Monthly Archives: May 2019

Mentors: The Making of an Art Historian by Francis M Naumann

Mentors: The Making of an Art HistorianMentors: The Making of an Art Historian by Francis M Naumann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My commutes this year have been enhanced by lectures on concert music (The Great Courses lecture series by Dr. Robert Greenberg, ten Great Masters, Their Lives and Music), and when this came across in an email, I was happy to expand my arts education again. I received a review copy of this from Edelweiss, Above the Treeline. I had read Maxwell Anderson’s The Quality Instinct: Seeing Art Through a Museum Director’s Eye six years ago (must reread it soon!) and wondered if this might be a bit of seeing art through a historian’s eye. Not really, but engaging nonetheless. Naumann is forthcoming with his naiveties, candid with his relationships (be forewarned, he is open with some…adult…interactions), and while I didn’t get the full sense of his subtitle until the end, I did feel a privilege of his sharing of his mentors. Those mentors were Leo Steinberg, John Rewald, Beatrice Wood, and William Rubin, Robert Rosenblum and Robert Pincus-Witten. I’ll not pick much from his memories here…best to read about them yourself. Continue reading

Appeasement: Chamberlain, Hitler, Churchill, and the Road to War by Tim Bouverie

Appeasement: Chamberlain, Hitler, Churchill, and the Road to WarAppeasement: Chamberlain, Hitler, Churchill, and the Road to War by Tim Bouverie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This might be my last review of a book received through the discontinued Penguin Books First to Read program. I requested 29 since 2015 and was selected for 19 (I might read one more that I was not selected for, thus the “might”) and I appreciate the opportunities.

Bouverie has composed an incredibly thorough relation of a narrow history of a particular time for a particular country, and particular players and their particularly disastrous choices of action. His political journalist chops are apparent…his research is extensive. For a reader not of his country, the insights were well received, including the acerbic observations throughout (on the future Edward VIII and his hands off opinion, Bouverie said “[l]acking intelligence and a sense of constitutional propriety, the Prince made his views clear …”) There are lessons here that are not being heeded in the country of this reader. I may draw crosshairs for finding parallels in a particular political party’s appeasement of the heinous actions and comportment of the current (as of this writing) elected executive. There are other observations that parallel today; one being:

I have the impression that the persons directing the policy of the Hitler Government are not normal. Many of us, indeed, have a feeling that we are living in a country where fanatics, hooligans and eccentrics have got the upper hand.
– British Ambassador to Berlin [Sir Horace Rumbold] to the Foreign Secretary [Sir John Simon], June 30, 1933

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The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service by Lee Cockerell

The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational ServiceThe Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service by Lee Cockerell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I borrowed this from a coworker and after the first few pages tracked down a couple of copies nearby (that I haven’t bought yet) so I can have my own to add to the toolbox. Solid advice, probably heard before for sure, but collected in one place. Cockerell’s Title plays on the words, but his subtitle entices: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service. (I would have left off the definitive article, but I also didn’t write the book.) I won’t list all of them here – buy or borrow it yourself! – but here are a few, with some thoughts… Continue reading