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Empathy During Civil Strife

 The other day I got email from a friend who is a different kind of traveler, compared to me. They are airplane-oriented, so their lifestyle has really been shut down compared to an RV traveler (like me) in the USA.

Just think how unevenly and unfairly hardship is distributed right now during the virus stuff! And when you get lucky, it is so easy to ignore people who are unlucky -- even if you know them well. Sigh.

Since I sometimes wonder if I have wasted too much time in my life reading useless books (or other media), this might be an interesting case. What is the best book that helps you experience what it is like to be a lucky one, when others are unlucky?

The limiting case might be, say, Missouri or Kentucky during the War Between the States. Or what about Germany during the 30 Years War? There must be something written about a society 'circling the drain,' and misfortunes landing on individuals unfairly and unevenly.



Ed said…
I have not read any of these three books but the first two are about an Empire that 'circled the drain' within our lifetime. The third one is the classic book about a failed Empire.

The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union by Serhii Plokhy

Eight Pieces of Empire: A 20-Year Journey Through the Soviet Collapse by Lawrence Scott Sheets

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
Ed, Hmmm... which ones writes of personal experiences more? The one by Gibbon would not, that's for sure.

Perhaps a historical novel is what I am looking for.
Ed, I am reading the free preview from Kobo of Eight Pieces of Empire. Looks promising. To buy the book is only $5.
Ed said…
Perhaps this is more what you are looking for:

Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich - Translated by Bela Shayevich

In this monumental book, Nobel Prize for Literature winner, Svetlana Alexievich, interviews dozens of people who had lived in the USSR on how they experienced the collapse of the Soviet Union. The voices in this “collective novel”, as the Belorussian author calls it, range from Gulag survivors to ex-Communist Party officials. “I’m piecing together the history of ‘domestic’, ‘interior’ socialism’,” Alexievich writes in the introduction. Disappointment, rage, and suffering about both the Soviet era and its fall pour through these oral history accounts. With Second Hand Time, Alexievich ends her cycle of five books investigating the “Soviet soul”.

There are 4 more 'possible books @ (These 5 books lay bare what life was really like when communism fell in Eastern Europe)

Good hunting!