Friday, July 31, 2015

Summer Reading

I hope your summer reading is going well.  I've been immersed in the Roosevelts.  First I saw the Ken Burns series on PBS for the second time and got interested in two of the authors who have done biographies on the Roosevelts. One author on the series was Doris Kearns Goodwin who wrote "No Ordinary Time -- Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II".   She's a terrific writer of history (also wrote Team of Rivals). I just finished that one. Terrific book.  

The other writer is Blanche Wiesen Cook who wrote a two volume biography of Eleanor Roosevelt. I read the first volume from 1884 to 1933. I have the second volume on my reading table stack. That one is 1933 to 1938.  Her writing isn't as good as Goodwin's but her books are more detailed and provide interesting insight into ER's life.  What a life!  What a dysfunctional family! I just got from our local library a biography her son Elliot wrote called "Mother R".  Yet another glimpse of a truly great woman from another perspective. So I'm still reading about the Roosevelts.

What is enlightening for me is reading about about the people who have shaped our world, about World War II, and about the era between the wars.  Most startling was how blatant racism was, how one anti-Semitic official in the State Dept was able to block Jewish emigration to the US during the Nazi era, how women broke out of the mold when they went into industry during WWII.  But in reading history, one realizes how nothing much changes in regard to the bitter struggle that always goes on between interest groups when money and power are involved.  And somehow we all think we're right.

Also on my reading table this summer is The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle, a sci fi written in 1957 recommended to me by my friend, Tegin, from Oakland, CA.  Another is A History of God by Karen Armstrong which I've been reading in small doses for months.  Well-researched book but it takes time to think about.  Another is Dreams of Earth and Sky, a collection of reviews from the NYT by Freeman Dyson, "one of the world's most original minds". 

The temperatures here are up close to 100 again so afternoons I'll stay indoors and attend to my reading.  What are you reading this summer?

No comments:

Post a Comment