Saturday, December 14, 2019


December 14, 2019 Peace and Good, This is one of those rare times when there is only one city in my byline. I will be in Rome from now until January 12th, which is a good time to catch my breath after some quick travelling in these past couple of months. The weather here has gotten cool. The city is all decorated for Christmas. We have a huge tree in Piazza Venezia. A couple of years ago, there was a tree there that was so pathetic, a real Charlie Brown Christmas tree, that it got international attention. This year is is both a nice tree and nicely decorated (even though there is not a strong tradition here in Italy for Christmas trees). We begin our definitory this coming Monday, and will be meeting all week long. I do have one morning event at the Seraphicum (our international faculty here in Rome) where we will have a symposium on Asia (and since I am the editor of our Asian Christian magazine, I should be there). I have finished some reading: Manhunt: the 12 Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer by James Swanson This is the story of the hunt for John Wilkes Booth and those who collaborated in his murder of Abraham Lincoln and tried to kill other members of his government. It presents an honest evaluation of those who were actively involved, and those who got involved by accident. The author tries to build up the drama in his presentation, but overall it is a good read. Mount Athos and Meteora: the History of the Greek Landmarks that became Orthodox Christian Monasteries by Charles River Editors This is the account of two monastery sites in Greece: one a peninsula and the other a set of natural columns upon which a series of monastic communities (of groups and individuals). IT gives the history of the movement and their rationale. Eugene V. Debs: the Life and Legacy of America’s Most Famous Socialist Political Leader by Charles River Editors This is the story of a socialist who worked for a social revolution in the country around the turn of the century. He ran for president four times. He fought for the rights of union men and women, and then in frustration, turned to the idea of a revolution to throw over the capitalist system. He was often demonized, so it was worthwhile reading this story from a different point of view. Russia at War: 1941-1945, a History by Alexander Werth This is a very long account of the war in the Soviet Union from the point of view of a journalist who was stationed in the Soviet Union during the war. For the most part, the author tries to be objective, but some of the rationalizations that he mouths concerning the conduct of Soviet troops (especially in Poland) are sickening. Yet, the book was worth reading. Last to Die by Stephen Harding This is the story of the death of the last person to die by combat during World War II. He was a member of a crew that was taking photos of Japanese air bases in preparation for the allied occupation. His plane was attacked by a group of Japanese fliers who wanted to reject the surrender of Japan by the emperor. MacArthur’s response (not a great fan of the man) was measured and prevented a return to hostilities. The Tudors by G.J. Meyer This is an overview of the reigns of Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Queens Mary and Elizabeth. The author is clearly Catholic, and he is scathing in his attack on the hypocritical attacks on religion during these reigns. He is also brutally honest in terms of torture, autocracy, violation of human rights, etc. The story is well researched and I learned quite a bit by listening to it. The History of China in 50 Events by Henry Freeman This is a very quick study of the history of China. It is not very deep, but it gives a short view of the history of this great nation. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


Post a Comment