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August 09, 2015

Sunday Morning Book Thread 08-09-2015: Lost Children of the Empire [OregonMuse]


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Good morning to all of you morons and moronettes and bartenders everywhere and all the ships at sea. Welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The Sunday Morning Book Thread is the only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Or kilts. Assless chaps don't count. Serious you guys. Kilts are OK, though. But not tutus. Unless you're a girl.


Book thread MULTIPLE TRIGGER WARNINGS for the moral necessity of using nuclear weapons on Japanese cities, of shooting rioters and firing incompetent public school teachers, and of not supporting any social arrangement other than the traditional nuclear family.


A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.
-Gilbert K. Chesterton


So Where Did The Children Go?

In the late 70s/early 80s, the country went through kind of a panic over missing children, mainly due to the attendant publicity surrounding the disappearances of Etan Patz and Adam Walsh. They started putting photos of missing children on milk cartons, and, in fact, Patz's photo was the first one ever used for this purpose. But, as horrific as these crimes were, they're extremely atypical. "Stranger danger" is mostly misplaced concern, as the vast majority of missing children are the result of custody battles or other problems at home.

But what if children did go missing, thousands and thousands of them, and nobody knew where they were, and nobody wanted to talk about them, and they were mostly just forgotten?

Actually, this really happened. Rounding up orphans, "street" kids, and other unwanted children and packing them off to colonial destinations was a policy implemented by the British government for many years:

The practice of sending poor or orphaned children to English and later British settler colonies, to help alleviate the shortage of labor, began in 1618, with the rounding-up and transportation of one hundred English vagrant children to the Virginia Colony.

I never knew anything about this until I discovered the book Oranges and Sunshine by Margaret Humphreys, which was a $1.99 special via Bookbub earlier this week:

In 1986 Margaret Humphreys, a British social worker, investigated a woman's claim that at the age of four she had been put on a boat to Australia by the British government. At first thinking it incredulous, Margaret discovered that this was just the tip of an enormous iceberg. Up to 150,000 children, some as young as three years old, had been deported from children's homes in Britain and shipped off to a "new life" in distant parts of the British empire, right up until 1970. Many were told that their parents were dead, and parents often believed that their children had been adopted in Britain.

I'm about a third of the way into the book and Humphreys found out that many of these children were told they were being sent to "a nice family" in Australia, but that turned out to be, get this, a lie. Instead, they were just dumped into crappy orphanages, where they were worked hard, fed little, and made to endure beatings and even sexual abuse, far away from anything they ever knew.

Since then, others have written books on this hitherto "forgotten" story of Britain's unwanted children.

Humphreys' book concentrates on the children who were sent to Australia. Many others were sent elsewhere, such as Canada. A book that details the Canadian migrant children is The Little Immigrants: The Orphans Who Came to Canada by Kenneth Bagnell.

A more general book on this subject is Lost Children of the Empire: The Untold Story of Britain's Child Migrants by Philip Bean and Joy Melville, which tells

...the remarkable story of the Childs Migrants Trust, set-up in 1987, to trace families and to help those involved to come to terms with what has happened.But nothing can explain away the connivance and irresponsibility of the governments and organizations involved in this inhuman chapter of British history.

The Childs Migrants Trust was actually set up by Margaret Humphreys, which she discusses in Oranges and Sunshine.

Also The Home Children by Phyllis Harrison covers much of the same territory.

The takeaway here is that there is simply no substitute for the intact traditional family. Meaning, when children are removed from the protection of an intact traditional family, the chances of bad things happening to them, of being mistreated and abused in whatever situation they find themselves placed in, go way, way up.

I remember back in the day when then-VP Dan Quayle was pilloried by the liberal intelligentsia for daring to suggest that single motherhood was a bad idea ought not to be encouraged. I remember how they all screamed and jabbered like howler monkeys in their hatred and ridicule of him.

But then the liberal Atlantic magazine acknowledged that no, actually, Quayle was right.

The Washington Post agreed.

The TV actress Candice "Murphy Brown" Bergen stood aside and watched her liberal friends punch and kick Quayle around, but then 10 years later, after all the hubbub was safely in the past, admitted he was right.

At least she will never be accused of being courageous.

The author of the Atlantic piece, Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, later expanded her arguments into a book-length treatment, The Divorce Culture: Rethinking Our Commitments to Marriage and Family.

Quayle's infamous "Murphy Brown" speech can be read here, and I agree with the coward Candice Bergen: it's actually quite good. Here's an excerpt:

So, I think the time has come to renew our public commitment to our Judeo-Christian values in our churches and synagogues, our civic organizations and our schools. We are, as our children recite each morning, one nation under God. That’s a useful framework for acknowledging a duty and an authority higher than our own pleasures and personal ambition. If we live more thoroughly by these values, we would live in a better society. For the poor, renewing these values will give the people the strength to help themselves by acquiring the tools to achieve self-sufficiency, a good education, job training, and property. Then they will move from permanent dependence to dignified independence. Shelby Steele, in his great book, The Content of Our Character, writes “Personal responsibility is the brick and mortar - power. The responsible person knows that the quality of his life is something that he will have to make inside the limits of his fate. The quality of his life will be pretty much, will pretty much reflect his own efforts.”

Leftists hate this sort of talk. They absolutely hate it. It just drives them into psychosis.

And on a final note, I'm sure you'll all be thrilled to know that Obama is finally on board with the whole "killing human beings and harvesting their body parts is bad" thing. He's apparently discovered that it's being done by people who aren't his political allies, so now he feels free to criticize it.


Anniversary

70 years ago this week, the world entered the "atomic age" with the detonation of nuclear weapons that leveled two Japanese cities and brought WWII to a screeching halt. Truman's decision has been endlessly debated over the years. Like most, if not all, of you morons, I believe there's no question he made the right call. And, this being the book thread, my reasons take the form of books, books that I culled from ArthurK's "Thank God For The Atomic Bomb" thread earlier this week.

First up, The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust Of World War II by Iris Chang. For those who don't know the story:

In December 1937, in what was then the capital of China, one of the most brutal massacres in the long annals of wartime barbarity occurred. The Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking (Nanjing) and within weeks not only looted and burned the defenseless city but systematically raped, tortured, and murdered more than 300,000 Chinese civilians.

Chang's book is a brutal, sickening account that serves, if nothing else, as a reminder to us now of why the Japanese Empire just needed to be obliterated.

My second argument is With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa, Eugene Sledge's first-hand account of those battles. Okinawa was Peleliu magnified by 10, and Operation Olympic/Downfall/Coronet, the Allied plans for the invasion of the Japanese home islands, would have been Okinawa magnified by 100:

The Japanese planned an all-out defense of Kyūshū, with little left in reserve for any subsequent defense operations. Casualty predictions varied widely, but were extremely high. Depending on the degree to which Japanese civilians would have resisted the invasion, estimates ran up into the millions for Allied casualties.

And that's just the Allied casualties. More information on these Allied operations can be found in Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire by Richard B. Frank.

My last argument is Quartered Safe Out Here: A Harrowing Tale of World War II by George MacDonald Fraser, author of the Flashman novels. Of which moron commenter 'jay hoenemeyer' remarks:

The last chapter is an account of his argument with a guy on a plane who thought the bomb some sort of atrocity. Fraser at war's end was to return to combat as a platoon leader and knew, as most of his mates did, that all the war that was left was Japan. His argument is passionate but well reasoned. As I recall his last point was that had he invaded Japan, it was likely his grandchildren would not have been born.

So there you have it. If you're interested in hearing the other side, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb by Gar Alperovitz appears to contain all the arguments adduced by the pacifists and revisionists.


R.I.P. Robert Conquest

Dude was 98 years old and pretty much right about everything:

...his seminal study of the Stalinist purges, The Great Terror, which first appeared in 1968, when establishing the facts about a closed society was as much a matter of decryption and deduction as of research and recordation. (The book would be reissued in 1990, and then in 2007, as a "reassessment" which mainly reassessed just how prescient and correct the author had been before the opening of the Soviet archives).

The Great Terror is, even today, the definitive work on Stalin's murderous purges.

The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine is a history of the systematic destruction of agriculture in the USSR (in particular in the Ukraine) by Joseph Stalin.

And I thought that his works on Soviet history and politics, magnificent as they are, are all Conquest did.

But I was wrong.

He also wrote poetry (Demons Don't, Penultimata, among others), and novels (A World of Difference and The Egyptologists (with Kingsley Amis))

I found this anecdote from his wikipedia page amusing:

Soon after his expulsion from the Soviet Union, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn met with Conquest, asking him to translate a 'little' poem of his into English verse. This was "Prussian Nights" - nearly two thousand lines in ballad metre - published in 1977

Wow. Available from Amazon, but not as an e-book.


“Right Turn ONLY” Anthology Looking For Contributors

The CLFA (Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance) is looking to publish an anthology with PiR8 Productions and Media of stories that incorporate, highlight, or otherwise integrate one or more of the rights, ideas or items brought up in the Declaration of Independence or US Constitution's Bill of Rights, or stories embodying the loss of those rights and ideals, as well as the consequences.
Authors who are interested in contributing can find details here:

http://www.conservativebiker.com/right-turn-only-anthology/

Thanks to moron commenter BornLib for the tip.


This Will Make You Weep

Or, more precisely, green with envy. Author J.K. "Harry Potter" just turned 50 this week. And do you know how much she's worth? Go on, take a guess.

You really don't want to know, but I'm going to tell you, anyway:

Rowling had an estimated net worth of more than $1 billion in 2014, according to the Sunday Times' UK Rich List—a combination of the writer's impressive book sales and, in no small part, to the success of the "Harry Potter" films.

That's pretty impressive. I haven't checked, but Rowling may be the only person in the billionaire's club who got there because she was an author.

Now this I did not know:

If record-breaking novels and films aren't enough for Rowling's legion of fans—more than 5.04 million followers on Twitter and 4.3 million likes on Facebook—there's always a visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

With locations currently in Orlando, Florida, and Osaka, Japan, and another headed to Hollywood, Potterheads have ample opportunities to sip on a $6 Butterbeer and bask in all that Rowling helped create.

Looks like she's giving the Disney empire a run for its money.

I am probably the only person on the planet who hasn't read any of the Harry Potter books, so I have no idea what "butterbeer" is. But whatever it is, it sounds terrible.


Young Adult Books

I usually don't mention YA books on the book thread because I am not familiar enough with the genre enough to screen out the ones that shove the feminist or LBGTXYZBBQ agenda into the reader's face. But from this article about new YA fiction, Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani caught my eye:

Some secrets are meant to stay hidden; some secrets are too dangerous once uncovered. Claire Takata's dad died of a heart attack when she was six, at least that’s what her mother told her. But then Claire finds a letter in her stepfather’s desk that reveals more: He was a member of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. In search of answers, Claire and her best friend Forrest continue to snoop, but they’re beginning to attract the attention of someone who wants these secrets to stay buried, and will do anything to keep them so.

Which actually sounds like it might be good.

Another new YA novel that sounds interesting is The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich.

From the author's web site:

Part-psychological thriller, part-urban legend, this is an unsettling narrative made up of diary entries, interview transcripts, film footage transcripts and medical notes. Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Five people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . .

Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.

This one won't be available until September 15th.


___________

So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, bribes, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at the book thread e-mail address: aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.

What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as you all know, life is too short to be reading lousy books.

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