As I sat reading this book at a Barnes & Noble cafe, the middle-aged man sitting at the table next to me, mumbled something as he stood up. "Sorry?" I asked, turning to face him.
"Oh.." He hesitated. "I said, I'm surprised to see a woman reading that..." He answered with a hint of uneasiness, "...maybe that's stereotypical of me to say... "
Yes, it is, I thought.
"...but it's a really good book." He quickly added.
"It is!" I agreed wholeheartedly. We proceeded to discuss the books material and praise Kyle's work as a SEAL. When he left, I couldn't help but smile. If you know my dad, this will make him smile too.
This is the second non-fiction, Navy SEAL novel that I have read in the past two years. If I had to pick between the two--Lone Survivor or American Sniper--I would pick American Sniper. This is not to say that one story has any less significance than the other. Rather, it's simply that Kyle's layout is cleaner and a tad bit more humble than Lutrell's. Not only is it written better, but it spans a lifetime of experiences through a series of deployments rather than just one mission. It holds more weight.
I LOVED Kyle's in-depth descriptions of the equipment that he was trained to use, like the M-60, the DPV, the Air Force A-10, his classic 300 Win Mag, and his passion for his job overall. I also thoroughly enjoyed his wife in his book and her perspective of the beginning of their relationship, as well as her feelings compared to his, in regards to him going to war, or her many days as a lone wife, mother, and her support and forgiveness towards Kyle.
I also appreciated his explanation of hazing, heavy metal music, agitation at the lack of action in the field, and dark humor. Those parts of the military, I never could fully wrap my head around. He breaks down the psychological and logistical concept behind each subject that makes much more sense regarding how it assists those in combat, and post-combat, to cope.
This book took a lot of psychological courage for both parties to share. Chris and Taya are amazing people. I personally think this is a fantastic book, but I suggest caution for the faint-hearted or those with sensitive moral.
On June 4th, 2011, two years after the end of a decades long war, the Sri Lankan government lifted a travel ban that had prevented foreigners from visiting Jaffna, a northern city that served as ground zero for the horrifically bloody end to the war. Living in Sri Lanka at the time, I got on one of the first buses headed north that foreigners were allowed to board. I printed off a notice on the Ministry of Defence's website confirming the lifting of the ban and kept it with my passport, just in case. I was the only foreigner on the overnight bus, and about three quarters of the way into the 10hr trip, the bus stopped. Soldiers boarded, progressing slowly row by row. They got to my row, checked my passport and told me to leave the bus, escorting me to the military checkpoint. I looked back and no other passengers were coming. After answering the soldiers' questions, emphasizing harmless touristy interests, I was allowed back on the bus and the journey continued into the morning. This is a photo from that trip-- war ruins plastered with presidential photos and young kids on bikes going about their day. 2011.
Mr. Alex Katz is a New York based artist, specializing in beautifully simplified portraits and landscapes. Though influenced by American Scene artists as well as diverse elements of modernism. Katz claimed his art to be about "surface," which can be understood both in terms of his penchant for flat fields of color and clean lines, and also in the fact that his imagery is not particularly psychologically complex. His paintings make us see the world the way he sees it, clear and up close, with all but the most essential details pared away. n the nineteen-fifties, when most of the serious art being done was abstract, Katz outraged scores of artists and formalist critics by inventing new ways to paint the human figure. He has always had his own direction, which has not been the direction of mainstream art in any of the last seven decades. #AlexKatz#thegood#Mikewhitesmith#modernism#NewYorkSchool#PostWar#AmericanArt#NewYorkArtist#Art#portrait#UnitedStates#nature#painting#humanfigure#fashion#artopaper#nature#Landscapes#agotoronto#popart#ada
Bridging the gap in knowledge, the ‘Stabi’, one of the largest libraries in Europe, its story is entwined in the history of East & West Germany. The brutalist Berlin State Library is more than a series of concrete buildings housing priceless books & manuscripts, it remains at the centre of a debate about ownership & spoils of war. Designed by Hans Scharoun, a further refurbishment took place in 2012. The library’s story begins under a royal guiding hand in 1658, jumping forward to 1945, its huge collections were scattered, partly hidden across the country, partly destroyed, either wilfully due to the removal of certain writers or as casualties of bombing, stored in monasteries across a fallen empire, in the hands of several occupying nations. By 1946 the collections were sitting in the east or the west, far beyond their prewar home, owned by competing powers. Post reunification the collection came together, throwing up interesting issues. Beethoven & Mozart are at the heart of the German cultural legacy, the original score of Beethoven’s 8th Symphony kept in the pre-war library did not remain together. The 1st, 2nd & 4th movements are today in the Stabi, the 3rd movement is in Krakow.. The library’s Berlinka Collection remain a matter of contention. It was not clear precisely where the collection was until 1965. The Polish & East German governments (both Soviet bloc) signed an agreement which saw the return of a large collections of books to East Germany which had belonged to the Prussian State Library, however the Polish authorities did not mention the Berlinka collection (500,000 medieval manuscripts and original scores by Schumann, Brahms, Paganini and Bach) in that negotiation. In ‘77 Polish First Secretary Edward Gierek presented Erich Honecker with a gift 7 pieces of manuscript including Mozart's original score of The Magic Flute & Beethoven's notes for his Symphony No. 9, these had been in the Berlinka Collection. To this day negotiations start, stop and restart, most recently in 2014. Poland is clear in stating that Germany is still holding significant cultural items that need to be returned. Photo with thanks to @fragmentsofaloversdiscourse