Cleopatras Nose: Essays on the Unexpected

Editorial Reviews. From Library Journal. Librarian of Congress emeritus Boorstin (formerly history, Univ. of Chicago) presents a distillation of his ideas on the.
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Essays on the Unexpected by Daniel J. Essays on the Unexpected 3.

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The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Discoverers demonstrates the truth behind the aphorism that if Cleopatra's nose had been shorter, the face of the world would have been changed. Boorstin goes on to uncover the elements of accident, improvisation and contradiction at the core of American institutions and beliefs.

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Cleopatra's Nose: Essays on the Unexpected - Daniel J. Boorstin - Google Книги

Jul 09, Marie rated it it was ok. My disappointment with this book is not entirely its fault. The title comes from an adage about the size of Cleopatra's nose affecting history - and the book promises to explore "unexpected" historical moments. I don't feel it met this challenge. There were a few quick tidbits I found enjoyable, an essay on the selection of the design of our nation's capital, tw My disappointment with this book is not entirely its fault. There were a few quick tidbits I found enjoyable, an essay on the selection of the design of our nation's capital, two book reviews, and one rant against linguistic sensitivity.

Oh, and a biographical essay near the end about the author's father that I found entertaining. I will say that he did a great job of knitting these separate essays together in an order that made them seem like a through-written book. Or, well, anything to do with Cleopatra or non-American history, save the one book review which was of a Russian travelogue. The author did make a valid case against prognostication by repeatedly - in the early 90s when he was writing - ranting about how unfairly open our government is.

Sep 02, A. Wasn't what I was expecting from the blurb hm, maybe I should have expected that More ranting than history - there's a sustained attack on politically correct language at one point, for example. I disagreed with some of Boorstin's main points - about science being collaborative and art being solitary, and discoverers being celebrated while inventors are not. The chapter I did enjoy was his memorial of his father, a lawyer in Tulsa in its earl Wasn't what I was expecting from the blurb hm, maybe I should have expected that The chapter I did enjoy was his memorial of his father, a lawyer in Tulsa in its early years.

Otherwise, I found Boorstin's apparent belief that life the USA is the height of human progress rather short-sighted and unquestioning. For someone who had lived overseas, his view of life seemed remarkably parochial. Apr 30, Jerry rated it liked it. Gosh, what a mix. A chapter wasted whining about political correctness. Two more wasted on how symbolic the White House and Capitol are, full of ironies about how open and inviting they are, just like our Government. But then he has insightful nuggets everywhere about scale, unintended consequences and more.

For example, among Hottentots, "infinity begins at three.

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And many more nuggets. Sep 05, Gina rated it liked it Recommends it for: I love Daniel J. Boorstein's infinite knowledge and how he uses it. If I remember correctly, he was a congressional librarian and a super smarty-pants He really shakes things up for a librarian! He exposes the minutiae that becomes an important revelation to the cause and effects of history. He's like that National Geographic photographer to camps out for months charting the fragile life of some endangered Polar Bear baby DJB was a rebel.

Oct 07, Nathan rated it did not like it Shelves: This book seemed to have everything going for it: It turned out to be a complete bore. Rambling hare-brained essays on the way history doesn't work the way we expect it to. Ostensibly, Boorstin's interest here is the "unexpected" in history, but he includes thing like the printing press and the White House; even the layperson might see how very important those things actually are.


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  8. Boorstin just holds forth and says nothing This book seemed to have everything going for it: Boorstin just holds forth and says nothing. Easily dismissed and just as well skipped. The intellectual equivalent of using a howitzer to remove the anthill.

    Cleopatra's Nose: Essays on the Unexpected

    Each essay contains one tiny gem of an original idea, contained in a single sentence. The rest of the chapter is a mishmash of historical anecdata, etymologies, and personal observations that ultimately suggest it wasn't that much of a gem after all.

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    The essay on the author's father is worth reading, and perhaps there is an idea in here worth remembering; time may tell. Like the curious amateurs he celebrates, Boorstin offers ""a wonderful vagrancy into the unexpected. There was a problem adding your email address. Be the first to discover new talent! Each week, our editors select the one author and one book they believe to be most worthy of your attention and highlight them in our Pro Connect email alert. Sign up here to receive your FREE alerts. By clicking on "Submit" you agree that you have read and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

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