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I am a retired English teacher and department head, the mother of three, grand mother of three, and have been married to the same man for 42 years. I subscribe to Dr. PM Forni's concept of Civility. I was born in South Philadelphia and grew up in the 'burbs. I love soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, the Phillies, the Eagles, and San Diego. I love being Mom, Aunt Kathy, Nona Kathy, and Teacher. I spend a lot of time in my gardens in the spring and summer, and in the winter I plan what I'm going to plant. I also am an avid reader and photographer.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Our Own Inquisition

I just finished Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna, and while I did have difficulty 'getting into it' once I got about a third of the way through, I found I could not put the book down.

In this book I learned much about Leon Trotsky, artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo,  and more about what I consider to be the absolute darkest period in our Nation's history:  the McCarthy Era.

It was during this time that a lying, power-seeking, fear monger (and these were his positive attributes), Senator Joseph McCarthy, a Republican from Wisconsin, began a reign of terror in the US that jeopardized the rights of so many good Americans.  (A frequent sidekick of McCarthy was Richard Nixon) .The feared Dies Committee, aka House Un-American Activities Committee, employed questioning tactics akin to the "So when did you stop beating your wife?" ilk.  "Trials" or hearings were not much different than those conducted in 1692 Salem, Massachusetts when the town elders threw the suspected witches into the pond.  Only their drowning proved the alleged conjurers'  innocence.   Ironic, huh?   The paradox?  In their condemnation of all things Communist these 1950s leaders employed tactics that probably  made Stalin proud.

**  In addition to reading The Lacuna, if you're interested in reading more about this time, and if you haven't already read/viewed these, consider reading Arthur Miller's The Crucible, or viewing a film titled The Front.  I used both of these in my 11th grade American Lit classes and the kids really seemed to get a lot from them.  As always, I'm available for discussion.  :)

11 comments:

Snappy Di said...

Ahh, yes... the Republicans. They seem to be good at invoking fear. Crazy bastages.

Di

Cheryl said...

Back when I was married, we dined at Pachanga Grill a lot, and the walls were adorned with pictures by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. I taught Emily from an early age to identify the artists. Does this count for discussion?

Tracy said...

I love Barbara Kingsolver's books...so now after reading your post I will have to pick it up and add it to my list of books to read; seems there are sooo many! Wonder if I could take a year sabbatical to read?
Ummm, there's a thought...

Linda Reeder said...

Yes, that was exactly my response to 'The Lacuna'. I learned so much about an era I knew so little about, in both art and political history.

Retired English Teacher said...

I am going to have to read this. Thanks. I was looking for a book to read. If you haven't already done so, I suggest you read "Frida." I loved the book and could not put it down. I learned much about Diego Rivera, Trotsky and the era from that book also.

Bilbo said...

I've never read anything by Barbara Kingsolver. Now I have yet another author to fit into my endless-heap-o'-books-to-read (TM). Thanks.

Gin said...

Funny, I was just looking at some of the art of Frida Kahlo...she was rather self-absorbed. I have a bazillion books waiting to be read, but I'll have to look into this one! I'm a sucker for a book recommendation! Hope you're well and having a good winter. :)

Maggie said...

There are still leftover's from that time. You have to sign loyalty papers to join the military, and in the 60's I had to swear I wasn't a communist. Being a cranky lady even then, I began looking into the McCarthy years and what the communists of the 1930's really wanted. Fascinating stuff.

jane said...

we are living parallel lives. i was just telling the kids about mccarthy last night. i haven´t read the lacuna- and am now adding it to my amazon list.
xxx

ain't for city gals said...

Hi Kathy, Thanks for stopping by....I will have to give this book another try...just couldn't get into it but I almost always love B. Kingsolver. Looking forward to reading your past and future posts...

Cindy said...

I'll not comment on anything political........however, I will tell you I am an avid reader. I am listening to 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks'. It is a must read, an autobiography of an african american woman in the South. Amazon reviews will give you more information.