Tag Archives: America

“A Place Called Freedom”, By Ken Follett

Once again going back to Ken Follett in short span of time. The book “A Place Called Freedom” is a work of fiction set in 18th century England. Similar to century trilogy this book starts with story of coal miners who had the hardest and very dangerous life working in the mines. Mack McAsh is a miner in a small town where miners are forced to work in the mines due to some strange customs and they could not become free. But Mack figures out that the custom was illegal and he had the chance to be free. He escapes to London and organizes laborers like him and gets into trouble once again. Eventually he is exiled to America where he is able to taste freedom.

It is a story of a hero among the common men and how he is able to fight the system and in the process helps other people as well. Even though it is work of fiction, the story is plausible for England at that time. Of course you like the character of Mack but for me the character of Lizzie Halim was equally fascinating. She is high class girl but has her own views on everything and she keeps on helping Mack at different stages of his life. She struggles with her high class status and her perception of what is wrong with the world around her. She takes Mack’s challenge to go down in the mines and see for herself the conditions that miners face.

There is always lot to learn about history while reading Ken Follett’s books and this was no different. You learn that slavery not only affected Africans and Asians but it affected white but poor people as well. They had to work as bonded labor in the worst and most dangerous conditions and mine owners truly believed that miners lives were insignificant compared to their own pleasures. There was death penalty and that too in public for very minor offences and the balance was always biased against poor people.

I guess I will continue with my reading of Ken Follett. He has still not disappointed me.

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Filed under Books, Fiction, Fictional-History, History

“The Inscrutable Americans” By Anurag Mathur

This is one of the funniest books I have ever read by an Indian author. When Anurag Mathur had written this book, India was still not connected with rest of the world through TV and Internet. For the hero of the book who is a simple and “virgin” guy from India, America and Americans were really Inscrutable. The book is a story of this simple guy who goes to America to study and along with studies his another main motive is to lose his virginity.

His friends in America try to introduce him to Dating and try to get him into mainstream of their culture but he finds the whole thing very baffling for himself. The kind of letters that he writes back to his parents are truly amazing and I was really laughing very hard while reading them. He remains virgin throughout his stay in America but his trials during the stay will bring tears to your eyes with laughter.

Besides fun, the book also points to the huge cultural difference that existed at that time between people of two countries. The author has of-course stereo-typed both American and Indian people but still you feel that it must have been close to reality.

The world has changed between then and now. Today an Indian travelling to US will probably not feel that alien and will know more about US as compared to Americans. This is really feel good reading that will keep you smiling for a long time. You are more likely to start grinning suddenly thinking about some incident in the book for many days after you read this book. At least that is what happened with me.

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