Author Topic: HAF Book Club: May poll and discussion  (Read 378 times)

Sandra Craft

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HAF Book Club: May poll and discussion
« on: April 21, 2018, 06:29:20 AM »
And Man Created God: A History of the World at the Time of Jesus, by Selina O'Grady
To explore the power that religious belief has had over societies through the ages, Selina O'Grady takes the reader on a dazzling journey across the empires of the ancient world and introduces us to rulers, merchants, messiahs, priests, and holy men. Throughout, she seeks to answer why, amongst the countless religious options available, the empires at the time of Jesus "chose" the religions they did. Why did China's rulers hitch their fate to Confucianism? Why was a tiny Jewish cult led by Jesus eventually adopted by Rome's emperors?

The Jesus cult, followed by no more than one hundred people at the time of his death, should, by rights, have disappeared in a few generations. Instead it became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Why did Christianity grow so quickly to become the predominant world religion? And Man Created God, an important, thrilling and necessary new work of history, looks at why and how religions have had such an immense impact on human history, and in doing so, uncovers the ineradicable connection between politics and religion—a connection that still defines us in our own age.

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
Inspired by James Baldwin's 1963 classic The Fire Next Time, Ta-Nehisi Coates's new book, Between the World and Me, is a searing meditation on what it means to be black in America today…[a] powerful and passionate book…  [written as a letter from father to son]

Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier, by Scott Zesch
On New Year's Day in 1870, ten-year-old Adolph Korn was kidnapped by an Apache raiding party. Traded to Comaches, he thrived in the rough, nomadic existence, quickly becoming one of the tribe's fiercest warriors. Forcibly returned to his parents after three years, Korn never adjusted to life in white society. He spent his last years in a cave, all but forgotten by his family.

That is, until Scott Zesch stumbled over his own great-great-great uncle's grave. Determined to understand how such a "good boy" could have become Indianized so completely, Zesch travels across the west, digging through archives, speaking with Comanche elders, and tracking eight other child captives from the region with hauntingly similar experiences. With a historians rigor and a novelists eye, Zesch's The Captured paints a vivid portrait of life on the Texas frontier, offering a rare account of captivity.

Crazy From the Heat, by David Lee Roth
David Lee Roth recounts with trademark showmanship and canny self-awareness the antics of the feverishly bacchanalian entertainment world. In the same gleefully honest and delightfully discursive voice his many fans have come to relish, Roth gives readers a backstage pass to his long strange trip from obscurity to rock stardom, his ups and downs with the Van Halens, and much more that will raise the eyebrows of even the most jaded music industry afficionado.

Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life's Origin, by Robert M. Hazen
Life on Earth arose nearly 4 billion years ago, bursting forth from air, water, and rock. Though the process obeyed all the rules of chemistry and physics, the details of that original event pose as deep a mystery as any facing science. How did non-living chemicals become alive? While the question is (deceivingly) simple, the answers are unquestionably complex. Science inevitably plays a key role in any discussion of life's origins, dealing less with the question of why life appeared on Earth than with where, when, and how it emerged on the blasted, barren face of our primitive planet.

The Invention of Nature, by Andrea Wulf
The acclaimed author of Founding Gardeners reveals the forgotten life of Alexander von Humboldt, the visionary German naturalist whose ideas changed the way we see the natural world—and in the process created modern environmentalism.

The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine
by Lindsey Fitzharris

In The Butchering Art, the historian Lindsey Fitzharris reveals the shocking world of nineteenth-century surgery on the eve of profound transformation. She conjures up early operating theaters―no place for the squeamish―and surgeons, working before anesthesia, who were lauded for their speed and brute strength. These medical pioneers knew that the aftermath of surgery was often more dangerous than their patients’ afflictions, and they were baffled by the persistent infections that kept mortality rates stubbornly high. At a time when surgery couldn’t have been more hazardous, an unlikely figure stepped forward: a young, melancholy Quaker surgeon named Joseph Lister, who would solve the deadly riddle and change the course of history.

Sandy

  
"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver

Sandra Craft

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Re: HAF Book Club: May poll and discussion
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2018, 01:43:07 AM »
Last day of voting, if anyone else plans to participate this month.  Interestingly, after months of no ties we now have a double tie.
Sandy

  
"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver

xSilverPhinx

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Re: HAF Book Club: May poll and discussion
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2018, 02:08:32 AM »
'Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier' looks really interesting. :smilenod:

:oooh-me!: May I suggest a book to be listed in the next poll?



Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, by Robert M. Sapolsky.





From Amazon:

Now in a third edition, Robert M. Sapolsky's acclaimed and successful Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers features new chapters on how stress affects sleep and addiction, as well as new insights into anxiety and personality disorder and the impact of spirituality on managing stress.

As Sapolsky explains, most of us do not lie awake at night worrying about whether we have leprosy or malaria. Instead, the diseases we fear-and the ones that plague us now-are illnesses brought on by the slow accumulation of damage, such as heart disease and cancer. When we worry or experience stress, our body turns on the same physiological responses that an animal's does, but we do not resolve conflict in the same way-through fighting or fleeing. Over time, this activation of a stress response makes us literally sick.

Combining cutting-edge research with a healthy dose of good humor and practical advice, Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers explains how prolonged stress causes or intensifies a range of physical and mental afflictions, including depression, ulcers, colitis, heart disease, and more. It also provides essential guidance to controlling our stress responses. This new edition promises to be the most comprehensive and engaging one yet.




Since chronic stress is one of the evils of modernity, I thought this book would be an interesting read.
I'm just a student of the game that they taught me.


Sandra Craft

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Re: HAF Book Club: May poll and discussion
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2018, 07:24:05 AM »
'Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier' looks really interesting. :smilenod:

OK, I'll take that as the tie breaking vote.   We're reading Captured for May everyone.

Quote
:oooh-me!: May I suggest a book to be listed in the next poll?



Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, by Robert M. Sapolsky.

The cover alone makes me swoon.  It's on the list.

Sandy

  
"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver

xSilverPhinx

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Re: HAF Book Club: May poll and discussion
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2018, 01:53:29 PM »
Quote
:oooh-me!: May I suggest a book to be listed in the next poll?



Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, by Robert M. Sapolsky.

The cover alone makes me swoon.  It's on the list.

:yes!:
I'm just a student of the game that they taught me.


Davin

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Re: HAF Book Club: May poll and discussion
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2018, 09:35:31 PM »
So I just finished the book, I had to finish a big book before I got to it.

I'm busy though, so I'll have to give my thoughts on it later. Probably Tuesday of next week.

Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.

Sandra Craft

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Re: HAF Book Club: May poll and discussion
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2018, 11:27:53 PM »
So I just finished the book, I had to finish a big book before I got to it.

I'm busy though, so I'll have to give my thoughts on it later. Probably Tuesday of next week.

I just got my copy the other day, about a quarter thru it now.  Really enjoying it.  Particularly the crack one Indian made about it being better to kill settlers than let them starve.  Frankly think that was less than half a joke.
Sandy

  
"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver

Sandra Craft

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Re: HAF Book Club: May poll and discussion
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2018, 01:28:42 AM »
This is my FB review:

A fascinating and disturbing book. I'm aware, as I'm sure everyone is, that life in the Wild West days was hard and unenviable, but from the comfort of my 21st century life I could never have imagined how hard it was.

In fact, the hardships of life out West did not stop at such things as endless, grinding work (which is where my imagination usually ends). There was the long, and ultimately failed, interactions between immigrant and native cultures. On the Plains, this seems to have been particularly difficult:

"The culture of the Southern Plains Indians, who lived by hunting and by raiding their enemies, was inimical to the values of virtually all other Americans of the 1870s, whether they descended from Mexicans, Europeans, Africans, or Asians. For that matter, the free-roaming life of the Comanches, Kiowa, and Apaches was alien to some of the more pastoral native people in other regions of the American continent. In hindsight the plains of America afforded ample land to sustain all the people living there in 1870, but the irreconcilable goals of native hunters and immigrant farmers goaded both sides into a hardheaded struggle for dominance. There would be no real peace until one group or the other was annihilated, or at least broken in spirit. When the Lakota chief Red Cloud finally quit fighting the intruders, he reportedly told a white delegation, 'We didn't need all this land, and neither did you.' "

Part of this struggle for dominance included not only guerrilla actions against the US Army, but against settlers -- sometimes just to frighten them for the fun of it, but often enough to build a brave's reputation with daring exploits that included stealing, kidnapping, torture, rape and murder.

And yes, before anybody brings it up, I'm aware that the same can be said of the actions of white settlers against Natives. In fact, this was often mentioned by former kidnapped whites who'd lived among the Natives for awhile before being recovered (usually for ransom). They would never disparage their former captors but point out how white settlers had taken over Native hunting grounds and interfered with their livelihood. It was commonplace that, far from hating their captors, children who'd spent more than a mere 6 months living with them often became so Indianized that they never lost either the habits or the language they learned there, even if they'd spent only a few years with the tribe. More than one recovered "white Indian" ran away from their white family and returned to the tribe.

In a way, I can understand this. Perhaps Stockholm Syndrome, perhaps youthful flexibility, perhaps they found it simply a preferable lifestyle once they got stuck in. Less hard work, more free time, more agreeable occupations (particularly for boys -- a life of riding, shooting and fighting) and better companions. Sensibly, the families who adopted captives rarely included the people who'd kidnapped them and often murdered their relatives, and Native child-rearing habits on the Plains included more open affection and far less punishment than most of the white children were used to. After all, the Plains Indians had no "spare the rod, spoil the child" ethic.

Altho Zesch chronicles the experiences of about a dozen former "white Indians", he has a special interest in the one he is related to: his great-great-great-great (if I'm figuring that right) uncle Adolph Korn. As near as Zesch can figure from his research, Uncle Adolph was captured at 10 yrs old by an Apache raiding party, sold or exchanged to a Comanche tribe with whom he lived for nearly 3 years before being recovered by an Indian agent (along with a few other white Indians) and sent back to his white family. Once back home, Adolph was never able to readjust to life among other whites. While with the tribe, he'd been a young brave, participating in hunting, raiding and war parties. Now he was a farmer. It's Zesch's feeling that the only thing that kept his uncle Adolph from returning to the tribe was that by that time they had been moved onto a reservation, which might have seemed an even worse life to him.

In any case, his behavior was so unusual (at one point he took to living as a hermit in caves for several years) that when he died at the age of 41 his family found him embarrassing enough that they buried him in a different cemetery than the rest of the family, with a marker giving only his name and the year of his death. That situation was rectified 100 years later, when a cousin of Zesch's grandmother paid for a more informative grave marker, and other relatives started placing poinsettias on it at Christmas.

All in all, a fascinating book but sometimes hard to read. History can be a bitch.
Sandy

  
"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver

Davin

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Re: HAF Book Club: May poll and discussion
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2018, 03:10:25 PM »
Yeah, it was a great read, very interesting.

It's scary to think that humans were that savage around 150 years ago. We haven't really come that far since then, but it still seems very different.

White men encroaching into a world they know nothing about seems like a huge mistake, they were largely ignorant, and paid a bit of a price for that. Innocent people paid he price for it. I think I can both say that the behavior of the raiding parties was bad and still accept that that was their way of life and to them that was the way things worked.

And wow, the story of the pregnant woman who was shot by two arrows, pretended to be dead while she was cut, stabbed, and scalped, then walked miles to her neighbors. Then her neighbors were like, "don't lay on the bed, because we don't want blood on the sheets," as they left her alone and hid away from the house, was kind of harsh. At least they helped her a little bit.

I can't imagine kids getting so free a reign in today's society, people back then seemed a lot less paranoid than they should have been. But they were very busy, and then tends to mess with ones judgement.

I also think that part of the lure of native Americans for the kidnapped children was the easier life, the open acceptance (much like in cults), and that the natives had been there doing what they do for a long time so it would appear that the white people were fair game according to the way the natives had been living in that area.

The book also showed a bit of how the natives kept getting a worse and worse deal every time the white men found something they wanted.

Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.

Sandra Craft

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Re: HAF Book Club: May poll and discussion
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2018, 11:45:08 PM »
And wow, the story of the pregnant woman who was shot by two arrows, pretended to be dead while she was cut, stabbed, and scalped, then walked miles to her neighbors. Then her neighbors were like, "don't lay on the bed, because we don't want blood on the sheets," as they left her alone and hid away from the house, was kind of harsh. At least they helped her a little bit.


I know, it just boggled my mind that she not only survived but did so by managing to play dead thru most of it.  I'm very certain I would not be able to be limp and silent while being scalped -- twice. 
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"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver

Davin

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Re: HAF Book Club: May poll and discussion
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2018, 03:46:49 PM »
And wow, the story of the pregnant woman who was shot by two arrows, pretended to be dead while she was cut, stabbed, and scalped, then walked miles to her neighbors. Then her neighbors were like, "don't lay on the bed, because we don't want blood on the sheets," as they left her alone and hid away from the house, was kind of harsh. At least they helped her a little bit.


I know, it just boggled my mind that she not only survived but did so by managing to play dead thru most of it.  I'm very certain I would not be able to be limp and silent while being scalped -- twice.
Oh yeah, and that meeting a long time later the guy had with the US soldier who cut off his friend's head. That must have been awkward for both.

Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.

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Re: HAF Book Club: May poll and discussion
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2018, 05:55:45 AM »

Oh yeah, and that meeting a long time later the guy had with the US soldier who cut off his friend's head. That must have been awkward for both.

Sometimes I wonder tho -- it was such a different time, with such a different idea of normal.  I've read that soldiers today from opposite sides of a war often get on better together, despite the things they've done during the war, than they can with civilians from their own side because they understand each other better.  I wonder if that could be the same thing here -- "sure you cut my friend's head off but hell, given the opportunity at the time I would have done the same to you.  C'est la guerre."  Tho probably not in French.
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"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver

Davin

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Re: HAF Book Club: May poll and discussion
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2018, 02:43:39 PM »
Sometimes I wonder tho -- it was such a different time, with such a different idea of normal.  I've read that soldiers today from opposite sides of a war often get on better together, despite the things they've done during the war, than they can with civilians from their own side because they understand each other better.  I wonder if that could be the same thing here -- "sure you cut my friend's head off but hell, given the opportunity at the time I would have done the same to you.  C'est la guerre."  Tho probably not in French.
That makes sense, even though they were on opposite sides, they have more in common with each other than civilians who have never experienced war or battle.

Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.