Skip to comments.Free Republic Book Thread, Week of 03/05/05
Posted on 03/05/2005 11:22:06 AM PST by Tanniker Smith
Hello, once again. Welcome to the weekly Free Republic Book Club thread.
The winner of the poll and the topic for this week is historical novels.
For those of you that want to get a jump on next week, the runner up in the last week's poll was mysteries, so grab one off the shelf and get busy reading, so you'll have something for next week. 8-)
Book Club Ping.
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Add me also please!
Add me to your list as well. Thanks!
An absolute must-read for anyone who wants to understand the major driving force behind American political developments in the 20th century.
Can you guess the name of this work?
Meant to ask to be placed on the list.
Nobody said international legal thrillers?
I'm guessing that it's "Looking Backward" by Edward Bellamy. I bought it recently and the date 1887 reminded me of it. I haven't read anything beyond the introduction and I don't know if I want to continue. The introduction itself is stomach-turning.
Regarding historical fiction, my two favorite authors are Anya Seton and John Jakes. I don't read much fiction anymore, but when I'm in the mood for it, I enjoy their books.
You are correct. But oddly enough, I didn't find it stomach truning at all. Reading this utterly, fantastically naive utopian novel and comparing its futuristic vision of an ideal American government-run society in the year 2000 with the reality of the past century was an experience in pure schadenfreude for me.
I think every Freeper should read it, and that we should never stop beating modern Progressive Democrats over the head with it.
Getting this book back in front of the public consciousness as the intellectual root of modern American progressivism will go a long way towards humiliating and destroying the entire Democratic Party agenda.
"...humiliating and destroying the entire Democratic Party agenda."
Verily, verily, that is what we crave!
Then getteth thou a copy and readeth it forsooth.
Didn't know FR had a book club. I'm off to the local independent bookseller to see Kinky Friedman and have him autograph his latest murdery mystery novel. Rumor has it that the Kinkster gets killed off in this one..."Ten little New Yorkers". He's also going to run for Governor of the Great State of Texas so this will be a dual opportunity booksigning. Billy Joe Shaver will also be there with his new bio. With any luck this one might break out into song. Happy reading folks :o)
Since you recommend it so highly, I will give it another try. I just found it nauseating because we hear the same things coming out of the mouths of modern liberals every day.
Please add me to the Book Club List!
Just to be clear, it is NOT great literature by any standard. Pretty dull, actually.
What makes it a great read is how seriously it takes itself, and seeing how completely history has proven its ideas to be utter rubbish. Yet it still remains the core of the Progressive vision, even today, though most Progressives are not aware of that fact.
Did you know that Edward Bellamy's cousin, also a socialist, wrote the Pledge of Allegiance?
I knew that the Pledge was written by a socialist, but hadn't realized it was Bellamy's cousin.
I have a suggestion for another category - books by Freepers.
I just finished James Patterson's, *HONEYMOON*
It was quick read, and, I liked it.
But feel Patterson has gotten lazy in his last few books...did not buy his *LONDON BRIDGES*, and don't plan to.
He has been writing with collaboraters, and, most are pretty poor reads. *Honeymoon* had a new helper, so it wasn't too bad.
Am waiting for the mail to bring Anne River Siddeons next book.
I just bought the paper back editions of *North and South*, *Heaven and Hell*, and *Love and War*.
I have liked all of his writings.
His name was Francis Bellamy. He and Edward were first cousins.
I try not to think about it when I say the Pledge, but I have to admit that it does bother me that it was written by a socialist.
My husband was going to buy me the DVD's of the movie, but I told him that I'd prefer to have the books. The books are so much better.
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James Michener's Hawaii. Still one of the best novels I've ever read. Also Caravans by Michener.
Leon Uris's Exodus about the founding of Israel and the Israeli/Palestinian/British conflict of 1948. A must-read for anyone who wants to have a foundation for understanding the current Israeli/Palestine/Middle East imbroglio.
Anything by Samuel Shellabarger. He was a terrific author of historical fiction. Prince of Foxes is probably my favorite.
Irving Stone's The Agony and the Ecstasy about Michelangelo. I guess that's biography, but it's very fictionalized, I suspect.
A biography of Leonardo daVinci published of the same vintage as the above. I thought that Irving Stone wrote that one as well, but I can't locate it. It was by a famous author of that era.
Bruce Alexander's mystery/crime series set in 1700's London, with Sir John Fielding, the blind justice. Stories are told through the eyes of Jeremy, the boy/young man who assists him. Great books, most are riveting.
Valley of the Horses by Jean Auel. Was not crazy about the others in that trilogy.
I could go on and on, but will stop here! Would enjoy hearing recommendations from others, as I am always looking for a good historical novel.
It bothers me too. But in Bellamy's defense, I can be a bit forgiving of those in the late 1800s who were socialists, because there was not practical experience with socialism at that time, and I can see why it appeared to make sense back then when compared to the sometimes harsh realities of industrial-era capitalism.
Of course, now that the world has had 150 years of real experience with the horrors of actual socialism in practice, there is no longer an excuse for ignoring the clear superiority and comparative humanity of free-market capitalism.
Also, at least back then American socialists appeared to be patriots. Can you imagine any modern American progressive composing something like the Pledge of Allegiance today?
But they would have been familiar with the French Revolution, wouldn't they? Wasn't it a socialist experiment?
I do agree that cultural and moral relativism would prevent today's leftists from writing anything even remotely similar to the Pledge.
I read Exodus last year, and from that went on to Leon Uris' two about Ireland. Trinity and just finished Redemption this week. They were both excellent for the Northern Ireland background, but particularly Trinity. Though Redemption, was called a "sequel", it really was a play on the voices Uris uses to tell the story. Most of the action that happens in Redemption, he had already written about in Trinity, it was told with more detail and from a different point of view.
I'm always looking for good historical fiction. And got these recommendations on Uris, from a FR thread a few years ago.
I don't think the French Revolution represented socialism in the sense that term came to be understood in the 19th century. But even so, they could have made the argument that you can't draw any conclusions from one example.
A very enlightening book I read last year was A Fierce Discontent, a very well written history of the American Progressive era between 1870 and 1920. (Actually, it was this book that prompted me to read the Bellamy book).
There is no doubt that there was a lot of ugliness arising out of the dislocations caused by the industrial revolution, and I can see why some of the alarming social and economic developments would have led many people to think (in the absence of actual observable experience) that a "scientifically managed" economy would eliminate those problems.
Of course, it couldn't,considering how much back breaking brute force labor was required to build an industrial society from an agrarian one. And certainly the American coal miners, as horrible as their lives were, had it better than Russian slaves who were forced to "build socialism" under Stalin.
Also, a lot of the "discontent" that occurred in the late 1800s was due to the fact that for American capitalism created so much wealth that for the first time people were aware that there was such thing as poverty. Before that, it was just called "life."
Thank you for the book recommendation. I'll add it to my ever-expanding list.
I just don't understand why today's liberals continue to hold on to their dreams of a socialist utopia. Millions of lives have been lost proving that it won't work. Why do they still cling to it? How many more have to die before they'll admit that they are wrong?
I guess it is a tribute to the apparently limitless human capacity for engagin in doublething. I go to DU sometimes for laffs, and I am continuously amazed at the people who believe the Progressive mythology.
If you're looking for something closer to home, try Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels. Absolutely compelling book about the battle of Gettysburg.
It's part of a trilogy started by his father. Can't remember the other two titles. One, I believe, was The Generals. Old Sheets Byrd got a bit part in that one. They just made a movie about it.
Brings the Civil War right in to your living room.
Good question. I think that it is a case of the malevolent leading the naive and ignorant. Here in Massachusetts, I know a lot of good people who would never dream of voting against a Democrat, because they somehow have it in their heads that "good people are liberals," and they never think any more deeply about things than that.
I think there are lot of people on DU, for example, who have no idea that slavery and racism in the south was primarily an institution that was promulgated by Democrats.
Also, I think that a lot of Progressives are just average people who feel somehow that they are not in control of their lives, and so just generally feel like victims. They find themselves in jobs they hate, or working with people they don't like, or not getting paid as much as they want, and think they're being exploited. It seems never to occur to them to just take responsibility for themselves and try to find some other way to make a living. They'd rather blame "Corporate America."
I've had jobs I hated in my life, and I may not have as much money as I'd like -- but I have never, ever, blamed anybody but myself for whatever bad choices I've made or the circumstances in which I have found myself as a result.
And I've always taken solace in the fact that whatever has gone wrong in my life, at least it was because I did it "my way." There is a lot of comfort in that. It's tough enough to feel like you could be doing better, or should have done things differently, without also feeling like you're a victim and stuck under the control of someone else.
I guess Progressives just never learn to understand and appreciate what it means to have free will.
I prefer the freedom of knowing that for better or worse I am where I am in life because of who I am. I think Progressives prefer being "free" from the responsibility of having to make and live with one's choices.
Also enjoyed Michener. I was in southern Spain in the mid 70's when I read Iberia. It was actually more of a travelogue.
Two passages stick with me even after all these years. He states that if you invite a Spanish family to dinner, do NOT serve them corn. It is an insult. Spaniards believe that "only pigs and Mexicans eat corn."
The other was sort of a sweeping opinion of the country. He said - "Spain. Five thousand years of tradition unmarred by progress."
Kind of the way I though of it when I was there.
Have you ever tried to deprogram a young liberal?
Another good historical novel I really liked was The Journeyer by Gary Jennings, about the life of Marco Polo. It was extremely gory, as all Jennings' novels are, but fascinating.
Interesting insight into Spain. I didn't finish Iberia, I found it dull. But being there would definitely change one's perception, I'm sure.
My absolute favorite alternate history (time travel, actually) of all time is Time and Again by Jack Finney. I you haven't read that, it is a must read, IMO. Takes you back to gaslight-era New York City via the Dakota Hotel.
My other favorite alternate history is the Eden series by Harry Harrison, the series based on the premise that dinosaur and human species developed in parallel and come into competition for dominance in ancient times.
Thx for the recommendation. Never been a Civil War buff, but maybe I'll have to try it.
BTW, another good historical novel: Lion of Ireland, about Brian Boru, the first king of Ireland.
I like Anya Seton as well. Haven't tried John Jakes.
I also like Mary Stewart a lot. Her Merlin trilogy was wonderful.
At Amazon.com you can buy the paperbacks for about 80 cents.
They have a lengthy list, as well.
I also buy books at www.zooba.com.
They have all the new best sellers....some skimpy historicals.
Lots of craft books there.
All they charge is $9.95 and that includes the shipping...when I finish a new book I sell it at Amazon.
Which Anya Seton book do you like the best? My favorites are "Green Darkness" and "Catherine".
Auel's first two books, Clan of the Cave Bear and Valley of the Horses were very good.
Ditto on anything by Leon Uris although I've read that the last novel he published wasn't so good--I've avoided reading it because I don't want to be disappointed.
Paul Scott's Raj Quartet is awesome. I'm currently reading M.M.Kaye's The Far Pavillions--very good. I also liked her Shadows of the Moon.
Enjoy John Jakes.
Also Colleen McCullough's work except I didn't much care for A Creed for the Third Millinieum.
Byzantium (Stephen Lawhead) is very good.
Ken Follet--Pillars of the Earth.
I've read two Edward Rutherford novels: Sarum and London and both were very good.
Ken Follet--Pillars of the Earth....I loved that book!