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Member: keylawk

CollectionsYour library (3,094), Wishlist (4), To read (10), All collections (3,107)

Reviews1,714 reviews

Tagshistory (314), biography (223), anthropology (203), poetry (182), religion (163), literature (162), (136), law practice (134), war (124), music (120) — see all tags

Cloudstag cloud, author cloud

About meHappily married 63 year old wounded warrior in Orange County, California. My wife is English (Sherwood Forest, Druids and Hobbits having tea...). I bring good fortune to everyone; even my enemies are rich. Brought up in the Amazon jungle, most of what I know I learned from plants and amphibians. It was the Stone Age.

I would like to show ambitious people how to get away with being kind. Now I am old and retired from the law, from the military, from college teaching, and from music. I have failed at many things. When I was young, hopeful Elders took the trouble to try to teach me things I never learned or used. And now I have forgotten more than I ever knew.

About my libraryFrom approximately 9000 books, I am down to ~5000. And most of these are FOR SALE. Dictionaries of various kinds, Practical Sciences, History, Literature and Poetry, Words/Language. Some Philosophy, and touching upon the Arts. Feel free to make an offer to cover shipping.


Seafaring/ Riparian History / Great Rivers (Argonaut);
Collective and Personal Guilt (Engines of Change);
Animals and People that look alike (morphology);
American Indian (compare Natives generally);
Futurist Studies (prediction/seering Pythia);
Religions ( Biodynamic Consciousness ) ;
Vanishing Women (desaparecida);
Museum of Life Sentences;
Stones (Famous Rocks);
Jungle, Amazon Delta;
Cave Paintings;
History of Fire;

THEMES. A kind of sleeper-theme is Conflict Resolution. I also come from the School of Slow Reading, where we learned not to choke everything down too quickly. As for "communicating" or "understanding", just quietly let those go too. Once you realize the utter futility, the burden of effort falls away, and the world fills with joy. Of course this is not a Theme you tell your clients or people who look to you with specific hopes.

MAUSOLEUM. Yes, LibraryThing can also be used as a living Mausoleum. My "reviews" are a kind of legacy, albeit prematurely announced. Each of us leaves a legacy after death -- and in these reviews I hope there is light, and stones for your walk, and stories, and bits of information.

TAGS. I use multiple Tags a lot and try to tag every book with appropriate categories, especially if there is irony, or a Korzybski "cloud" in mind. For me, however, most words are arbitrary Zipfs, and I have no clear picture of how labeling works. Hence, a fairly large collection on Words -- writing and semiotics. I delight in Aristotelean categories, Platonic absolutes, and Derida-derived deconstructions.

SHELVING. I brutally culled the collection and corralled my impulse to come home with bags of treasure pillaged from -- "avert thine eyes"! -- library sales. Still, retrieval is a problem even for this smaller size. I have five back-to-back shelf racks, with bays between them. I've named the bays and racks. It's like walking into Wood-henge.

REVIEWS AND COMMENTS ("R" and "C"). I am intent on reviewing each book. Among other Cautions:

(1) These are simply my "notes" and are NOT what I would put up against "book reviews" the professional critics provide for us.

(2) Still working with the difference between "Reviews" and "Comments". I try to introduce the author and capture the gems and qualities of the work in the Review. I try to put the Perspectivity and possible Usage in the Comments. I am not very successful in accomplishing these goals, perhaps belayed by conditions and passions I hardly contain.

(3) Still working on the difference between the information drawn from the work itself, distinct from my "re"-view. Trying to make useful and true comments, even quoting from the text -- see below.

(4) Bracketed numbers refer to the page of the work, and if a small letter accompanies the number, it is an attempt to refine the location.

(5) I try not to be "funny", or Judgmental, because I know "They" are not laughing, and I intend no aid to ideologues or idiots of any persuasion. (But of course, I am FOTFL, or weeping.)

(6) And with 7 billion people on the planet, any dogmatic and extreme opinions of any kind from any of them, are simply -- excuse me -- rude.

( - the Planet has 6.6 billion people as of this writing, but this demographic projection uses an algorithm which assumes facts which are false or unknown.]

QUOTE/S -- Gems/Gifts. I do try to pull out the "gift" or unique or helpful contribution made in a book work, usually in the "Comment" section. [Nota Bene -- I am lobbying for a separate QUOTE section for the entry device].

PHOTO. My icon is one of the great hunter-gatherers of a great tribe, the Chacobo living along the Beni in Bolivia. He wore a woman's choker because of Shaman activity, and he was the only man who bleached his bark dress. He helped me make my first bow and arrows. His are pictured. Notice their length. The quiet confidence and kindness of his heart continues to inspire.

FOR SALE. I am old, having glaucoma issues. Virtually all of these books are FOR SALE to an appropriate person.

GroupsLe Salon des Amateurs de la Langue, Let's Talk Religion, Unitarian Universalist Readers

Favorite authorsGaston Bachelard, E. M. Cioran, Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, Kieran Healy, Mary Ritchie Key, Julia Kristeva, Malcolm Muggeridge, Norb Vonnegut (Shared favorites)

Homepage "Shorn Again Believer&a

Also onblogspot, Facebook

Membership LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway

Real nameThomas George Key

LocationTustin, California

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/keylawk (profile)
/catalog/keylawk (library)

Member sinceSep 10, 2006

Currently readingFishers of men or founders of empire? : the Wycliffe Bible translators in Latin America by David Stoll
Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris
Abraham Lincoln - the War Years, in Four Volumes by Carl Sandberg
The Purpose of the Past: Reflections on the Uses of History by Gordon S. Wood
Body, Mind, and Sport: The Mind-Body Guide to Lifelong Health, Fitness, and Your Personal Best by John Douillard
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TBD - The contents of Harvard Classics. For example, duplicating "The Voyage of the Beagle". Who knew?
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I don't think we're in Kansas, Toto. Although we could be in Oz. What is the ID of this handsome tree?
I am still trying to get back to reviewing...
And another favorable comment on one of your reviews. Just got a fairly recent edition of Road to Serdom...going through it slowly. Excellent oberservations.
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Suu Kyi received the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991
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Dittmann re Social Security numbers as identification.
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Did the $200 haircut help?
You are right, I am slightly pessimistic. ;) It is very difficult not to become discouraged, especially in a very rural, "red" setting. But, perhaps you are right. :)
To Schatzi:
Enjoyed reading your reviews and browsing a fine library. I gather from your review of THE PARTY IS OVER by Lofgren that you are a wee bit pessimistic. Now, there is really no reason to all of sudden get realistic. I think Liberals are not going to disappear, even though huge piles of money and blind minions are being thrown into the imaginary conflicts.

Anyway, no reason for discouragement! Perhaps Voltaire's Candide was right.
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Decathlon Champion and Varsity Wrestler
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Rick Accurso - the secret life of weeds
Thank you for the kind words, and I'm so sorry about the delayed reply. Thanks also for your own reviews, which I've had a chance to look through and many of which provide a useful kind of synopsis which is rarely done on LibraryThing, actually giving us a detailed sense of the book's contents and whether one would like to read it instead of just doing impressionism, and others of which (Austin's How to Do Things with Words) are just drily funny and true. Finally, thanks for the blessing on my writing. All the best.

Greetings Keylawk,After having posted my books in Library Thing I was too pooped to add reviews.It was never my favourite task

in my work as a librarian anyway .I was more interested in getting the materials in the hands of the public-not that good

analytics like reviews wouldn't have helped.Right now reading some books about the Sitwells-a precious but interesting British

family and books on Canada's role in the Vietnam War and the Iraq war-an odd pairing to be sure but what the hey! What is on

your reading list and any good second hand bookshops in your area?.Always looking for new ponds to troll.Regards,Rick Ficek
Your reviews are great. I especially enjoyed the one on the limerick
This is Dore's illustration of the Simoniacs, from the nineteenth canto of the Inferno. It was the position, rather than the sin, which made me think of my friends in LT's PoliCon group (a group now largely, if inexplicably, silent).

The other is by Albrecht Durer, one of I think a couple of engravings representing melancholia executed by him. This one also hangs in my library.

The book was written in the 1400s. The only provenance that concerns me here is that it is a gift from a dear friend.
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In my dream I passed to the Pearly Gates and found a character standing there, laughing to the point of tears almost, taking me up as if the butt of a tremendous trick: "Did you believe?" he said. Ha ha. "There IS no God!" he guffawed. Ha ha. "There IS no Belief!" Ha. And that was it. That was my de-conversion experience. I was baptized in laughter, by a God that did not exist.
Thank you! Who among us is not burned out? Best to you!
Burns Glynn attempts to prove that the abstract, geometric designs on the Inca textiles known as tocapu (and possibly written on boards, though no examples of the latter are extant) were in fact glyphs representing the the ten primary consonants in Quechua. He thus says that it was a nascent alphabet. He makes some stabs at reading the symbols on garments portrayed in Guaman Poma de Ayala's 1615 Primer Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno. His theory was pretty much derided by other Inca scholars.
Dear Friends & Losers:

Guest what? The Rapture happened and you missed it. But I didn’t. I’m facebooking you from heaven right now. I’m here and you’re not.

At 6:00 pm on May 21, right on schedule, I ascended in a brilliant burst of rainbow light. I rose up, smelling suddenly like lilacs and red velvet cupcakes. Bingo, just like that. Up, up I went. Angels sang. Trumpets blared. I found myself all glowy and wearing a white silk caftan. And all you losers, you spiritual dwarfs, you remained stuck down THERE.

As I soared skyward, I was sure that I would be joining tens of thousands of other superior holy beings like my good self, but alas, no. It was just me, some old saints and a few random Buddhists. No popes, members of congress or basketball stars. I thought -- what the hell??? Could I be the only truly fabulous glorified one? Well, apparently so.

But here’s the wacky deal. It’s not just that I made it to heaven. All you dunderheads are actually in hell and you don’t seem to know it. That’s how stupid and blind you are. You still think you are living on good old planet earth, dancing with the stars, but no such luck.

Think about it. If you lived on a good planet, would half the population live in abject poverty on less than two dollars per day? Would four billion people not have heath care or justice or basic housing? Would you allow 35,000 children to die every single day of preventable illness? Would your leaders spend trillions on weapons and bombs and almost nothing to cure malaria or AIDS? In a an intelligent world, would human beings spend ten times more money on eye make-up than on eye care? In a sane world, could Michele Bachmann actually become President of the United States? Not a chance.

You don’t live on earth, my religious midgets. You live in an insane asylum in hell. You created these circumstances and you seem to enjoy it – at least some of the time, especially when Oprah gives you a car, or your favorite team wins one of those game played with a ball. What’s up with that?? Some of you fly in your private jets and hang out in your gated mansions, but more and more of you suffer through your life. You are not your brother’s keeper. You don’t seem to care what happens to each other, except for brief moments during star-studded telethons for disaster victims and afterwards you forget the crisis even happened. Haiti -- been there, done that. Short attention span, celebrity worship. You are more concerned about how your underarms smell than you are about climate change.

It’s obviously hell, my friends. I would say “Get used to it,” but you already have.

So, anyway, if I have one post-rapture message for you, it’s that you might have another chance. You missed this latest ascension, but there’s another one being promoted for next year, 2012 – all this stuff about the Mayan calendar and the end of the world next Christmas. I am sure there will be another round of media frenzy, but probably less billboards and subway ads. The new agers just don’t have the big media budgets like the evangelicals. But don’t miss this opportunity. You might get another shot at heaven, or at least the chance to change your hell into something e a bit more workable.

But we shall see, won’t we? I am not holding my breath.
Thanks, I liked the idea of using it as a pot holder, although I tell most people it's a dog collar. I've only been in a couple s&m places and my strongest memory was being afraid to sit down because so many people were wearing buttless chaps. Eew.

I try to help out OP as much as possible. McKay's, a large used book store in Manassas, VA, often prices their best-selling thrillers at .09 cents or .25. I'll fill a cart up and ship them off. I grew up in a military family, so I have ambivalent feelings about war, but some of the OP special requests for comics really get to me.
The New Yorker article on the Vatican Library. Wow.
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We who heat up history and light up mystery, and put the "ick" in the despicable, here is the science of survival, the ability to see the angels on the head of the pin, their unyielding sorrows, their relentless love, and the first to throw a stone on the rocky road toward justice, not to kill a helpless adulterer, ever, but to build the road, to build the damn road!
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The court had no questions. And I had no answers, so that went well.
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Water bear / tardigrade - the most successful phylum. Dancing and sharing little meals of moss.
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Siu Kye
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The extension of the lungs and lips, the valved plumbing or intestitudes of song, of that mystery of sound that pulls and pushes us into where we are going without knowing
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Kindly dispose of bizarre and inhuman images of the divine in an appropriate manner.
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Blake's Adam and Eve, with the demi-god Satan.
Greetings from Singapore and thanks for visiting! My reviews are in; I still have not ported it over but I guess I'd leave the catalog as it is for the time being. We seem to have a lot of similarities in reading areas and I hope you don't mind if I start to add your book to my "to-read" list!
And you're sure there's nothing new on Porntube?
The Museum of Ontario Archaeology is located on Attawandaron Road in London, Ontario. Here is our website :
Question out of nowhere: Back when Marcos was terminal, many of us took great interest in what the citizens of The Phillipines would do. I bandied about the possibility that on the entire globe, no other people were indulging so many serious experiments with making a democracy work. Looking back, seriously, that was just wishful thinking or hyperbole. Right? Did we edge a bit closer to Justice? to shared responsibilities?

posted by keylawk at 11:34 pm (EST) on Mar 25, 2010
I am flattered that you enjoyed my reviews. I do them mostly as a way to get the most out of my books.

Our part of Brazil is pretty far from the Amazon, but still an adventure!
I have heard that before, regarding Machiavelli's subtle "passive-aggressive" revenge. I have to confess, though, that I have not read The Prince in many years and have bogged on his History of Florence (will get back to that one eventually). If counts for anything, I dropped a card on him recently at Santa Croce ;).

I do recall reading somewhere, Burckhardt maybe, similar advice offered by the father of some infamous duke or condottieri: "Stay away from other men's wives and never strike one of your followers - but if you do, make sure to send him far away". The golden rule of the jungle.
Welcome to the UU group! You might want to check out a book: Nietzsche and Emerson: An Elective Affinity by George J. Stack
Thanks for the nice comment. I'm reading as much as ever, but work has taken over my life in many ways. And when I'm not working, I'm volunteering in the community (I just raised $1300 at my school for the Haitian earthquake victims) or reading -- which hasn't left ANY time for writing reviews. It's been about a year since I posted on LT. I reached a point where I could post or read. . .guess which won out? Thanks again for letting me know you liked my reviews. I hope to post more of them this summer.
Everything? Thank-you for the alliteration.
Turns out I'm more of a reader than a writer, and the journalling is sporadic... I've long since eradicated the word "should" from my personal narrative, so no promises to deliver any "Wow" reviews
Theodicy? The problem of Evil?? Who knew??? I thought the big guy just had low blood sugar from all that creatin'.
Sorry for the delayed reply. We just moved from San Francisco to Sacramento - or more precisely, to Lincoln, which is near Sacramento. I need time to think about your observations vis a vis the "christos" issue. A reply will follow.
Lords of Finance is a fascinating book because it is really the biography of four key men during the years leading up to the Great Depression. The issues are discussed through their individual points of view, and that makes the story very interesting. Complex issues are thus made personal (adherence to the Gold Standard was more an article of faith than logical economics, and the book shows the personal anguish when it was finally realized that the standard was strangling the world economy).

I also listened to the book in an audio version, and a second "reading" made it all the better. I actually read a library copy, and now intend adding it to my collection. (My library has grown so large that I frequently try to borrow a book and read it before deciding to buy it.)
Thanks keylawk--you've saved me from error as I had actually left the 's' out. It's supposed to be tremendisimo. Kind of a technique that Cela desribed in which he would continually return to repeat basic themes or points of his story and then add a little more to it--then repeat again and add a little more again--slowly bringing his story forward to a climactic point or finale. I don't know if that explains it very well--but Cela saw a kind of musical idea behind it all.

Lobo Antunes prose style can be difficult at times. He has a tendency to weave different threads in and out of each other. There's also the black humor element. Like Cela--Lobo in his best work (Fado Alexandrino, An explanation of the birds, The inquisitor's manual) builds the story's momentum towards a crescendo at the end. It's too bad that he's not known that well over here because he is a great writer--has an edge IMO over his Nobel prize winning countryman Saramago--though Saramago is a fine writer as well.
Oh, *BLUSH*!

It is strangely pleasant to hear someone besides me gets some pleasure from my library! Thank you.
Just read your blog, "Tribe" - and your interesting comments about Milton's Aeropagitica. I assume you have read John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty". They belong on the same shelf.
You'll have to explain further the etymology of "christus". The usual intepretation is that is comes from "christos", or "annointed" - a Greek translation of the Hebrew for the same term. I am also unclear about your comment on Philo of Alexandria. He was a Jewish gnostic writer. Since it is difficult to attribute anything to Jesus of Nazareth other than materials written some years after his death in c. 30 C.E., you will need to be more specific about which statements from Philo have been attributed to Jesus of Nazareth.

You can find an online copy of Philo at

Thanks for you note - glad to see you are still blogging....

Yes, The Quincunx and its follow-up, The Unburied, are both excellent reads, although the former has a deep brooding sense of despair about it that makes it almost an emotional challenge to get through. Both would be perfect for a panelled library in the snowy depths of winter (unlikely here in Phoenix).
Still trying to dip into fiction. Legal Classmates Joan Conway (TX) recommends: "I recommend this 800 page beautifully written mystery which is the ultimate Victorian novel about the succession of real property: "The Quincunx," by Charles Palliser, written in 1989. And in addition, without a doubt, the best entertainment within 375 pages you'll ever read is the intense drama contained in each and every chapter of the "Shadow Divers" by Robert Kurson, June 2004, a true adventure."
Just stopped by for a visit. How are you getting on? Have you discontinued your blog, or am I just having trouble linking to it?
I am hoping I read correctly, by inverting the W to an M, HML -- and the reference to the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur. Yes, that would be my ideal (imagined) library.

All of our senses surfaces of the Mind.

Blessings and enjoyments.

In Re: Bounty and seafaring resources. In respect of your interest I entered all my Bountiana. I think you will find it considerably more informative than the prior list. I have not entered all my seafaring books yet but I think you will see some interesting bounty stuff.
In Re: Whither Bligh? Bligh may be the best navigator and worst administrator in the history of the world. Just my thought. How about you? m
Crap. Meant to give him a four. He was so sincere - both in his affections and his cheesemongering. How can you not like him?
Gosh. how to reply without seeming hostile, which I am not. I can't see that the quotations from Macauley say anything at all about religiously inspired mobs hunting out Shakespeare's works and burning them. Of course I understand you recognize they are entirely secondary, but even so they don't even say that. I understand that R.C. religious institutions were sacked, and possibly the one across the street from Shakespeare's home was, although that sounds a lot more like Elizabethan times than Commonwealth times. I don't remember about the minister when I was at Stratford, but again I grant that his action occurred as Macauley says. I can also agree that under Cromwell theatres were closed and possibly actors flogged. I don't see anything in your quotations, though, to support your picture of mobs howling through the street looking for copies of Hamlet. I've just never heard of such. You're right, of course, that one might google it, but if it never happened, I doubt that google would turn it up. Maybe I'll try.
I see that in your review of the Five Foot Shelf you say that Shakespeare's plays were hunted out by religiously inspired mobs of roundheads and burned. Can you provide a reference for this statement?
I am just commenting you back from a while ago. While our books are all Native American,we work for the Cultural Center on the Soboba Band of Mission Indians. So our cultural center has things on history of the tribe here in Southern California our any other ststes. But mainly the topic is about the Mission Indians like Luisenos. Well just to answer your question and let you know. Thanks.
I'm so sorry to hear about your cat. You should not blame yourself. I think cats know the risks they take and indeed possibly invite them as tests of courage or valour. They are marvellous animals.

Your kind words about my blog are very much appreciated. It's not so much the beaming richness of life that I love, but how that beaming richness is absorbed and reflected in literature: now THAT really gets me excited!!

Mata Hari is a very interesting figure. I knew nothing about her (except her execution as a spy) until reading your post, but I want to know more about her now. The dance traditions of Asia are particularly rich. I am a (somewhat wobbly) practitioner of Tai chi, and had the opportunity to learn some Thai dancing in Thailand. I daresay I looked ridiculous doing it, but it was quite a wonderful experience nonetheless.

Thanks for the comment. My regards back and hello to John as well if he is still around.
McLuhan ... ah, now there's somebody I need to revisit. His views on the effects of media on perception, consciousness, and society were very stimulating to me when I first became aware of them in the 1970s. They offered me a way to perceive and adapt to the enormous technological changes that were taking place then (and now). I guess that would have made me a conservative at heart, despite my counterculture lifestyle - at the time - and sentiments - still today.

What strikes me now about McLuhan is how he managed to develop and retain his faith in Catholicism - or even have any faith at all in Christianity - given his seemingly detached and clinical view of a morphing humankind in an evolutionary environment dominated by technological change. Maybe it was his underlying conservatism that I sensed and appreciated back then.

This quote for example from is almost shocking, given the secular nature of McLuhan's work and fame - as a critic of TV advertising, for example.

"A common misconception arose that McLuhan actually endorsed new technologies and media. Although Gary Wolfe has observed that McLuhan hoped electronic civilization would provide a spiritual leap forward and put humankind in closer contact with God, McLuhan later called the electronic universe “an unholy imposter … a blatant manifestation of the anti-Christ.” According to Derrick DeKerkhove, current director of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto, McLuhan privately let it be known that “the devil was in the media.”

“This could be the time of the anti-Christ,” McLuhan said in 1977, alluding to media’s potential to reach every human being on earth at the same time. “It is Lucifer’s moment … The age in which we live is certainly favourable to an anti-Christ.”

That pretty much squares with my view of most media as Maya and attachment. But it would be an interesting study to see how McLuhan puts it in Roman Catholic terminology.


Hi Keylawk,
Thanks for the kind note. And greetings from Indonesia. As an author I am grateful you appreciate my book. I don't think the Taman have a unique regard for stones but in all my studies I have never come across an analogous tradition of belief about stones materializing out of spirits and taking on soul attributes. With best regards,
Pleasurable Greetings Keylawk,

Upon viewing your profile, I felt (I wonder why?) like an anaconda who has swallowed a wizard - head first. I began with a dropped jaw (amazement), then a tickle from the headdress feathers (amusement), then an enormous stomach bulge (the stimulation of new information and a new personality), and, finally sleepiness (as I strive to digest your library). Needless to say, it would child's play to work a trip to into this analogy, but I will suppress (barely) mychildself for now.

I shall return,
Well, Mell! I just found the LT Melvinsico collection, with his FIFTY serious reviews of formidable books. I share almost none of them. His library is all about how the world actually works, in its financial/economic levers, and I studied anthropology and war. In looking at Europe, he studied the monetary Ferguson, Meltzer, and Gallarotti, while I studied Political History. In looking at the Viet Nam War, he studied Levinson's history of containerization ("The Box"), and its impact on globalization. While I studied Adam Smith's references to the East India Company, and Smith's impact on capitalism and Marxism, he has Bowen's history of the East India Company and its impact on world empire. Beautiful reviews.
You know, it simply isn't everyone who decides to sit down, read, and review Blackstone's Commentaries. Sun Tzu, maybe, but Blackstone? I hafta say, that caught my eye. :-)
Aren't we all (conventionally boring people trapped in a wildly improbable life)!

My time in the Amazon (4 trips total, in all about 6 months or so) region was spent in and around the Brasilian town of Tefé where I mostly stayed with the Spiritans Fathers missionaries (which meant living maybe one step above the normal poor Brasilians). Dirt poor area, drug traffic way station, nothing romantic about it except that I fell in love with the river. Tefé itself is not on the Solimões, but on a lake a short distance away. I've been there and on the river during both the dry season and the rainy season, spending some time during the flood (cheia) season in the varzea, or flooded forest. It is the most enchanted area I know of. Period.

In my enthusiastic reply to your message, I neglected to address the issues you raise with the book under discussion.

Persian Fire devotes as much time to describing the history and the culture of the Persians as it does to detailing the Hellenic world. The sense of balance is extraordinary, so that we are given an opportunity to see -- and sometimes admire -- the Persians the way the ancient Greeks did. The central character in the war, indeed the saga itself, is (and rightly so) Themistocles, an occasionally rogueish yet saavy, cunning and brilliant authentic hero somewhat akin to the Odysseus of myth. He is the "indispensible man" -- warts and all -- of the Greek triumph. Ironically, he ends up (like so many Greek statesmen of the classic period) later an outcast under sentence of death, living in exile at the pleasure of the Persian Great King.

There is no doubt in my mind that had the Persians persevered in the conflict, the entire history of Western Civilization would have been written in a very different fashion.

Of the couple of hundred books of history I've read, I would rate Persian Fire among the top 5 or 10. Read it and I think you'll agree ...
Glad you liked my Persian Fire review. I was very enthusiastic while reading the book and it has stayed with me long after. I read a lot of history -- mostly ancient history and American history -- and I find it unfortunate that many writers of history are often dull and uninspiring. Holland is in every way the antithesis of that tendency.

Reading your profile and admiring your book collection, I might suggest you read [River of Doubt] by Candice Millard, a recent book that is history and so much more, focusing on Theodore Roosevelt's somewhat ill-fated exploration of an unknown river of the Amazon River basin in 1913. So lively and well written you will inhale it.

Another great book is Charles Mann's masterpiece of pre-Columbian historical investigation: [1491]

Grateful for your compliment of my review -- I wish I had time to write more reviews!
Thank you for your compliment about my reviews. I write them for selfish reasons - to help me remember each book that I have read. However, I am always glad to learn that my reviews are helpful to other readers too.

Happy Reading!
Thanks! You might want to check out the Stonehenge article in the current issue of National Geographic. It's pretty interesting.
Hello, and thank you for your comment. I have not yet read Mortenson's THREE CUPS OF TEA, so can't comment on what he claims to have done. It sounds like an interesting book. But yes, I have known people who do solo mountaineering, climbing, and wilderness trekking, and have at times done so myself. People who choose to do this are often seeking to avoid contact with others during their time in the wilderness, so I am not surprised that you have not encountered them while camping. We usually avoid well used trails, and often stay off of the trails entirely in places where we are likely to encounter other people.
I can't remember about the Vanity Fair but I believe when I was counting the pages I included the index/extra info like intro and such. I'd have to find my book again to verify but that's like looking for a needle in a haystack! Haha.
To be honest, I am not sure what I am, and as I mature, I guess I am less and less concerned with it. I worship with Quakers, who are much like Unitarians, only quieter, if that is possible. Our meeting has room for Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and non-theists of varying sorts. We don't care if you are gay, straight or in the middle. So in many ways we are much like Unitarians.

My full time job is as a chaplain in a hospital, and I deal with a wide range of people, and a wider range of spiritual issues.

I am looking forward to prowling around your library for a while. I see you are from So Cal. My wife is down in LA right now. Her family is from there, and most of them still live there. I get down ocassionally, so maybe we can have coffee sometime. (Her family lives in the Los Feliz area, which is pretty far from Orange Country, but then EVERYTHING down there is far from everything else.)
Please drop in again when you have less time.
I only look for amphibian errors. Blame it on a marathon "Frog and Toad" reading session with my 3 year old. So far he has no interest in Hittites, Myceneans, Scythians, or Phoenicians (except the ones living here in Phoenix). And he knows enough about the Carthaginians to make him afraid, very afraid.
Re: your review of Guerney's The Hittites. I believe you meant "in the vicinity of the Troad", rather than "in the vicinity of the Toad". Although the idea of a giant prehistoric amphibian roaming the Anatolian hills is quite intriguing.

Cheers, and happy cataloging.
The cookbook authors I think are the greatest do not have great sensual, visual descriptions of food in their books:
Julia Child for Mastering the Art of French Cooking, vols I and II, (It has line drawings)
Marcella Hazan for Classic italian Cooking and Cucina,
Elizabeth David for all her books,
Claudia Roden for Jewish Food,
Paula Wolfert for all her books,
Mark Bittman for How to Cook Everything,
Barbara Tropp for her books on Chinese Cooking
and Escoffier, for Guide Culinaire.
The Renaissance of Italian Coooking by Lorenza de medici has some beautiful pictures and descriptions, but the Hazan books are better cookbooks.
Thank you for adding me to your "interesting libraries" list. I hope to add some boxes of anthropology soon, including a lot of South American ethnologies (most of which I presume you are already familiar with). Nevertheless, our list of shared works will probably be expanding.

I also look forward to taking a deeper look at your blog.

Malraux indeed. Lol thanks for pointing it out.
Do you know this poem by Stephen Spender?

I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul's history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the spirit clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.

What is precious is never to forget
The delight of the blood drawn from ancient springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth;
Never to deny its pleasure in the simple morning light,
Nor its grave evening demand for love;
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.

Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
See how these names are fêted by the waving grass,
And by the streamers of white cloud,
And whispers of wind in the listening sky;
The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire's center.
Born of the sun, they traveled a short while towards the sun,
And left the vivid air signed with their honor.

~ Stephen Spender ~

Your personal post on SAB brought it to mind.
Nice review of (and thoughts on) the Alhambra!
When you say my wish list is all good, does that mean you have looked at it? I would be interested to know what you think of it, and which ones you think I shouldn't neglect. There is always the public library!.
thanks for the praise! as for the question, on wine and writing, if i am not a wee bit softened up, i deliberate too long, so wine speeds me up -- this is particularly true for translation and when i was pressed for a big job i did not like i had to drink a couple bottles a day, but now i write for myself i only drink a half botle a day, sipping very slowly on an empty stomach and find it also keeps the various pains my body has accumulated at bay

ps seeing the letter above, i love twain, too, and in my most recent book quote his 1601.
As a reference book geek, I am fascinated by your dictionary collection. Perchance, have you spent much time browsing through the [Dictionary of the History of Ideas]?
Thanks for lobbying for our wounded veterans. I'm a veteran myself and very grateful.
Thanks for the "Twain Trivia"--It is interesting, there are so many occurences like the one between Clemens and Tesla, Clemens effected everyone he met, not to mention those who only got to read his books. Clemens must have been dynamic in person, I would love to have met him. A brilliant man, rather out of place in time. Can you imagine what he'd say about the world today?
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