Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History
by Kurt Andersen, pub. 2017, pp. 440
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What I learned from this book
I learned that no matter what your political affiliation, your viewpoint on whether we, as Americans in 2018, are in a good place or a bad one, safe or dangerous – there is in fact a 500-year documented history that we can break down that may assist in explaining it all. Once we can divide it into smaller, more digestible pieces – perhaps we can then figure out the best way forward. Only time will tell.
Last Words – by George Carlin (with Tony Hendra), 297 pps., 2009
What I liked about this book
Okay, full disclosure first. I am a life-long fan of this man. Although I never had the opportunity to see him LIVE, I did see many of the HBO specials and listened to many albums from childhood into adulthood. It is no wonder that he and comedians like Richard Pryor were “joined at the hip” during their first days of comedy.
Carlin mastered the English language and had a unique (and overpowering) delivery. He makes mention of his natural “ability” (understatement) to grab an audience and compound the humor on them. He had an amazing ability to engage with his audience.
What I disliked about this book
It sort of got a little slow in the middle of the book. Though I’m not against slowing the pace to build on the plot, it almost seemed like there was repetition of the same portions earlier in the book. Perhaps it was either intentional (as reinforcement) or because this book is derived from his compilation of notes. Nevertheless, my mind wandered a bit – only to be “rescued” by a strong finish.
To whom would I recommend this book
I would definitely limit my readership to 18 and older. Repeated discussions on the “7 words you cannot say on television,” along with George’s general delivery of all information would be the reasons. Otherwise, it’s an enjoyable ride for a mature/ adult audience. It’s easy to miss this guy.
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What I liked most about this book
I liked the way Ron Chernow laid out the book. His writing style made it an amazing read and allows the reader to quickly get in the flow to obtain a full understanding of the complicated brilliance of this man (Hamilton) and his amazing contributions to the formation of the U.S.A. in such a brief time – while simultaneously addressing the issues that led him to an early and tragic death.
What was most challenging about this book
The biggest challenge of this book was simply keeping it balanced and upright while reading all 730 pages! My left wrist and fingers took quite a beating from many weeks of twists and turns. However, the pain was well worth it!
Why and to whom would I recommend this book
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning a lot about our country’s start (and probably over the age of 12). There are so many compelling details of which many of us probably are completely unaware. Finally, it is a great way to gain a better understanding of how the United States of America took shape, what the environment was like at the time, and who made the greatest impact.