Wednesday, July 11, 2018


July 11, 2018 Peace and Good, I have been in Rome for the past ten days now. It is very hot, but the city is filled with tourists. We started our General Definitory meeting on Monday, and we will continue til the end of the week. Then I am off to Nairobi for a chapter with the friars. They are gathering to decide whether they will ask to become a province in these years. I really think they are ready, but they are a bit cautious at this moment (which, itself, is a good sign - it means that they are not irrational in their desire to become a province before they are ready). I finished some reading: The Borgias by G. J. Meyer This tells the story of Alexander VI and his children (or nephews and nieces). The greatest of the younger generation was Cesare Borgia, whom Machiavelli used as his model of what the perfect prince would be. Meyer is clearly writing an apologia, arguing that any charge against the Borgias was made up by their enemies. One has to wonder. Nevertheless, it is a good overview of the family’s influence on the Church and Italy. The Alienist by Caleb Carr In the early 1900’s, people who had mental illness were considered to be like aliens, so early psychiatrists were known as alienists. This is the story of a Hungarian immigrant alienist who works with a newspaper reporter and a few members of the police department in New York as well as the Superintendent of the Police Commission, Theodore Roosevelt. They battle to discover the murderer of a number of young male prostitutes. The book is well done and worth reading. I believe it was recently made into a movie The Berlin Wall by Frederick Taylor This is a thorough history of the construction, maintenance and eventual fall of the Berlin Wall. It goes into the politics of East Germany, as well as how this all effected the Soviet Union, the US, Great Britain and France. It is especially good at sorting out the mixed responses to the wall by various political figures. It is also good at dealing with the Byzantine politics of the communist state. It is well worth reading. Before 1776: Life in the American Colonies by Professor Robert Allison This is one of the Great Courses and it deals with the colonization of what became the thirteen colonies of the United States. The professor is very good, and he gave information which was both familiar and of which I had never heard before. As always, I highly recommend these courses. The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan by Rick Perlstein This is a thorough and entertaining review of the fall of Nixon and the gradual and almost inevitable rise of Ronald Reagan from his youth up to his failure to take the nomination against Gerald Ford. The author has done enormous research, and he weaves together the themes of his presentation. He does that without ever getting tedious. Some of the topics could be applied just as well to what is currently going on in the country. I recommend this book. No End Save Victory: How FDR led the Nation into War by Robert Crowley, ed. This is a series of essays that speak about the lead up to World War II, including topics on the US government and the isolationist opposition, the need to ramp up production of armaments, especially after the disaster of the depression, the politics of Germany and Japan, etc. It is a long treatment, but well worth reading. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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