Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Summer Holiday Reading

It has been a very wet and cloudy summer so far this year. Not a lot of beach time.
But with a big stash of books on hand it was good to catch up on some reading.
Here are a few books that I enjoyed.

Peter FitzSimons is a journalist, an ex Wallaby (Australian Rugby player) and a prolific writer with twenty one books so far to his credit. He is predominantly a biographer. This time however he has written about growing up on a citrus orchard in the Peats Ridge area just north of Sydney during the 1960s.
An entertaining book written in his usual humorous style full of characters synonymous with the Australian bush and that era. The hardships and discomforts of country life are tempered by family love and support. Many of the scenarios reminded me of my childhood even though it was in suburban Melbourne. And, yes, it was indeed a simpler time.

Andrew Jackson...hero or villain? He was certainly a man of contradictions. A supporter of slavery and Indian removal on one hand, and on the other, a reshaper of American politics, including popular campaigning techniques, media manipulation and engagement of citizens in the process. He transformed both the American presidency and the nation he led during his two turbulent terms in office.
The book covers all the usual ground, Eaton affair, the Bank Wars, Federal Import Tariffs and Nullification as well as the many personal and political conflicts with the other major players of the time.
However there is plenty of new material gleaned from personal papers in the Hermitage archives.
Can be read as a history book or an historical novel.
A good follow up to the above Andrew Jackson book covering the sorry tale of native American tribes' forced removal from the east to the mid west over a number of presidential administrations. It is a story of greed, betrayal,and racism vividly told in the typical Langguth character driven style. I found the story of internal tribal conflict over Removal particularly interesting and not one generally well known.

A work of fiction which includes some actual real life characters eg. Father Damien, woven into the story. It's a tale of the leper colony on Moloka'i, Hawaii with a little bit of Hawaiian political history and centuries-old Hawaiian religious beliefs and mythology thrown in.
An easy read and with a 'hard to put down' status.

No comments: