Hidden Lessons from History
Imagine if you will that you have a beloved, well-read and well-educated uncle or aunt who had spent years traveling the world with a well-worn leather-bound journal in hand and a fine single-lens-reflex camera slung about his or her neck. Then imagine that this sweet relative sends you a box full of stunning photographs each accompanied with pithy quotes from famous people and writings from the journal that amplify the photograph. The writings are short, but they are filled with wonderful details about the place depicted, explaining its history and highlighting important events that took place there sometime in the past.
Wouldn’t that be a wonderful gift, especially if you are:
1. stuck at home due to a world-wide pandemic that doesn’t allow for any foreign travel and, in some cases, not even much in the way of domestic travel
2. a history buff who loves to learn about things new to you that will trigger more research.
That is pretty much what you will find in this beautifully crafted book. One can wander through the pages to find such a variety of places to visit from the spectacular Matterhorn in the middle of Europe to what some may think is a real fountain of youth on an isle in Costa Rica, from the Hallsgrimkirk, an amazing church in Iceland that is many stories tall and would look like a mountain from afar to the turquoise waters of Lake Moraine in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, from places everyone would recognize such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the White House in Washington D.C. to places few know about such as Livingston Field in Puerto Rico or the top of the Ixmoja Pyramid in Coba, Mexico. This is not a very long book. One could certainly read it all in a long afternoon, but you will not want to do that. You will want to linger on each beautiful photograph and savor the text that accompanies them. And, very likely, you will want to dig a little deeper into the subject matter — find out a little more history, a few more juicy facts about these fascinating places. There are only a bit more than thirty places to visit in the book, but you will want to spend some leisure time in each one. The writing is lively, friendly, and really quite personal, so reading this is rather like having a conversation with an old friend. Books such as this are rare and should be treasured, enjoyed, and kept handy for recurring visits.
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