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City Of Light

Mike S

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I just finished reading the Lauren Belfer novel, City of Light. Actually this was a re-read, since I first read it in 1999, the year it was published.



The story is a murder mystery taking place in Buffalo New York in the period of 1895 through 1902, during which the world's fair, Pan American Exposition, was held, and during which President McKinley was assassinated. It is a melding of fiction and nonfiction, but is packed from beginning to end with real historical names, places,and events.

It will probably be less interesting to others who have no physical or emotional attachment to the city. But for me, having lived in Buffalo for many years attending university, marrying, starting a family, and work, it was a wonderful journey through history, so many of the names and places being old friends.

Another reason I enjoy re-reading the novel is that it so vividly describes the cultural perspectives, prejudices, and life patterns of American cities in 1901. It seems like a foreign world, and, in a way, it was. In a longer term context, however, it was just yesterday. I was born in 1946 and realize, somewhat sadly, that the world of 1901 was far closer to the world I was born in than today's world is...1946 is a lot closer to 1901 than it is to 2017. The prejudices and cultural perspectives of the time are not buried so distantly in the past, and we aren't removed from them, as much as we might like to believe. People of my generation remember them well.
 

jasonc

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Mar 11, 2014
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36,031
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I just finished reading the Lauren Belfer novel, City of Light. Actually this was a re-read, since I first read it in 1999, the year it was published.



The story is a murder mystery taking place in Buffalo New York in the period of 1895 through 1902, during which the world's fair, Pan American Exposition, was held, and during which President McKinley was assassinated. It is a melding of fiction and nonfiction, but is packed from beginning to end with real historical names, places,and events.

It will probably be less interesting to others who have no physical or emotional attachment to the city. But for me, having lived in Buffalo for many years attending university, marrying, starting a family, and work, it was a wonderful journey through history, so many of the names and places being old friends.

Another reason I enjoy re-reading the novel is that it so vividly describes the cultural perspectives, prejudices, and life patterns of city life in 1901. It seems like a foreign world, and, in a way, it was. In a longer term context, it was just yesterday. I was born in 1946 and realize, somewhat sadly, that the world of 1901 was far closer to the world I was born in than today's world is...946 is a lot closer to 1901 than it is to 2017. The prejudices and cultural perspectives of the time are not buried so distantly in the past, and we aren't removed from them, as much as we might like to believe. People of my generation remember them well.
The civil war when you consider generatons isnt that long ago.I posted a picture of a grave ,the vet was buried In 1936.that's only 12 years before my dad's birth!
 

Barbarian

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Jun 5, 2003
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26,986
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Another reason I enjoy re-reading the novel is that it so vividly describes the cultural perspectives, prejudices, and life patterns of American cities in 1901. It seems like a foreign world, and, in a way, it was. In a longer term context, however, it was just yesterday. I was born in 1946 and realize, somewhat sadly, that the world of 1901 was far closer to the world I was born in than today's world is...1946 is a lot closer to 1901 than it is to 2017. The prejudices and cultural perspectives of the time are not buried so distantly in the past, and we aren't removed from them, as much as we might like to believe. People of my generation remember them well.
I was born in 1947, so I remember that time, as well. One thing I noticed was that may people who expressed prejudices, weren't so angry about them. My family lived next door to a neighbor who frequently used the "N" word, but my mom told me that he never treated black people disrespectfully. It was just cultural, but there was no hatred in it as we often see today.
 

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