Tag Archives: Books

one of the most advanced countries in the world

“We need to change our image of the old militaristic Germany.”

Germany before the world wars and the rise of the Nazis “was one of the most advanced countries in the world, and certainly no less democratic than Britain. Its workers were better treated than any on the Continent, with sickness insurance and old age pensions, and its trade unions were the strongest in Europe.”

Just about everyone could read.

“A country of readers with a 99 per cent literacy rate, it was also the land of Thomas Mann and Richard Strauss.”

And it was a land of opportunity, according to Dominic Sandbrook of The Times, reviewing a book by a young native German named Katja Hoyer who lives in England. It is her first book. Ambitious!

“If you were Jewish in the year 1900, there were few more welcoming places than Germany. And if you were born poor, few countries on Earth promised you a better future.”

I have always been wary of the obsession among some Americans, particularly the diplomat class, of “Prussian militarism” and the need to break up the territories in the East known as Prussia. American policy resulted in continued human suffering after the Second World War, including the expulsion of so many civilians from what had long been established as German communities and the emerging dominance of the Soviet Empire on Eastern Europe.

It was a diplomatic disaster. By the so-called experts.


The Children’s Blizzard is “the gripping story of an epic prairie snowstorm…”


The Children’s Blizzard, a book by a man named David Laskin, is “the gripping story of an epic prairie snowstorm that killed hundreds of newly arrived settlers and cast a shadow on the promise of the American frontier.”

My mother’s grandparents had arrived the year before, in 1887, from Germany with two of their children, Emil and Otillie, who was named after an aunt. What happened to these two no one knows. I’ve been looking and looking for years.

Obviously, death must have taken them away, since besides the immigration paperwork, they are never mentioned again. Did they get caught up in the blizzard like so many others? I will keep hunting for details. They deserve to be remembered and their stories told.


I love reading about Bismarck. He fascinates me. Re·al·po·li·tik, baby!


Often I find that children’s books, as in books written for children about any particular help simplify and clarify subjects for me. I love ’em.

Such is the case with a book I discovered at the public library in downtown Bellevue, Washington. It is a brief bio on Otto von Bismarck, the man who created modern German state. The author, Kimberley Heuston, boils down the essential facts, mixed with a bit of moralizing, but not enough to be off putting, thank God.

If ever you are confused by a topic, see if there’s a kids’ book on it. And don’t be embarrassed! Learning is learning! Knowledge is knowledge! No matter how you absorb it.


Parliament of Whores is right. Sadly, oh-so-right.



“The average net worth of a Senator is more than $14 million, and the average net worth of a member of the House of Representatives is nearly $6 million.”

Though this information is a few years old, the numbers are likely to have gotten worse, such is the corruption and cronyism within our government.


Summing up politics in America in the 1830s

Henry hates John. John abhors Henry. Andrew can’t stand Henry or John—and neither of them have any use for Andrew.”

The Players
Henry is Henry Clay, Speaker of the House for decades. John is John C. Calhoun, a proud southerner who developed the idea of nullification. And Andrew is Andrew Jackson, war hero and eventual president of the United States.

I discovered this incredible summation of affairs in the book Distory: A Treasury of Historical Insults by a man named Schnakenberg.