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FrKurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (Bloomington, IN USA)
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In Cold Blood
In Cold Blood
par Truman Capote
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 11,92

4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 In Cold Type..., 24 mars 2006
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : In Cold Blood (Broché)
Truman Capote's 'In Cold Blood' is enjoying a resurgence of popularity thanks to the Oscar-winning film depicting the author's life and work during the writing of this phenomenal piece. At one point in the film, the character Capote makes the statement that when he thinks about how good this book will be, he can hardly breathe. Perhaps it is because it is part of our history now, I don't consider the book to be that good, but it was a work fairly close to groundbreaking in its impact - it was a new genre, the narrative telling of a non-fiction event as if it were a fictional novel.
The narrative centres upon the murder of a Kansas family by two men, Perry Smith and Dick Hicock, who are in many ways far from typical killers, much less cold blooded killers. The family, the Clutters of Holcombe, Kansas, are far from typical victims, nor is this the kind of place such a murder would be expected. Capote does a remarkable job at an even-handed analysis and narrative treatment of all the characters, from the family itself to the townspeople and investigators, as well as the murderers themselves. Perhaps it is because he found an area of identification?
This is a psychological thriller of a sort - at least it would be, were it not a true life tale. Getting into the minds of the criminals and the investigators was no easy task for Capote, but what comes forth on the page is very crisp and insightful reporting, without the kinds of embellishments one might expect from a figure such as Capote when dealing with middle-America folk.
The question of why for the killing is still never fully resolved, despite Capote's attempt to set out all the story and psychological detail. Perhaps this is as strange as the interest Capote took in the subject in the first place, as well as the effect it had on him, and those around him, ultimately - while Capote himself never again finished a major project after this, that is also true of his assistant, Nell Harper Lee, whose book 'To Kill a Mockingbird' (done about the same time as 'In Cold Blood') was also her last major writing.
A worthwhile book in many ways.


In Cold Blood: A True Account of A Multiple Murder and Its Consequences
In Cold Blood: A True Account of A Multiple Murder and Its Consequences
par Truman Capote
Edition : Broché

2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 In Cold Type..., 24 mars 2006
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : In Cold Blood: A True Account of A Multiple Murder and Its Consequences (Broché)
Truman Capote's 'In Cold Blood' is enjoying a resurgence of popularity thanks to the Oscar-winning film depicting the author's life and work during the writing of this phenomenal piece. At one point in the film, the character Capote makes the statement that when he thinks about how good this book will be, he can hardly breathe. Perhaps it is because it is part of our history now, I don't consider the book to be that good, but it was a work fairly close to groundbreaking in its impact - it was a new genre, the narrative telling of a non-fiction event as if it were a fictional novel.
The narrative centres upon the murder of a Kansas family by two men, Perry Smith and Dick Hicock, who are in many ways far from typical killers, much less cold blooded killers. The family, the Clutters of Holcombe, Kansas, are far from typical victims, nor is this the kind of place such a murder would be expected. Capote does a remarkable job at an even-handed analysis and narrative treatment of all the characters, from the family itself to the townspeople and investigators, as well as the murderers themselves. Perhaps it is because he found an area of identification?
This is a psychological thriller of a sort - at least it would be, were it not a true life tale. Getting into the minds of the criminals and the investigators was no easy task for Capote, but what comes forth on the page is very crisp and insightful reporting, without the kinds of embellishments one might expect from a figure such as Capote when dealing with middle-America folk.
The question of why for the killing is still never fully resolved, despite Capote's attempt to set out all the story and psychological detail. Perhaps this is as strange as the interest Capote took in the subject in the first place, as well as the effect it had on him, and those around him, ultimately - while Capote himself never again finished a major project after this, that is also true of his assistant, Nell Harper Lee, whose book 'To Kill a Mockingbird' (done about the same time as 'In Cold Blood') was also her last major writing.
A worthwhile book in many ways.


American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century
American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century
par Kevin Phillips
Edition : Relié

1 internaute sur 1 a trouvé ce commentaire utile :
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Worthy critiques, 24 mars 2006
Kevin Phillips is perhaps the best person to write a book like this - a Republican analyst, he can not easily be dismissed as someone with a lock-step animosity toward the Right wing. He analyses in the past, including the rise of the Republican party in the manner that it has, has been correct in many ways for several decades. Phillips writes in many ways as someone who is a court insider giving fair warning to the king - the kingdom has some troubles.
Phillips identifies three principles areas of concern - the rise of certain elements of religion into the political sphere, the problems of oil as a national addiction (to use the President's own words), and the growing crisis of deficit and economic mismanagement. Phillips is a political commentator with an eye toward history, he makes apt comparisons with empires of the past: the Dutch trading empire, the British colonial empire, and even the Roman empire provide parallels for the United States in the twenty-first century. One thing to note - the period of stability of empires has decreased over the millennia; whereas an empire like Rome might sustain itself for half a millennium, later empires were able to sustain themselves for less and less time. The United States has been the pre-eminent global superpower for less than a century, and is already looking at relative decline.
The problem with oil, according to Phillips, involves problems with both foreign and domestic policy as well as cultural issues. Rather than address growing needs, the Republicans in power have instead adopted a dangerous laissez-faire approach that threatens long-term stability, Phillips notes.
The problem with the deficit and finance is similar to this - the Republican party used to be the party of smaller government and less spending, but in the past twenty five years, it has only been a Democratic administration that has been able to get the budget deficit under control. This is the kind of fiscal management that again jeopardises the long-term for the country.
The problem of radical religion is not a new thing in American politics. While the country might not have been founded on quite the same principles being touted as Founding Fathers Theology today, it is true to say that religion has always had a role in the culture, and hence the politics of the nation. However, the danger is real - Phillips makes very telling comparisons with the ante-bellum situation of the North and South, showing how many issues prior to the Civil War involved religious dimensions, and how the long-term injection of religious radicalism can destabilise the culture (this works on both the Left and the Right, by the way).
In addition to a critique of the Right, Phillips has strong words for the Democratic opposition as well, in that there isn't any kind of consistent vision or organisation being offered in distinction from the incumbents.
This is a worthwhile book for anyone Left, Right or in the muddle (er, middle).


Augustine and Politics (Augustine in Conversation: Tradition and Innovation)
Augustine and Politics (Augustine in Conversation: Tradition and Innovation)
par Todd Breyfogle
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 26,09

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Talking about politics..., 24 mars 2006
Augustine has long been a special study of mine; the 'Confessions' was one of the earliest books I read in my college career, and 'City of God' interested me in both political science and religious studies (I eventually took degrees in both). This book, 'Augustine and Politics', edited by John Doody, Kevin Hughes and Kim Paffenroth, seemed tailor-made to my interests, and I was not disappointed.
The overall arrangement of the book is done in three sections, broadly drawn. The first set of essays looks at 'Human Nature and Virtue in Relation to Politics'. Essays by Phillip Cary, Robert P. Kennedy, Kim Paffenroth, and David C. Schindler look at issues of social ontology, language, friendship relationships, and aspects of freedom, determinism beauty and goodness.
The second section of essays examines 'Augustine's Theory and Critique of Politics.' Authors Robert Dodaro, Michael Hanby, Kevin Hughes, Thomas Martin, and Thomas Smith contributed here. These essays address issues large and small, from civic engagement to household organisation, monastic-style communal arrangement and the transformative possibility of a political action driven by grace toward justice and peace.
The third set of essays develops 'Augustinian Influence and Perspectives'. Included here are writings by authors Todd Breyfogle, Louis Hamilton, Eugene McCarraher, and Paul Wright. This set of essays looks at later developments out of Augustine's political thought up to the present day. From influences on church development centuries later to Machiavellian appropriations and inspiration to modern contemporary politic frameworks (which often misread Augustine by attempting to force his writings and ideas into casts unfamiliar to Augustine).
One highlight for me was the essay by Paffenroth on Augustine's ideas of friendship: he relates these through Platonic, Ciceronian and Christian ideas, showing how the ideas weave together in ways to provide a strong framework. Friendship would seem to be something easy, but this is a deceptive view. Paffenroth draws on the character of Ivan in the Brothers Karamazov who writes that 'the people near one are the most difficult to love, for they inevitably change, disappoint, and even disgust.' The love-your-enemies idea of Christianity can present challenges, but those closer as friends have stronger power for destruction. 'There is a good reason why the story of Judas runs like a red thread through Christian theology, literature, folklore, and art: a hero being betrayed and destroyed by a friend is much more fascinating and meaningful than him being killed by an enemy.'
Overall, this collection offers valuable insight and intriguing ideas in the direction of Augustine and political philosophy and political theory. Augustine's works of 'Confessions' and 'City of God' are the primary but far from the only resources used here - Augustine's output was such that one is reminded of the statement by Isidore of Seville regarding Augustinian scholarship, even in his own day, that there was far too much for any one to master in every aspect. Perhaps it is with this in mind that the editors write in the introduction that 'these contributions together provide us not with a view of Augustine's politics, but, as the title of the series implies, a conversation with Augustine about politics.'
Of course, Augustine's purpose was not to be writing politics in the same manner as modern political theorists or philosophers, or even as ancient writers. There is significant difference between the intention of a work such as 'City of God' and Plato's 'Republic', for instance. The authors do draw in the theological issues attendant to Augustine's thought, but this thought is far from simple or un-nuanced in terms of relation to Christian concerns.
The essays included are well written and engaging, primarily aimed at an advanced undergraduate and graduate-level educated audience. Some knowledge of philosophy, political theory and Augustine is helpful for understanding these essays, but a mastery of 'City of God' and other politically-themed writings of Augustine are not prerequisites for understanding.
For the scholar, there are notes at the end of each chapter essay, and indices including a general subject index, a modern author index, an index of biblical citations, and an index of citations from Augustine's work, together with other ancient and medieval writers. There is also a general bibliography that is well done and reasonably up-to-date (any in-print bibliography will necessarily lack the most recent publications).
This book is part of a series; look for the recently published volume, 'Augustine and Literature', edited by Doody, Paffenroth and Robert P. Kennedy (with whom Paffenroth also published 'A Readers Companion to Augustine's "Confessions" ').


Gifts of the Jews
Gifts of the Jews
par Thomas Cahill
Edition : Broché

Aucun internaute (sur 1) n'a trouvé ce commentaire utile :
5.0 étoiles sur 5 In the beginning..., 24 mars 2006
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Gifts of the Jews (Broché)
Thomas Cahill's second outing as author of the hinge-histories is a worthy follow-up, if a bit more simplistic. This book was a very easy read for me, both in content and in style, and I think the general reader will enjoy this book, too. I am used to, in my seminary training, to having weighty tomes to journey through -- this was a refreshing walk in a park.
Unlike his previous subject about the Irish, this book covers a subject on which almost everyone has an opinion, so Cahill's interpretations on the Hebrew Scriptures and history (Old Testament times) will undoubtedly not satisfy everyone. He does a very good job, though, of steering clear of interpretive controversies.
He presents this history as a history of what is important in its legacy for us -- no sense in asking questions such as 'Were these really the first monotheists?' &c., because it is a fact that our cultural tendency toward monotheism in the West derives from this band of people. This is the people from whom much of our Western sensibility is derived.
'This gift of the Commandments allows us to live in the present, in the here and now. What I have done in the past is past mending; what I will do in the future is a worry not worth a candle, for there is no way I can know what will happen next. But in this moment--and only in htis moment--I am in control.'
The very idea of regulations, justice, and communal living (beyond the whims of the powerful), and of self-discipline exerted from within, rather than from without, derives largely in our society from these writings. Again, it is not worth haggling over who had the earliest codification of regulations and civil laws--those did not get handed down to us as a living, working text. These texts were, in many respects, the informing texts behind much of Western civilisation.
He covers the history well, neither discounting the Biblical authority nor assuming that seeming contradictions in archaeological evidence is either right or wrong.
Cahill begins with the pre-history of the Jews, talking about the societal, political and geographic realities that would have influenced the ancient Sumerian named Avram, who set out for the land of Canaan. Cahill examines the period in Egypt as being pivotal for societal development, the era of the judges and kings as experimentations with polity, and the diasporic period as one of deepening identity in the face of massive external pressure and, in the end, threat of extermination.
This book is a good sequel, and an important work for the non-historian and non-theologian into some aspects of the history of the Jews that are otherwise often overlooked.
'The Jews gave us the Outlook and the Inside--our outlook and our inner life. We can hardly get up in the morning or cross the street without being Jewish. We dream Jewish dreams and hope Jewish hopes. Most of our best words, in fact--new, adventure, surprise; unique, individual, person, vocation; time, history, future; freedom, progress, spirit; faith, hope, justice--are the gifts of the Jews.'


Inventing America: A History of the United States : From 1865
Inventing America: A History of the United States : From 1865
par Pauline Maier
Edition : Broché

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Inventive approach (vol. 2), 24 mars 2006
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Inventing America: A History of the United States : From 1865 (Broché)
I am developing a course in the History of Technology in America for my local community college, and find this book an invaluable resource. There is a hard-back one-volume edition as well as a soft-cover two-volume edition available. The authors hail from Harvard, Yale and MIT, with backgrounds in history, politics and technology.
This is an American history with a difference. While the student and instructor will find the basic chronological outline of American history that is familiar, the development of themes here often draws in much more explicitly than the normal text the issues of technological innovation, scientific discovery, manufacturing and business development as engines for growth and progress in the course of American history. The authors state in their introduction that Americans 'have long considered this penchant for innovation a distinguishing feature of their culture and history.'
Technology in terms discussed here is hardly confined to the modern age. For example, very early in the text the authors state that the development of maize/corn 'was perhaps the most important plant-breeding achievement of all time' - the creation of a stable staple food crop that was adaptable and resilient spurred the growth of civilisation in dramatic ways. Technology includes that related to architecture (from the earliest buildings in the Native American cultures to modern skyscrapers, bridges and underground complexes), agriculture (the aforementioned maize development being but the earliest of these examples), transportation technologies (from canals to railroads to automobiles and aircraft), medical technologies (from early hygiene and vaccine developments to modern pharmaceutical and genetic innovations), information technology (telegraph and telephone to digital and internet), and much more.
History is naturally selective, and any history text is going to have to walk the fine line between being thorough in development and being comprehensive in scope. The whole work weighs in at well over 1100 pages (inclusive of index and appendices), which is a lot of material for a two-semester course that will include supplemental readings. As an overview of American history, it hits the high points well and develops many sidelines of interest. My own particular teaching responsibilities for this will be to students who are primarily interested in technical education - this method of developing American history has more appeal for this audience, given its more direct applicability to their courses of study.
In the two volume edition, the first volume covers the pre-Columbian scene in the Americas through to the era of Reconstruction following the Civil War; the second volume goes through the presidency of the current George W. Bush, and includes issues of 9-11 and the issues of ongoing wars against terrorists. There are CD-ROM supplements that come with the books, which include many helpful elements for the students, as well as some multi-media offerings. These are keyed to chapters in the text.
The text is written in an interesting and informative manner, with appropriate use of humour and wit as situations permit. For example, from the text on the exhibition in London's Crystal Palace in 1851, the authors write:
'Among the winners was the New York firm of Day and Newell, manufacturers of locks. In one of the more flamboyant competitions, an employee of Day and Newell successfully picked the locks of several well-known English lock makers, while an English locksmith failed to pick Day and Newell's locks. The American won a cash prize for his efforts, while the Bank of England, whose vault he opened, subsequently placed an order with Day and Newell for a new set of locks.'
The text is supplemented by a very generous sampling of graphics, pictures, woodcuts, maps, charts and other colourful elements. Every page has some element of colour and something to make it visually interesting apart from the text.
This is a wonderful book for undergraduate courses in American history as well as for general readers who want to refresh their knowledge of American history.


Welcome to the Church Year: An Introduction to the Seasons of the Episcopal Church
Welcome to the Church Year: An Introduction to the Seasons of the Episcopal Church
par Vicki K. Black
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 10,68

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Time after time..., 24 mars 2006
Time is a tricky thing to deal with theologically. There are elements of repetition, and elements of once-only. In our church experience, we look back on the once-only kinds of events (both historical and revelatory) through a cyclical pattern that has varying spans; perhaps the most significant is that of the church year, which follows the progress of the seasons, allowing for variation, but also adding stability to the way in which we as a community approach God and the narratives surrounding God's action in the world.
As Vicki Black states, there are two primary cycles in the church year. The first is the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany cycle, and the second is the Lent-Easter-Pentecost cycle. Traditionally, the church year is said to begin at the first Sunday of Advent. This day is always the fourth Sunday before Christmas; while Christmas is always December 25, the variability in the calendar means that the actual date for the beginning of Advent changes from year to year. This cycle continues through the Epiphany, after which 'ordinary' time takes place until the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday. ('Ordinary' time refers to the fact that these weeks are numbered with ordinal numbers - second Sunday after Epiphany, etc., and not to the fact that they are outside any of the greater seasons of the church.)
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which falls on different dates in different years, dependent upon the date of Easter. Unlike Christmas, which is fixed on the calendar (which is the Roman solar calendar still in primary use in the world), Easter shifts from year to year, as it is pegged to the Jewish celebration of the Passover, which is governed by a lunar calendar. Lent lasts for 40 days (exclusive of Sundays) until Easter. Holy Week is technically a part of Lent, but has different colours and aspects as things go up to Easter; the Easter season continues until the feast of the Pentecost 50 days later, at which time the church goes into the second, longer period of 'ordinary' time, until the advent of the next Advent season.
Black discusses each of these six elements (Advent-Christmas-Epiphany and Lent-Easter-Pentecost) in separate chapters, along with a special chapter on Holy Week, and an introductory chapter. Black's development is personal, in that she discusses how she incorporates this into her family with her husband and son; she also allows for variations of practice in different parishes and dioceses. There is a minimum of technical language here - the text is very accessible, yet doesn't 'talk down' to the reader. It is both engaging and inviting.
The book can be used by a discussion group at the church - despite the division into eight chapters, it could easily be used as a Lenten discussion book or for an inquirer's class to learn aspects of the church year. There are potential discussion questions listed at the back of each chapter. The book itself is rather short and easily read in a short time, but can be useful as a reference throughout the year, too.
This is part of a series by Morehouse Press, which also includes 'Welcome to the Book of Common Prayer' (also by Vicki Black), 'Welcome to Sunday' and 'Welcome to the Episcopal Church' (both by Christopher Webber). All of these books are great as introductions to the ways (sometimes mysterious) Episcopalians do things in church - useful for newcomers as well as life-long members who might never have learned the 'why' behind what the church does.


Basic College Mathematics: Annotated Instructors Edition
Basic College Mathematics: Annotated Instructors Edition
par Jeffrey Slater
Edition : Broché

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Just the basics, 21 mars 2006
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Basic College Mathematics: Annotated Instructors Edition (Broché)
The text 'Basic College Mathematics' is used at the college where I tutor in mathematics as the foundational course for mathematics in all programmes. While many students test out of this level into algebraic topics, for those students whose mathematics is decades old, or was never perfect in the beginning, this book offers a fairly clear and systematic approach to mathematics topics.
The chapters cover the broad topics in this order: Whole Numbers, including the basic arithmetical functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division), was well as basics of exponents and rounding; Fractions, including the basic arithmetical functions as well as beginning to deal with mixed numbers and order of operations; Decimals, including the basic arithmetical functions as well as continuing with order of operations and decimal/fraction conversions; Ratio and proportion ideas; Percentages theoretical and applied; Basic Measurements and conversions of units between British/American units and metric standards; Geometry at the most basic level of shapes and arithmetical formulas dealing with those shapes for area, perimeter, etc.; Statistics at a very elementary level, such as reading charts and graphs, histograms, and the three concepts of mean, median and mode; Signed and special numbers, including the negative numbers, as well as scientific notation; and finally a brief introduction to Algebra, which introduces the basic concepts of variables, like terms, and equations.
Each of the chapters deals with things in a mathematical as well as an 'English' way - explaining in words the concepts and operations being carried out in the numbers. Each section of each chapter covers only a few key concepts, with enough problems for solving that reinforce the principles thoroughly. Each section also as word problems (story problems) to test the real-world applicability of the numerical/mathematical concepts being presented, so when students ask (as they always do and shall), 'When am I ever going to use this?' there are examples drawn from typical situations.
Tobey and Slater have also worked to make various connections with geometry, graphs and charts, tables, as well as internet resources to provide the most up-to-date and useful text. There are specific problems along the way that assume the use of calculators (as most of real-life mathematics now involves calculators).
The book's design is interesting from a graphic-design standpoint, but from the standpoint of clarity to the students, the pages are a bit `busy'. While I appreciate the need to reduce the number of pages in an effort to keep the costs down (text-book prices are typically higher than popular-book prices, and this text is no exception), more white space on the pages would probably help the accessibility and make it a little less intimidating.
This book serves as a good foundation for students to proceed at our college forward into Beginning Algebra (another book by Tobey and Slater on this topic is used for the next-level course), and then further into Intermediate Algebra and beyond.
This edition contains the answers, but do be advised, these are the simple answers, and not worked out with all the steps. There is a student solutions manual that contains these.


Legacy: Search for the Origins of Civilization
Legacy: Search for the Origins of Civilization
par Michael Wood
Edition : Broché

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Timeless topic, 21 mars 2006
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Legacy: Search for the Origins of Civilization (Broché)
Michael Wood has put together in this small volume entitled 'Legacy: The Search for Ancient Cultures', a wonderful survey of the first civilisations to arise in human culture, and their enduring legacy for us today. It deals with cultures that arose across the globe -- so many prehistorical and ancient historical texts concentrate almost exclusively on the Fertile Crescent of five thousand years ago, to the exclusion of city cultures that arose in the Indus Valley, China, and the Americas.
The first city cultures (from which our civilisation ultimately derives in large part) arose largely independently of each other, in what are present day Iraq, India, Egypt, China, and Central and South America. This book was a bit of a self-discovery trip for Wood, as he had hitherto concentrated primarily on British history (from whence I know his work), venturing only to the limits of Europe previously.
Perhaps the Fertile Crescent of Iraq is highlighted both because it is the precursor of Semitic cultures (which give us Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, among many other things), but also because it was the first city culture to arise. All old cultures arose around rivers, for the sake of basic food necessity. In Iraq, there were agricultural settlements coalescing into cities as early as the seventh millennium BCE. These first settlement-builders were not Sumerian; they came later, about 4000 BCE, into an already-existing cultural structure. Who exactly the Sumerians were prior to this is still a mystery.
'Their language has no known affinities with any language, living or dead. But new discoveries concerning Elamite, the ancient language of Persia, may hold the key to Sumerian origins.'
Iraqi early cultures boasted the cities of Eridu (quite possibly the first city on earth), Ur, Uruk, Lagash, Nippur, and of course, Babylon. None of these ancient cities is still inhabited, mostly having been abandoned due to changes in the course of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates. Sumer has been conquered and war-ravaged many times, most recently again in the 1990s.
Indian history too is fascinating. The prehistory of India mostly went unknown until this century, when scholars began to take a serious look. While linguistic studies of Sanskrit have been going on for hundreds of years, it has only been in this century that the antiquity of Sanskrit and its place as a proto-language has been understood.
The lost cities of the Indus show that there were people before the Aryans in the subcontinent, particularly with the discoveries of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, and settlements occupying a space the size of western Europe, with extensive trade and culture. However, there was a period of about 1000 years in which there was no real urban culture in India, with the decline of the cities. Toward 600 BCE the Ganges and Jumna civilisations grouped in kingdoms, largely Aryan, began to arise. Hinduism and Buddhism are largely products of this process.
China has a long, unbroken history. China was the last of the Old World civilisations to develop, nearly 1000 years after Iraq. The Chinese concepts of civilisation are very different from the West, and different from Indian, too. Cities began not as grouping for residence or trade or manufacture, but rather as royal enclosures surrounding the king, in which all the dichotomies of life were played out. This remained true to the days of the last emperor.
Culture grew up around the Yellow and Yangtze rivers in China. Confucius was the great shaper of tradition, and China experienced a cultural advance unparalleled by the other Old World civilisation. In fact, China remained possibly the strongest power culturally and militarily on Earth until about the year 1000; only its relative isolation from all other powers kept them out of China's influence. China's self-centred decline in the past millennium allowed the Western cultures to surpass China.
Egypt is discussed in terms of tradition of the pharoahs, city developments along the Nile, trade and literary achievements that are still fascinating today. The Pyramids are the only remaining of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Egypt had an unbroken pharoanic rule for nearly 3000, until the time of Alexander the Great, and the continuing dominance thereafter of European-based empires. Egypt in fact consists of two kingdoms, the upper and lower. Strong natural frontiers kept Egypt safe during its development. Perhaps the first true city was Hierakonpolis, in the upper kingdom, with settlements able to be traced back to 4500 BCE.
In the Americas, Wood only really discusses the Central American cultures that arose around Mayan cities -- he does not do much work in the Peruvian/South American cultures. This is perhaps the one great flaw in the book. By 3000 BCE, there were settlements developing into cities in the Americas, but perhaps the first true cities was Teotihuacan, in Mexico. In 500 CE this may have been the largest city in the world, with 250,000 people. Independent of other cultures, they built pyramids and temples comparable to the Old World examples, a testament to the similarity of the human mind to response to the same symbolic ideas. Mayan culture spread throughout Central America as a result of indigenous efforts most likely, but Teotihuacan was a place of trade and pilgrimage and learning for these people.
With the collapse of the Mayans, the Aztecs gained ascendancy in the older region around Teotihuacan. The Aztecs, given to bloody sacrificial rites, were perhaps the first civilisation to be exposed to the Old World orders, and the first to suffer conquest at their hands.
Wood concludes with a chapter on exploration, conquest, investigation, research, and finally, some small understanding of the world which has been lost, but which generated ours.


Winnie Ille Pu: A Latin Version of A.A. Milne's "Winnie-the-Pooh"
Winnie Ille Pu: A Latin Version of A.A. Milne's "Winnie-the-Pooh"
par Alexander Lenard
Edition : Broché

1 internaute sur 1 a trouvé ce commentaire utile :
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Infectis rebus abeo, 21 mars 2006
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Winnie Ille Pu: A Latin Version of A.A. Milne's "Winnie-the-Pooh" (Broché)
I sing of a boy and a bear...
Perhaps Vergil would have opted for Pu (Pooh) rather than Aeneid had he the choice, and begun his tome not in the journey from Troy, but rather the journey around the forest.
I have this sitting next to books of equally interesting exercise, such as a translation of modern poetry into Old English. Likewise, Henry Beard's translations of various ordinary statements and phrases in Latin (and cat behaviours in to French) also sit next to this honoured tome.
When I returned from Britain and began to think in theological-training terms, I had to re-acquaint myself with Latin; for an exam I had to memorise one biblical passage, one passage from the Aeneid, and one passage of my choice. I chose Winnie Ille Pu, and, as it had not been excluded from the list, I was permitted this indulgence (I believe that the exam list now has a section of excluded works, including this one, more's the pity).
Do not be frightened off by the fact that this is a book in Latin. It is very accessible, and quite fun to read with the English version of Winnie-the-Pooh at its side. The Latin version has kept many of the original illustrations as well as the page layout forms, for example:
In English:
And then he got up, and said: 'And the only reason for making honey is so as I can eat it.' So he began to climb the tree.
He
climbed
and he
climbed
and he
climbed,
and as he
climbed
he
sang
a little
song
to himself.
It went
like this:
Isn't it funny
How a bear likes honey
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
I wonder why he does?
In Latin:
Et nisus est
et
nisus est
et
nisus est
et
nisus est
et nitens carmen sic coepit canere:
Cur ursus clamat?
Cur adeo mel amat?
Burr, burr, burr
Quid est causae cur?
Statements sound much more grand in Latin: 'Ior mi,' dixit sollemniter, 'egomet, Winnie ille Pu, caudam tuam reperiam.' which means, 'Eeyore,' he said solemnly, 'I, Winnie-the-Pooh, will find your tail for you.'
This is a delightful romp through a language study. I have recommended this to friends who want an introduction to Latin, together with the Lingua Latina series, which uses a natural language method for instruction.
Alexander Lenard, the translator, obviously did a great labour of love here, and I agree with the Chicago Tribune's statement that this book 'does more to attract interest in Latin than Cicero, Caesar, and Virgil combined.' One wonders if the Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet will be translated into Latin to make them seem 'more philosophical; or indeed, will Winnie ille Pu be likewise translated into Sanskrit and other such languages? It is not uncommon that the entertaining use of language does more for language enrichment and interest than any academic or official push of the tongue. It is no mistake that the Welsh language effort incorporated cartoons from the beginning -- it is natural for people to respond to fun and lively things, and this kind of treatment can be rather tricky, in that the average reader might not be so consciously aware that education is going on...
Winnie-the-Pooh in Akkadian? Hmmm, I feel a Ph.D. dissertation topic coming on...
This work is no small endeavour, but rather a thorough and engaging translation of the entire Pooh story. From the start, when we are introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh, through to the adventures in the Tight Place (in angustias incurrit), when Piglet meets a heffalump (heffalumpum), meeting Kanga and Roo (Canga and Ru), the expedition to the North Pole (Palum Septentrionalem), and finally saying goodbye, the entire story and text is here. One can (as I do) set the Dell Yearling 60th Anniversary Version of Winnie-the-Pooh side-by-side with Winnie-ille-Pu and follow line by line the engaging story, which translates well into this one-time universal language. And why ever not? Surely if there is a story nearly universal appeal, it would be of dear Winnie.
As A.A. Milne was a graduate of the Westminster School (which is housed down the block from my old Parliamentary offices) and of Cambridge, he might consider the translation of his classic work into the classical language a signal honour, and one wonders if, given the fact that Milne studied classical languages himself, if he ever translated any pieces, however small, into those languages that every English schoolboy learns to hate and love.
The story leaves off with Christophorus Robinus heading off to bath (and presumably, bed) ...
Of course, being a person of small importance myself, I identify much more with Porcellus (Piglet) than Pu. I know the struggles against the clerical/hierarchical/academic heffalumpum, and as Pooh has given me a new language of consideration for such conditions, Pu has given me a bilingual command of that language.
Long live the Porcelli amicus!


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