Hitler loved art and it was one of his goals to return many of the masters to Germany and to set up one of the best museums in the world. In order to do that he pillaged and plundered Europe. This book covers Paris and its stolen art and is based on an article written in France. I knew about the Nazi’s agenda to steal art, but I didn’t realize how systematic it was. Hitler and Goering were determined to find and send to Germany as much art as possible, most of which was taken from wealthy Parisian Jews. As in other areas during WWII, there was a lot of collaboration from the Paris art dealers. In fact the Paris art world was booming during this period. Art was going for outrageous prices (both high and low) and dealers were becoming really wealthy. None of the activities during the war really surprised me. What surprised me most was what happened after the war when the owners tried to get their possessions back. Barely half of the art stolen by the Nazis has been found and returned. There was a great deal of effort immediately after the war, but there was also a lot of stonewalling and dead ends. If the art ended up in Eastern Europe, it became the spoils of war or reparations for the Soviet Union. Most of that art has never been seen. If it ended up in Switzerland, a supposed neutral country, there was no recourse to get it back. Swiss law was such that it was almost impossible to claim stolen goods there even if you knew where they were. I think what really surprised me was the French museums and the auction houses. There are some 2000 pieces in French museums that are Nazi contraband and have never been claimed; however, the museums have made almost no effort to find the owners. The auctions houses are even worse. Places like Christie’s and Sotheby’s have sold stolen art repeatedly with little or no investigation into their provenances.
Of course all this information is from The Lost Museum. While I found the information really interesting, the book was not. It was not well written or easily readable. Part of this may be the translation, but that does not explain how boring it was in parts. I found myself skimming probably half of the book just to get through it. There are paragraphs long lists of paintings. The author also gives biographies of the Jews whose art was stolen, but spends very little time on the actual story of the theft. Instead of a laundry list of paintings, I would have preferred more on the actual story about the journey the art took and what happened to it after the war. There is some of this but not enough.
Ever feel like you life is in a rut? Wonder what it would be like to quit your job and start hiking across America? Dave Cicirelli does just that, on his facebook profile. Only a few people know the truth, he is still employed and has not “travelled” anywhere! This book is good fun for the facebook addict. Dave plays on people’s emotions and gets real responses to each of his updates. Some people applaud him and others cajol and reprimand him. This experiment to see what would happen if he made everyone believe he had jumped off of the deep end, takes over his life for about 6 months. He discovers through this process that his previous perception of facebook aka fakebook, may be a little off.
This was a great read complete with fakebook updates and pictures to fill out the story. It has some strong language at times, but it doesn’t detract from the story.
The H.L. Hunley was the first submarine to sink a ship in wartime. It was built during the Civil War and actually sank twice before completely a mission successfully. On February 17, 1864 the Hunley sank the USS Housatonic off the Charleston Harbor. Unfortunately, the Hunley never made it back to shore nor was it ever seen again. The Hunley was found buried in the mud in 1995. It took several years and lots of work before the Hunley revealed its secrets. Scientists still don’t know exactly why the Hunley sank with all eight crewmen aboard. However, the crew have now been put to rest while the investigation into the Hunley continues.
When this award-winning husband-and-wife team discovered that they each had sugar in their family history, they were inspired to trace the globe-spanning story of the sweet substance and to seek out the voices of those who led bitter sugar lives. The trail ran like a bright band from religious ceremonies in India to Europe’s Middle Ages, then on to Columbus, who brought the first cane cuttings to the Americas. Sugar was the substance that drove the bloody slave trade and caused the loss of countless lives but it also planted the seeds of revolution that led to freedom in the American colonies, Haiti, and France. With songs, oral histories, maps, and over 80 archival illustrations, here is the story of how one product allows us to see the grand currents of world history in new ways. Time line, source notes, bibliography, index.
The Doctor: Donna, come on, think: Earth, there must have been some sort of warning. Was there anything happening back in your day, like… electrical storms, freak weather, patterns in the… sky?
Donna Noble: Well, how should I know? Um, no. I don’t- I don’t think so. No.
The Doctor: [disappointed] Oh, OK, nevermind.
Donna Noble: Although, there were the bees disappearing.
The Doctor: [dismissive] The bees disappearing.
The Doctor: [sarcastic] The *bees* disappearing.
The Doctor: [revelational] The bees disappearing!
Of course the bees are disappearing, any fan of Dr. Who knows that. In fact it is true that honeybees at least have been disappearing. Colonies have collapsed and scientists have been trying to work out why. They have explored changing habitats, overwork, diet, mites, fungus, pesticides, and cell phones. Luckily cell phones have been cleared, but the others have all been found to contribute to colony declines. I didn’t realize how important bees were to our way of life. They are the main pollinators for not just flowers but many of the foods we rely on. This book is a wake up call to the role bees play in our lives and what we should do to protect them.
I couldn’t put this book down; I didn’t want to put it down. Leon Leyson captured my attention and held it throughout his entire story. We learn a lot about the Holocaust and what happened during those years, but I haven’t ever really read an autobiography about it. Leon Leyson was just a young boy when Germany invaded Poland. He and his family lived in Krakow and quickly began to feel the effects of the Nazi machine. Because his father had a job, most of his family was protected, but they were never really safe. His father worked for Oskar Schindler at his enamel factor and was one of the first on “the list”. Leon, his mother and his brother David also had their names added to the list. Unfortunately, two of his brothers did not; one fled to the country and one was rounded up during one of the ghetto cleansings. His sister worked for another factory and was protected until the end. Being on Schindler’s list did not necessarily mean full protection however. The family was still subjected to the ghetto and the guards who terrorized it. They were also all sent to concentration camps during the move from Krakow to Brunnlitz. This is a very compelling story of one family’s survival during the atrocities of WWII. Leon didn’t die horribly like so many others during that time. He survived, moved to America and became a teacher. It wasn’t until the release of Schindler’s List that he started to speak about his experiences. Leon Leyson was the youngest person on the list, but he was not the only one. Oskar Schindler’s bravery and dedication to saving his Jews was amazing. Reading this book made me want to learn more about Schindler (beyond what I remember from the movie!).
Tim Russert is dead.
But the room was alive.
Big Ticket Washington Funerals can make such great networking opportunities. Power mourners keep stampeding down the red carpets of the Kennedy Center, handing out business cards, touching base. And there is no time to waste in a gold rush, even (or especially) at a solemn tribal event like this.
Washington—This Town—might be loathed from every corner of the nation, yet these are fun and busy days at this nexus of big politics, big money, big media, and big vanity. There are no Democrats and Republicans anymore in the nation’s capital, just millionaires. That is the grubby secret of the place in the twenty-first century. You will always have lunch in This Town again. No matter how many elections you lose, apologies you make, or scandals you endure.
In This Town, Mark Leibovich, chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, presents a blistering, stunning—and often hysterically funny—examination of our ruling class’s incestuous “media industrial complex.” Through his eyes, we discover how the funeral for a beloved newsman becomes the social event of the year. How political reporters are fetishized for their ability to get their names into the predawn e-mail sent out by the city’s most powerful and puzzled-over journalist. How a disgraced Hill aide can overcome ignominy and maybe emerge with a more potent “brand” than many elected members of Congress. And how an administration bent on “changing Washington” can be sucked into the ways of This Town with the same ease with which Tea Party insurgents can, once elected, settle into it like a warm bath.
Outrageous, fascinating, and destined to win Leibovich a whole host of, er, new friends, This Town is must reading, whether you’re inside the Beltway—or just trying to get there.
Marc Aronson takes a look at the history of Israel and what it means to be Jewish in Israel. This is not a straight-forward historical book, but a personal soul-searching by the author. He does a lot of back and forth between the ideal Israel and the actual Israel. He also compares Israel to America and American Jews to Israeli Jews. Even though he does touch on some controversial topics in this book, it is still more of a personal journey about why Aronson does not live in Israel and what he wishes it was. It wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be and was a little difficult to read. Aronson never really comes to any conclusions, just back and forth on the topics he discusses.
John Bradshaw (not to be confused with the guy who wrote about the family), challenges the conventional wisdom that dogs need to be dominated. He examines the myth that wolves live in a strict hierarchy with submission and dominance displays.
He contends that the wolves that had been studied, were captive wolves confined much closer together than what wolf groups experience in nature – also that the wolves that were studied were American Timber wolves, NOT the European Grey Wolf, the closest Canid ancestor from which ALL domestic dogs have descended (he explores the genetics of domestic dogs, and though it would have been possible to domesticate other canids – jackals, coyotes, dholes, foxes).
He notes that in the wilderness, groups of wolves form around familial bonds, with the supposed alpha pair, being the parents of the others in the group.
Bradshaw then outlines why punishment is ineffective in training animals (including dogs).
Thought I’d try some high-brow humor. It was light fare, nothing gut-splitting like Lewis Black, but lots of chuckles. Plus there were a number of news stories, that eventually I decided they were fake ones like the Onion, but I wasn’t entirely sure, if they were reporting on stories, “Facts stranger than Fiction” sorta thing. Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller were the funniest (imho).
From controlling fire to the debut of the ipad, this book highlights the biggest advances in history. The book is a 32 page timeline with illustrations and one or two sentence descriptions of the events.
I read this book with my 5 year old who was enthralled. I found the illustrations to be clever and the descriptions gave just enough information that the reader didn’t get bogged down in the details, but still provided the necessary information. It took us approximately 30 minutes over two evenings to read the book–that’s with many interruptions for side stories and questions.
I think this book serves as an excellent introduction to a number of topics. Once the reader’s interest is peaked, he/she can delve into a specific subject more thoroughly through other books.
I would say this book would be good for a 8-10 year old as a read alone or as young as five if the child is being read to.
I just found that MRRL has a transportation timeline book by the same author, so look forward to that review soon.
This graphic novel tells of a lesser-known chapter of Abraham Lincoln’s life. It begins well before his presidency, before his marriage to Mary Todd. It follows a young Lincoln through his early days as a struggling lawyer. Set-back after set-back drive Lincoln into a deep, dark depression that nearly kills him.
I must confess I did not know a whole lot about Lincoln’s early life as most historical documents focus on his presidency and the years leading up to it. This graphic novel presents a less-than-glamorous tale of a man trying to find his way in the world. The stylized artwork may not be to everyone’s liking, but this is still a very accessible book that adds an extra dimension to the life of one of America’s greatest historical figures.
Willow Falls is an absolutely enchanting place to live. Wendy Mass has written several novels concerning a magical old woman, Angelina De’Angelo, who has the power to see the future and change the past. She often involves unwitting children in the town to help her with her schemes. Birthdays are very important, and when Grace goes mute on her tenth birthday, they gang realizes that Angelina must be involved. Through a series of time travels and great investigative work, the kids finally figure out the best way to help Grace.
This book was wonderful. I would say so much more, but I don’t want to spoil any surprises!! Characters from “Finally,” “11 Birthdays,” and “13 Gifts” team together to solve this mystery. I have to say, that I figured it out before they did!!! I highly recommend it for the Willow Falls’ fans.
Sugar is something we take for granted. It is always available at the store. It isn’t very expensive. We can add it to anything we want and it is in a lot of what we eat. And there are alternatives to regular brown or white sugar. This was not always the case. Sugar was an unknown until around a thousand years ago. However, once people got a taste of it they wanted more. It started out as a spice added to foods like any other spice, but then it separated itself from others and became a sweetener. As the demand for sugar grew, production also had to grow. Huge sugar plantations sprouted up throughout the Caribbean and South America. Millions of slaves were brought from Africa to work in the brutal plantations. More slaves actually than were brought to America. Sugar was a time sensitive crop the required back-breaking labor, hot fires, and lots of slaves.
This book starts with the stories of how Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos were connected to sugar and how they decided to write this book. Then we go into the history of sugar and the sugar/slavery connections. Next we see how sugar helped shape the world and abolish slavery. France, England, America, the Caribbean, India, Africa, Asia: slavery and sugar helped mold these places into what they are today. Slavery was abolished in many countries because of the sugar slaves. Gandhi started his peaceful resistance movement because of sugar slaves. It is amazing how many connections you can draw throughout history and the world all because of sugar. Aronson and Budhos did an excellent job highlighting these connection and writing a very readable nonfiction book.
Yates is a Futurist.Which is a fancy way of saying he flies around the world, lecturing various conferences, confabs, and conglomerates, dispensing prepackaged bullshit in an attempt to stay just ahead of the latest trend and claim he saw it first. But now Yates has lost faith in the very future that he’s paid to sell and gives what should be a career-ending rant. Instead, a mysterious governmental group hires him to travel the globe and discover why the world seems to hate America. From Middle Eastern war zones to Polynesian superluxe corporate retreats, James Othmer takes us on a mordantly hilarious journey through corporate double-speak and global unrest to find the truth beneath the buzz.
Thanks to technology, we live in a world that’s much more comfortable than ever before. But here’s the paradox: our tolerance for discomfort is at an all-time low. And as we wrestle with a sinking “discomfort threshold,” we increasingly find ourselves at the mercy of our primitive instincts and reactions that can perpetuate disease, dysfunction, and impair performance and decision making.
Designed to keep us out of danger, our limbic brain’s Survival Instinct controls what we intuitively do to avert injury or death, such as running out of a burning building. Rarely are we required to recruit this instinct today because seldom do we find ourselves in situations that are truly life-threatening. However, this part of our brain is programmed to naturally and automatically react to even the most benign forms of discomfort and stress as serious threats to our survival.
In this seminal book we learn how the Survival Instinct is the culprit that triggers a person to overeat, prevents the insomniac from sleeping, causes the executive to unravel under pressure, leads travelers to avoid planes or freeways, inflames pain, and due to past heartache, closes down an individual to love. In all of these cases, their overly-sensitive Survival Instinct is being called into action at the slightest hint of discomfort. In short, their Survival Instinct is stuck in the “ON” position
with grave consequences.
Your Survival Is Killing You can transform the way you live. Provocative, eye-opening, and surprisingly practical with its gallery of strategies and ideas, this book will show you how to build up your “instinctual muscles” for successfully managing discomfort while taming your overly reactive Survival Instinct. You will learn that the management of discomfort is the single most important skill for the twenty-first century. This book is, at its heart, a modern guide to survival.
Mammoths, mastodons and elephants are all cousins. They all appeared around the same time, but for some reason 10,000 years ago mammoths and mastadons went extinct. Scientists don’t know why they disappeared. The two leading theories are global warming or over hunting by humans. It is hoped that by studying mammoths and mastodons and why they went extinct a way can be found to help elephants who are endangered. This is a very informative, interesting and well-researched read.
Fans of H.P. Lovecraft are familiar with the Necronomicon, a mystical book of arcane power which features in several of his stories. Over the years, many have claimed this book to be real, and that Lovecraft was aware of its veracity. In Files, Authors Daniel Harms and John Wisdom Gonce III explore these claims, as well as the many versions of the book which have been published, its impact on occult thinking, and its influence on film culture.
I’m a fan of Lovecraft’s work, and many of the genre films featuring the Necronomicon, so was glad to come across this title on our shelves. Of the two authors, I found Harms’ writing to be the most effective and factual- personal asides and commentary are at a minimum. I was interested in Gonce’s chapters on “magick,” but felt they were included more for their interest to Gonce rather than their importance to Lovecraft and his creation of the Necronomicon. He also is quite disparaging of opposing views, often without facts to explain why. Overall, an interesting read for fans of Lovecraft, but little more.
This book is told through journal entries from 5 different people attending high school during their freshman year. Each one of them has an interesting back story that leads them to intertwine with the others. Secret crushes (and obsessions!), a gay friend, movie-star wanna-be’s, basketball stars, hurt feelings, muddled grades, previous home-schooled experience….these kids have a lot on their plates. AND they are each pretending to have it all together on the outside, while things are really falling apart.
This was a pretty good book, but confusing to keep track of who was talking during each chapter. There didn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason to the order of their freshman year being told out during the book. The ending is a cliff hanger that screams for a sequel, so if you can’t stand to wait….read this after the next one comes out!!
Dead people are fascinating. Long dead people are a puzzle. Figuring out who skeletons were is a fascinating puzzle. This book by Sally Walker investigates the graves in and around the Chesapeake Bay. All the graves date from the 17th century and were some of the first people in the Jamestown colony. It is amazing what scientists can find out about people just from looking at their bones. Teeth have ridges: must have used some corrosive materials to clean them. Buried in a trash pit under a house: must have been an indentured servant who died. Small holes in bones: must have had rickets. Archaeologists are even able to figure out who exactly a person was just by where and how they were buried. This book highlights how graves are found and excavated, the steps taken to preserve the remains and what is learned from them. If you are a fan of CSI or Bones, you will definitely appreciate the science of this book.