September 22, 2017 § 5 Comments

Some reading and watching …

News of the World by Paulette Jiles. In post-Civil War Texas, Captain Jefferson Kyle is a circuit riding newsman who entertains small-town audiences by reading excerpts from major newspapers. He accepts an offer to return Johanna, a 6-year-old girl who has been held captive by Kiowas, to her family, and the book charms with the developing relationship between the 60-ish Kyle and the young girl who at first speaks only Kiowa. Their adventurous 400-mile journey from northern Texas almost to San Antonio makes for thrilling reading. This small book is worth your time.

Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne. The once-nearly invincible Comanches ruled the plains of Texas and eastern New Mexico. One of their great war chiefs, Quannah Parker, a white man, had been kidnapped as a child in one of their raids, and grew to be an implacable foe of the whites. This is his story, and that of the Comanches, and how their iron grip on the plains finally succumbed to the flood of white settlement and overwhelming U.S. military power.

The Earth is Weeping, by Peter Cozzens. A thoroughly-researched, fair, and even-handed account of the thirty years of conflict between the western Indian tribes and the United States government. Cozzens is the author of Black Hawk Down.

Bottle Rocket. Wes Anderson’s movie about three slackers who somehow manage to pull off a robbery, hide out, and then try another, all in a madcap attempt to avoid growing up and facing life. What happens to them as they are repeatedly slapped around by reality is at turns funny, pathetic, and head-shaking.

Lion. Based on the autobiographical book by Saroo Brierly, the true story of boy in India who is separated from his poverty-beset family in a remarkable chain of events, and is adopted by an Australian family. Tortured by vague recollections of his earlier life, he strives to find his Indian mother and siblings. It’s a moving, enthralling story.

Burn After Reading. From the Coen brothers, with Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, John Malkovich, and Richard Jenkins. Maybe not quite as crisp as many other Coen treats, but there are plenty of laughs in this black comedy about a fitness instructor who tries to blackmail a former CIA operative. Add in rampant adultery, clueless government intelligence agents, the Russian embassy, and plenty of Coen irony, and you have an entertainment that’s fun to watch.

 

§ 5 Responses to

  • Phillip Londeree says:

    Empire of the Summer Moon is a particularly good recommendation for anyone interested in the history of the American West. I would caution sensitive readers that the book doesn’t shy away from some of the harsher aspects of the conflicts between the Comanche and American settlers. The inclusion of these elements can be something of a shock, as it is a fairly common practice with popular histories of the American frontier to omit or downplay them.

    • Larry says:

      Yes. The savagery of the conflict is made quite clear, in detail. I might add that Gwynne is a gifted writer. His biography of Stonewall Jackson, “Rebel Yell,” is brilliant.

      • Phillip Londeree says:

        This was my first Gwynne book, but on other recommendations I’ve already ordered his Jackson biography. I’m looking forward to it, and I would definitely agree that he is an excellent writer. I’ve been late coming to Gwynne, but I think he might be the best popular history author I’ve read since Rising Tide by John Barry, and that’s been quite a while.

        That said, i think I’ll look into your other recommendations as well, and I am grateful for them.

  • James Garrett says:

    Judge – I love your insightful posts. You are furthering the chancery practice in our State.

    A minor correction is in order today. Peter Cozzens is not the Black Hawk Down author. That is Mark Bowden. Bowden just published on account of the Battle of Hue that is supposed to be excellent.

    Regards,

    Jim Garrett

    On Sep 22, 2017 6:00 AM, “The Better Chancery Practice Blog” wrote:

    > Larry posted: “Some reading and watching … News of the World by Paulette > Jiles. In post-Civil War Texas, Captain Jefferson Kyle is a circuit riding > newsman who entertains small-town audiences by reading excerpts from major > newspapers. He accepts an offer to return ” >

    • Larry says:

      Oops. You’re right. I recently finished “Hue 1968.” A truly stunning book. Interestingly, I had it on my desk when a group of young lawyers were in my office. None of them knew what the title referred to; none of them had ever heard of the Tet Offensive. One asked me whether it was fiction. Thanks for pointing that out, and thanks for the encouraging words about the blog.

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