Baker Loiters Through the Pages

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Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby Baker » 07 Jan 2015, 07:21

Sons of Heaven: A Portrait of the Japanese Monarchy by Jerrold M. Packard.

This was a book I mostly read during my "having to sit with stupid foot elevated" phase at the end of last year. I didn't know a lot about Japanese history, so this was interesting to me and I have no way of evaluating what axe's the author has to grind. Until the end: the Hirohito stuff was pretty awful. Still, fascinating to learn the interplay between the emperors and Shoguns. Oh, and the fact that there were a handful of female emperors, which I didn't know. That made the recent agonising over the lack of a male heir seem pretty stupid: it was only during the Meiji period they excluded female succession. Why was it a big fucking deal to simply reverse that? :no:

I'm pretty neutral on a rating for this book. It entertained while I was an episodic captive audience.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities ~ Voltaire
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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby Baker » 07 Jan 2015, 07:31

Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh by Joyce Tyldesley

Image

I really enjoyed this book. We've all heard about the female pharoah who had herself depicted as a man, right? And we've all heard of Deir el-Bahari, right? (The Egyptian name is Djeser djeseru--holy of holies.) So, as a lesbian, one can't help wondering, right? Well, sadly, there's nothing to suggest that the cross-dressing was anything other than political necessity and propaganda. But that doesn't mean she wasn't fascinating.

One of the aspects of this book that I loved was the way the author makes wry, ironic, or scathing comments on the way previous historians (generally older, white men) have interpreted aspects of Hatsheput's life. They were delicious in their own right, but it also underlined to me how much of history is interpreted for us through a male lens. When the subject is a woman, that can result in some real head-scratching and/or grotesque distortions. I particularly recall Tyldesley discussing Senenmut--the chap who was Hatshepsut's right hand man. She takes some of the men who pontificate on women's desire and how women might view men to the proverbial woodshed.

Warmly recommend this book, despite there being not a shred of evidence Hatty played for our team.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities ~ Voltaire
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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby wildlx » 07 Jan 2015, 08:08

Thanks for sending it to me :-).
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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby Baker » 19 Jan 2015, 07:24

Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy

Good book. Very depressing. Thanks, Wild.
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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby wildlx » 21 Jan 2015, 09:40

That was a short review ;-). Yes, it is depressing and you're welcome.
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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby Baker » 22 Jan 2015, 06:29

It was a frustrating book to read, that I had to take in small doses. It was well-written and I enjoyed the style, but the subject matter was so :bash:. The idea of young women thinking baring their breasts for a reality television show is empowerment is mind-numbing. At no point does anyone--except the author--wonder why men don't also gain 'empowerment' by showing off their penises. :no: So, yes, a good book to read, and I would warmly reccommend it to anyone who wasn't in a homicidal mood, but ultimately depressing.
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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby Baker » 03 Mar 2015, 06:51

God's Architect: Pugin & the Building of Romantic Britain by Rosemary HIll

What an odd chap.
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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby wildlx » 03 Mar 2015, 06:58

The name didn't rang a bell :blush:.
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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby Baker » 03 Mar 2015, 07:02

No reason it should. He's not exactly a world famous bloke. His most famous work is the interior of the Palace of Westminster in London (aka the Houses of Parliament). The reason I read this was because it's a huge doorstop of a book and I started it during the initial period of my broken foot bone when I had to spend time with the damned foot elevated.
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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby Baker » 08 Jun 2015, 08:16

Because I was an idiot and posted in last year's thread, I'm copying over my list of books.

Blue are read. ;)
1 Zamoyski, Adam 1812
2 Atwood, Margaret In Other Worlds: Science Fiction and the Human Imagination
3 Leyser, Henrietta Medieval Women: 450 1500: Social History Of Women in England, 450 1500
4 Gould, Stephen Jay Dinosaur in a Haystack
5 Kleinschmidt, Harald Charles V: the World Emperor
6 Herman, Eleanor Sex With Kings: 500 Years Of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge
7 Kurlansky, Mark Salt
8 Henriques, Diana B. Wizard Of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death Of Trust, The
9 Herrera, Hayden Frida: a Biography Of Frida Kahlo
10 Massie, Robert K. Dreadnought: Britain, Germany and the Coming Of the Great War
11 Tokitsu, Kenji|Miyamoto, Musashi Miyamoto Musashi: His Life and Writings
12 Himmler, Katrin Himmler Brothers: a German Family History, The
13 Gould, Joan Spinning Straw Into Gold: What Fairy Tales Reveal About the Transformations in a Woman's Life
14 Robertson, Geoffrey Tyrannicide Brief, The
15 Krugman, Paul|Krugman, Paul R. Great Unravelling, The
16 Galbraith, John Kenneth History Of Economics: the Past As the Present, A
17 Le Tissier, Tony|MBE, Tony Le Tissier Death Was Our Companion: the Final Days Of the Third Reich
18 Posner, Gerald|Ware, John|Posner, Gerald L. Mengele: the Complete Story
19 Campbell, John Iron Lady: Margaret Thatcher: From Grocer's Daughter to Iron Lady, The
20 Weintraub, Stanley Victoria: Biography Of a Queen
21 Taubman, William Khrushchev: the Man and His Era
22 Chernow, Ron House Of Morgan, The
23 Short, Philip Mao: a Life
24 Behr, Edward Samuel|Behr, Edward Hirohito: Behind the Myth
25 Gleick, James Isaac Newton
26 Service, Robert Trotsky: a Biography
27 Pakula, Hannah Uncommon Woman: the Life Of Princess Vicky: the Empress Frederick, An
28 Palmer, Alan Warwick|Palmer, Alan Kaiser: Warlord Of the Second Reich, The
29 Mayhew, Margaret Bluebirds
30 Fry, Stephen Paperweight
31 Healey, Edna Emma Darwin
32 Beevor, Antony Mystery Of Olga Chekhova, The
33 Proulx, Annie That Old Ace in the Hole
34 Goebbels, Joseph|Barry, Richard|Trevor-Roper, Hugh Redwald Diaries
35 Boyer, Carl B.|Asimov, Isaac|Merzbach, Uta C. History Of Mathematics, A
36 Atwood, Margaret Dancing Girls and Other Stories
37 Savage, Anne Anglo Saxon Chronicles, The
38 Wighton, Charles Heydrich, Hitler's Most Evil Henchman
39 Stolpe, Sven Christina of Sweden
40 Romer, John Romer's Egypt

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++==

20 Weintraub, Stanley Victoria: Biography Of a Queen

I enjoyed this one. It was a door-stop, but nice balance of detail. With a figure like Vicky, it can be difficult for a biography to put in public and personal details to keep the story moving along. The many threads of such a long life can make for an indigestible spaghetti. Weintraub did pretty well. I learned a lot about her and the times. My god, she and Albert were atrocious parents--though that was pretty much the norm back then.



12 Himmler, Katrin The Himmler Brothers: a German Family History

Now, this one I realy liked. The author is the granddaughter of the younger brother of Heinrich Himmler. So, her telling the story of her grandfather and his two brothers could have gone many ways, but she chose an honest attempt to find the reality behind the "family stories". Apparently the story was that Ernst, her grandfather, was a reluctant Nazi because of his brother and because to get work as an engineer he had to toe the party line. Turns out, not so much. The brothers and their parents were pretty much Hitler fans.

What makes this book fascinating for me is that it's about the middle-level Nazis. We have histories of the leaders, like Heinrich HImmler, and we have books by those who resisted--such as Christobel Bielenberg--but, for obvious reasons, we don't have many accounts of the Nazi followers: those who supported the party, voted them into power, were enthusiastic about their plans, but who mysteriously ceased to exist after the war. The Himmlers thus make an interesting study. There are chapters on what happened after the war and how everyone tried to evade, down-play, and lie about their deeds, but also the letters of support her grandmother wrote to Nazis condemnded by the Nuremburg trials.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities ~ Voltaire
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