By Ox Team to California: A Narrative of Crossing the Plains in 1860 by Lavinia Honeyman Porter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I like reading historical and social accounts of writers both famous and ordinary, such as travelogue, diary, and letter because they reveal something about the authors’ personalities and the social milieus of the times that look to be beguilingly fictitious with frankness and stupendousness that reality brings about. In this regard, this book is an informative and enjoyable read. It’s a story of an intelligent and brave woman’s narrative of her six month journey with her husband, younger brother (although he later decided to stay in Colorado instead of venturing to California), and their little son overland to Sacramento, California by an ox-driven wagon. The story is read as if the author were telling her tale of pioneer adventure to West for a fresh new start. In the course of her narrative, readers can also peep into the general outlook on the Native Americans whom the author shows sympathy toward and the panoramic view of immigration trail usually congested with ox or mule driven wagons. This is a valuable record of an enterprising and educated woman unafraid of the perils of long journey overland with a “go-aheaditiveness” attitude which is still so uniquely part of the American character.
Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is about a famous trial of Adolf Eichmann, a former German Nazi SS lieutenant colonel who was in charge of collecting and deporting the Jews from all over Europe to concentration camps, written by Hannah Arendt, one of the most brilliant thinkers and intellectuals of the modern time. Originally written as a trial report for the New Yorker, Arendt described the scenes of the trial held in the court of Jerusalem, the characteristics and physiognomy of Eichmann, and the general ambiance of the trial without sentiments or belle lettres. Her narration style is more of journalism than of storytelling in evident consideration of the fact that she wrote it as a series of report for The New Yorker. And the languages she used to portray the whole trial and Eichmann were so highly academic and philosophically intricate that the reader might find this book abstruse to completely absorb the content in one sitting. And yet, it is worth finish reading it because the author provides the reader with her stoic and disinterested opinions on the nature of the trial and on the accused as what she observed during the trial based on facts and reason.