Tuesday, April 19, 2016

London - Oxford - Detroit - Chicago

April 19, 2016 Peace and Good, This past week I visited two of our friaries in Great Britain. I traveled to London and stayed in our friary near Waterloo station. Our custos has been ill, for he was diagnosed with Parkinson Disease. He is under medication, but his symptoms are still visible. Please keep him, fr. Peter Damian, in your prayers. I then went up to Oxford to visit our house of studies there. Our friars study with the Dominican friars there, and I also visited their theologate. It was a good trip, and I always enjoy to see the student friars of this jurisdiction who are so hope filled. Then on Saturday I flew to Detroit. It was one of those trips that was not easy in terms of travel. The connecting flight from Chicago to Detroit was repeatedly postponed, and they kept changing gates. Yet, I did get in safe and sound. I was in Detroit to attend one of the definitory meetings of St. Bonaventure Province. That went very well, and today I drove back to Chicago with the provincial. Tomorrow I will be heading out to Geneva for a meeting of Franciscans International. I finished some reading: Alexander the Great and His Time by Agnes Savill This is a very British version of a biography of Alexander the Great. It is well researched and well written. Saville speaks both of his life and the culture of the times, thus giving good background material concerning the philosophers, authors, religion, and other concerns of ancient Greece. She shows Alexander to be a driven man, but who was nevertheless considerate of those whose lands he conquered (famously treating the mother and wives of the king of Persia with royal deference after the king and fled and left them to be captured). Acqua Alta: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery by Donna Leon This is the first book by Donna Leon that I have read, but it will certainly not be the last. She writes about a detective in the city of Venice who must investigate an art theft and a murder. She truly knows the character of the people about whom she is writing. She reveals the attitudes of Italians (and Americans) in this story. She is familiar with the Byzantine system in so many of the offices of Italy. She writes a very good story. The only problem might be that she does not always translate phrases uttered by characters in Italian. Victory 1918 by lan Palmer This is an account of the last months of the First World War in Europe. It shows how the year began on a very pessimistic tone, but toward the end of the year it was obvious that the Axis could not hold out very much longer. Yet, as the end approached, many of the goals that had been proposed by President Wilson to create a more just world were sacrificed in the face of expediency. This gives a good overview of the main characters involved and the major campaigns throughout the year. It is a good read. The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg by Helen Rappaport This is an account of the execution of the Romanov family during the Communist Revolution of 1917. They were taken to the city of Ekaterinburg and kept there until Lenin and his council decided to put them to death. It is a gruesome story, but one which doesn’t glory in the gore. They are presented as very human with all their goodness and flaws. The communists are shown to be deceptive and cruel. The story is well written and tries to be balanced. The one who comes out of the story the worst, besides the communists, is King George of England who probably could have saved his cousin but did not for his own reasons (to protect his own reign) and then covered up his involvement in all of this. The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt by Toby Wilkinson This is a very thorough outline of the history of ancient Egypt from the days of its earliest civilization to the time that the Romans conquered it after the fall of Cleopatra. It is not as constant a history as one would expect. At various times, Egypt was ruled by the Nubians, Libyans, Persians, Hyksos, etc. Furthermore, many of the monuments that we so admire (Pyramids, temples, etc.) were constructed with the sweat of the brow of the poor who were oppressed by an autocratic government (up to the last days of the independent kingdom of Egypt). Wilkinson presents the material in an honest, forthright manner with only the occasional ax to grind. I hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


Post a Comment