Passages records the books I'm reading, the live music I'm hearing, and the movies I'm seeing. Every now and then I'll throw in a passage from a book I read a while back or a trailer from a old favorite movie. Occasionally, there is something that simply caught my eye. But most of it is what I'm reading and hearing and watching in real time.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Bloody Spring

And so Grant came to momentous realization that in order to triumph, individual victories and defeats must necessarily matter less to him than they had to his predecessors. One defeat had been enough for each of them to abandon his strategy and withdraw to safety.

Grant was neither shrewder, nor more perceptive, than they, but he was readier to take risks and he possessed a quality that they did not -- perseverance, forged in the failures and misfortunes of his civilian life.

He might be just what the unlucky Army of the Potomac needed. Win or lose, Grant would go ahead. The romantic chivalry with which the war had begun had vanished in the red gore of Gettysburg and Chickamauga, replaced by simple mathematics: the ruthless application of greater numbers, firepower, and logistics to slowly destroy the Confederate army while moving inexorably southward -- described by Grant's aide, Lieutenant Colonel Horace Porter, as "a moving siege."

Joseph Wheelan, The Bloody Spring: Forty Days That Sealed The Confederacy's Fate (2014)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Great Gatsby

Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes -- a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

No Ordinary Men

They remained steadfast and named no names - ever. Yet there was the desolation of being utterly at the mercy of their jailers, the deranging uncertainty of their situation. For Hans there was the wrenching pain of the almost unendurable separation from Christine, whom he most needed, most missed, most loved, and his anguish about Dietrich, for whom he felt responsible and whom he loved. He brooded on why he had thought he had the right to put the family in jeopardy, to sacrifice everything that was good in the private realm so as to combat evil in the public realm. And there was the ever-present fear: Would he, would the others, withstand torture?

Elisabeth Sifton and Fritz Stern, No Ordinary Men: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hans von Dohnanyi, Resisters Against Hitler In Church And State (2013)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hollywood and Hitler

True to industry form, a decisive factor in the sensibility turnabout was commercial. The considerations that had constrained Hollywood since 1933 -- the profits from the German market and the hope that relations might return to normal in a post-Hitler Germany -- had become moot. Hollywood made anti-Nazi films because, after September 1939, there was no good reason not to.

Thomas Doherty, Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939 (2013)


The Immigrant