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ARC Review: The Divorce Colony

The Divorce Colony: How Women Revolutionized Marriage and Found Freedom on the American Frontier by April White April White’s The Divorce Colony is set during the Gilded Age, in the America of the late 1800s. It revolves around the lax divorce rules then to be found in South Dakota.  Today, getting divorced is almost easier than getting married. But in the Gilded Age, divorces were not so easy to obtain. Divorce was viewed as a moral concern for the state, and was denounced from the pulpit for threatening the sanctity of marriage. Even President Theodore Roosevelt spoke out against it.  Laws around divorce tended to be most lax on the frontiers of the United States. By the 1880s the territory of Dakota gained the dubious honor of posting the largest rise in divorces in the country. At the turn of the century one city - Sioux Falls, South Dakota - gained a reputation for having the laxest divorce laws of all, and required only a three month residency in order to take advantage of them

Review: Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom

Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom by Condoleezza Rice
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Highly readable, engaging summary by former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on democracy, and how countries transition from non-democratic to democratic. She provides many examples from her career, providing a personal bent to many of the stories of transition. Stories include Kenya, Ukraine, Poland, Columbia, Arab states and more. She ends with an overview from 2016 (when this book was written) that includes perceptions of challenges to democracy even here in the US, but nevertheless ends on a hopeful note.

Others have called this book dry, or suggested it's hard going in parts, but I didn't find it so at all. I must admit I did set it down half way through to pick up a short novel that I finished before coming back to it, but both halves of this book went by quickly.