Thursday, May 22, 2014

More Books "On A Subject" -- Sort of

May 22, 2014
I don't know what sent me down this path to create this reading list.  I know that I wanted to watch an old movie but the DVD did not work ...

The movie was Arsenic and Old Lace.  But I think the desire to watch that movie came somewhere after the reading list was being created and being worked through.

The sort of unifying theme was Teddy Roosevelt and WWI.

Many years ago, I introduced myself to WWI (having learned very little 20th century history in my history classes at school but wanting to know more about it), starting with Barbara Tucman's The Proud Tower -- a look at the  European events and forces that came together to create the atmosphere that spawned the Great War.
Here is a sort of Reading List on the subject plus some fiction that in some way is informed by that time and / or that Great Disaster:
  • The Proud Tower - A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914, Barbara Tuchman
  • The War That Ended Peace - The Road to 1914, Margaret MacMillan [While Tuchman's book did not really explain what the Dreyfus Affair was in France, and this one did ... seems to be more an expansion on Tuchman's book than much new info -- but that could be just my impression;  there have been a few years between Tuchman's book and this one in my reading list]
  • The Imperial Cruise - The Secret History of Empire and War, Richard Poe [I thought I was getting a book about the world cruise of the first large warships, this book turned out to be quite different AND quite informative.  The book description did say when this cruise occurred, but I did not trust the description.  I have encountered far too many inaccurate book descriptions to take them seriously any more -- sometimes I doubt that the editorial staff of the publishing house ever read the book being described ... Anyhow, I am glad I borrowed this book from my public library!]
  • Colonel Roosevelt, Edmund Morris [A different view of the Rough Rider ...]
  • A World Undone - The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918,  G. J. Meyer  [Kind of slow as it takes the reader through the war and its battles, covering just about all of the ground covered in the battles of Ypres.  I did learn something, not explicitly in the book but inferred from it -- why it is important that the President of the USA is considered the Commander-in-Chief of the US Military.  If you read this book and have an idea what I am referring to, leave your idea(s) in the comments for a downloadable bookmark & bookmark I will send to you.  This book also described how the assassination of an Austrian Archduke ended up causing a World War -- finally, something that never made any sense to me was explained.]
  • Overthrow - America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq, Stephen Kinzer [this book relates more to The Imperial Cruise than to WWI but sort of fits in to the list in its own way]
  • The First Casualty, Ben Elton 
  • The Maisie Dobbs series, Jacqueline Winspear 
  • The Star of Kazan, Eva Ibbotson (This book really does not fit the theme, but after learning about Austria and WWI in A World Undone, it put a different tint on the story -- at least for me)
There are plenty more that could be added to the list, including Agatha Christie novels featuring Hercule Poirot, a refuge from Belgium who emigrated from Belgium to Britain during WWI, particularly the first book The Mysterious Affair at Styles, and those books that are set between the wars where the gentry often refer to how things have changed since the war in terms of being able to get proper maids and gardeners.

So, why did I want to watch Arsenic and Old Lace?  Leave your answer in the comments, get it right and I'll send you a bookmark and bookplate you can download and print. 

That gives you two chances to get a bookmark and bookplate ... If you answer both, you'll get two ...

Good reads to ya!


PS -- OOPS, this got posted at the wrong place.  I'm leaving it here and then going to cut and paste it to the correct place.  **Sigh**

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