Thursday, March 20, 2008

Getting Caught Up!

My aunt Beverly had told me about a book she was reading entitled, "The Dark Side of Camelot" by Seymour M. Hersh. Of course when the term Camelot is used I know the reference is used mainly for John F. Kennedy and his term as President. I have not read any other books, yet, on John F. Kennedy. This book is a controversial expose' on JFK, his brother Bobby, their father Joe, and also the maternal grandfather of JFK and Bobby. This book was more of a slant towards their sexual escapades with other women and their calculating decisions for power and money. The book does touch on the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban missle crisis, the re-election campaign, Lyndon Johnson, Hoover the head of the F.B.I., and the hidden relationship the family had with the mafia and Sam Giacano.
"The Johnstown Flood" by David McCullough
Every book I have read by David McCullough has been outstanding in the research behind the book, the fluid writing, the drawing in and keeping the interest of the reader. One of the books that David McCullough wrote is now a mini series on HBO, "John Adams". On May 31, 1889 at 4:07 pm the wave hit Johnstown, Pennyslvania. At the center of the wave the height was thought to be at least 30 feet. There was a heavy, strong wind that proceeded the wave that snapped trees, destroyed houses. There was also a dark mist that surrounded the water. Some of the people could see the horrifying behemoth that was coming towards them, some were able to scramble up the hills to be above the danger, others were able to climb up to the upper stories of houses, or buildings, or barns. All of them could hear the deafening roar of the water coming. There are many survivor stories in the book, each with their own account of the tragedy that they witnessed, but each had a powerful story to tell.
In the end the official death total was;
2, 209,
99 whole families died,
396 children 10 or less died,
98 children lost both parents.
Many of the dead were never identified, the last victims were found in 1906. The book does explain the events that happened that led to this unforgetable national tragedy.
"Pocahontas, Medicine Woman, Spy, Entrepreneur, Diplomat" by Paula Gunn Allen
This book is written with a Native American perspective, the author is of Native American heritage. Pocahontas was born around 1597 and died at age 21 in 1617. We have all heard in school the story of Pocahontas risking her life by covering John Smith with her own body in order to save his life. The author explains that Pocahontas was a "beloved woman" and because of this she had a deciding say in what would happen to Smith. A "beloved woman" or medicine woman held significant power, these women also owned great fields of corn, squash or beans. They distributed all food and goods, including what was garnered by men in hunting and fishing. They designed and built dwellings and the lodges for gatherings. Smith had assumed from his English world that she was the daughter of Powhattan and he had mercy on Smith because of what Pocahantas had done. Pocahontas did marry a white man, her second marriage, and they had a son, she traveled to England with her family, she became sick probably with a respiratory infection and died. This book is well researched and inticing as it is written with the Native American perspective.

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