn from Princeton. Lots of use of mathematical modeling to describe the fundamentals, and I'm enjoying it. Will be doing another topic when this 25-lecture astrophysics one is done. Definitely worth it for $120 for the year.
But it would take years (and cost me a mint) to take the courses to understand that.
 

Leo Ridens

Well-Known Member
Jun 2, 2001
1,727
874
1
Jacob Burckhardt's 1860 classic "The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy". I bought it in grad school and it sat neglected for many years. I recently finished "The Polymath: A Cultural History from Leonardo da Vinci to Susan Sontag" by Peter Burke, and Burckhardt was mentioned, so it rang a distant bell. I had always meant to read it, and after a long search I retrieved it from deep in my book collection. It assumes a detailed knowledge of many long-dead Italians (before there was a country called Italy) so my trips to Rome and Florence the past few years helped, but it still sends me to Google frequently. The Italian Renaissance was a very violent and amoral time, so it is a wonder that such a spectacular flourishing of creativity occurred there and then. Perhaps that was the essential prerequisite for it.
 

BoilerBulldog

Well-Known Member
Mar 20, 2011
495
201
1
A college buddy sent me this list a few weeks ago:


I’ve only read less than 20 of them (there are a bunch of self help books that I don’t read very much). But I did just read “Matterhorn”, a novel about the Vietnam War which I enjoyed. It’s long but well written. The author was a Rhodes Scholar who volunteered and served as a 1st LT in the Marines.

I’m now reading “The Art of Fielding” which is a light read but questionable so far to merit being on the top 50 list. We’ll see.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LionJim

Aardvark86

Well-Known Member
Jan 23, 2018
5,157
4,521
1
Per a prior post, Pelikan's "Mary Through the Centuries". This is an outstanding book crossing history, theology, art, and culture. First, particularly in the first millenium, we see how Mary and Marian doctrine was very much at the inflection point, and a necessary part of the resolution of, many core theological issues at the heart of Christianity generally (the relationship of Christianity to Judaism, the divinity and humanity of Christ, the veneration of icons, etc.) We see the tremendous regard that Islam has for Mary, which was very new to me. In medieval centuries we see the interaction of Marian doctrine with concepts of free will, intercession of the saints, and the like. Then, a fascinating discussion of the Romanticism of Goethe, and finally modern CAtholic affirmation of the immaculate conception, assumption, and queenship
 

4IUSox2

Well-Known Member
Feb 5, 2003
144
137
1
“The Cloudbuster 9” about Ted Williams, Johnny Sain and other big leaguers in flight training for WW 2, Summer of ‘43 at Chapel Hill and the stir it made in the area when they played for the base’s baseball team.
 

LionJim

Well-Known Member
Oct 8, 2003
36,357
17,117
1
Levittown, PA to Olney, MD
A college buddy sent me this list a few weeks ago:


I’ve only read less than 20 of them (there are a bunch of self help books that I don’t read very much). But I did just read “Matterhorn”, a novel about the Vietnam War which I enjoyed. It’s long but well written. The author was a Rhodes Scholar who volunteered and served as a 1st LT in the Marines.

I’m now reading “The Art of Fielding” which is a light read but questionable so far to merit being on the top 50 list. We’ll see.
There are some good ones here.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BoilerBulldog

IsomsPopBelly

Well-Known Member
Gold Member
Sep 5, 2019
999
802
1
Genesis









Interesting that God refers to man being made in "our" image and God speaks as a plurality of subjects on multiple occasions in the creation story.
 

LionJim

Well-Known Member
Oct 8, 2003
36,357
17,117
1
Levittown, PA to Olney, MD
Happened upon this letter from Voltaire to Rousseau. After finishing it, I immediately ordered “The Portable Voltaire.”

I have received, sir, your new book against the human species, and I thank you for it. You will please people by your manner of telling them the truth about themselves, but you will not alter them. The horrors of that human society--from which in our feebleness and ignorance we expect so many consolations--have never been painted in more striking colours: no one has ever been so witty as you are in trying to turn us into brutes: to read your book makes one long to go on all fours. Since, however, it is now some sixty years since I gave up the practice, I feel that it is unfortunately impossible for me to resume it: I leave this naturel habit to those more fit for it than are you and I. Nor can I set sail to discover the aborigines of Canada, in the first place because my ill-health ties me to the side of the greatest doctor in Europe, and I should not find the same professional assistance among the Missouris: and secondly because war is going on in that country, and the exemple of the civilised nations has made the barbarians almost as wicked as we are ourselves. I must confine myself to being a peaceful savage in the retreat I have chosen--close to your country, where you yourself should be.
I agree with you that science and literature have sometimes done a great deal of harm. Tasso's enemies made his life a long series of misfortunes: Galileo's enemies kept him languishing in prison, at seventy years of age, for the crime of understanding the revolution of the earth: and, what is still more shameful, obliged him to forswear his discovery. Since your friends began the Encyclopaedia, their rivals attack them as deists, atheists--even Jansenists.
If I might venture to include myself among those whose works have brought them persecution as their sole recompense, I could tell you of men set on ruining me from the day I produced my tragedy Oedipe: of a perfect library of absurd calumnies which have been written against me: of an ex-Jesuit priest whom I saved from utter disgrace rewarding me by defamatory libels: of a man yet more contemptible printing my Century of Louis XIV with Notes in which crass ignorance gave birth to the most abominable falsehoods: of yet another, who sold to a publisher some chapters of a Universal History supposed to be by me: of the publisher avaricious enough to print this shapeless mass of blunders, wrong dates, mutilated facts and names: and, finally, of men sufficiently base and craven to assign the production of this farago to me. I could show you all society poisoned by this class of person--a class unknown to the ancients--who, not being able to find any honest occupation--be it manuel labour or service--and unluckily knowing how to read and write, become the brokers of literature, live on our works, steal our manuscripts, falsify them, and self them. I could tell of some loose sheets of a gay trifle which I wrote thirty years ago (on the same subject that Chapelain was stupid enough to treat seriously) which are in circulation now through the breach of faith and the cupidity of those who added their own grossness to my badinage and filled in the gaps with a dullness only equalled by their malice; and who, finally, after twenty years, are selling everywhere a manuscript which, in very truth, is theirs and worthy of them only.
I may add, last of all, that someone has stolen part of the material I amassed in the public archives to use in my History of the War of 1741 when I was historiographer of France; that he sold that result of my labours to a bookseller in Paris; and is as set on getting hold of my property as if I were dead and he could turn it into money by putting it up to auction. I could show you ingratitude, imposture, and rapine pursuing me for forty years to the foot of the Alps and the brink of the grave. But what conclusion ought I to draw from all these misfortunes? This only: that I have no right to complain: Pope, Descartes, Bayle, Camoens--a hundred others--have been subjected to the same, or greater, injustice: and my destiny is that of nearly everyone who has loved letters too well.
Confess, sir, that all these things are, after all, but little personal pin-pricks, which society scarcely notices. What matter to humankind that a few drones steal the honey of a few bees? Literary men make a great fuss of their petty quarrels: the rest of the world ignores them, or laughs at them.
They are, perhaps, the least serious of all the ills attendant on human life. The thorns inseparable from literature and a modest degree of fame are flowers in comparison with the other evils which from all time have flooded the world. Neither Cicero, Varron, Lucretius, Virgil, or Horace had any part in the proscriptions of Marius, Scylla, that profligate Antony, or that fool Lepidus; while as for that cowardly tyrans, Octavius Caesar--servilely entitled Augustus--he only became an assassin when he was deprived of the society of men of letters.
Confess that Italy owed none of her troubles to Petrarch or to Boccaccio: that Marot's jests were not responsible for the massacre of St.Bartholomew: or the tragedy of the Cid for the wars of the Fronde. Great crimes are always committed by great ignoramuses. What makes, and will always make, this world a vale of tears is the insatiable greediness and the indomitable pride of men, from Thomas Koulikan, who did not know how to read, to a customhouse officer who can just count. Letters support, refine, and comfort the soul: they are serving you, sir, at the very moment you decry them: you are like Achilles declaiming against fame, and Father Malebranche using his brilliant imagination to belittle imagination.
If anyone has a right to complain of letters, I am that person, for in all times and in all places they have led to my being persecuted: still, we must needs love them in spite of the way they are abused--as we cling to society, though the wicked spoil its pleasantness: as we must love our country, though it treats us unjustly: and as we must love and serve the Supreme Being, despite the superstition and fanaticism which too often dishonour His service.
M. Chappus tells me your health is very unsatisfactory: you must come and recover here in your native place, enjoy its freedom, drink (with me) the milk of its cows, and browse on its grass.
I am yours most philosophically and with sincere esteem.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Leo Ridens

Leo Ridens

Well-Known Member
Jun 2, 2001
1,727
874
1
Happened upon this letter from Voltaire to Rousseau. After finishing it, I immediately ordered “The Portable Voltaire.”

Voltaire was visited on his deathbed by a priest who asked him if he would renounce Satan, Voltaire supposedly replied, "This is no time to be making new enemies".
 
  • Like
Reactions: LionJim

LionJim

Well-Known Member
Oct 8, 2003
36,357
17,117
1
Levittown, PA to Olney, MD
Voltaire was visited on his deathbed by a priest who asked him if he would renounce Satan, Voltaire supposedly replied, "This is no time to be making new enemies".
Lol. You’ll like hearing how I happened upon the letter in the first place. In the Losing Weight thread there was some discussion about the importance of protein-focused breakfasts. (Which is significant, I admit.) I myself eat shredded wheat for breakfast because I value regularity. I was looking for another letter Voltaire wrote to Rosseau, responding to Rousseau’s complaining that he was going deaf. “At our age, being regular is more important than being able to hear.”
 
  • Like
Reactions: Leo Ridens

Leo Ridens

Well-Known Member
Jun 2, 2001
1,727
874
1
Lol. You’ll like hearing how I happened upon the letter in the first place. In the Losing Weight thread there was some discussion about the importance of protein-focused breakfasts. (Which is significant, I admit.) I myself eat shredded wheat for breakfast because I value regularity. I was looking for another letter Voltaire wrote to Rosseau, responding to Rousseau’s complaining that he was going deaf. “At our age, being regular is more important than being able to hear.”

Voltaire was more than a poet, playwright,and world-class wit. He read deeply of Isaac Newton and popularized his works in France by writing, along with the physicist and mathematician Emilie du Chatelet, "Elements of the Philosophy of Newton".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleme...h: Éléments de la,and thought of Isaac Newton.

"Voltaire explained Newtonian science to the educated public more successfully than any other writer, perhaps because he took more pains to understand it."
 
  • Like
Reactions: LionJim

BoilerBulldog

Well-Known Member
Mar 20, 2011
495
201
1
I know upstream I posted a list of the top 50 books every guy should read. I got that from a fraternity brother and I’m slowly plowing my way through. One book I loved is “The Dog Stars” by Peter Heller. Great book about 99% of the world dying in a flu pandemic written in 2012. Reading “Sapiens” now.
 

Tom McAndrew

Well-Known Member
Staff
May 29, 2001
53,492
36,209
1
Occupied America: British Military Rule and the Experience of Revolution (Early American Studies) by [Donald F. Johnson]


I completed this book a few days ago. It examines the experiences of Americans (loyalist and patriot) in the cities that were occupied for extended times by the British in the American Revolution. These were: Boston, Newport, New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, and Savannah. To a much lesser extent, it examines the situations in Georgia and in South Carolina, where Britain was able to extend their occupation far beyond Savannah and South Carolina, respectively.

The author's main point was that the British thought that by occupying these areas, they could show the advantage to the populace of remaining loyal subjects, and abandoning the revolution. However, their actions in those cities ended up working against their larger goals.

The book is well written (I didn't find my first typo until page 45), and while a lot of the general info I was well versed on, it did bring up some facts involving specific individuals in some of the aforementioned cities that I was not aware of. I thought a few of the conclusions that were drawn, based on things that took place when Philadelphia was occupied, were mischaracterized, but not in a major way, and I thought I could understand the author's take on those, even if I disagreed with small parts of his descriptions.

It was interesting to read how many of those in the aforementioned cities kind of straddled the line, and kept their foot, so to speak, in both the British camp and the patriot's camp. In some cases, these individuals were disaffected, and really didn't care who won -- they just wanted to get on with their lives. In other cases, the individuals did have a preference, but also were keeping their options open as best they could.

I've read a great deal about the occupations of Philadelphia, Boston, New York, and Charleston. As such, I got more out of the book about the occupations of Newport and Savannah, as I'm just not as knowledgeable about those occupations. For those not as read on the occupations of the aforementioned cities, I think you would learn a good deal from the book.

I'd rate the book somewhere between a 3.75 to a 4.0 on a 5 point scale.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BoilerBulldog