Thursday, May 3, 2012

The more things change ...



This looks like a very good new book,


What is striking about Honor in the Dust, Gregg Jones’s fascinating new book about the Philippine-American War, is not how much war has changed in more than a century, but how little. On nearly every page, there is a scene that feels as if it could have taken place during the Bush and Obama administrations rather than those of McKinley and Roosevelt. American troops are greeted on foreign soil as saviors and then quickly despised as occupiers. The United States triumphantly declares a victorious end to the war, even as bitter fighting continues. Allegations of torture fill the newspapers, horrifying and transfixing the country.

9 comments:

  1. I'd be up for this one. I read a really good book on the Philippine War a few years ago - it's an amazing war that I knew little about.

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  2. We can put this one on the "Wish List."

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  3. Read the opening chapters of the Caro book while I was gone this last week. Way over written as the critics complain, but so interesting. Have an entirely different view of Kennedy and his "rise to power" than I would ever have imagined. Looking forward to our discussion.

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  4. Richard Reeves book on Kennedy is really good. I thoroughly enjoyed his approach, as if he was in the corner of the room while things were happening. I suppose to a large degree it was influenced by Schlesinger's A Thousand Days.

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  5. What I didn't understand was that there was real "courage" and heroism involved with the PT 109 story and how he drove himself in spite of unbearable pain to reach the presidency to satisfy his father. I knew he was expected to be the "first son" after Joe was killed, but had no idea what he went through to satisfy that expectation. Plus, everyone (including the family) seemed to think he was destined to be a writer, not a politician. He was too sickly and shy. That chapter was a really good introduction to LBJ's political foil. Will be a fun discussion.

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  6. And for a little gossip on the side, "Strether" gave an absolutely amazing solo violin performance on Thursday night and then -- a first -- played a solo on I Shot the Sheriff in the local bar. WOW! The NY Times fostered an interesting group of readers.

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  7. Indeed! Those were the good ol' days as far as forums go. I wrote Robert an e-mail letting him know of our Johnson reading. No response yet.

    That description of JFK reminds me a lot of TR. Reeves also talks a great deal about the physical pain JFK had while in the WH, and even speculates that he might not have survived a second term, if fate hadn't called the horrible way it did. Still, there was something about JFK I never warmed up to.

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  8. Yes, that's an interesting comparison. Maybe that's what it takes to get to the White House -- an overwhelming drive against all odds and a desire to please. Johnson certainly had it.

    I haven't thought much one way or the other about Kennedy, but Caro paints a vivid picture of him in just one introductory chapter. It doesn't seem like hero worship (I think that's what has always put me off Kennedy), but insightful. And then the vision of this pale, sickly, doting son doing whatever he could to get into the military and then saving the life of one of his shipmates by pulling him with a strap in his teeth .... I was moved!

    I won't have much reading time for awhile as I catch up with other work so will probably be reading along with everyone else in the next month. But it was fun to get started.

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  9. "as if he was in the corner of the room while things were happening.",Gintaras, May 8,2012,
    11:55 a.m.
    Early this morning,May15,read an exact account of that, word for word as you wrote that. It is in Frank Langella's Memoir:Dropped Names.The third remembrance, as he goes chapter by chapter,sometimes three pages, sometime just one, through his life, is the day that he met the Kennedy couple at Bunny Mellon's home. For Langella, it was quite surreal. Not bad for a boy who went down "to the City" from Bayonne,N.J.(which is a rite of passage for New Jersey boys)and encountered Marilyn Monroe exiting a taxi-cab just as he was ready to slosh back home through the rain. He dedicates the opening pages of Dropped Names to her.

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