Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Baltimore - Rome

February 15, 2023 Peace and Good, I flew back to Rome this past Saturday evening. The flight was supposed to be on Friday evening, but at the last minute it was cancelled. I think they cancelled it because there were not enought people, because the next evening the flight was only about 40% full. Yet, I do not understand how they get away with this without being fined by the government. Rome is cool but the weather is quite nice. You can already see plants growing in the fields and the birds are getting ready to build their nests. We started our definitory yesterday (Monday) afternoon, and it will continue until Saturday evening. February is always a touch meeting because we have to deal with finances for the Order but also for the friaries in Rome that are under our authority. This will be the meeting that we vote upon my successor as Assistant General. Then, at the end of the month, I will meet with him to spend a few days sharing information with him. I have finished some reading: The Boston Tea Party by Hourly History This is part of series of books on the American Revolution. This volume deals with the Boston Tea Party (its origin, what happened, and the long-term consequences of this action). One of the most interesting things I discovered is that many of the richer American were very embarrassed by the destruction of private property, and they tended to downplay this particular action. Origins of the Universe by Jack Arnold This is a short account of the history of astrophysics and the various theories of how the universe began. This is part of a series of short scientific books and it is well prepared and presented. The Tet Offensive by Charles River Editors This is a short but thorough account of the 1968 offensive organized by the Vietcong, but especially the North Vietnamese forces. The goal of the offensive was to overthrow the government of South Vietnam. The communists did not achieve their objectives, but they did win in the long run for they so discouraged the American public and government that they no longer had the will to continue the fight. The Wars of Scottish Independence by Hourly History This short book gives information about the various wars between Scottish and English forces in the late Middle Ages. It especially deals with the Scottish heroes Robert the Bruce and William Wallace, as well as Edward I. Stalin by Ronald Grigor Suny This is a long and detailed book about Stalin from his birth til the time when the Communists seized control of the government in Russia and Stalin grasped power from the hands of his movement. While the book gives an incredible amount of information, much of it is in terms of interparty disagreements. It is a good book, but I would only recommend it to someone who wanted to study this topic at length. The Norman Conquest by Marc Morris Marc Morris is a genius of historical works. This one deals with the Norman conquest (before, during and especially after). It is one of his better books. He is honest in his treatment of the characters of the various people involved. He is very careful to evaluate the trustworthiness of the sources (especially when they are clearly from either an Anglo Saxon or Norman point of view). The book is long, but definitely worthshile. Aphrodite by Charles River Editors This is part of a series on important historic figures and events. It is like a very long Wikipedia article. This book presents a good overview of the complicated cult of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and desire (among other things) in the Greek pantheon. It is well done, and presents the best archaeological evidence concerning the myths and devotion to her. Pablo Picasso by Kelly Mass This short book is a part of a series of biographies of major figures by Kelly Mass. The author presents the bare bones of who the figure is and what he/she did, but not much more. It left me wanting to read something substantial about this controversial artist. Tenskwatawa: The Life of the Shawnee Prophet and Tecumseh’s Brother by Charles River Editors This is the story of the brother of Tecumseh who organized a war against American settlers in the Mideast in the late part of the 18th century and the early part of the 19th century. Part of this war was a purification of the lives of the native Americans led by Tenskwatawa, an ecstatic Shawnee prophet. The Bar Kokhba Revolt by Captivating History This is the history of the Jewish rebellion against Roman forces in the early 2nd century A.D., during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian. The Jewish people of Palestine were hoping that they could entice the Parthians (Persia) to use this as an opportunity to invade, but it never happened. The new rules against Judaism after the rebellion were draconian, but they only lasted a short while (until the reign of the next emperor, Antoninus Pius). Oscar Wilde by Kelly Mass This is a short biography and overview of this controversial literary figure. He really did not enormous amounts of material, but those things he did write served as a challenge to his society. He died shortly after he was released from prison for homosexual activities. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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