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Posts from the ‘biography’ Category


#Non-fiction Bolívar

  • Author:  Marie Arana
  • Genre: biography
  • Title:  Bolivar: American Liberator
  • Published:  (2013)
  • Table of Contents: 18 chapters, 468
  • Timeline:  1783 – 1830
  • SettingSouth America
  • Trivia: M. Arana won the LA Times Book Award biography 2014.
  • List of Challenges 2020
  • Monthly reading plan
  • #20BooksOfSummer20



  1. Bolivar was compared to Napoleon or Julius Caesar.
  2. But Bolivar realized that he could unite South America
  3. …freed of Spanish rule, but could not unite the South Americans.
  4. He had to take drastic steps: Bolivar declared himself ‘dictator’
  5. …in August 1828 due to growing internal conflicts among his commanders.
  6. As Bolivar said: “No one achieves greatness with impunity:
  7. No one escapes the fangs of envy along the way”. (pg 406)
  8. There were several assassination attempts
  9. …thought to be instigated by his old friend, and commander F. Santander.
  10. Bolivar used psychological warfare, surprise,
  11. …deception and fear to defeat his enemies.
  12. But he could not defeat his last foe
  13. ….he succumbed to tubercleosis in 1830 at the age of 47 years old.



Strong point: Bolivar reads like a great novel!

Strong point: Epilogue: great summation with references to modern South America.

  1. This was not a boring biography.
  2. Marie Arana is first and foremost a
  3. talented writer and knows how to create
  4. ….a book that would capture the reader’s attention.
  5. She has succeeded in melting all the biographical facts
  6. …about the American Liberator into a unique mold.
  7. The result is a ‘bronze bell’ named ‘Bolivar’ whose
  8. …tremendous sound resonated across
  9. …the South American continent.
  10. #ExcellentRead

Last Thoughts:

  1. I was surprised that Bolivar read Voltaire, Locke,
  2. Montesquieu and his hero Rousseau instead of theorists of war:
  3. Prussian Von Clausewitz (1780-1831) or French Jomini (1779-1869).
  4. Bolivar was a child of The Enlightenment.
  5. The only way I can sum him is to refer to John Locke’s book
  6. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding,
  7. …page 220 where Locke discusses ‘power’.
  1. Bolivar saw that the countries in his beloved South America
  2. …were just spokes in a wheel all pointing to the hub, Spain.
  3. He felt that there was the possibility of making this simple idea change.
  4. And so we come to the idea that Locke explained as: ‘power’.
  5. Bolivar had this ‘power’:
  6. “thus we say, fire has a power to melt gold,
  7. …to destroy the consistency of its insensible parts and
  8. …consequently its hardness and make it fluid.” (Locke)


Twitter thoughts:

Bolivar: History of liberated South America …. is not for the fainthearted.
What a man…he could outride, outwit and outfight any enemy!

#SurgicalStrikes and countless stragagems later Bolivar is not afraid to take up the pen….
#ManInLove with Manuela…

#ReadMoreBiography Blood trickles down the roads, heads roll out from under the bushes. This is not magical realism… this is history!


#Non-Fiction The Churchill Factor


Finished: 13.01.2020
Genre: non-fiction
Rating: A+++++



  1. I started this book before the UK’s general election.
  2. It is fascinating to see how Boris Johnson
  3. emulates his hero, Churchill!
  4. Winston Churchill tipped the scales of destiny in 1940.
  5. We should all be thankful for his courage, pluck and
  6. famous message June 1940 to the British people:


“We shall go on to the end.
We shall fight in France,
we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air,
we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be.
We shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender…”




  1. This book was a delight to read!
  2. Not stuffy or dry
  3. …but filled with insights and humor as
  4. Johnson weaves the narrative between war,
  5. politics and Churchill’s personal life.
  6. Boris Johnson is a savvy politician
  7. ….but also an excellent writer!
  8. #MustRead
  9. PS: John Lithgow is wonderful as Winston Churchill
  10. in Netflix series The Crown...
  11. #MustSee

Brett Whiteley Australian Artist

  • Author: Ashleigh Wilson
  • Title: Brett Whiteley: Art, Life and the Other Thing
  • Genre: biography
  • Reading time:  13 hours 25 min (audio book)
  • Published: 2017
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly plan
  • Trivia: #ABIA 2017  short list (Australian Book Industry Awards)
  • @ashleighbwilson
  • @artgalleryofNSW
  • @ABIAs_Awards



  1. Of all the Australian painters who emerged during the mid
  2. 20th century Brett Whiteley  was the (Wikipedia link for more info)
  3. most mercurial, the most ambitious
  4. to make an impact on the world at large.
  5. I had NEVER heard of Brett Whiteley
  6. …and realize it was my loss.
  7. Delighted to discover this brilliant
  8. biography by Ashleigh Wilson.


Brett Whitely:

  1. Born in Australia, Whiteley moved to Europe in 1960 determined to make an impression.
  2. Before long he was the youngest artist to have work acquired by the Tate.
  3. With his wife, Wendy (1941), and daughter, Arkie (1964-2001), Whiteley
  4. then immersed himself in bohemian New York.
  5. Despite many affairs…Brett proclaims that
  6. he and his wife Wendy “We’re lifers.”
  7. His art depended on his relationship to Wendy.
  8. It had been that way since his early abstractions.


Ashleigh Wilson:

  1. He has been a journalist for almost two decades.
  2. He received a Walkley Award for his reports on unethical behavior
  3. in the Aboriginal art industry, a series that led to a Senate inquiry.
  4. He has been The Australian’s Arts Editor since 2011.
  5. Wilson follows the chronological order of Whiteley’s paintings:
  6. Early works
    Bathroom series (sensual sketches of Wendy)
    John Christie (serial killer)  & London Zoo
    Lavender Bay, Australia
    The studio & late works



  1. Brett Whiteley (1939 – 1992)
  2. died from a drug overdose.
  3. He was an heroin addict.
  4. The deeper problem was that his
  5. dependency was entwined with his art.
  6. Like many addicts he found it hard to imagine life sober.
  7. Heroin provided stability...
  8. …and to live without it was like to peering into darkness.
  9. It was one thing to be clean for his health
  10. …but what would it mean for his art?
  11. He was found dead at the Beach Motel, Thirroul Australia.
  12. This expansive biography
  13. Wilson gave the essential details about the death.  (ch 22)
  14. Chapters 1-21 concentrate on the
  15. …richness and variety of Whiteley’s work
  16. …and the many exhibitions he held and  prizes won.
  17. #ExcellentBiography
  18. Worth your reading time!


Strong point:

  1. Ashleigh Wilson Wilson takes the reader through a
  2. virtual art gallery describing and assortiment
  3. …of Brett Whiteley’s paintings.


Portrait of Patrick White (Brett Whiteley)

  1. Photo in frame….Emmanuel George “Manoly” Lascaris
  2. Look at White’s eyes and
  3. ….Centennial Park in the backround.


Portrait Vincent van Gogh

  1. On the table….a candle, a pipe, a letter to Theo and a razor.
  2. Two arrows:
  3. towards the right = good, light and sanity
  4. towards the left = evil, darkness and madness

Portrait of Gauguin

  1. Gaughin on the eve of his attempted suicide
  2. We see ‘The Tree of Knowledge, photograph of Van Gogh and a woman’s body.
  3. Brett had extended the right side to an ear shape with a bottle with a white substance
  4. labled ‘Arsenic’.

Portrait Wendy (wife)

  1. Brett Whiteley was a master draughtsman.
  2. This sketch reveals his command of line.
  3. The way Brett could capture the essence of his
  4. subject with only a few simple sweeps.


Henri’s Armchair

  1. This is Brett Whiteley’s debt to Matisse.
  2. He painted the interior of Lavender Bay where the
  3. …water can be seen through the window
  4. …frame at the end of the room beyond the arches.
  5. It is a domestic workmanlike scene.
  6. Two legs  on the couch and used matches
  7. …are scattered on the coffee table.
  8. There is a vase and notebook on which is written the title of the painting.
  9. As in the works of his historical model, Matisse,
  10. ….there are notes of domesticity:
  11. bed, open fire, and several works of Whiteley in the room
  12. …a sculpture, a nude drawing and an erotic drawing.
  13. There is a deep red brown color in the house
  14. …but the blue is all around.


My Armchair

  1. This was the most expensive painting in Brett’s
  2. September 1976 Australian Galleries exhibition.
  3. This painting’s was priced for 10.000 dollars.
  4. This was a companion piece for “Henri’s Armchair”.
  5. The blue soaked canvas inside Brett’s studio including
  6. pictures (B/W = ‘Inside an Avocado Tree’), sculptures
  7. …a view out to the Sydney Harbour and the chair in which
  8. …he sat to reflect on the art around him.



Another way of Looking….Vincent

  1. Whiteley pays homage to Vincent van Gogh and
  2. …the profound influence this Dutch post-impressionist
  3. painter had on Whiteley throughout his career.


  1. I had to include some of the most beautiful sketches/paintings of birds!
  2. Whiteley first came to notice the captivating beauty of birds
  3. …in July 1969 during a blissful five-month stay in a small cottage
  4. in the village of Navutulevu, about eighty kilometres from Suva in Fiji.
  5. The couple, with their five year-old daughter Arkie,
  6. lived simply and happily and enjoyed their
  7. island paradise after the turmoil and bustle of New York.
  8. Wendy Whiteley summed the period up well: ‘We really did live in Paradise there.”







The sunrise, Japanese: Good morning




Bookcover: (self-portrait)


#AWW 2019 Nine Lives: Women Writers

  • Author:  Susan Sheridan
  • Title: Nine Lives: Postwar Women Writers Making Their Mark
  • Published: 2011
  • Genre: non-fiction
  • Rating: A
  • Trivia:  This book has been sitting on my TBR for two years!
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly plan
  • #AWW2019   @AusWomenWriters



  1. Trying to get back to books with
  2. …’one’ very good eye after cataract surgery
  3. …the the other eye ready for correction in 2 weeks.
  4. #NeedCoffee



  1. Why did I wait so long to read this wonderful book?
  2. I think the  bland bookcover did not catch my eye.
  3. Ms Sheridan should have used thumbnail photos of te
  4. …talented Australian writers she was about  to introduce to this reader!


  1. This books contains
  2. nine condensed, compact biographies of Australian Women writers
  3. Sheridan highlights a generation of women writers
  4. overlooked in the Australian contemporary literary scene.
  5. These women writers who were born between 1915-1930:
  6. Judith Wright
    Thea Astley
    Dorothy Hewett
    Rosemary Dobson
    Dorothy Aucherlonie Green
    Gwen Harwood
    Jessica Anderson
    Amy Witting
    Elizabeth Jolley


  1. All had children...
  2. J. Wright and D. Green were the sole support of their families.
  3. The nine women were versatile writers
  4. poet, playwright, novelist, short stories,
  5. non-fiction (autobiography), literary critic and editor.
  6. T. Astely won Miles Franklin Award 4x, Jessica Anderson 2x and E. Jolley 1x.
  7. All shared a sense of urgency…
  8. their vocation, their ‘need’ to be a writer
  9. that would not let them rest.



  1. Judith Wright – was an important name in the emerging postwar literature.
  2. She was one of the few Australian poets to achieve international recognition.
  3. Ms Wright is the author of of several collections of poetry,
  4. including The Moving Image, Woman to
  5. Man, The Gateway, The Two Fires, Birds,
  6. The Other Half, Magpies, Shadow, Hunting Snake, among others.
  7. Her work is noted for a keen focus on the Australian environment.



  1. Thea Astley –  I am a huge fan of this writer.
  2. I did learn more tidbits of info about this woman.
  3. Critics were not always kind to Thea Astely.
  4. The ending of  The Slow Natives
  5. …was  “…too sentimental and melodramatic.
  6. I didn’t think so!
  7. Even Patrick White was harsh.
  8. Criticism should be like rain
  9. …gentle enough to nourish growth without
  10. …destroying the roots.
  11. White’s  fault finding ended their friendship.
  12. Thea Astley won Miles Franklin Award four times!


  1. Dorothy Hewett – After reading Ms Hewett’s short biography in this book the
  2. only thing that suited this woman is the song: Born to be Wild  !!
  3. Once I read about the tumultuous life of Dorothy Hewett I knew
  4. I had to read her books.
  5. I ordered Baker’s Dozen ( 13 short stories)…
  6. …cannot wait to read it!



  1. Rosemary Dobson – She was fully established as a poet by the age of 35.
  2. She published 14 collections of poems.
  3. The Judges of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 1996
  4. described her significance as follows:
  5. “The level of originality and strength of
  6. Rosemary’s poetry cannot be underestimated…”


  1. Dorothy Auchterlonie Green –  She saw herself primarily as a scholar.
  2. Ms Green felt overworked and
  3. under-recognized, trapped by circumstances of her life and unsure of her capacity as a poet.
  4. She won widespread admiration for her poetry, literary scholarship
  5. her reviews and social criticism and inspirational teaching.


  1. Gwen Harwood – She was sick of the way poetry
  2. editors (Meanjin) treated her…no accepting her work.
  3. Ms Harwoon created several nom de plume: Geyer , Lehmann and Stone.
  4. Geyer and Lehmann were regularly invited to meet editors for lunch next time they were in Sydney
  5. or Melbourne. Geyer was evern invited to read at the Adelaide Festival.
  6. ….he respectively declined.
  7.  Awards


  1. Jessica Anderson – She was in a male-dominated and
  2. Anglocentric publishing world.
  3. How did she survive?
  4. She cultivated the qualities of character and
  5. strategies of survival necessary to
  6. sustain enough belief in herself to go on writing.
  7. She won the Miles Franklin Award twice…1978 and 1980.

  1. Amy Witting – For many years Amy Witting was invisible in the literary world.
  2. She won the Patrick White Award 1993
  3. for writers who have not received adequate recognition.
  4. I am waiting for her book of short stories to arrive…Marriages
  5. …I’m sure Amy Witting will have much to tell about this institution!


  1. Elizabeth Jolley – In a single year she received 39 rejection slips
  2. …yet she persisted.
  3. She won Miles Franklin Award 1986.


#AUSReadingMonth 2019 An Unconventional Wife


Hook: introduction 

  1. Ms Hoban explains what drew
  2. …her to write about Julia Sorell Arnold
  3. It was very personal  text that
  4. …made this reader eager to continue reading!
  5. I had to find out if Tom Arnold could
  6. …tame the high spirited Julia Sorell
  7. ..the the ruling belle of Hobart of Tasmania
  8. ..into the Victorian ideal of a wife?


Conflict:  Tom vs Julia …and religion

  1. In the world that Julia and Tom inhabited
  2. religion was never simply about belief.
  3. It was about position. economic stability and place in society.
  4. This was true for Tom and Julia…and their children.


Tom’s weak point:

  1. He had a tyrannical understanding of marriage.
  2. He turned the blowtorch onto Julia.
  3. He blamed her for all that had happened to them.


Julia’s  strong point:

  1. For a woman….marriage was a destiny,
  2. …nothing more, nothing less.
  3. But Julia would be…
  4. a revolutionary wife.
  5. not go where Tom took her
  6. not believe what he believed
  7. not do as he asked.



  1. This is a magnificent biography!
  2. Mary Hoban just swept me away to Tasmania and
  3. …then on to Brussels, England and Ireland.
  4. I was so engrossed in the story I had no time to take notes!
  5. Julia felt like a very modern woman…in a Victorian world:
  6. She was fiercely independent.
  7. Tom radiates toxic masculinity in every chapter.
  8. As in many marriages…partners hope to change each other’s behavior.
  9. We read in this book the collision course
  10. that Tom and Julia were destined to follow.
  11. Tom’s wife must in all things submit to him.
  12. Julia cannot give up her own soul.
  13. Their relationship becomes a battle to the death.
  14. Julia refused to adhere to the ideal of a Victorian woman.
  15. She refused to be silent.
  16. #Excellent biography!


Last Thoughts:  (feedback to @bronasbooks)

  1. I rarely get ‘swept’ away with a biography but
  2. my heart just went out to Julia Sorell Arnold!
  3. Mary Hoban writes with a flair that touches on a novel….
  4. it is a well-crafted, beautifully rendered meditation on
  5. abandonment (Julia – mother)
  6. marriage (opposites attract)
  7. religion (Catholic and Protestant….sharing the same bed!)
  8. grief, (loss beloved father; children [stillborn, sickness])
  9. the ‘can’t live with you…but can’t live without you’
  10. ….type relationship between Julia and Arnold.
  11. It seem distance does make the heart grow fonder
  12. …and not to mention 9 children!
  13. I could go on and on
  14. ….but I hope this book is on your TBR
  15. great read during Xmas holidays!




#AWW 2019 Gabbie Stroud “Teacher”



  1. Gabrielle Stroud was a primary school teacher from 1999 to 2015.
  2. In 2014, Gabrielle Stroud was a very dedicated teacher.
  3. Months later, she resigned in frustration and despair.
  4. She realized that the Naplan-test education model
  5. …was stopping her from teaching individual children
  6. …according to their needs and talents.
  7. Gabrielle tells the full story:
  8. how she came to teaching…
  9. what makes a great teacher…
  10. what our kids need from their teachers…
  11. and what it was that finally broke her.



  1. This book is a good effort of a teacher moving
  2. from the classroom into a writing career.
  3. I’m sure we will be hearing more from Gabbie Stroud
  4. and I hope her writing skills will be even better.
  5. I have seen many reviews on Goodreads and I
  6. cannot agree:  this is not a 5 star book.
  7. It is enjoyable but not profound.
  8. In my opinion...less is more:
  9. less family backround
  10. — mother, sisters, boyfriend, chit-chat with daughters
  11. even more reflections about teaching
  12. — chapter 16 a teaching adventure at a Heritage School
  13. in Canada was wrapped up in less than a chapter!
  14. I’m sure there must be more to tell.
  15. Writing style: this all comes down to the reader’s
  16. own preferences.
  17. I felt that Stroud could improve her writing by
  18. less use of clichés...
  19. Ch 8:
  20. I felt older, fatigued but the cup was still half full….”
  21. Ch 26:
  22. “…the glass is half full…but the water didn’t taste right.”
  23. Ch 30:
  24. “We all fall down Gab, our true measure is how we rise up.”
  25. Ch 30
  26. ” I did’t leave teaching….teaching left me.”
  27. Dialogue: is conversational, simple.
  28. Pathos: There were very few experiences
  29. …that stirred up my emotions of pity, sympathy, and sorrow.
  30. Problems were mentioned..but in a light, fluffy tone.
  31. I was not swept away by Stroud’s story
  32. …as I was  with the personal essays of written
  33. Ashleigh Young in “Can You Tolerate This?
  34. This is the type of depth in the writing I hoped
  35. Stroud would tell me about….the teaching profession.


  1. What finally broke Stroud? ( my opinion)
  2. Teaching was changing too fast
  3. …and Stroud’s adaptation was too slow.
  4. Jack Welch…CEO of General Electric Company 1981-2001
  5. phrased it perfectly.
  6. ..and we all can learn from it:
  7. When the rate of change on the outside
  8. …exceeds the rate of change on the inside
  9. …then the end is near.”


Last Thoughts:

  1. There was one spark in chapter 5 that
  2. I thought would ignite the book:
  3. Core message…
  4. ” You showed me how to teach
  5. …now show me how to be a teacher.”
  6. Unfortunately this memoir/biography…fizzled out. 
  7. I hate flat soda.



#Non-fiction biography James Tiptree jr.



  1. Literary tastes were changing in the 1960s.
  2. Women were searching for new books
  3. …they were tired of romances, doctors and stories about horses.
  4. Fantasy and SF introduced some very talented writers.
  5. James Tiptree Jr. was born…nom de plume Alice Sheldon.
  6. Tiptree  burst onto the science fiction scene
  7. ….in the 1970s with a series of hard-edged, provocative short stories.
  8. Tiptree was hailed as a brilliant masculine writer.
  9. Ms Sheldon kept her JT persona very secret:
  10. no photo’s, no public appearances and
  11. most confusing was “his” strong
  12. feminist slant in his tales.
  13. For example The Women Men Don’t See.
  14. Women characters felt so alienated and powerless in society they
  15. choose to board a space ship with aliens rather than remain on earth!
  16. Strong point: This fascinating biography by Julie Phillips
  17. was ten years in the making.
  18. Julie Phillips takes us behind the scenes to learn the
  19. of the privileged yet troubled life of Alice Sheldon.
  20. With this information Sheldon’s short stories take on a new cachet.
  21. This book is considered one of the best biographies about a SF writer.




#Non-fiction Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom



Ch 1-16 Exposition…

  1. Childhood, slave work, escape
  2. from Maryland  to the North, New York.
  3. Douglass was a renowned orator.
  4. He spent years on speaking tours
  5. in US and Europe against slavery.

Ch 17- 21  the book begins to sparkle…

  1. Douglass asks the question
  2. we are still asking…more than 150 years later:
  3. Why deprive the right to vote for black Americans?
  4. …what is the world afraid of?


Douglass meets Lincoln in the White House.

  1. Lincoln – the emancipator
  2. the elegant restraint of a statesman
  3. …spoke with an eye on legality and public opinion
  4. Douglass – the national evangelist
  5. …with the fiery tones of a prophet.


Ch 22 – 31 Reconstruction….

  1. Douglass made no distinction between
  2. Andrew Johnson’s white supremacy and slavery itself…
  3. ….as long as Johnson controlled
  4. reconstruction the war was not over.
  5. Douglass speaking about President Andrew Johnson is an
  6. “…unmitigated calamity and a
  7. disgrace the country must stagger under.”
  8. Frederick Douglass was a
  9. frightening black man with brains
  10. …President Andrew Johnson’s basic nightmare!


Last thoughts:

  1. This is the best way to learn history…read biography.
  2. We read that progress has been made
  3. …but still America is polarized on the color line.
  4. The routine suppression of black voters
  5. is far-reaching and  has devastating consequences.
  6. We cannot be silent about it.


Best quote….and worth thinking about

  1. There is NO negro problem.
  2. The problem is whether the American people have
  3. honesty enough, loyalty enough, patriotism enough
  4. to  live up to their Constitution.



#Classic: The Twelve Caesars (Suetonius)


Quickscan:      List of Roman Emperors



  1. This is not a book that I would choose to snuggle up with
  2. on a cold winter day. Thus I decided to listen to the audio book.
  3. I could keep doing my chores….etc and still absorb the
  4. tidbits of history that I did not know!
  5. 50 % of the book is about the first 3 Caesars:
  6. Julius, Augustus, Tiberius  chapters 1-18
  7. Audio book 40 chapters (20 min per chapter)
  8. Roman emperor was a risky job:  only 3 died of natural causes
  9. …the rest were assassinated or committed suicide!


Julius Caesar  (reigned 5 years)

  1. He wore laurel crowns as often as possible.
  2. The wreath suited Caesar especially well with
  3. the green leaves hiding his balding head.
  4. It was good to be reminded that Servilia (b.104 BC, d. 42 BC)
  5. was just a wicked as Livia was
  6. during her relationship with Augustus Caesar.
  7. Livia remains in my memory in TV series I, Claudius.
  8. Servilla came be seen in TV series Rome.
  9. The series I, Claudius NEVER showed
  10. …the audience the sadistic cruelty of Tiberius!
  11. You have to read about it to believe it!


Augustus Caesar (reigned 40 years)

  1. Father: Gaius Otavius (politician) but he died when AC was 4 years old.
  2. Adopted father: Julius Caesar.
  3. Wives: each of these marriages lasted 2 yr Clodia, Scribonia
  4. Livia was here to stay.
  5. She was a shrewd woman,  23 yr marriage, no children, 1 miscarriage.
  6. Augustus also divided city regions and districts,
  7. …appointed nightly watch against fires (sort of fire brigade).
  8. Calendar: Augustus was  born in September named 8th month August
  9. because in this month he received his first council ship.
  10. Lists: These pages about Augustus Caesar is a long list of achievements:
  11. circus games, gladiators, laws, allocating corn
  12. exhibiting curiosities: rhino, tiger and extremely long snake!
  13. Lists: of omens Augustus Caesar believed to foreshadow trouble (2 crows attack an eagle!)
  14. As soon as Livia comes on the scene
  15. ….the narrative becomes more interesting.
  16. After watching the TV series I, Claudius
  17. I could apply a face (actor, actress) to many names!
  18. Julia: Daughter is banished for 5 years for her lewd behavior.
  19. Strong point: personal habits were described
  20. …negligent in dress, took afternoon naps with his shoes always on!
  21. Augustus  slept in the same chamber on Palatine Hill for 40 years.
  22. His private room where he was NOT to be
  23. disturbed (top floor Palatine Hill home) called “Syracuse”.


Tiberius pg 104 (reigned 22 years)

  1. He was emperor Augustus Caesar’s successor.
  2. Augustus  adopted Tiberius (his mother was Livia AC’s 2nd wife)
  3. Tiberius was a reluctant emperor!
  4. Livia (mother) demanded equal share of power.
  5. Mother and son parted on bad terms.
  6. When she died Tiberius annulled her will and did not grieve his loss!
  7. Daughter-in-law Agrippina the Elder
  8. claimed Tiberius had her husband Germanicus murdered.
  9. Germanicus was Tiberius’ nephew AND adopted son.
  10. Tiberius banished her to the island of Pandateria.
  11. …and ordered a centurion to beat out one of her eyes!
  12. Tiberius was not finished yet….
  13. He starved his 2 (adoptive) grandsons to death.
  14. Tiberius was sadist…deriving pleasure from cruelty.
  15. In one day 20 people (men, women and boys) were killed flung down
  16. the Gemonian Stairs (steps located in the ancient city of Rome)
  17. …and then dragged into the Tiber River.
  18. He put a centurion to death for stealing a peacock out of his orchard!
  19. #Ouch




  1. I took notes about the first 3 Caesars.
  2. You can discover the other rulers yourself!
  3. This was an excellent overview of these emperors
  4. The book solidified my understanding of the
  5. Julio-Claudian (27 BC-68 AD)
  6. Flavian dynasties (68-96 AD)
  7. Audio book narrator:  Charles Griffin (excellent).
  8. The writing is clear, simple and easy to understand.
  9. Strong point:
  10. Insights into the social and political order of the times
  11. …and the psychology of these powerful yet flawed individuals.
  12. I loved the music played between chapters….imperial!


Last thoughts:

  1. Roman emperors are not known as being compassionate
  2. …but Emperor Vespasian was the exception!
  3. If you like historial fiction perhaps you would like Lindsey Davis’
  4. The Course of Honour.
  5. The love story of Vespasian and his mistress
  6. …the freed slave woman Antonia Caenis.
  7. This book recreates Ancient Rome’s most turbulent period.



#Non-fiction: The Age of Eisenhower


Did you know?

  1. Eisenhower agreed to give 400 million dollar
  2. to France to keep them fighting in Indo-China 1956.


  1. Eisenhower did not trust Nixon. Ike tried to ‘push’ off the ticket election
  2. 1956 by dangling a cabinet post in front of ‘Tricky Dick’.
  3. Nixon did not take the bait.


  1. Eisenhower suffered from a blood clot in his heart September 1956.
  2. What did Nixon do? He slipped out of his house through the back door
  3. to avoid the press.
  4. Nixon was scared to death ….he might have to lead the country!



  1. These are some of the items that I did not know.
  2. This book reflected a man who remained
  3. a social conservative who was anxious about
  4. clashes b/t federal courts and local customs (civil rights movement).
  5. Eisenhower was not used to change
  6. ….wary of challenging hierarchy.
  7. Yet Eisenhower did manage
  8. to surpass his limitations  and supported
  9. The Civil Rights act 1957 and enforced court ordered
  10. …for desegragation in Little Rock Arkansas.
  11. which makes him a worthy president in my opinion.


Last thoughts:

  1. I thought America in the 1950’s would electrify me.
  2. Unfortunately, it was …to be the  fractious 1960’s
  3. with Nixon, Kennedy, LBJ  these were presidents that
  4. interested me more than  “I like IKE’.
  5. The book was interesting and informative.
  6. Eisenhower made many good calls in the White House
  7. …an ran a fundamentally honest administration.
  8. Ike was and remained a #GoodSoldier.