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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: Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship

Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship
by Jon Meacham

In  Franklin and Winston Jon Meacham has written a fascinating book about the friendship that developed between Roosevelt and Churchill through the conduct of World War II. Meacham's conversational style makes the book both entertaining and easy to read.

Meacham spends some time on the background of each leader, and on the events going on around them, but the focus is really on the relationship that developed between these two men. The positions their two nations found themselves in at the start of World War II, and the offices each man held in those nations, both helped shape their relationship. But Meacham makes it clear that both developed a fondness for the other that helped carry them through to the end - to Roosevelt's untimely death and Churchill being voted out of office.

Also helping shape the interplay between the two leaders was the role of the Soviet Union and Joseph Stalin as the third member of the Allied Powers, and Meacham's accounting of the three men at the conferences the "Big Three" held during the war is an interesting part of the story.

Anyone who has recently read Erik Larson's The Splendid and the Vile will be familiar with many of the details covered in the first three chapters of this book (though Meacham did get there first - this book was originally published in 2003). 

Both men were great leaders in trying times, inspiring their nations to come together and rise to meet difficult challenges. Both also were not perfect, but their nations were fortunate that what may have been seen as their flaws in other times were the strengths their nations needed in time of war.

I rate Franklin and Winston 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - I really liked the book and was glad I read it. I learned quite a bit from it. I recommend it.

Franklin and Winston links

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