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It'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry, cry, cry....
on October 7, 2009
One laugh...more of a quiet giggle really, page. 1135 "To do the wrong thing is bad, but to do it incompetently is unforgiveable." Ok, so the context probably would make it more humorous.
The rest of the book actually had genuine tearful moments for me...but I'll get to those in a bit.
Quigley started off objective and gradually became so subjective that by the last chapter I was questioning his sanity. I wonder if writing this book eventually drove him mad? It started off on a high- which I would've given 4 stars. But, gradually he began to inject his opinion and by the time he became mayor of crazy-town in the last chapter- I was considering 2 stars. But I will compromise and give it a 3.
The historical account was great. He tended to go into numbers and percents that really weren't significant, which tended to make me daydream or fall asleep on the book. The most interesting and informative chapters were: 7, 8, 14, 16, 17, and 18. Many in between were torturous and long. This book of 1300+ pages should have been a series of at least 5 books. It is hard to recall the 1st chapter by the time you've finished the last.
Moments of genuine tears, for those who are libertarian-leaning republic lovers...I had to put the book down & relieve frustration on pages 866, 950, and 1247. FYI- this whole democracy thing is summed up to be a delusion. Feels like a true life Matrix. I completely agree with him that democracy is fleeting and an authoritarian system will be inevitable due to citizens being out-weaponed by governments. An idea that I've had for a while which was reinforced on page 1200.
Around page 1249, put on your seatbelt, because you're about to witness an homage to psychopathy. Quigley rants on for pages in a chaotic diatribe on the middle class. Basically, the world was happier when it was just elites and their slaves. There are many moments of snobbery throughout the book, but the last chapter reveals it all. He also has a point in an earlier chapter where he denegrates the John Birch Society and Joe McCarthy for pages, and pages, and pages. Two subjects I know very little about, but it was rather distracting. I'll give him points for some amazing put downs. I'd hate to be on the receiving end of his condescension. But I read the book for history, not for personal vendettas.
Its a 1300+ page book, so it is impossible to comment on every high or low. I'm sure there will be things I think of later. Ultimately, it starts off well, plateaus, and then quickly tailspins. I understand what the tragedy is...but the hope was lost somewhere in an overwhelming attempt by Quigley who might have bitten off more than he could chew.