sabato, settembre 26, 2020

Mary Elizabeth Garrett Society and Philantropy in the Gilded Age by Kathleen Waters Sander

 Looking at the cover picture of this book, a painting of Mary Elizabeth Garrett by John Singer Sargent you wouldn't never imagine that behind the sweet, tender and just apparently remissive face of that mature lady, there was a pioneer of human rights and one of the most remarkable women who changed, with her immense donations and innovative ideas the existence of women in the USA, of course, for better.

This new book by Johns Hopkins University Mary Elizabeth Garrett

Society and Philantropy in the Gilded Age by Kathleen Waters Sander, author also of John W. Garrett and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad will be highly appreciared.

Sanders returns in the family Garrett, this time, taking in consideration one of the most crucial members of the family: the daughter of John Work Garrett, Mary Elizabeth. 

Her existence, she was born before the advent of the Secession War, in 1854 if the state of things would have remained that one, was written by her destiny: a girl of the upper class with privileges and a predictable life. 

But the existence of Mary hasn't always been predictable: at 8 months, maybe for an error of a baby-sitter, she developed a problem at an ankle and she walked only at 4 years, with many difficulties till at the age of 8-9 years. 

These problems affected her so badly and probably marked the rest of her existence.

The arrival of the Secession War meant for the family Garrett, as always happen in common families sometimes a division regarding who support in that segment of the existences. 

A sibling of Mary became a devoted of Southerner cause; her father was a supporter of the cause of the North; John would have helped in many ways President Lincoln, alive and...dead thanks to the railroad created and expanded continously.

Growing up, Mary, in the schools where she studied in, met a lot of females friends with which she will remain united forever; Mary became, after the Secession War and when the problems in their family regarding political issues were sorted out, the secretary of mr. Garrett. 

In this position she left for Europe with her father, when John Garrett fell sick and the main suggestion was changing air and enjoy Europe. 

Months and months spent in Europe, father and daughter not only visited many places, but met many interesting people. To Mary Elizabeth this trip meant work and relaxation.

Returned home, Mary Elizabeth in her twenties had developed her character and it was a character that whispered of human rights in the direction of women, thanks also to her friends, progressive girls: Bessie King, Julia Rogers, Martha Carey Thomas, Mary MacKall Gwinn.

Children of prominent Baltimore leaders these girls had in common love of reading and sense of adventure.

These friendships between women incredibly important in the nineteenth century because created a strong alliance with the same sex people and a sort of less dominance of the power of men on women.

Not only: being thinkers, women could start to model, to shape the kind of world they would have wanted to live in.

The group, during their night dedicated to reading, discovered a lot about sexuality and marriage and Mary defined what it meant to be married in that moment also for her brothers's wives; victorian wives, an a predictable existence. 

Mary didn't felt all of it.

She had had some men who courted her and she would have found anyway a great husband considering her social position, but she didn't never become a married woman.

Another problem developed by Mary was the father; the father would have wanted a male, and the father, under many ways wouldn't never have wanted that she would have married anyone. And, psychologically, when parents "asks" this to children, children obey.

A problem once the high school was over, was college. Girls couldn't study in college. It wasn't for them. They had to marry someone, build a family, create several children growing up them and that was the existence expressed in that society.

Mary asked to herself why it should have been in this way.

Mary insisted: the father refused any kind of college-idea. There was so a teacher just returned from Paris, who had created a school to Paris for women. Oh, Mary fascinated, asked for this to his father. Paris!

Nothing to do, but, the father, resigned, said her, if you want, you can take some classes with this lady it's OK.

Mary was at that time 25 years and still completely dependant from his father, who controlled how she spent money. 

Her friends went to Cambridge, Zurich, and other places for studying in college.

Mary felt she still was behind them; they all left Baltimore for realizing their dreams.

Mary, alone and without a marriage, without a perspective apart following here and there his father when sick, fell depressed.

Garrett spent some time in Bellagio, Italia, where recovered again from the stresses he was living. 

There's to say that they were not the just the only sick Garretts; in the family Garrett sometimes members suffered of weird illnesses. 

This illness reduced the girl at a pretty poor state, because doctors asked her of reducing her social life; more than what had done by John Work Garrett.

In the while, the departure of Johns Hopkins at 78 years meant the creation thanks to the massive amount of money left for the purpose, of an University and a new Hospital.

Hopkins was an exceptional man: he wanted that everyone could be cured in the hospital. Rich and poor. This city made the difference. No, wait: that men made the difference!

The creation of another Ivy League university as Harvard and Yale were and are, was not what the city was searching for: Baltimore wanted, with the Johns Hopkins University to feed the hunger of the middle-class students, giving a chance to everyone. 

The main field was medicine. Of course the Johns Hopkins University wanted the best minds of Europe and America. University's first building was a simple one; no one wanted a beautiful buildings; men were more important than buildings.

Mary when the university opened insisted with the father: Johns Hopkins didn't believe that men were more important than women. Why not taking classes at the local university?

Problem was that many people thought that the future of women was substantially different; they had to marry someone, have babies, taking good care of family. 

In the case of Mary Elizabeth the "brakes" for a common life as everyone know it was her father and the problem maybe at the ankle. 

Once the university started courses there were attacks for several reasons made by Garrett at the university. He would have wanted to see more courses and more quality. Things needed to be done well.

Mary Elizabeth understood that she still didn't have her own place in the world and that people were thinking at her destiny. 

A destiny that it hasn't been after all ungrateful although it meant to her, in the first part of her existence a great subordination.

After the death of her mother for a disgrace and the end of her father 10 months later, Mary Elizabeth inherited a real fortune.

One of the brothers became the new chief of the B&O. Mary started to receiving wagons of letters from the most diversified people asking for help, asking for money. At the end she "hired" someone for taking this correspondence under control.

Her destiny, would have been the one of dedicating the rest of her existence to philantrophy and women's existence. Who had more money served in local communities, helped the communities in the most diversified ways.

Mary, simply wanted "to help women" as remarked the author.

What these women did was promoting the arts, but also working for obtaining women's suffrage, helping women in the straggle with financial security and much more.

What, if, in fact women's limitations would become women's opportunities?

With her friends returned from Europe after the years attended in college, decided that it was time for the creation of a school for girls in their homeland. So in 1885 was founded  a school just for girls.

The school met its problems when refused Jewish people. The news reached the press and the institution treated as an anti-semitic one.

If at school there were frictions and important differentations of thinking, Mary has had the privilege of knowing very well two first ladies.

Robert the new guidance of the B&O didn't reach the same success of his father and wasn't maybe a business man as his father was.

Plus new health problems constricted him the wife and Mary at a long trip. It was beautiful and the trip restored soul and body; a tragedy, the departure of Harry devastated them when they were to Paris.

The story absolutely shocking, destroyed the mood of the family.

There were several changed in the B&O, Mary's life continued but she was severly touched by this departure.

Considering what happened in her existence, the death of Harry, and Robert's breakdown, she was now the primar executor of her father's estate.

Mary at the end donated to the Johns Hopkins University a very large amount of money asking to them to opening to women.

It hasn't been simple but the most important fight of Mary.

When the agreement was signed the university was celebrating the 17th anniversary of its birth and Mary at the age of 38 years  became the most important and influential philantropist of the USA.

Changes introduced by Mary were many and significants and meant real progress for the university that was still searching for a solid reality.

If this biggest fight was over and now the university could realistically fly with different standards, Mary unfortunately fought at long because of her patrimony.

When she decided of moving legal action against the family, one of her siblings, Robert died abruptly, while Horatio one of the sons of her brother fell ill with bone cancer. After the  disappearance of her brother, it became much more difficult and intricated to see an end at the story of the family's patrimony.

Mary Elizabeth Garrett passed to the history for as a woman who, thanks to her Philantropy produced a profound change in the American way of thinking medicine and higher education, donating possibilities at high level at women.

Highly recommended.

I thank Johns Hopkins University Press for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

giovedì, settembre 24, 2020

A Special Encounter

 I bought days ago in a supermarket of Gubbio I Fratelli Karamazov,

The Brothers Karamazov. 

It's a classic of Russian literature. Written by Fedor Dostoevsky, I won't tell you I completed the book, I am at the first pages. I understood with the time that no one maybe like Russian writers are in grade, telling in a plain way big sagas, to report the best or worst of life's essence.

A book reviewer lives many lives, you must know. 

She is in the middle-east, while at the same time in Georgia, close to Russia, at the beginning of the XX century when the advent of the Communist Party brought profound changes in the russian society; I am in Baltimore with Mary Elizabeth Garrett, in the family Moskat, and in fantastic lands surrounded by dragonflies. 

I am of course living the adventures of the family Karamazov as well. But it's not that. 

I started to become fascinated by this book when I met along my way, one day, more than two years ago while I was going to Gubbio, Patrick a boy of 27 years old from Austria. I was rushing as always I do, and just at a kilometer of distance from my house Patrick asked for a passage. He was speaking in english, he had black hair, and a firm and cleaned face. For all these reasons, I said him: with pleasure.

I didn't know what to wait from this new encounter, but in general I have a positive attitude. I tend to see in everyone a new and pleasant discovery.

Patrick told me he lived in a rural village close to Innsbruck, where, substantially he wouldn't never had the possibility of becoming nothing else than a factory worker, which of course is more than good for most people but Patrick wanted something else and became a cook. He travelled around the world, from New Zealand to many other european countries, discovering new cultures, ways of life.

But, what it was touching of this 27 years boy, in Umbria for the Franciscan pilgrimage was that he is an avid reader. His knowledge of literature is immensely big.It was surprising to me. Immensely weird to me. In the area where I live in there are some avid readers. A man of 88 years, maybe the most remarkable one. "I go in my bedroom at 6 o'clock PM and then the rest of the time I read and listen to the radio" confessed me one day.

Sure, our land is not a land of readers. Born as peasants, most people think that there is a real scission, separation between reading and working also in the fields as if the two activities couldn't stay close and enriching the other one.

Reading in Italy is not considered important as it is in northern european countries, where peasants, fishermen, barists, waitresses, everyone is an avid reader. In Italy no sure why, reading is seen as a silly activity, reserved just for the years of school where people must learn to reading and counts. The most boring years after all.

I have always considered myself a weird creature; normal maybe in another context, sure an UFO where I live in. My American friends with which we talked of books moved to the USA, and I was and I am alone with my learning and reading. 

Patrick was a big surprise: after the first phrases of introduction for knowing each other better he asked me if I read a lot of russian literature, in particular the Brothers Karamazov, a book, I guess, he felt so badly;  I became little little because there are classics that, where possible should have been read during the teen age age but that I hadn't. In particular I neglected Russian Literature. 

I thought that the boy was making the difference. The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings became our conversation for most of the time while I was driving to Gubbio. Bible, Tolkien's catholicity, the recreation of the Genesis in the Silmarillion...

When I left him, in the square of Gubbio Patrick confessed me that he didn't bring with him any cell phone, just a journal where he annotated everything of that trip and let me show that. We exchanged addresses and e-mails and then, I couldn't forget, I promised to myself that I needed to read that book!

Sometimes in our existence meetings of few minutes can make the difference, presenting us new suggestions, new visions and the possibility, also of new/old good readings!

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, settembre 23, 2020

Drangonflies at Night by Anne Marie Bennett

 Drangonflies at Night

by Anne Marie

Bennett is an interesting love-story. The one of Savannah and Ben Sheperd a musician. 

But everything starts a lot of time before, when, because of a terrible illness the mother of Savannah dies, leaving not just a terrible memory of the moment but also a magical symbol for the family: dragonflies. Dragonflies symbolize change, transformation adaptability and self-realization. 

Savannah's mother was conscious of something: that, for sure, everything would have been good for her husband and her daughter, soon alone. 

Savannah, grew up has several friends, she organizes every year a Life Celebration every year involving all the people she knows. 

Her life is populated by her business, two cats, her best friend and partner plus, Jeremy, Summer and Winter. 

Savannah will meet Ben during a yoga session in a real locality existing in Massachusetts.

One day, Savannah is touched by a phrase said by one of her friend. According to him no one can knows if happiness with another person will continue. To Savannah is more than possible. 

The meeting with Ben and his friend will produce in both the protagonists the idea of seeing each other often and then they will fall in love....

I enjoyed reading this ebook. There are several thematics that, when we encounter a VIP are normal. Comparisons with people of his environment and so on. Anne Marie won't leave her readers unsatisfied and there will be the happy end.

Written with great modernity, so pretty quickly it's a good reading. 

I highly recommend this book.

I thank Anne Marie for the copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

martedì, settembre 22, 2020

Niente di ciò che soffri andrà perduto by Costanza Miriano

 A beautiful soul Costanza Miriano. This one is the first book I read written by her Niente di ciò che soffri Andrà Perduto

Mistica della Vita Quotidiana, but I can tell you that it is beautifully inspiring. Thanks to practical examples taken by her own life or the ones of closest people, like friends or relatives, Costanza will trace the portrait of what it is sufferance, why it is important and why God doesn't abandon us in that moments of profound discomfort, but keep us, after all more strong and able to re-born.

Every sufferance, every worry will be tranformed by God in something more elevated , tranforming who we were, in best people.

Beautiful pages  the ones dedicated to marriages, where you will reflect, laugh, smile, because this one is a brilliant writer for sure.

A self-help book, that I would classify as inspiring  for everyone and for every exigency!

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

lunedì, settembre 21, 2020

Racconti da un Paese che Non C'è by Boleslaw Prus

 Racconti da un

Paese che Non C'è by Boleslaw Prus edited by Silvano De Fanti is a new book published by Marsilio. What I found fascinating in these series of short, shockingly beauty in their hallucinations, suggestions and visionarism tales is the lucid analysis of the society where Prus lived in, populated by avid and egoistic people but also miserable ones, orphans;  at the same time, in most cases, compassionate people will be the key for sorting out problems in the various characters's existences. It's a book that will let you think a lot about morality and kidness, generosity, amiability; help and avidity at large scale, without any possibility of redemption because the reality more strong than not some good suggestions sent by the other world for being of some help. I was heavily touched by the story of Jas, orphan and then alone, without enjoying a real life with the people with which he was living with, he will find a way for reaching for some help living at the same time weird and sad experiences. 

I was surprised by the hallucinations of a poor young still-not-yet doctor, who made many sacrifices for trying to eat something everyday, and, hungry and with a big fever, reached the hospital  in search of some warm; discovered by his colleague that he was sick he will remain there for being cured. During the high fever, he will make a dream, where sufferances are an honor and the biggest happiness good actions. Sufferances are indispensible doors for bettering the human beings and soul become more adult. 

Not only: what is reality if not a big complexity impossible to be understood in its totality but just in its little partiality by every man?

A very short tale is Shadows but not for this reason less powerful where there is a man who, everynight light all the lamps in the city with his own light in the head. The moral is that each of us has a special flame in the head and this flame serves for keeping light the our human way, our path; sometimes a person live unrecognized and he/she is understimated for then disappearing like a shadow...

Another one I loved a lot is the tale of Tomasz where there is at the end the donation of happiness and joy at a poor sick kid.

If you want to warm your heart, you must buy this book because it is simply exceptional and bewitched me!

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

Life is Beautiful by Jacqueline Pirtle

 Life is Beautiful

by Jacqueline Pirtle is her latest new book. Author of 365 Days of Happiness, Parenting Through the Eyes of Lollipops and What it Means to BE a Woman, in this new book Jacqueline will tell us what to do for create everyday a beautiful life. 

We create our own reality, tell us Jacqueline and sometimes it is not the most satisfying one. 

We never think at it too often but "what we do, think, say, and who we choose to be, always affects everyone and everything" adds Jacqueline. Not only, she continues: "We are in charge and can

choose who we are, how we show up, and how we live this physical experience."

Energy is extremely important and it is important also where it is addressed. Energy means feelings,moments, happenings and thoughts. Your reality can change at anytime, nothing is never set in stone, writes Jacqueline. Being energy, as human beings, we change continuously and continuously there are mutations. 

Who is a beauty and a beautiful person? To Jacqueline not necessarily the body, but the energetic personaluty expressed by each individual. And, each individual can chooses the physical and emotional life he/she wants, living that, later in his/her reality. We must be careful in this sense and we must build a relaxing oasis of peace and harmony.

Of course you should ask to yourself what you want and what it is best for you.

Your inner YOU! knows the answer, and first of all, more than ask for some external advice, you should follow your inner self because with you, it has been around for some while and he knows the best thing to do.

Meditation, but also a good care of your emotional and physical wellbeing are important steps for living a beautiful life. 


Avoid negative thoughts, constantly emerging in particular thanks to other people. Listen to positive vibes. Keep them close to you, read them often, clean your soul and proceed along the long existential path more purified and more strong.

"I choose to BE and live, see, hear, taste, smell, think, and

feel that life is beautiful."

Choosing a beautiful life means that life will show you "its grace to the fullest ... When beauty and bliss is long-standing."

When you are happy you do everything more happily. 

Being happy reinforce our body that will be much more healthy.

Jacqueline's parents told her that "practice makes perfect!" Commitments are in fact extremely important for our personal growth, insists Jacqueline. 

It's important to grow a passion because in that case it's the heart that will produce feelings. 

And being devoted to your passion a second crucial step because it means that you can't live anymore without it. 

Sure, Jacqueline precises that "quite frankly in life nothing ever stays the same anyways."

Let's speak of our existences. If you ask to your relatives, friends, their impression during the time that they had created regarding you, you will assist at a differentiation of opinions, thanks also to the fact that we met some relatived and friends along our way and in different moments. 

Of course the ones reported by people, also when great friends, or wonderful relatives are their impressions, but...Who are we? No one knows our sufferances, joys, happinesses, realitistically. Not only: friends and relatives can't be accurate because they don't live in your body, and they didn't experienced what you experienced.

It's important to remain real experiencing the essence you were from the beginning and beyond, reports Jacqueline.

Jacqueline, then will let you experience an amazing moment: your arrival on Earth! 

Another beautiful self-help and motivational book for everyone!

I thank the Jacqueline Pirtle for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

martedì, settembre 15, 2020

Capturing Crime by Carol Taylor Narrative by Greg Marquis with Roslyn Rosenfeld and Connell Smith

 Carol Taylor is a Canadian sunny lady with a strong humanity. I met her online because of a painting spotted on the Facebook page of our common friend, the writer Beth Powning. In the past I read the book by Beth, The Hatbox Letters and, I fell in love for her writing.

Beth posted a beautiful, impressive painting made by Carol. It was Carol's mother; I would have discovered that she passed away two years ago. 

"A lady happy as a wife and mother, quilter and knitter for the community" said me later Carol. 

Finding the painting impressively beauty I contacted her. I didn't imagine the enthusiasm Carol would have put in our knowledge. She asked me where and how I knew Beth and Peter and I told her I was a reader passionate of her books.

Carol told me that she is a passionate of Italy. Unfortunately she said me, they had deleted the local art exhibit where the painting of her mother would have been exposed for Covid-19 reasons.

We were in march when the italian outbreak the most severe one in the entire Europe.

Carol told me in our conversations that she won, when little, in grade 11, a prize for poetry. Not only. She was encouraged to continue in her writings by her english teacher although she wanted to be an artist, using her hands for portraying reality. 

She did it, but as she added "Still making art but venturing into words. Making art that contained words."

Carol also told me that, she won another prize: a 6th prize in mix media at the Florence Biennale because someone told to someone else that she had written about a trip she attended to Florence, a city Carol adores and visited last year for the second time.

She jokes: "A friend said me I am not clear when I write; I didn't imagine I would have won  a prize at all!"

After this first and short conversation, Carol encouraged me of contacting her when I would have wanted because always online for writing (her husband is a columnist for a local newsmagazine), there was a long interruption. 

I started to follow compulsively news about Covid-19 I think as everyone. 

One day, months later, I thought that it was again time to re-contact Carol. She told me that there was a new art exhibit this time real and ready to be seen; it was about another work she did at long: I couldn't believe it, but Carol was and still is a sketcher in very famous Canadian trials of her territory, her Canadian city Saint John.

Following the trials of Jimmy "Whitey" Bulger, Tsarnaev (Boston Marathon Bombings), speaking about Boston, I started to consider the work done by sketchers in a trial absolutely beauty: sketchers are characters unknown in Italy but I have found always beautiful this work; being in contact, in direct contact with one of them amazing.

They are creative people and they live more than anyone else, maybe just like reporters do, a trial, because they are in grade of capturing facial expressions that woulde be left alone in opposite case, developing slowly or pretty rapidly an idea of what the story is about, moods of people, capturing sensations with rapidity. 

Carol wrote also a book telling to her own readers the most important criminal cases she followed, she told me all excited. I said her I am a book reviewer and I would have been happy to review her book, if she would have appreciated it. 

She sent me her book immediately, of course adding in the envelope several drawings and making the arrival of the copy a precious gift! In the dedication Carol wrote that this one is the first copy sent to Italy! Let's hope that other ones will be curious, in our country to discover her works! 

The title of this captivating book with a wonderful smell! :-) I love smelling books, no sure you, and format is Capturing

Crime. Written with Greg Marquis, Roslyn Rosenfeld and Connell Smith the title couldn't be more appreciated and choosed well! 

Carol, in this activity, put all herself. Being a compassionate lady she will judge the various cases she worked in, like a mother, an artist, a person, a woman.

At first, before that the government cutback fundings for trial sketchers, she worked pretty intensely and heavily; reading one of her typical day meant like to read the story of a hurricane lady, divided between courts, TV stations, family, meals, children...

Carol attended in 1959-1961 Saint John Vocational School in Saint John, the city where she would have worked mostly. A man, Ted Campbell who had attended the Chicago Art Student League taught her how to draw what was "in front of her." 

So, later, thanks to these lessons she made a living working as a commercial artists at the Evening Times Global Telegraph-Journal, as fashion illustrator and later as a court sketcher.  The major Canadian media CBC, CTV, Global Canadian Press and the Telegraph-Journal have called her over the past thirty years. 

Sketches are important in Canadian trials because cameras are not admitted and so the mark of the passage of a trial, sentences apart, and journalistic work apart, are these sketches portraying judges, criminals, attorneys and so on.

In the 80s Carol covered 48 trials; in the 90s 33 more, and only with the advent of 2000s and cutbacks her presence less and less requested. Just in rare cases Carol attends trials at the moment; where there is more interest, where cases are bigger, but sure, the present is not anymore like the past.

In the book Carol signals me that on January 1989 for the first time a video was shown in the Hampton Courthouse.

Carol tells also the various differences between the several courthouses where she worked with and in. She preferred of course the largest ones; some were pretty littles and intimate for using this expression and her work wasn't simple.

Sketching means rapidity because that person won't stay sat in that place all the time; a sketch is not a painting where the person is in pose. 

Cases followed by Carol have been the most diversified one. A case interested Richard Hatfield in 1985 an important politician. They found him with some marijuana and at that time there wasn't any kind of legalization of the substance. There was a big trial, the news was lived scandalistically. This politician, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick loved and appreciated and in love for art became a sort of devil for the community and at the end although he fought for being re-elected, he couldn't make it anymore. He died also pretty soon.

Not only: once the trial was over Hatfield asked to Carol one of her sketches! He was a man with sense of humor and art in his heart, this is for sure. Carol added that he financed a lot of artistic initiatives and after all, writes Carol, marijuana was and is largely used by everyone also by politicians, etc.


Noel Michael Winters and Paul Haines Trials 1984. They  were terrible criminals. Not only Winters  killed several people but dismembered their bodies. It was an ugly story. People involved thought that if they didn't cooperate with him, they could have been killed.

Allan Legere Tood Metchett and Scott Curtis Murder Trial 1987 was another strong case. 

Legere was a character with a complicated and distorted personality. A sort of doctor Jekyl and Mr. Hyde; not only; from his more tender age he was a little criminal, delevoping the art of being a dishonest person pretty soon.

The trial is about the murder of a man in his 60s left with broken face bones, strangled and the wife, beaten, sexually abused  and left for dead. But she survived.

Legere de facto became later a sort of celebrity murderer.

The case of Anthony Romeo 1988 the one of a disturbing man that killed just because  thought mentally that the man in front of him was a monster able to alter his future plans.

The Colombian Drug Smuggling Prosecution 1989 was sensational for the presence of security guards considering the topic of the case. Cocaine became always more important for international criminals like Pablo Escobar. At that time cocaine was only for rich people, and arrived in a weekly base in Canada with the complicity of many people inside the system. Just few drug was intercepted.  A dirty job this one. Douglas Jaworski a pilot, involved in the cartel of medelin decided to collaborate with RCMP with a plan. He asked to being placed in the witness protection program, helping later to set up the operation. Many people were arrested, including, of course colombian pilots. 

Remember Legere? We meet him again. With, for the first time, the use of the DNA for sorting out the problem.

In a way or in another Legere, convicted of murder in 1987, brought to Moncton for a medical appointment, escaped away.

The following months an escalation of violence interested the region of Miramichi but it was only when a priest of the catholic church in Chatham Head, Father James V.Smith was killed with a knife that the police men didn't have any doubts: this one was a work done by Allan Legere. It is an amazing tale the one of the capture of Legere. Later he was accused of the murder of Annie Flam, Linda and Donna Daughney and Father Smith.

Samantha Daw Toole, 6 years was found dead on the banks of the Saint John's river. Evidences revealed that she was also sexually assaulted before to be killed. The family of this kid was incredibly complicated, with a domestic existence close to the one of a nightmare; the couple was dysfunctional, and soon sunspects started to take a terrible shape: the one of George Pitt, the companion of the mother of Samantha. The trial in this case was celebrated in 11 days in 1994. Notices were sent to more than 80 jurors but just 30 and something showed up at the Saint John County Courthouse on Sydney Street.

The prosecutor was James McAvity assisted by Tony Allman the leader prosecutor of the Legere prosecution.

You will find other trials explained in words and sketches in the book.

This book is beautiful for everyone, to my point of view. For understanding the system, trials, if you have curiosity for murders and people who work behind as Carol Tyler does for many decades, giving a look at criminals, judges, people attending the trial; if you love art, sketches, drawings.

Personally at first I was a bit "scared" because I personally didn't know Canada as well as I know the USA; it is a country more reserved; same story for their most important trials and judiciary cases; I didn't have any clue of them. 

I found that the warm approach used by Carol, the complete full-immersion in every trial she was part in, using words and sketches, the familiar, colloquial approach made me feel like at home.

New World Publishing is the publishing house that released this book; elegant and important book,you'll adore it!

Highly recommended for sure!

I thank Carol for this beautiful book!

Anna Maria Polidori 


giovedì, settembre 10, 2020

Meals Matter A Radical Economics Through Gastronomy by Michael Symons

 I spent a lot of time before to read this book Meals Matter A Radical Economics Through Gastronomy by

Michael Symons. Published by Columbia Press, when I received it maybe, for the first time, I understood with all the possible gravity, what this pandemic influenza means in terms of eating. Not that I didn't rationally knew it; I was perfectly conscious what this influenza pandemic would have meant in terms of quality-life; I knew that it would have meant also not being anymore as hospitables as we were.

Just: it is sad.

We have always been a family pretty hospitable; italians, Americans, Russian friends, our family have known the world thanks to  good, lucullian lunches, where projects started, ideas grew up, dreams became realities.

Now, social distancing must be a self-imposition and it will pass a lot of time before to seeing  a new, relaxing and reassuring reality.

I think that the phrase can give you the idea of what you will read could be this one: "This is my socially, culturally, and naturally destructive society, in which the overtourism industry has turned the world into a a selfie-stick spectacle, warranting my push toward simplicity in the sense of being more in tune with life's elements."

The analysys of Simons, reporter and owners of restaurants spaces in the Old Greek and the liberism passing through our times and seeing and reading the contradictions that are still keeping a large part of the population poor and without sufficient food in a daily base. Food is also a political and social theme treated by governments and politicians according to their own vision or better, the vision of... money; the birth of fast food and the demolition of eating delicious meals without rush; people not anymore in grade to recognize what it is good and what it is bad, accepting what it is given to them with resignation, passivity. 

I loved reading the story of Epicurus; his philosophy of living substantially with simplicity and surely not alone, but surrounded by a group of friends and people who embraced his way of living. He organized always a feast for celebrating conviviality and life was lived and planned while enjoying a good lunch  all together.

Epicurus will be also later studied by several  philosophers like Hume, Rousseau for explaining much better old ideas that needed to be put into new concepts for a society changed by events and time; in synthesis what the old men said was to eat well and never alone where possible, because food is synonime of conviviality; and to eat for living, not living for eat. 

This book is for everyone who want to discover more about food, societies, policy, sociology and philosophy.

Highly recommended.

I thank Columbia University Press for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 


domenica, settembre 06, 2020

Doppio Silenzio by Gianni Farinetti

 Doppio Silenzio

by Gianni Farinetti is a little intriguing book.

The set of the story Palermo, one of the sunniest and most mysterious cities of Italy and the protagonist Sebastiano Guarenti. Invited at a wedding of the high society of the city while he is flying to Palermo reads the news of a fresh murder in the city.

Once in the city he will re-meet his old friends; at the same time he will meet also the relatives of the bride; but Diego and Giulia, two siblings will be the characters that will attract him a lot because pretty mysterious. 

After the wedding, Sebastiano plans the return that same evening in the North of Italy, but while in the taxi, notices a guy who looked-like as his Nicola an old passionate flame of 20 years ago with which he had had a relationship; Sebastiano changes his plans. 

He decides to stay to Palermo for searching for this boy and for discovering much more who he is.

The story narrated, I can't tell too much, will be of great intensity. There is a boy searching for an escapism, profoundly unhappy because of the relationship he is living at many levels with another man: a boy who pronstitute himself not just for money but for presenting pleasure to his companion; a companion in love for someone else.  There are other shocking truths hidden behind...

It is a homosexual story, after all, treated with great tenderness and affection, revealing the extreme sacrifices that can be done for setting free the loved ones.

 Highly recommended.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

venerdì, settembre 04, 2020

The Fury Archives Female Citizenship, Human Rights, and the International Avant-Gardes by Jill Richards

 The Fury Archives

Female Citizenship, Human Rights, and the International Avant-Gardes by Jill Richards is an amazing book reporting what women wanted in the past centuries and decades and how they influenced in many different ways their requests to a society too blind for answering.

Maybe not everyone know it, but avant-gardes and women's rights sang the same song together.

Why this? Thanks to an international socialist in grade of printing wagons of radical newspapers, journals, across the Atlantic.

These ideas, these whispers didn't remain confined in the USA, but reached the various Continents stimulating a fertile debat, opening new doors and visions.

Why Richards called this book The Fury Arcihives, using Fury for defining women? In part because it is an adjective fury that can define women as a creature irrational, with uncheck emotions. 

A woman at that time could have a role as a politician, a suffragette for  women's rights but she didn't have any kind of consideration  in the rest of her human sphere. 

Divided in three parts, in the first chapter the trial against five women accused of arson in Paris. There was a lot of excitement on this trial; just the idea that five women did it was absolutely something weird, but when the trial started and everyone discovered the heroines of the case, everyone focused the attention on the ugly faces of the various five women involved in the trial. 

Richards writes: "They were political actors but not citizen. They were human, but not subject to the rights of man."

In a society dominated by men women were seen as irrealistic creatures, unnatural. 

Le Figaro wrote that women wanted something else: a different existence, it was 1871, because not anymore happy of their existence at home, a behavior, wrote Magnard the reporter, leading to the ruin. 

Human rights, the ones focused in Magnard's piece, after all, typical in a society.

Maybe the most known girls and ladies passed to history have been absolutely the suffragettes. These girls and ladies fought for the possibility of voting, a right, that one, just for men.

Women thought that they had a lot to saying and didn't want to stay anymore at the window, looking at what was going on in this world without saying anything.

It became a literary world the one of suffragettes. A first example is Henry James and his The Bostonians where Olive asks to Verena of giving up her passion for men, dedicating the existence to their cause. As you will see Verena will win her battles and will marry a conservative man, while Olive will remain unsatisfied of her existence, alone.

Virginia Wollf was skeptical regarding the role of feminists and suffragists in the society portraying them as solitary people who remained alone forever because of their choices.

Ann Veronica by Wells tries as sort of escapism, starting a menage with a married man who can't divorce.

In The Sentinel by Rebecca West there is a girl who fall sexually in love for a guy with too much simplicity so, for this reason she won't marry him.

Another important fight for women was birth control. Women were prolific at that time, the end of 1800s, the beginning of 1900s so that in Switzerland, in Italy, a bit everywhere appeared pamphlet explaining how to avoid unwanted children and first of all, pregnancies. Children were a pillar and an important element in particular in  families of peasants, because they meant, if they survived, hands for domestic works, pretty heavy at that time. Sure, because of pregnancies and hard work girls close to the end of the 20s could be considered old in certain European countries. Life expectations wasn't long like the one that there is today, plus of course bad existence didn't help at all.

In the USA and in particular in the planter class there was a great domination of infanticides. A census from 1790 to 1860, examines the death of sixty thousand slave infants. Abolitionists remarked how the poor, horrible conditions in which people lived brought at these desperate and insane gestures.

The possibility of choosing when having a child is a great right because avoid terrible gestures, helping the mother; where this one wants to leave the baby in the hospital abandoning him because can't cure him for financial reasons, in Italy for example, she can does it.

A chapter involves Marchesa Casati; free and disinibited spirit, she was at long the lover of Gabriele D'Annunzio. 

Casati left Italy in 1922, when the regime of Mussolini was installed, but previously she spent some time in Capri a place adored by homosexuals of high society.

Why starting with Marchesa Casati? Because her ambivalence can clarify the situation of other women less privileged than her and so submitted to men. Promiscuity or loving people of the same sex was still a big taboo.

Why homosexuality was not seen well in Italy? Because it didn't bring new children and it was sterile under many ways.

Again in Weineger's account women were irrationals, people without too much consideration while men were rational, secure of themselves, having the best characteristics of this world.

Women needed to stay home, without thinking too much while they could study, learning, discovering culture, politics, arts.

Racism. Of genre, but always racism.

There were countries pretty opened and for this reason, also, many people afforded there. France and Paris were places where everyone could live with freedom his/her sexuality.

In France on 1928 was published Recherches sur la Sexualite a book that wanted to clarify all the possible doubts regarding sex, positions, orgasm, menage a trois, light on or off during sexual intercourses, men preferring older or younger women, and much more.

Although homosexuality could start to be tolerated somewhere, in other parts of Europe was highly condemned and lesbians seen as transgender.

Of course, as said before what scared to death the most conservative part of the society was the sterility, and also the idea that this fragmentation would have brought confusion and the end of a fertile society with a family well defined.

Claude Cahun is an example of a creative woman that as you can see  through her photographs, tried, with humor to express herself. Cahun was a big activist and her biography is remarkable.

A book that you must buy if you think that women fought for rights and still are fighting for new rights! every day of their existence.

Highly recommended.

I thank Columbia University Press for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori