Posts Tagged ‘1745’

Past Migrations

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The next set of books are nearly all about journeys in the past, in one way or another.

41. Richard the Lionheart by David West & Jackie Gaff, illustrated by John Cooper

This is a consecutive art depiction of the life of King Richard the Lionheart, from his childhood as a younger son of Eleanor of Aquitaine (I own a biography of her, and really must read it, once my books arrive) and Henry II. Both men were kings of England, but certainly wouldn’t have recognised that as an adequate description of their rank. Richard, particularly, was not especially interested in England, and preferred to crusade. (More on that below.)

42. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

This was part of the same reread I mentioned yesterday. I am torn. I love Gabaldon’s writing and characters, but her skill at expressing characters and what they experience can be more graphic than I felt comfortable with this time through. I’d like to say that’s less of an issue in this volume than some of the rest, but seeing as this is the one with the ’45, that just wouldn’t be true!

43. The Travelling People by Anthea Wormington, Sian Newman & Chris Lilly

As the title suggests, this is about the Travelling people(s) of Great Britain, and to an extent of Ireland. It is a thin glossy book produced for children about the various groups of nomadic communities. There is a focus on Irish Travellers and on Roma/Gypsy Travellers, as the most numerous such groups, but there is also information on several other groups. The title link includes PDF files of many or all of the pages of the book, and it is well worth reading, for adults as well. There are links to other related resources as well.

44. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

This one isn’t about war so much as its aftermath of suffering, death and separation, and how ultimately love can overcome them. But being Gabaldon, that doesn’t mean everything ends up sugar and roses…

45. Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

Now though, we’re in the prelude stages to another war, on another continent…

46. The Talisman by Sir Walter Scott

The next audiobook was my second read of Scott (I have a print copy of Ivanhoe, which I could probably stand to reread), and takes us back to King Richard and the Crusades. The former seems a favourite of Scott, and here is definitely portrayed as the absolute flower of chivalry. Richard (and to an extent Sir Kenneth, narrator and protagonist of the tale) far prefers an honourable enemy (as he considers Saladin) to a dishonourable ally (all those who feel it’s time to give up the crusade), but can he really fight on honour alone?

47. Underground to Canada by Barbara Smucker

The last ‘travel book’ tells of two young girls raised in slavery in 19th century America, who upon being ‘sold South’ choose to flee North along the Underground Railway. It isn’t a long book, and gets across the horrors of slavery without being too graphic for even a sheltered adolescent. It’s well written, and includes both adventure and emotion.

RH books

Thursday, 2 October 2008

I didn’t read as much over Rosh Hashana as I thought I might, but I did the other things I expected to: praying (and hearing the shofar) at the synagogue, enjoying sociable and very tasty meals, and a bit of self-reflection; so that’s okay.

262. Blue Star over Red Square by Carmela Raiz

I think I’d heard of Refuseniks when I was younger, but the whole era of the USSR ended when I was hardly even a teenager, so I appreciated getting a better insight into the phenomenon in general (of Soviet Jews applying for and being repeatedly refused permission to emigrate, especially to Israel, and also being harassed as traitorous for their wish both to leave and to live Jewishly in the meantime) and into one family who went through it in particular. Raiz published this book in 1994 (the Russian language edition came out in 1992), very shortly after the family’s eventual aliya in 1990, which took place almost two decades after Raiz and her husband had first applied. It’s an informative and inspiring book, which seems to be out of print but available second hand.

263. The Jewish Kingdom of Kuzar by Rabbi Zelig Shachnowitz

This is an even older tale, but it’s a new translation, so should be available new for awhile. Rabbi Shachnowitz wrote for Jewish youngsters in Germany, with this book being first published in the 1920s. It is a retelling of what facts are/were known about the Jewish history of Kuzar, and fairly gripping as a novel. Well worth reading.

264. The Jacobite Wars: Scotland and the Military Campaigns of 1715-1745 by John L. Roberts

I’d read enough novels on the topic of the ’45 to want a more specifically historical overview, and this book well fulfilled the purpose. The context of the ’15 (which I hadn’t read so much about previously) was useful, although it takes up far less than half of the book. Interestingly, Roberts never seems to say that things had to go one way or the other. He points out where (with hindsight, of course) certain campaigns and battles could have gone differently for both sides (as so often in such things, more unity and less bickering and taking of offence by generals, officers and princes would have helped!) and gives sometimes day by day recountings of who did what, and knew what, when and where. My main difficulty with the book was sometimes remembering which side a particular name was on, as they might have been introduced chapters before. A couple of charts of the main players on both sides would have been good to refer back to, as would a few maps, although I actually missed those less.