Six books were reviewed in the course of this most enjoyable meeting, which was attended by eleven people.
Wayne Luney went first, reviewing Mirage: Napoleon’s Scientists and the Unveiling of Egypt, by Nina Burleigh (2007, Harper Collins, 286 pages, ISBN: 978-0-06-059768-9). It is an engaging account of how the Europeans moved in on the Ottoman Empire, learning about ancient Egypt along the way.
Next was Anna Andrews’ Pioneer Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier, by Joanna L. Stratton (1982, Touchstone Books, 320 pages, ISBN: 978-0-6714474-8-9). This book is an authentic telling of the effect women had on the settling of the Kansas Territory in the first half of the 19th century, complete with a list of family names at the end of the book.
Carl Seratt then gave a report on Angels and Ages: A Short Book about Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life, by Adam Gopnik (2009, Knopf, 224 pages, ISBN: 978-03072707-8-8). The book compares the lives and impact of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin, who were born on exactly the same day. This was timely, considering that their two-hundredth birthday was last year.
Bill Potts presented reviews of two novels—the only fiction of the evening. They were Kaleidoscope, by Paul Gehrman (2009, New Intellectual Press, 600 pages, ISBN 978-0-9823664-0-0) and Death in Holy Orders, by P.D. James (2001, Random House, 640 pages, ISBN: 0375431179). Bill recommended both of them very enthusiastically, moving Anna Andrews to borrow the latter.
Finally, Brian Jones reviewed Freedom at Midnight: The Epic Drama of India’s Struggle for Independence, by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre (1976, Avon, 563 pages, LOC Cat. Card no. 75-1623), a work about India’s emancipation from Britain and subsequent partition.
All reviewers recommended the books they reviewed. All told, this was a very interesting meeting.
prepared by Roger Zabkie