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Born in strict poverty, this youngser defied all the odds in becoming perhaps the most famous modern day "toreador"! His phenominal rise to fame is truly something out of a novel! El Cordobes, desperate, illiterate, starving had one dream, to become a bullfighter. And the odds were stacked heavily against him. This noble profession certainly had no room for such a peasant! But the heavens were looking out for him and rise he did. With the help of an influential patron, El Cordobes succeeded, and with a fervor almost unparalleled. This is no "dull biography" but a gripping one, complete with all the ingredients of a first-rate novel! (Billyjhobbs@tyler.net)
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I think the author did a very accurate research work. Every character is fully described and every fact is well documented. The great quantity of details gives an astonishing realism to every phase of the story.
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The story is told with the in-your-face realism of two journalists. Yet it's full of humor and even downright silliness. Would-be soldier Enrnest Hemingway captured a German soldier and relieved him of his pants. Why? He figured no man would escape half-naked. He was right.
This isn't about troop movements, it's about real people risking their lives (and those of their families) to liberate Paris. After all, Eisenhower didn't think he had enough fuel or time to fight a mini-war for Paris. He desperately needed to push east to Germany.
So how did it all happen? Read the book, in Paris if you can, but whever you can find a good lamp. Is Paris Burning? will keep you up late at night.
The book is based on interviews with as many of the key players in the liberation of Paris as possible, including the German commander of the city. The facts are laid out clearly, and the differing points of view are based on the actual opinions of the people involved, unlike some histories which seem to attempt telepathy.
The only (minor) problem I had with this book was a lack of footnotes, although there is a good bibliography some explanation in the text of where some of their information comes from. I could have used a bit more support for some of it, but on the whole I was pleased with and enjoyed the book.
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Absolutely essential reading for an understanding of the foundations of the current situation in the region.
The book shows two peoples who are both captive to historical and political forces that set them on a path toward beligerence with each other that seems today to have no end in sight.
Both bravery and brutality is displayed by each side as the struggle for control of Jerusalem develops.
What is especially disturbing is the inevitability of the conflict that was accepted by both sides from the very beginning. Reading this book now with the events of each day in the news sounding incredibly similar to those that took place in 1948 gives this history remarkable relevance and enabled me to synthesize what is occurring today into a broader historical context.
The book is well researched and documented and written in a brisk style that makes it difficult to put down. Highly recommended for a deeper understanding of a troubled region of the world.
Well, "dry" cannot be applied to any aspect of this book. Considering all of the college history books I've read, I think I can truly say that this is the best "true" historical telling of a topic that I've read...yet. The authors, in true journalistic form, did their research, and brought in those "human interest" aspects I so love in the historical novels. Their treatment of both the Arabs and the Jews is about as unbiased as one can be--I didn't see any blatant pandering to either side-- and felt that any (potentially) incindiary remarks were based wholly on historical track record (e.g., Arabs don't have a history--in Palestine--of cultivating the land, and this neglect is mentioned a few times). I recommend this book to anyone wishing for an in-depth (but not too technically deep!) look into the partition vote, the siege of Jerusalem, and the establishment of the State of Israel. ( As an aside: I'm not too interested in politics, but the political wrangling inherent in the entire partition process is quite fascinating. It goes to show that 'goodwill gestures' have about a million moving parts--not necessarily made out of love!).
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However what stops me giving this book a 5 star rating is the fact that I feel that some of the topics are given superficial treatment (despite the lengths of the chapters), and there is too much emphasis on the author's own involvement. Fair enough, you might say, it is his book about his experiences, but I feel it is these experiences which should take central stage.
This is however only a small criticism, and it is a VERY interesting book, about interesting people in interesting times.