Tag Archives: history

The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride – Book Review

Published Date: April 28, 2009

Publishing Co.: William Morrow

Pages: 352

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A saga that has fascinated people since the late-1840s.

Author Daniel James Brown does a fantastic job of weaving the tale of the doomed emigrant party that we’ve all heard of at some point in our lives. The tale of a group of early Americans, who with big dreams, traveled the wrong path to glorious California and became stuck in the Sierra Nevada mountains as winter hit. Eventually, almost all of them, would have to eat their fallen friends in order to survive.

Brown not only brings light to the every day trials they faced before becoming entangled in Mother Nature’s snare but also highlights the science behind the way people behave in horrific situations, and how the human body handles things like starvation and hypothermia. He paints a brilliant picture of life during this time period before tragedy struck and how the survivors tried to rebuild their lives after.

This has been so thoroughly researched that you’re bound to hear some new tidbits to an old story. The narrative doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects. For instance, one mother boiled ox hide until it became a gelatinous goo to feed her children. Not much for flavor but apparently nutritious. Some members of the camp would boil and re-boil ox bones until they were soft and chewy.

While it is a bleak tale, it is also one of the stubbornness of the human spirit and the adamant will to live.

But, I also wonder why they didn’t start eating the flesh of dead people sooner. I can only imagine the mind set one must get to before they can actually consume human flesh, but there were a few bodies that weren’t touched at all in the beginning even though they had already run out of meat. It feels as though perhaps, a few more people could have survived if they had come to terms with their impending cannibalism sooner.

Just some food for thought.

Get it?

I’ll show myself out.

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5 Non-fiction Books on My TBR List

Fantasy and sci-fi are my bread and butter of reading BUT I do enjoy a good non-fiction book now and again. Quite frankly, I’m very picky about them so I thought I’d share some that have made my TBR list. I haven’t read any of them yet so don’t come yelling at me if you don’t end up liking them. 😉

Journalist Rachel Nuwer plunges the reader into the underground of global wildlife trafficking, a topic she has been investigating for nearly a decade. Our insatiable demand for animals–for jewelry, pets, medicine, meat, trophies, and fur–is driving a worldwide poaching epidemic, threatening the continued existence of countless species. Illegal wildlife trade now ranks among the largest contraband industries in the world, yet compared to drug, arms, or human trafficking, the wildlife crisis has received scant attention and support, leaving it up to passionate individuals fighting on the ground to try to ensure that elephants, tigers, rhinos, and more are still around for future generations.

Nadia Murad was born and raised in Kocho, a small village of farmers and shepherds in northern Iraq. A member of the Yazidi community, she and her brothers and sisters lived a quiet life. Nadia had dreams of becoming a history teacher or opening her own beauty salon.

On August 15th, 2014, when Nadia was just twenty-one years old, this life ended. Islamic State militants massacred the people of her village, executing men who refused to convert to Islam and women too old to become sex slaves. Six of Nadia’s brothers were killed, and her mother soon after, their bodies swept into mass graves. Nadia was taken to Mosul and forced, along with thousands of other Yazidi girls, into the ISIS slave trade.

Nadia would be held captive by several militants and repeatedly raped and beaten. Finally, she managed a narrow escape through the streets of Mosul, finding shelter in the home of a Sunni Muslim family whose eldest son risked his life to smuggle her to safety.

Today, Nadia’s story–as a witness to the Islamic State’s brutality, a survivor of rape, a refugee, a Yazidi–has forced the world to pay attention to the ongoing genocide in Iraq. It is a call to action, a testament to the human will to survive, and a love letter to a lost country, a fragile community, and a family torn apart by war.

Dear Mr. Manson…

It started with a college course assignment, then escalated into a dangerous obsession. Eighteen-year-old honor student Jason Moss wrote to men whose body counts had made criminal history: men named Dahmer, Manson, Ramirez, and Gacy.

Dear Mr. Dahmer…

Posing as their ideal victim, Jason seduced them with his words. One by one they wrote him back, showering him with their madness and violent fantasies. Then the game spun out of control. John Wayne Gacy revealed all to Jason — and invited his pen pal to visit him in prison…

Dear Mr. Gacy…
It was an offer Jason couldn’t turn down. Even if it made him…

The book that has riveted the attention of the national media, this may be the most revealing look at serial killers ever recorded and the most illuminating study of the dark places of the human mind ever attempted

In this sweeping, eloquent history of America, Kurt Andersen shows that what’s happening in our country today—this post-factual, “fake news” moment we’re all living through—is not something new, but rather the ultimate expression of our national character. America was founded by wishful dreamers, magical thinkers, and true believers, by hucksters and their suckers. Fantasy is deeply embedded in our DNA.

Over the course of five centuries—from the Salem witch trials to Scientology to the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, from P. T. Barnum to Hollywood and the anything-goes, wild-and-crazy sixties, from conspiracy theories to our fetish for guns and obsession with extraterrestrials—our love of the fantastichas made America exceptional in a way that we’ve never fully acknowledged. From the start, our ultra-individualism was attached to epic dreams and epic fantasies—every citizen was free to believe absolutely anything, or to pretend to be absolutely anybody. With the gleeful erudition and tell-it-like-it-is ferocity of a Christopher Hitchens, Andersen explores whether the great American experiment in liberty has gone off the rails.

From Waco to Heaven’s Gate, the past decade has seen its share of cult tragedies. But none has been quite so dramatic or compelling as the Jonestown massacre of 1978, in which the Reverend Jim Jones and 913 of his disciples perished. Deborah Layton had been a member of the Peoples Temple for seven years when she departed for Jonestown, Guyana, the promised land nestled deep in the South American jungle. When she arrived, however, Layton saw that something was seriously wrong. Jones constantly spoke of a revolutionary mass suicide, and Layton knew only too well that he had enough control over the minds of the Jonestown residents to carry it out. But her pleas for help–and her sworn affidavit to the U.S. government–fell on skeptical ears. In this very personal account, Layton opens up the shadowy world of cults and shows how anyone can fall under their spell. Seductive Poison is both an unflinching historical document and a riveting story of intrigue, power, and murder.

If you could only recommend ONE non-fiction book, what would it be??

Rejected Princesses: Tale of History’s Heroines, Hellions and Heretics – Book Review

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Published Date: October 26, 2016

Publishing Co.: Dey Street Books

Pages: 384

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This was a fun, easy informational read. There were SO many women I had never heard of that were true BOSS bitches. I’m glad this book exists so that more people may learn of their adventures and inspire women to be fearless.

I liked the author’s humor that was added to each little chapter and the art was fun as well.

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Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy – Book Review

4 out of 5 stars

Women, it seemed, were capable not only of significant acts of treason, but of executing them more deftly than men.”

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It’s Women’s History month! What better time to read about rebellious bad ass women who effected the courses of history? Peril be damned, these ladies were not to be stopped. Literally. Imprisoned? Continue spying and exchanging important information from your cell. Broken leg? Drag yourself back up on that horse and keep riding. Confederate general in your house? Continue sneaking Union soldiers through your secret room right under his nose. Exiled to the South? Sneak up to the North to see your relatives anyway.

This book follows four women, two helping the Union and two helping the Confederacy from the beginning of the Civil War until the end. It was genuinely fascinating. One of the ladies was able to sneak Union soldiers back north by dressing them in Confederate uniforms, then the soldiers were to lay at the bottom of a wagon with breathing holes cut into the floor, covered with a tarp, with manure piled on top. Just taking out the dead bodies and manure, y’all. (It worked, a lot.)

If you enjoy history and are looking for some serious feminine power, this is a great read. Even if you don’t agree with some of the ladies’ opinion, the sheer will and power these women flexed during times when women were just to be cozy homemakers is awesome to behold. They’re just a few of many who helped pave the way for women today.

Her comrades spread stories about women being exposed in the ranks, and such stories seemed to grow more numerous by the day.”

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This is Halloween!

I took the day off to enjoy our wedding anniversary, that’s right, we are THAT awesome. The last few weeks have been hard and we deserve some fun damnit! So tonight, we’re going out to a nice dinner and then a nerd rap concert.

But before all that jazz, I thought in spirit of the holiday, I would post some interesting facts about Halloween. You may or may not know them, but they’re fun and this is happening people.

  1. Halloween is thought to have originated around 4000 B.C., which means that Halloween has been around for over 6000 years.
  2. According to Irish legend, Jack-O-Lanterns are named after a stringy man named Jack  who, because he tricked the Devil several times, was forbidden entrance to both heaven and hell. He was condemned to wander the Earth, waving his lantern to lead people away from their paths.
  3. During the pre-Halloween celebration of Samhain, bonfires were lit to ensure the sun would return after the long, hard winter. Often Druid priest would throw the bones of cattle into the flames and, hence, “bone fire” became “bonfire.”
  4. Scottish girls believed they could see the images of their future husband if they hung wet sheets in front of the fire on Halloween. (See? Halloween IS romantic!)
  5. The word “witch” comes from the Old English wicce, meaning “wise woman.” In fact, wiccan were highly respected people at one time. According to popular belief, witches held one of their two main meetings, or sabbats, on Halloween night.

So light some bonfires and dance with the dead in the streets kids, it is Halloween everyone make a scene!

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