Hericles Coringa Coringa itibaren Toro Pintado, Arauca, Arauca, Kolombiya
This book follows three immigrant families through 4 generations into the mid-nineties and purports to show how and why these families went from Democrats in the beginning to activist Republicans by the end. Not only that, Freedman aims to show that these families illustrate a national trend. I enjoyed reading the book in the beginning, but not so much by the time we got to the fourth generation as adults. Not that I didn't like them as people (big of me, as they were activist Republicans) but that the book became very detailed in its description of how the politics they were involved in worked. I think it was all the more draggy because that era was not so long ago as to be a curiosity, but not current enough to be interesting, to me anyway. There was a lot that was thought provoking in the book. I think most provoking was just seeing how both parties work as machines, keeping the Ins in and the Outs out. One memorable quotation (paraphrased) said politics isn't so much a contest between parties as a contest between incumbents and non-incumbents. Politics turns out to be essentially less we the people voting than we the people getting manipulated. Yucckk. Back to the premise of the book, what occurred to me is that this trend that Freedman discovered and documented--if truly a trend--wasn't so much about Democrats becoming disillusioned with their party over the generations, but about working class immigrant families who were Democrats becoming disillusioned over the generations. As soon as they became more educated and more middle class, they tilted right. But what about other constituencies of Democrats, like Jews, Ivy League Grads/Intellectuals, Artists/Entertainers and Blacks? None of these groups followed the same economic trends, except maybe Blacks, and none of these groups tilted right. So, it seems that really, it is the move from have nots to haves, as a group, that accounts for the change. Maybe that's all Freedman is saying, after all. The book raises a lot of questions.
There is a very large amount crammed into this seemingly small book; the sheer volume of information was a little overwhelming. This is sometimes a detriment, as he goes on long tangential cultural histories of many specific locations -- which were fascinating enough that I didn't really mind, but they were fairly distracting from the concept of a future earth without humans. The author clearly spent a great deal of effort reasearching this work, talking with an expansive variety of experts. Each chapter addresses a specific aspect of what would change if humans were to vanish tomorrow (vastly simplified and occasionally questionable in reality, but quite well-presented). And each individual chapter stands fine alone. Unfortunately, he never brings it all together. The tale of a house's decay doesn't take into account the massive climate changes, the tale of oceanic reefs ignores the growing plastics issue, the fallout from over a hundred nuclear plants eventually melting down is apparently only significant within its own chapter. It all suffers from a typical downfall of science, where experts can only see and define within their own field, but a cross-disciplinary perspective is never achieved and the big picture never materializes.
This is one of the funniest books I have ever read. The only way to do it justice is by quoting it: After Penrod (the 11 year old hero of the story) blurts out something he might have kept to himself: Nothing is more treacherous than the human mind; nothing else so loves to play the Iscariot. Even when patiently bullied into a semblance of order and training, it may prove but a base and shifty servant. And Penrod's mind was not his servant; it was a master, with the April wind's whims; and it had just played him a diabolical trick. The very jolt with which he came back to the schoolroom in the midst of his fancied flight jarred his day-dream utterly out of him; and he sat, open-mouthed in horror at what he had said. More philosophizing about the mind of the 11 year old (after a tar fight): Perhaps middle-aged people might discern Nature's real intentions in the matter of pain if they would examine a boy's punishments and sorrows, for he prolongs neither beyond their actual duration. With a boy, trouble must be of Homeric dimensions to last overnight. To him, every next day is really a new day. Thus, Penrod woke, next morning, with neither the unspared rod, nor Mr. Kinosling in his mind. Tar, itself, so far as his consideration of it went, might have been an undiscovered substance On the hot days of summer: Their elders should beware such days. Peril hovers near when the fierceness of weather forces inaction and boys in groups are quiet. The more closely volcanoes, Western rivers, nitroglycerin, and boys are pent, the deadlier is their action at the point of outbreak. Thus, parents and guardians should look for outrages of the most singular violence and of the most peculiar nature during the confining weather of February and August. In addition to being hilarious, Penrod paints a great picture of small-town America at the turn of the 20th century. My opinion may be biased by the fact that I'm proprietor of a delightful 7 year old boy, but with that in mind, this book definitely made to to my all-time favorites list.