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Save the Story: Save History

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Save the Story: Save History

This evening I read an article entitled Little House On The Controversary: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Name Removed From Book Award, by Kat Chow. It discusses how a division of the American Library Association voted unanimously to strip Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a significant children’s literature award over concerns about how the author referred to Native Americans and blacks.

The famously read Little House on the Prarie book series was written by Laura Ingalls Wilder in 1935. Based on her childhood growing up on the American Great Plains in the 1800’s. This work of fiction has been criticized since its publication for its treatment of Native Americans and blacks.

The thing is, many books, fiction, and non-fiction written in the past, have depicted forms of racism, bigotry, and sexism. Historical writing typically gives the reader a vision of the times. In Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, the setting is in the South during the 1930’s where racism was prevalent and real.  In the story, words such as Nigger and Nigger- loving show the speech and mindset of the time. Yet, the educational significance of this story in teaching generations the horror of racism is monumental.

I fear that we will remove the novels and stories of times past and lose relevant pieces of our history. These stories, no matter how painful they be, lead us to open our hearts and minds to a more compassionate way to treat others. Often, the best lessons are learned through negative and appalling examples read in safety removed from the experience.

One example is reading Night by Elie Wiesel. His telling of his experiences with his father in the Nazi German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald in 1944–1945, at the height of the Holocaust is horrifying. It leaves the reader to question how human beings can be so cruel to each other. It teaches about anti-semitism, evil, death, darkness, but also the strength of the human spirit, and hope.

As a society, it would be detrimental to strip our writers of their tales or the characters the ability to stir emotion just because we don’t agree with their viewpoints or words. Charles Dickens who penned stories like A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, and Oliver Twist, wrote on controversial topics and was one of the most important social commentators who used fiction effectively to criticize economic, social, and moral abuses in the Victorian era. Mr. Dickens contributed to many important social reforms. He was an author who used his characters to demonstrate compassion and empathy towards the vulnerable and disadvantaged segments of English society.

His characters were not always politically correct or very benevolent. The famous character, Scrooge, in A Christmas Carol whose quote, “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.” Scrooge refers to the poor in England. Readers are repulsed by this opinion and are called to action.

I don’t agree with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s opinions on Native Americans nor blacks in the 1800’s. It is hard for me to fathom how people could think and act as they did in the past.  However, I am better for reading those stories regardless of how horrifying, cold-blooded, and eye-opening they may be. It will be a fatal end to free speech and free thinking if we shun the authors and books that express historical and controversial opinions. It is nothing more than book burning without the fire.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Bio

Charles Dickens

Elie Wiesel in NY Times

Night by Elie Wiesel

To Kill a Mockingbird

 

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 6/25/2018.

 

 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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When Healing Becomes A Crime: The Amazing Story of the Hoxsey Cancer Clinics and Therapies by Kenny Ausubel

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When Healing Becomes a Crime: The Amazing Story of the Hoxsey Cancer Clinics and the Return of Alternative TherapiesWhen Healing Becomes a Crime: The Amazing Story of the Hoxsey Cancer Clinics and the Return of Alternative Therapies by Kenny Ausubel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This Exposé is the story of Harry Hoxsey and of the politics of cancer. It is an eye-opening look at the dirty secrets of oncology. The author, Kenny Ausubel, shares the intriguing story of Harry Hoxsey, whose great-grandfather stumbled upon a cure for cancer. Harry received the recipe for the herbal salve and tonic from his grandfather on his deathbed. He told Harry to guard the secret with his life because there people out there who would want it at any cost. He also told Harry not to charge those who lacked funds to pay for the treatment.

Harry Hoxsey followed his grandfather’s creed until his death. He cured thousands of cancer patients and at one time had the largest cancer treatment center in Texas with branches in 17 states. He was also touted to be the biggest snake oil salesman who ever lived.

How can a man who saves so many lives be a quack? Well according to Morris Fishbein, the editor of the American Medical Association (AMA) Journal, the Hoxey Formula was useless folk medicine against cancer. Fishbein wielded his influence to have Hoxey arrested, harassed, and his clinics closed down.

In the second half of the book, we learn that there are many alternative methods to treat cancer. Most of these methods are never shared with the American public because of the politics involved. We learn what roles the AMA, the FDA, and the National Institute of Health, play in the treatment of cancer. The standard treatment in our country is surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. They have been the only option for those who are suffering from cancer.

The author does extensive research into alternative methods and the Hoxey Formula. Scientific testing done on individual herbs used in the Hoxsey formula has been proven to have anti-cancer properties to cure some forms of cancer.

This is a must read book for anyone who has cancer or has a loved one with cancer. Although, there are not cures in this book, there are many citations of research directed at alternative methods. Warning: This book will make you furious about the state of Cancer Treatment in America at this time. The money and politics involved in the big business of cancer creates a barrier for alternative methods of treatment to be used.

Kenny Ausubel also made an award-winning documentary entitled, “Project Censored’s “Best Censored Story” that follows the Hoxsey story with live footage of Hoxey and his clinic.

You may also wish to listen to Ausubel’s interview on Coast-to-Coast AM at http://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/20…

 

 

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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Fahrenheit 451Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fahrenheit 451 is a must read classic and an original dystopian novel. Ray Bradbury, who just recently passed away, was a prolific science fiction writer with over 500 pieces published. Fahrenheit 451, one of many celebrated books written by Bradbury, focuses on Guy Montag who is a fireman. The twist is that he starts fires rather than put them out. He is charged with the duty of burning books. For years, Montag has burned books. He says, “It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.”
One day, Montag is called to burn the books of Mrs. Hudson. She refuses to allow her books to be set on fire. She would rather die than lose her books. Haunted by Mrs. Hudson’s convictions, Montag collects a few of the books that have been saved by the fire and takes them home. He begins to read them in secret and his perspective on life begins to change. Fueled by his growing dissatisfaction of his profession and the meaninglessness in his life he seeks out a man named Faber. Montag once gave Faber a light charge after being caught with books. Ironically, Faber and Montag agree to copy an old salvaged Bible to save its contents from being destroyed.
The book is separated into titled sections that seem to represent the changes in Montag. Censorship is the most prevalent theme of this story. It seems the government and society does not want information to reach the people. The only information comes from media that seems to suggest radio and TV. Amazingly, in Montag’s home, he has a room where three walls hold screened TV, and his wife cannot wait until they can afford to have all the walls covered. This is surprisingly similar to the huge flat screen TV’s that current society has in every room of their homes.
Another theme is knowledge versus ignorance where Montag was happy with his life before he was bestowed the knowledge of reading. It is impossible to put the knowledge aside once he has it in his possession. It changes his beliefs and his life.
The writing style Bradbury incorporates into Fahrenheit 451 is a more formal style than what people are familiar with today. Published in 1953, the novel is often used by high schools and colleges. Francois Truffaut wrote and directed a film adaptation of the book in 1966, and it is available on DVD.
This novel’s themes are relevant today for it seems that many of Bradbury’s visions of the future have materialized in society. Thoughts and musings on these themes will haunt the reader long after he or she has finished the novel. Read this book!

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Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

THE OUTSIDERS by S. E. Hinton

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The OutsidersThe Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is amazing that S.E. Hinton wrote The Outsiders as a teenager in high school and had it published in her first year of college. The novel takes place in 1965 in Oklahoma and the action is between two teenage groups the Socs and the Greasers. The two groups are always clashing and fighting. The Socs are the rich kids who drive mustangs and the Greasers are the poor kids without much but their “tuff” look.

The book opens with the main character, Ponyboy, jumped by a group of Socs as he is leaving the movie house. Ponyboy is saved by his gang of Greasers that include his two older brothers. Darry takes care of his younger brothers after their parents die in a car crash and Sodapop, a high school dropout works at a garage.

The next evening Ponyboy and his best friend, Johnny, meet two Socs girls named Cherry Valance and Marcia. Ponyboy learns that Cherry and he have a lot in common. They meet up with the drunken boyfriends of Cherry and Marcia and the girls go home with them to avoid a fight. The problems escalate as the story continues until Ponyboy and Johnny are on the run because Johnny killed one of the Socs when they ambushed the boys in the park.

This story, though it takes place more than 40 years ago, is still a favorite with teenagers, today. The themes of bridging the gap between rich and poor, honor, courage, loyalty, and sorrow are timeless. The time and the look of the story may be antiquated; however, the themes presented in the novel still ring true. Teenagers can associate and feel compassion for the plight of the greasers.

The writing style is simplistic and easy to follow. Overall, the plot makes the story a good read no matter what age you are. Once you finish the book, you may wish to rent the movie. Many stars got their start in this movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Some faces you will recognize are Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, and Rob Lowe. This is a must read.

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Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Reviews

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Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia     

by Elizabeth M. Gilbert

I purchased this book based on the positive reviews I read and a few recommendations from friends.  On the surface, it was an interesting read about a woman’s spiritual journey to find her way to a new life.  She travels as a writer to Italy, India, and Indonesia enjoying and writing about her experiences.  The writing is good and the story is easy to follow.  Included in the story are bouts of humor and tragedy.  All are, of course, examples of good storytelling.  Nevertheless, by the middle of the book, I began to question the heroine’s thought process.  It seems that instead of finding herself, she is merely running away from real life.

I thought the protagonist in the book Eat, Pray, Love was a self-centered woman who cared for nothing but finding her ideal life.  Her disregard for her responsibilities in favor of her wants left me doubting her character. She could not stay married, she would not have children, she, she, she!  Her perspective focused on only how she felt and seldom on others. Did she really need to travel the world to find her life’s purpose?  As Dorothy says in the movie, The Wizard of Oz “… if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”  This book is a great lesson for the “me” generation wannabes.

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