Sunday, February 25, 2024

Ellicott City

February 25, 2024 Peace and Good, I hope you are all well. Winter seems to be coming to an end here in Baltimore, and Spring is peeking in the doorway. This week the temperature is supposed to go up to the 60's, so I would expect some flowers to start growing by the end of the week. My days are filled with hospital visits, sometimes for a very short time and sometimes for several hours at a time. I am now 2/3 finished with chemo and radiation. These past few days have been a little difficult in terms of feeling the fatigue and weakness about which they told me at the beginning of the treatment. I don't have too many other side effects, so I should really be grateful. I have a meeting with the chemotherapist and the radiation specialist tomorrow, so I will be asking them what comes after the treatment has concluded. I know that there will be immunotherapy for a year after, but I don't yet understand what that means. I have been doing a lot of thinking about what is happening in my life right now. I feel that my role in all of this is to surrender to God's will (not in a passive way, but accepting that more is going on than I can understand). I have been struck with the fact that my illness has created a netword of people who are praying for me all over the world, so from something that is bad, good has come. I have to keep praying on this idea and see where it leads me. I have finished some reading and listening: Osman I by Charles River Editors This is a short account of the founder of what would become the Ottoman Empire. The author is definitely prejudiced toward the Turks, dealing with their predations and cruelty as if it were the best they could do. Scars of Independence: America’s Violent Birth by Holger Hoock This is a very interesting account of the atrocities that were visited upon soldiers and civilians during the Revolutionary War. The premise of the author is that the Patriots were not entirely innocent in this regard, especially in terms of how they treated the Tories who sided with the British troops. Yet, Washington struggled to keep his troops in line and virtuous in they way they treated prisoners. The author speaks of the horrendous treatment of prisoners (especially by the British), treatment that we would call war crimes. The book is fair and well written. The Russian Revolution: From Tsarism to Bolshevism by Jonathan Smele This course from the Modern Scholars gives an outline of Russian history from the middle of the 19th century and the freedom of the serfs up to the time of the last Romonovs (and how terrible they were in facing the difficulties of a quickly industrializing country and a world war. The professor is quite good, although his style is a bit boring. Destination Mars by Andrew May This is a short study of what it would take to transport humans to Mars and how they might survive there. It deals with the moon landing program and how it could serve (or not) in the Mars project. One of the great difficulties will be the type of engine that will be needed. The author asks the question of whether this will be a governmental or a business project (e.g. Elon Musk). Spain in our Hearts by Adam Hochschild This is an account of American volunteers in the Lincoln brigade in the Spanish Civil War. The author is clearly in favor of the leftist forces (even minimizing their massacres, etc.), but his account is very interesting. Hochschild gives good insight into the personalities of those Americans who fought and the tremendous difficulties from which they suffered. Sicily by John Julius Norwich This is a masterful, very long history of the island of Sicily. In spite of the fact that it is incredibly rich in terms of soil and minerals, its peasant population has remained poor and oppressed over most of its history. Norwich speaks of the poor government, the foreign invasions, and the criminal element as the causes of this tragic fate. It is obvious, though, that he loved the island and its people. Rome by Greg Woolf This is a history of Rome from its earliest days till its collapse. The account is well ordered, and the author presents a tremendous amount of good information. While this might not be the first book I would read about Roman history, it would certainly be among those that I did read. The Transformation of Israelite Religion to Rabbinic Judaism by Juan Bejarano-Gutierrez I have read a number of books by this author, and unfortunately I have always been disappointed. The content of his studies never measures up to the title he proposes. I find one or two good points in each book (such as this one speaking of canonicity being tied to the fact that certain books were copied and passed down), but I find myself getting frustrated that so little is presented when the topic could be much, much richer. Vatican I: The Council and the Making of the Ultramontane Church by John O’Malley After the French Revolution and the revolutions of 1848, there were two movements in the Roman Catholic Church. One fostered local autonomy (a movement that had always been part of the Church) and the other favored centralization with a definition for the infallibility of the papacy. This book outlines the arguments and the political machinations of each of the sides and the calling of the First Vatican Council at which that dogma was affirmed (as well as the honest and not so honest maneuvers by the various players in this drama. The History of the Holocaust by Howard Lipovitch This is a Learn25 course on the years preceding the holocaust (and the various political movements that led to it) and to the actual course of this disaster. The author asks some vital questions: who were the righteous gentiles, who were the gentiles who collaborated in this project, what governments aided the Jews, which aided their persecution, etc. The course is not melodramatic, but it is thorough. One Man Great Enough by John Waugh This is a biography of Lincoln up to the time of inauguration. He is shown in all of his simplicity and cunning. He was constantly underestimated by those who saw him or heard of him, an impression quickly altered when they heard him speak. The story presented is very good, and I would recommend this account. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


Post a Comment