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Burkhard

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Crazy on Both Sides

Gesamt
4 out of 5 stars

Rezensiert am: 18.04.2011

I won't say I had my eyes opened by anything in the book because I went in to it knowing that the fringe on both sides are ridiculous in their notions. I will say though that at times I was shocked by how far both sides will go in their single-mindedness and their pursuit of hateful rhetoric. I was particularly shocked when so-called God-fearing Christian conservatives when emailing a National Review columnist who they deemed to be a traitor because of what she wrote about Sarah Palin used language that made my skin crawl. Unfortunately I doubt those who are in the lunatic fringe will read this book and therefore will never recognize how insane they really sound.

Entertaining View of How Americans Speak

Gesamt
4 out of 5 stars

Rezensiert am: 18.04.2011

A good but not great book on the history of English in the United States. The book is filled with interesting and many times amusing stories and information presented as facts. The author sets the story straight for us when we've come to believe something to be factual when instead it's been morphed over the years until the truth has been lost. Unfortunately it's hard to be sure that the facts he's presenting aren't just more anecdotal stories. It's a fun read but I doubt it should be used as a basis of a serious study of American English.

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Destined for Each Other

Gesamt
4 out of 5 stars

Rezensiert am: 18.04.2011

Once I was finished I came to the conclusion that the author would like us to think that John Adams may have been a hot-headed curmudgeon but in the end he was a lovable one and Abigail Adams may not have been perfect but she was close - very close. Also John Quincy Adams was a product of his parents scheming and determination, the rest of their children (excepting the stillborn child) were destined to failure, Benjamin Franklin was a blowhard, Thomas Jefferson duplicitous and Alexander Hamilton? Just a jerk. The book is understandably heavy on Adams love and also heavy on the Adams love - the love between John And Abigail. Readers will come away feeling the deep bond between them and at the same time will see that politics, even among the revered founding fathers was just as cutthroat, competitive and filled with backbiting and character assassination as it is now. Some things never change.

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A Divided Nation Grieves for Different Reasons

Gesamt
4 out of 5 stars

Rezensiert am: 16.04.2011

Unlike many books covering the events of April 14, 1865, this book's main focus isn't on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, except to tell about the event itself, as much as it describes what happened from the moment Lincoln was shot until he was laid in his grave. There are dozens of excellent books out there if one wants to read about the assassination of Lincoln and its conspirators but this book is for those who want to read about the pageantry and spectacle of his funeral and transport to Illinois. The descriptions are vivid and detailed and the reader gets to know exactly how wrapped up the Union was with their grief. In addition to descriptions of Lincoln's funeral we're also given the stories behind other deaths that occurred during the Civil War, including the deaths of both Lincoln's son and Jefferson Davis' son and the reader is given an idea of how death was viewed during and immediately after the Civil War and how displays of mourning and grief were important to the American people.

At the same time the book deals with the escape, capture and imprisonment of Jefferson Davis. Most who know anything at all about the Civil War know who Jeff Davis was but many have no idea about his accomplishments before secession from the Union and his life after the Civil War. The author gives a sympathetic view of Davis, going into detail about his life before he was president of the Confederacy and after Davis' capture and during his imprisonment we are given the picture of Davis being more a victim of circumstance than reaping the consequences of his actions as the Confederate president. After Reconstruction Davis wrote his memoirs and went on a speaking tour of the South and became an even more sympathetic and admired character in the former Confederacy and the book captures how he once again became a beloved figure.