My massive reading program to get the 10 books checked out of the ASU library read before they’re due and I have to make the trek over there has received a set-back. Two books that had a long queue at the public libraries came in. I do not want to return them even though I returned two other books I wanted to read. The books are my almost-halfway-through 548 page Political Order and Political Decay by Francis Fukuyama and The Spanish Holocaust by Paul Preston.
Why not just take them back and request them again? Here’s why.
From Fukuyama: By reading newspapers, people who had never left their little village could all of a sudden perceive a connection to other people in other isolated villages.” No great shakes? But in the context of explaining how ascribed status changed in Europe in the 16th c. with commercial capitalism deriving from the printing press and a market for books, [italics and bold mine], this phrase conjured up an image that I have always had, of the local doctor reading the paper to the locals down at the cafÃ© or pub in Greece or Ireland or Moldavia or Saxony. People got ideas, and this book details how ideas receive instantiation. For me, it’s a page-turner.
Then I have only started the introduction to The Spanish Holocaust, 528 pp. not counting the notes, bibliography, index, etc. (they take it to exactly 700 pp). The conclusion that has excited so much comment due to Preston’s status as THE expert on the Spanish Civil War is his clear presentation of the monumental imbalance between the death figures for the Republicans and for the Right. There is no doubt that while the Republicans had their outbursts of violence against rightists and the clergy, the Republican governments acted quickly to curb those actions while on the””right the deaths were part of an articulated and well-supported policy of destroying, in the chilling phrase of Mola, the director of the rebel coup, “those who do not think as we do.” The building blocks of the right were Religion, Fatherland, Family, Order, Work, Property. The content of that slogan is explicated in the text and reminded me of the building blocks of the right in this country. Is there any question about what the right in this country would do with all the guns they own? Who they see as the enemy? Some whopping percentage of Republicans do not believe Obama was born in the U.S….. still. The shooting down of unarmed Black men is of a piece with the lynchings of the 30s and the Black Codes of the post-Reconstruction era as well as the slave codes. A straight line. Their hatred of unions same as the Falangists. Their declaration that this is a Christian country? Their dismissal of diplomatic efforts and their urging of military attacks? Their use of the family to condemn divorce, contraception, abortion rights, homosexuality? Their championing of a rancher who refuses to pay the impossible cheap rent for grazing his cattle on land in the control of the Federal government?
It all goes together.
No, I’m keeping these books.
Addendum 6/9/15 I kept most of the books and checked out some others: A Media Voz, Pepy’s Diary, and El Monte. I renewed my ASU library card for another year and am working to finish all those I have checked out now and go back when I’ve finished them.
I also am reading Ruby Payne’s A Framework for Understanding Poverty, The Teacher Wars, and several others. I’ve got my time pretty well organized now so I get my exercise in (I finished my physical therapy today and will start back to the gym tomorrow), read, study my languages, and, with this, blog daily.