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Posts from the ‘non-fiction’ Category

21
Feb

Border

 

Borders….where the fabric is thin.

 

Writing style: Kassabova has succeeded in writing ‘travel literature’.
I felt was reading art instead of social commentary about the Balkan region (Bulgaria, border with Greece and Turkey.)

 

Strong point: Instead of repeating the politics of the region, Kassabova focused on understanding what happened to the people and their heritage.                                                                                       “Rumour remained the preferred currency.” (pg 53)

 

Angst an Architecture: Kassabova stops by a gangster-baroque villa. (pg 44). She meets a whisky sipping local pensioner, a man of leisure, ex- state security, trophy wife in bikini, expensive swiss watch and a …very menacing message. “ In the old days we had methods for the likes of you.” Progressives….who go around asking questions.

 

Green border: 1960-1989
Kassabova takes the reader into the Bulgarian green border of Strandja Forest. Many tried to escape from Warsaw Pact side (Bulgaria) to the …NATO side (Greece or Turkey) because this green border seemed easier to cross than the Berlin Wall. Many…never reached their destination.

 

Tone:  Book oozes dark, sinister, mysterious stories in hushed tones about what happened in the Balkans.

Voice: Kassabova lets her personality show between the lines. She is playful, cheeky, personal and inspiring and in my opinion very brave to start on this adventure!

 

Conclusion:

  • Sometime I just read a book
  • …but this time I lived in the book….Border.
  • Absolutely wonderful…!

 

9
Feb

The Path to Power

 

Robert Caro:

  1. Robert Allan Caro is an American journalist.
  2. Robert Caro writes biography with a free and loose hand.
  3. He transforms  biography into something new
  4. ….structured political opinion writing.
  5. He lived in the Texas Hill Country while writing The Path to Power.
  6. It covers Johnson’s youth.
  7. This epic biography is nearing its close. Slowly but surely.
  8. Mr. Caro ( 81 yr) said he had most of the research for the last volume.
  9. But “one more big thing” remains, he said: A trip to Vietnam.

Part 1:

LBJ is a stubborn child and teenager.
I had no idea what a rascal he was in his youth!
Finally he breaks and realizes….he will HAVE to go to college
if he ever wants to make something of himself!”

Part 2:

The LBJ of the college years would be the man who would become president.
He came out of the Hill Country of Texas.
It formed and shaped him….into a form so hard it would never change.

Part 3:

Lady Bird (wife) was LBJ’s most important political asset.

Parts 4-5-6:

I’m learning why LBJ became an important “mover and shaker” in Washington.
But he never would have risen politically without
the help of Speaker of the House…Sam Rayburn.

 

Conclusion:

Johnson family favorite saying:
You can tell a man by his boots, …his hats and the horse he rides.
The lapel-grabbing, embracing, manipulating of men
the wheeling-and-dealing the genius for politics
all culminated in …not the desire to dominate
….but the NEED to dominate.
LBJ was sensitive to the slightest hint of criticism and had
the urge not just to defeat….but destroy.

This book after all these years acquires a warm patina with age.
I let my thoughts drift while reading about the personality of LBJ
…his boot licking, bullying and thirst for respect and power.

LBJ: “born politician…but at times all hat an no cattle!”
He was more image or projection than actual substance.

Does it remind you of someone currently in The White House?
#MustRead….even if you are not a history buff!

 

LBJ  VS  TRUMP:

 

LBJ 

Poor beginnings …always in debt!
Strong relationship with his mother Rebekah

TRUMP

Rich family….money was no object
Rarely saw his mother…he did see a lot of the housekeeper.

LBJ – TRUMP….both

Craved power
Lacking political moral sensibility
Use of money to move the political world
Credibility gap… both men lied…incessantly!
Lack of embarrassment when proved they were lying
…they just didn’t care!
All encompassing personal ambition
…that made issues and scruples superfluous.

 

 

 

 

2
Feb

Psychanalyse de Victor Hugo

 

  • Author: Charles Baudouin (1893 – 1963) was a French-Swiss psychoanalyst
  • Title: Psychanalyse de Victor Hugo
  • Published1943 (original) later in Paris, Ed. Imago, 2008.
  • Trivia:  read for information to help me with  #LesMisReadalong
  • Trivia:  Monthy Reading Plan

 

Conclusion:

  1. This book was written in 1943 yet it never felt dated.
  2. I read it just to discover more about Victor Hugo the man.
  3. The book concentrates on the images used in Hugo’s poems.
  4. The use of antithesis for example…
  5. lumière-ombre, bien-mal, naissance-mort, amour-haine.
  6. The book is not available in English….so I struggled in French.

 

The author explained many complexes that Hugo was struggling with:

  1. Oedipus – demanding exclusively the love of his mother
  2. Guilt – brother Eugène became insane on Hugo’s wedding day and never recovered .
  3. His brother was madly in love with Adèle Foucher as well.
  4. The Chase – (poursuite)
 Les Mis: Valjean, the outlaw
  5. …his fate (fatalité) purses him.
  6. Retreat – (retraite)
 flee from tyrannical father = outside world
  7. —> to mother = refuge
  8. Les Mis:  Valjean receives  refuge in a convent.
  9. Convent is a typical symbol of a retreat…a maternal aisle.

 

His exile on Jersey and Guernsey felt like a new freedom.

  1. Hugo was constantly trying to reach the unconscious mind.
  2. He built a special porch on his house to gaze into
  3. … the heavens, stars, cosmos and the sea.

Shadows and darkness permeate Hugo’s thoughts.

  1. He believed that the darkness, the night was the normal state of our lives.
  2. Daylight was only here because our planet was close to a star….the sun.
  3. Abyss (gouffre) is mentioned more than 40 x in Les Misérables.

 

There are a few symbols that might be used in Les Misérables…..

  1. Spiderweb – In Notre-Dame Follo watches the
  2. fly struggle with the spider.
  3. It represents man’s struggle with inescapable fate (l’araignée)
  4. Spider –  symbol of “La Mere terrible” who succeeds
  5. to imprison child in the chains  in her web.
  6. Birds – represent passionate, free search into doctrines (bird = ideas)
  7. Window – linked to the subconscious
  8. …a place where you can drift into your memories/thoughts.
  9. Cord (rope) – dropped into a well….feeling of mystery, anguish
  10. Hibou (owl) – represents skepticism
  11. Chavue-souris – (bat) represents atheism
  12. Deep well (puits) – eternal mystery
  13. “ Quel puits que le coeur humain…” pg 1265 Les Mis

 

Charles Baudouin

7
Jan

Wild Kingdom

Twitter: @burns_nancy

  • Author: S. Moss
  • Title: Wild Kingdom
  • Published: 2016
  • Trivia: Short list The Wainwright Prize 2017
  • Trivia: pg 280 S. Moss cites that the Netherlands (my country!)
  • …as a prime example of creating a habitat of 22 sq miles
  • to bring back lost wildlife !!
  • “Oostvaardersplassen” near Lelystad, the Netherlands.
  • Ecologist Frans Vera wants the 56 square kilometres of
  • nature reserve to be made a Unesco world heritage site.

 

Introduction:

  1. Stephen Moss travels the length and breadth of the UK.
  2. He wants to  witness at first-hand how our wild creatures are faring and
  3. …ask how we can bring back Britain’s wildlife.

 

Notes:

Moss writes about the house sparrows….and I just look outside my window and see some familiar friends. I started in September to feed the birds. Well, those sparrows  as Moss said  are social but also fussy!

  1. I moved the birdseed silo…and only saw 10 ‘angry birds’ sitting on my hedge.
  2. I bought some blueberries ($$) especially for the sparrows… they did not eat them
  3. I bought a bird feeding table…would not go near it.
  4. I finally wedged the little table into the hedge….then they were satisfied.
  5. There is no pleasing sparrows!
  6. But anyone who has watched the behavior of birds
  7. like me from my front room window knows
  8. …that doing so is good for the soul.

Strong point:  the descriptions of the wildlife, hares sprinting, roes popping their heads up, bumblebees floating  over the hedgerow. I just let my mind wander throughout the English countryside with S. Moss.

Strong point: the book made me curious and ask questions what the state of wildlife is here in The Netherlands? I just never took the time to investigate our situation.

Strong point: Moss does mention the silence in the fields. Now, I used to set the clock when the  blackbirds started chirping late in the afternoon. What is more relaxing than the chirping of birds? But now I only hear silence.

The Usutu virus has recently been detected for the first time in the Netherlands. The virus has been detected in captive great grey owls (Strix nebulosa) as well as in wild, dead and living, common blackbirds (Turdus merula)

Now I have to listen to blackbirds (Turdus merula) via You Tube….how sad is that?  Just listen….

Strong point: The only way to really enjoy this book is reading it and regularly looking at the the birds and other animals with Google images! This foto of a dragonfly took my breath away…just look at that delicate latice work in the wings!

Their four gossamer wings move independently of one another, giving them the ability to fly forward, backward, and sideways, or to just hover in place. Bead-like eyes provide 360–degree stereovision, allowing them the ability to spot insects in any direction without turning or moving their heads. (In fact, dragonflies have the biggest eyes in the insect world.)

The colors of the king-fisher are breathtaking!

 

Last thoughts:

  1. I really enjoyed this book because it made me aware of the
  2. wildlife…..that is disappearing.
  3. wildlife…..that I don’t take the time to appreciate!
  4. Walking along the fields I stop and stare at a hare hopping along or
  5. …watch a coot family with their chicks in our canals.
  6. If you like birds and treeslook up
  7. …if you like plants and insectslook down!
  8. But whatever you like…
  9. relax, meditate and #TakeAWalk  in the countryside!

 

17
Dec

The Supreme Court Ireland

 

Author: Who is Mac Cormaic?

  1. Ruadhan Mac Cormaic is the
  2. former Legal Affairs Correspondent and
  3. Paris Correspondent of the Irish Times.
  4. He is now the paper’s Foreign Affairs Correspondent.

What were the main struggles between 1950 – 2017 ?

  1. The duty of the Supreme Court judiciary is:
  2. Not rewrite the Constitution of Ireland
  3. …but make sure it was applied
  4. …to breath life into it
  5. …to break with the traditional reliance
  6. …on English law and legal methods

 

What is the book about?

  1. The book traces many landmark decisions and gives the reader an
  2. inside look at the internal ‘give and take’ among the judges
  3. to produce an objective agreement or dissent decision.
  4. It reveals who the judges are
  5. These men and women who usually want to stay out of the  limelight.

How did Ireland change?

  1. Ireland moved from decisions about
  2. butter smugglers, disputes over greyhounds and a row about livestock licenses
  3. to individual’s privacy rights (contraceptives),
  4. referendum for European treaties,
  5. decriminalization of homosexuality and
  6. women’s rights to leave country to seek an abortion in England and much more.
  7. Ireland has made GIANT steps to become a
  8. modern, young, confident and economically strong country.

 

What impressed me about the book?

  1. It was fascinating to read each judges motivation to topics about
  2. the privacy of the individual (May McGee vs Attorney General; contraceptives)
  3. the need for more equality  to allow
  4. women  to serve jury duty and
  5. be fairly taxed
  6. a demand for referenda about European treaties
  7. secure the rights of people concerning
  8. the rules applied for extradition of
  9. …suspected criminal (IRA) offenders to England.

 

What is essential to know before reading the book?

  1. Political parties: this is all new for me!
  2. Fianna Fail     (center right)
  3. Fine Gael      (center right… liberal conservative)
  4. Oireachtas: = the legislature  (structure of the Irish government
  5. The President of Ireland
  6. The two houses of the Oireachtas
  7. Dáil Éireann (lower house)
  8. Seanad Éireann (upper house)

What was my reading strategy?

  1. Best tip: use wikipedia
  2. Put  a face on people mentioned in the book.
  3. Best tip: learn structure US courts vs Irish courts
  4. …just to put things into perspective.

 

Conclusion:

  1. Strong point:
  2. Ruadhán Mac Cormaic is a political journalist for the Irish Times.
  3. His writing style is NOT ACADEMIC…it is  accessible
  4. …not only for those interested in law but also for
  5. anyone wanting to learn more how these
  6. …Supreme Court justices shaped Ireland.
  7. Mac Cormaic gives us the gripping inside story of the Irish judiciary,
  8. the judges, decisions, the rifts and the rivalries.
  9. Ruádhan Mac Cormaic lifts the veil on
  10. the Irish Supreme Court’s hidden world.
  11. The book is well-written and highly entertaining and
  12. in my opinion…
  13. #InformativeRead

 

QUICKSCAN  Ireland:

  1. Ireland 1950’s:
  2. economy stagnant
  3. politics still haunted by civil war
  4. ceaseless outward flow of people (emigration)
  5. 1960’s:
  6. broader shifts in society
  7. growing economy
  8. rising living standards
  9. 1970’s:
  10. emigration slows down
  11. women’s movement gaining strength
  12. population is young 50% under 26 yr
  13. 1980’s:
  14. High Court has its first female judge
  15. Mella Carroll
  16. 1990’s:
  17. First female and non-catholic…
  18. Supreme Court judge….Susan Denham.
  19. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court 2011-2017.
  20. She was a shrewd diplomat and key player behind
  21. a series of major reforms.
  22. 2000’s
  23. Supreme Court was must
  24. Focus on:
  25. ensuring rights in political, criminal
  26. …and legal processes of the State.
  27. Focus on
  28. ...fair procedures and access to the courts
  29. 2010’s:
  30. Change:   Fianna-Fail led governments
  31. appointed a majority of lawyers who had
  32. NO connections to the party!
  33. Susan Denham is appointed as the
  34. first female Chief Supreme Court Justice! (2011)

 

10
Dec

Female Bodies on the American Stage

 

Finish date: 10 December 2017
Genre: non-fiction (2014)
Rating: B

 

Review: Ms Jennifer Scott-Mobley  is Assistant Professor – Theatre History & Dramaturgy at East Carolina University. She highlights and thus alters deeply ingrained attitudes about fat.
Ms Scott-Mobley takes the reader through ‘fat actress’ performances across stage, screen and television.

 

Strong point: the author makes clear that American audiences have become so accustomed to slender beauties as the standard…..that any body that strays outside the parameter interferes with the viewer’s notion of what is believable or what is realistic.

 

Strong point: Scott-Mobley reveals what many in society feel…
a woman’s body is associated with the base and material….her body is her identity. Man’s identity is connected to his soul and intellect.

 

Strong point: The book is filled with statements that made me stop and think:
1. As civil rights and freedoms for women increased
in the US.…the acceptable dress-size….decreased!
2. The media capitalizes on cultural fears, at times
obscuring facts and data in order to get
the results a public must hear: fat is bad and dangerous!
3. Those last 10 pounds which have NO significant
health consequences drive a multibillion-dollar diet industry!

 

Last thoughts:
I enjoyed this book…even though Ms Scott-Mobley
goes down several rabbit holes which were of no interest to me whatsoever. My interest lay in the analysis of plays  by Tennessee Williams. He created female characters that used ‘fat behavior’ to disrupt the stasis (balance in the play) with their immoderate behavior
….driving the plot forward.
I will read plays The Rose Tattoo, Small Craft Warning and The Night of the Ignuana with
these new insights!

UPDATE: 10.12.2017

I just read in the news that a Dutch super model walked down the  catwalk in New York City. No, it isn’t  our famous ex-Victoria Secret Doutzen Kroes …but Daniëlle Grondelle. Finally the barriers are being broken….. height 1,80 m  80 kg!

 

 

 

29
Nov

Position Doubtful

Tanami Desert Australian Sunset

 

Title:

  1. The book is named after a term Mahood came across
  2. …in her father’s account of his expedition
  3. across the Tanami Desert in 1962.
  4. He observed that the only landmark marked anywhere near his route
  5. was marked Position Doubtful.

 

Kim Mahood:

 

Kim, daughter of a Tanami rancher…

  1. grew up in the region of Tanami Desert
  2. …on a cattle station  in East Kimberley.
  3. She was raised in part by Aboriginal people.
  4. She has a distinctly different and deeper relationship
  5. with the community here…
  6. living and working in Mulan for three months out of the year.
  7. Mahood has been painting a set of very large canvases
  8. that are at first simple topographical maps of the land.
  9. The maps are both works of art, but also
  10. documents that can help influence politics and policies.

In this book Mahood takes us with her as she returned for

  1. 20 years to a remote pocket of inland Australia that extends
  2. across the Tanami Desert to the edge of East Kimberley.
  3. A one time pilgrimage to the country of her late childhood has
  4. morphed into yearly field trips with her artist friend Pam Lofts.
  5. We were like migratory birds, driven to return year after year.” (pg 290)

 

There were very arcane chapters in which Manhood explains

  1. how she uses archaeological grids as an intermediary between
  2. her map making project and observance of aboriginal paintings.
  3. She learns to read the desert landscape with skill.
  4. Mahood uses these skills to give her maps and paintings  the
  5. visual shimmer of the desert breathing the Aboriginal essence into her works.

 

On a personal note….Mahood touchingly reveals her grief for

  1. friend Pam Lofts as she dies from MND (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
  2. She describes the map of their friendship.
  3. Mahood’s also makes peace with dog ghosts
  4. Old Sam who made the first pilgrimage,
  5. Slippers for seven trips and now her pal Pirate.

 

The best chapters are the last 3:

  1. Requiem
  2. Unstable Horizons 
  3. Undertow
  4. …just because they are so personal. (pg 286 – 339)

 

Last thoughts:

  1. This was a very informative but more importantly moving book.
  2. Kim Mahood  can PAINT  and WRITE !
  3. It is a combination of Jung and Geography
  4. It confirms what I also feel
  5. ….place, memory and emotion are  inextricably linked.
  6. Bravo…Kim Mahood
  7. #MustRead  or #MustListen  audiobook.
  8. PS: For @Brona’s Books
  9. …I learned another word that pops into my head
  10. ….when I think of Australia: “the cockroach bush!”

 

21
Nov

C.J. Dennis

 

Author: P. Butterss
Title: The Life and Works of C.J. Dennis
Published: 2014
Trivia: (SA) #AusReadingMonth @Brona’s Books
Trivia: Winner National Biography Award 2015
Trivia: #NonFicNov
Trivia: List Reading Challenges 2017

 

Who was this man?

  1. C.J. Dennis (1876-1938)   was an Australian poet known for his
  2. humorous poems and also his politically tinted verse about topical subjects.
  3. He is considered among Australia’s most famous poets. (…with H. Lawson and B. Paterson)

 

What are the main characteristics of his writing?

The essential ingredient was the reader’s emotional response.
His poetry was easy to understand and beneath the slangy twang
1. rolling rythm – rhyme
2. street slang
3. stage cockney
4. phonetic spellings

 

Best chapter:

  1. Best chapter 6:
  2. In this chapter we learn more about the poet’s,  subtle meanings …..very insightful.
  3. Other chapters are awash with names of Dennis’s
  4. literary circles ( Sunnyside, Melbourne).

Title:

  1. Dennis wrote about a ‘sentimental bloke’…but he wasn’t sentimental at all.
  2. Throughout his career he was  a hard-nosed business man.
  3. He does not want to advertise his change of political views
  4. ….it may annoy his readers/sales.
  5. The author  everything to make sure  his books were a ‘marketing success’.
  6. He asked the popular H. Lawson to write a foreward.
  7. He made his publisher agree to print his book BEFORE Christmas (sales?) and
  8. …publish a small pocket edition  of ‘The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke
  9. …so that families could send it to the troops fighting at the front WWI.
  10. The book would boost the soldier’s morale….and earnings for Dennis!

 

Timeline: 1920’s – 1930’s:

  1. Author started to drink heavily again
  2. suffered from periods of depression an asthma.
  3. C.J. Dennis  was the unofficial poet laureate of Australia!
  4. But slang an dialect were becoming unfashionable.
  5. light topical verse (politically tinted) that filled newspapers
  6. was in decline.

 

Conclusion:

  1. I enjoyed this book….and it is a shame that  C.J. Dennis is practically
  2. …an unknown by a large reading public outside of Australia.
  3. His books are on Kindle for a mere  1 or 2 euro’s….
  4. I bought them all!

 

Major works:

  1. Major work:  The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke
  2. Dennis acknowledges class division
  3. and then goes on to minimize it in his  poems.
  4. “…how life and love can be splendid for
  5. …the common bloke as for the cultured (pg 113)
  6. Dennis used the archetypal Australian male values of the
  7. bushman…and channeled unruliness into hard work for his family.

 

  1. Major work:  The Moods of Ginger Mick
  2. Dennis brings the bush values into a city setting
  3. ‘Mick’ was also important helping a nation (Australia)
  4. grieve after losing so many soldiers in WWI.
  5. Dennis used the archetypal Australian male values of the
  6. bushman…and channeled a backstreet fighter (larrikin) into an Anzac soldier.

 

  1. Major work: Poem:  Comin’ Ome Frum Shearin’
  2. Conflict:
  3. Man’s domestic duty to provide for his family VS
  4. The delights of a wilder and freer masculine life
  5. Attraction of drinking VS destructiveness
  6. Major work: Poem: The Play
  7. Humorous parody recognizable to anyone with the minimun
  8. knowledge of Romeo & Juliet…
  9. …don’t forget Mick Curio !

 

 

17
Nov

My Place

 

What do we know about Sally Morgan?

  1. I knew nothing about Sally Morgan until I read
  2. Brona’s Books post in 2016 about her children’s book Sister Heart.
  3. Then I stumbled upon her  simple poem Janey Told Me.
  4. In just a few words you feel something hidden…a stigma no one must know!
  5. During  my weeks searching for books for #AusReadingMonth @Brona’s Books
  6. …I found myself curious about the plight of the Aboriginal race in Australia.
  7. So I decided to read My Place (memoir) by Ms Morgan.
  8. Brona tells us in her post:
  9. “Sally Morgan’s autobiography, My Place was
  10. one of the publishing super stories of the late 1980’s.
  11. Her story was fascinating but has since been
  12. …surrounded by various controversies and academic debates.”

 

Introduction:

  1. Sally Morgan tell us how she learned  of her Indigenous Australian heritage.
  2. Morgan visits family, old acquaintances  in the land of her ancestors.
  3. She tape-recorded the monologues of her relatives and they take over the narration.

 

Quote:  pg 192

  1. Sally: I found out that there was a lot to be ashamed of.
  2. Mum: You mean we should feel ashamed?
  3. Sally: No, I mean Australia should.

 

Conclusion:

  1. This is one one of the first books written from the Aboriginal point of view.
  2. “No one knows what it was like for us.” (pg 208)
  3. People must realize  that identity is a complex thing.
  4. Identity is often not fully dependent on
  5. …your culture or the way you look.
  6. Morgan’s family shame…
  7. was so strong that she had not been told she was indigenous.
  8. She was well into her teens when her mother admitted the truth. (pg 170-71)
  9. Sally Morgan’s book  My Place was written  30 years ago.
  10. But is is still a very relevant
  11. She is an excellent storyteller…and her family history will touch a heart string.
  12. It touched mine!

 

Last thoughts:

  1. I started this book My Place yesterday in the train
  2. I never looked out the window because
  3. this story was very moving.
  4. The book really picks up steam in chapter ‘Owning up’ (pg 165).
  5. Pages 7-164 deal with Morgan’s childhood.
  6. Basic info…but not overly interesting.
  7. So you must decide is ‘skimming’ in the beginning
  8. …of the book is a good idea,
  9. Despite the slow start… the book engaged and entertained me
  10. ….that is what good books do!
15
Nov

Into the Heart of Tasmania

Title: Into the Heart of  Tasmania (2017)
Author: Rebe Taylor
Genre: non-fiction; history
Trivia:  (TAS)  #AusReadingMonth  @Brona’s Books
Trivia: #WorldFromMyArmchair Challenge (Tasmania)

Trivia: #NonFicNov

Trivia:   #AWW    @AustralianWomenWriters

 

Introduction:

  1. Into the Heart of Tasmania is a new history of Aboriginal Tasmania
  2. …the eccentric Englishman Ernest Westlake (geologist)
  3. ….and  his  hunt for man’s origins.

 

Who was Ernest Westlake?   (1855-1922)

  1. English amateur scientist Ernest Westlake from about 1870 to 1920.
  2. The man who loved stones and the history they revealed!
  3. Westlake was officially a geologist… unofficially a self taught anthropologist
  4. The story of Ernest Westlake his collections is brought to life  this book.
  5. I was most interested in what I could learn about Tasmania by reading Rebe Talylor’s book.

 

What did Westlake do?

  1. In 1908 E. Westlake packed a tent, a bicycle and forty tins of food and
  2. sailed from Liverpool to Port Melbourne Australia.
  3. He believed he found on the island of Tasmania the remnants (stone tools)
  4. …of an extinct race the Tasmanian Aboriginals.
  5. In the remotest corners of the island
  6. Westlake did encounter via interviews
  7. ….the living indigenous communities.

 

Why were the Tasmanians so important for anthropology?

  1. The Tasmanians are believed to have been the most isolated race on earth.
  2. Their importance is their status as a cultural beginning.
  3. Because of their isolation and slow transformation
  4. …the Tasmanians ‘may have gone on little changed from early ages’ (pg 100)

 

What evidence do we have that the Tasmanian Aboriginals first human beings?

  1. Edward B. Tylor, ‘the father of anthropology’ after viewing an aboriginal stones
  2. …’the Taunton Scraper’  declared the Tasmanian Aboriginals as the ‘dawn of humanity.’

 

What was Westlake’s goal?

  1. Westlake wanted to rewrite history.
  2. In the process he  finds and documents a living culture
  3. ...that had been declared extinct, Tasmanian Aboriginals.

 

 

Conclusion:

  1. I knew NOTHING about the Aboriginals or Tasmania!
  2. Strong point:  Westlake lets the frontier violence done to the Aborigines
  3. seep through his  anthropological journey.
  4. …(Risdon Cove Massacre,  The Black War in Tasmania)
  5. I have never read about the injustice done to this race. #Shameful
  6. All in all did discover Tasmania….following Westlake’s journey on a digital map.
  7. Warning: Be prepared to  ‘push’ through the first 50% of the book.
  8. I had to…. at times Westlake’s  life  back in England
  9. …was not so interesting after his return from Tasmania.

Structure:

  1. 1-8% – introduction to the man Ernest Westlake and his family and education
  2. 9-32% – described Westlake’s 1,5 year trip to Tasmania
  3. …Flinder Island and Cape Barren Island.
  4. 42-45% – Westlake’s return to England and his  studies…and his death in 1922.
  5. 46-48% – Westlake’s Tasmanian stone collection and notes were now open to
  6. Rhys Jones, University of Sydney earning his PhD in Tasmanian archeology (1966).
  7. 49-   57%   The book gathers steam with the very interesting
  8. …escavations by R. Jones and his team (1965)
  9. Finally Dr. Rebe Taylor shines as she pulls all the diverse theories
  10. …together of past explorers into a  ‘page turning’ last few pages!
  11. 57-100% – notes and other resource

Last thoughts:

  1. Rhys Jones the ‘cowboy archeologist’ once said:
  2. “Australian archaeological treasure is not gold or silver
  3. …it is time itself.”
  4. I thoroughly enjoyed this book despite a ‘few slow pages’.
  5. Dr. Rebe Taylor deserves
  6. University of Southern Queensland History Book Award 2017
  7. Tasmania, the heart-shaped island, takes on a new meaning for me!

Dr. Rebe Taylor:

 

BTW:

I visited new museum websites:

  1. Tasmanian Museum
  2. National Museum Melbourne