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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

Book Review: The Human Cosmos: Civilization and the Stars

The Human Cosmos: Civilization and the Stars by Jo Marchant

Jo Marchant has written a fascinating and thought provoking tour of humankind’s relationship with the cosmos. Covering history, philosophy, religion, art and psychedelic drugs among other things, Marchant weaves together a compelling narrative. I’ve seen this book compared to Harari’s Sapiens. Both books tackle big questions and seek answers across diverse fields of thought. 

For much of our history human beings have looked to the stars. We’ve imagined our gods living among them. We’ve looked up among them for signs and predictions, both for our societies and for ourselves. Science has shown that much of life on earth has evolved internal clocks that synchronize patterns of our behavior to the rhythms of the sun and moon. But today there are few stars visible from most cities, and we humans no longer look to the heavens for answers to our problems.

The Human Cosmos helps illuminate how our relationship to the wider universe has influenced humanity, and what we may be missing out on today - from an urban view of the stars themselves to a lack of understanding of the reality of life itself.

Looking across bookish websites I see that this book was widely praised as a top science book of 2020. It is certainly among the top books I’ve read this year. Five Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ for The Human Cosmos. 

The Human Cosmos links:


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