I'd heard that the "World War Two was a bad idea and we shouldn't have gotten into it" crowd was growing, but I didn't believe it until I started watching the current PBS show on the war in the Pacific: The Perilous Fight: America's World War II in Color. All death counts, all quotes by men on how nasty it is to see people die, all letters from parents complaining that they didn't approve of the so-called liberty their sons were dying for. So far, after half an hour, no hints of any reasons why anyone might have thought our involvement was the right thing to do...
There were Russian Orthodox missionaries in California in the 1500s. That's just fascinating to me -- Jamestown hadn't even been founded yet, hardly anyone from outside had any significant presence on the east coast, but the Russians were off seeking to save souls along the Pacific!
One minister's suggested cure for Parisian riots? Remove all law enforcement from the area. That, coupled with this article, reminds me of a certain episode in the mid-nineteenth century. Bismarck, as we all know, was busying himself both unifying Germany beginning with Prussia and getting rid of all threats to national stability. Part of the latter involved having a bit of fun with France (what doesn't?). The Prussians were happily going about, beating up French people (who were led by Napoleon III), and having a rather impressive victory at Sedan. Napoleon III says, fine, ok, I give. However, the Parisians weren't all that ready to concede a German victory. So, the Germans go bash Paris for a while, but then they get this great idea: why waste soldiers on Paris, when what's left of the French national government doesn't like these barricade-raising, commune-forming Parisians either? Therefore, Bismarck takes his army out (and does various insignificant things like unifying Germany and building up a huge military machine), and what do you think happens? Yes! France turns in on itself, and the French army goes and attacks Paris, much like a scorpion with sunstroke. Bismarck's solution, in short: leave France alone, and it will destroy itself. Seems to be a lasting truth.
(Incidentally, if one must choose camps, I'm more in the "it's because of race, unemployment, and culture" camp than in the "it's because of religion" camp, to the extent the two are separable.)
I have been reading a book by that name, the story of a Hungarian Jewish dwarf sibling performing group sent to Auschwitz (can't be too many people that fit that category...). Whereas You Can't Go Home Again, by Thomas Wolfe, is an exquisitely well-written book with a plot I find not interesting at all (but I keep coming back to, because it's so well-written), this book is poorly written, with repetitive adjectives, poor use of semi-chronological flow, and somewhat too much editorializing for a history book, but has a fascinating subject matter. I'm generally willing to pick up any WWII books (German / Jewish subject or not) I see at Half Price -- Hitler's Willing Executioners is next on my reading list -- and am not overly picky as to the content; I'll read nearly anything. There are many interesting parts in this book, aside from the story of the family itself. I'd never heard the criticism of Israel's use of Holocaust reparations money to purchase military equipment rather than give direct aid to concentration camp survivors, for example. It did take on a certain tone towards the end, however, a tone I've come across before: everyone is against us, Europe's against us, Israel's against us, nobody gives us enough attention, Holocaust museums are exploiting people's pain, getting to (21st century) Auschwitz by train is wrong, eating there is wrong, talking there is wrong, buying books about it is wrong (this in a book about it), but tearing down the buildings is also wrong, not telling people about it is wrong... in short, nothing that has been done about Auschwitz / Holocaust memorials has been done right, but we have no suggestions for improvement. (Similarly, one fellow in PBS's Auschwitz panel last spring who said it was wrong to say there were any lessons to be learned from the Shoah, because that would be getting something good out of it. The rest of the panelists disagreed with him, though, saying you kind of do need to be able to learn from the past.) I suppose I just prefer constructive people to destructive ones, who provide complaints with no suggestions.
In all, an interesting book; I just wish someone else had written it!