Thursday, November 30, 2017

October and November Reading


An interesting thing when you read history is how certain characters show up in unexpected places.  When I read The American Miracle, I was fascinated by Winfield Scott who led the expedition into Mexico when that country tried to re-annex Texas after it became a state.  He had an interesting relationship with Nicholas Trist, the man who negotiated the treaty with Mexico; it started as immense dislike yet they became friends.  And Scott had an attention-catching nickname:  Old Fuss and Feathers.  When I read the Lee biography, I was delighted to find that Lee had been sent to Texas as Scott's aid.  Lee was a big part of the American success in the Mexican War.  Later, during the Civil War, these friends were split as the Union was split.  While Lee ended up as the head of the Confederate army, Scott, a fellow Virginian, was already in charge of the Union forces although he was too old to lead them into battle, and he disagreed with Lee about their loyalties.  I enjoyed learning about this connection.

Another interesting thing is when you have visited a historic place.  The Lee biography describes the significant features of the Sharpsburg/Antietam Battlefield:  the cornfield, the sunken road, and a bridge.  Since I've been there, I could not just imagine, but actually see, these places as the author wrote about them.  I've walked through the cornfield, wandered down the sunken road, and seen the bridge.  It really made history come alive!

Here are the books I read during the last two months:
  • Noah:  Man of Resolve by Tim Chaffey and K.  Marie Adams.  This fictionalized account of Noah's life continues in this second book of this series.  (Here's my review of the first one.)  People increasingly stop worshiping the Creator and start following the Deceiver.  The reader can see how things will culminate in God destroying the world via a flood.
  • The Elfstones of Shanarra by Terry Brooks.  This series about a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by humans, elves, gnomes, trolls, etc. has enough depth and is interesting enough to keep me engaged while I jog.  :)
  • Where We Belong by Lynn Austin.  You can read my review of this wonderful book here.
  • The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn.  You can read my review of this thought-provoking book here.
  • The American Miracle:  Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic by Michael Medved.  Starting with the Pilgrims, the author takes the reader through several incidents in American history and shows how God intervened in amazing ways to accomplish His purposes.  I really enjoyed this book and its premise, seeing how wonderful "coincidences" occurred to help America succeed:  how the Pilgrims ended up in just the right spot despite being thrown off course, how George Washington survived several battles when he should have been killed, how the acquisition of California from Mexico happened just as gold was discovered.  I also found it interesting the way God orchestrated events around both Lincoln's election and his assassination.  Apparently, God wanted him to be president, as harsh as he was, and He did not want him leading Reconstruction, as gentle as he wanted to be.  The only thing I didn't like about this book was how the author thought Lincoln was a great president; he wasn't, but that's a subject for a different post.  ;)
  • The Man who Would not Be Washington by Jonathan Horn.  This book is a wonderful biography of Robert E. Lee, especially as it compares and contrasts him with George Washington.  Did you know that Lee married the daughter of Washington's adopted son?  And did you know that his father-in-law built Arlington House (now part of Arlington Cemetery) as a place to store relics from Washington?  And the Union government stole it from the Lees and buried Union soldiers there so that the Lees would never want to live there again?  But what wonderful man and general Robert E. Lee was!
  • The Wishsong of Shanarra by Terry Brooks.  This series keeps me going on the treadmill!
  • Isaiah's Daughter by Mesu Andrews.  You can read my review of this engaging book about Hezekiah and his wife here.
Have you ever found people in unexpected places in books you've read?  Have you ever read about a place after you've visited it and had an experience like I did?  What have you read lately?

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