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some non-fiction

I've been reading a lot of non-fiction recently.

I recommend:

Under the Banner of Heaven: A History of Violent Faith
A history of the Mormons - the fastest growing religion in the world. I was inspired by the trip to Utah and Salt Lake City. It was interesting to learn about the fervor and violence of Mormonism's early years. I read a newspaper in Utah that talked about a guy getting prosecuted for "plural marriage" (i.e. polygamy) but his "celestial wife" who was under 20 yrs old refused to testify against her much-older husband. I was very intrigued by this section of US society that seem so extreme, so different from what we consider as "normal".

Salt: A World History

I bought it at the airport in Vancouver for reading on the plane. It's very interesting, as well as talking about the usual Chinese, Roman, etc. history of salt, there is talk about how salt caused wars, rise/fall of nations and trades, etc. It dragged a bit in places (especially the technical parts about mines and the chemical composition of various kinds of salts). One chapter talked about how prisoners several hundred years ago were preserved in salt if they died before they could stand trial. Their salted, preserved corpse would be taken to the courtroom and tried by the judge etc. So bizarre!

There was one 1860s snippet from one of the chapters about the US Civil War that was sooo funny.

Confederate States Almanac: "To keep meat from spoiling in the summer: eat it in the spring."

I just found that wonderful. *LOL*


I started Jung Chang's Mao: The Unknown Story but it's very heavy going. I'm on an extended break and decided to start The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America instead.


Speckled Jim

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