In the High Peaks

Friday, November 13, 2020

Only Half-Trying to Remain "Composed:" On Living with Ignorance and Stupidity

 You all know me by now, at least in part. First of all, I blame our educational system. So unbelievably poor, and I participated in that. Not for my entire career, by any means. I taught sixth grade from 1975-1985. I was a writer and editor of American history from 1986-2008, and during that time I didn't feel I did anything that brought THIS MAN ADHERING TO THE HITLER PLAY BOOK to the fore, quite the contrary. But I can't help but feel culpable for the hordes of people who believe that "TRUMP IS MEIN FUHRER."  Only a person who has meticulously studied 20th-century European History can feel this unendurable pain, as I'm sure many of you, like me, have. Where did we as a country go so wrong that people are ready to discard the hallmarks of our democracy? 

In my county in northern New York, 30 percent voted for Biden and 69 percent for Trump. Many men in my town truly believe that DEMOCRATS are scheming to take away their hunting rifles. Ridiculous, but true. They are, in part, single-issue voters, but many more adore the way Trump flaunts authority, conventions, the laws. They eat it up!  Where are we all, considering this Mess?

Okay, okay, let's all skip along back to the bunker and to books. I'm thoroughly enjoying Julia Spencer-Fleming's 2020 novel, the latest mystery in her Russ Van Alstyne--Claire Fergusson series, Hid from Our Eyes. It's been a seven-year wait for this next installment, because of Spencer-Fleming's husband's illness and death to cancer, and the death of another of her close associates. I HEARTILY recommend this series and this latest installment. I hope Spencer-Fleming has more novels tucked away for us!   

My audio read of Inge's War: A German Woman's Family, Secrets, and Survival under Hitler by Svenja O'Donnell turned out to be one of my top five best reads of the year. But Inge wasn't just any German woman. She was a very, very young East Prussian woman, a teenaged mother, a refugee who barely survived the last year of the war and the early post-war years when there was next to no food available. Heartily recommend! And the parallels to Trump/Hitler are in abundance. 

Tomorrow I'll be beginning to read The Turncoat by Siegfried Lenz, a German novel in translation. Lenz was born in 1926 and this novel delves into the life of a soldier on the Eastern Front, which as has been so clearly explained in Inge's War, was a death sentence for German soldiers, not to mention the atrocities they committed on their way to Stalingrad. 




  1. I saved the previous Spencer-Fleming for a very long time so the wait between books was not as long for me! And, as I mentioned to you, I think you'd really like the two books by Paula Munier (dogs!).

    I have about ten days more in my semester and am in two groups. It would be faster to do everything myself but that is not allowed. One assignment is to create an imaginary library and corresponding collection development policy and budget. We set ours outside London and budgeted an annual trip for the trustees (us). Wouldn't that be nice?

    I also blame the educational system for these willfully wrong people. That idiot who beat Doug Jones needs basic civics but he is clearly proud of his ignorance. But I also blame the media who took 5 years too long to start saying, "He's lying," about every idiocy that came out of Trump's mouth.

    1. So Sorry it's taken me so long to comment!
      Paula Munier--Will definitely look her up, thank you so much!
      And how I commiserate with the rest!! Do enjoy your end-of-the-year reading!

  2. Sadly it's not so very different in the UK and now we find ourselbves in the position of being dragged out of the EU, by a lot of people who truly think that things can go back to the days when we had an empire - in other words when we were exploiting people poorer than we were. We have yet to get rid of Boris Johnson but I don't think we'll have to wait too long.

    1. Katrina,
      Forgive me for not replying sooner! What on earth is wrong with me?
      I can totally understand your frustration, and I think as a Scot that maybe you feel you'd be better off without the rest of the UK. Not sure about how you feel about that.