Snapshots - #35: Marshall, American Made, The Glass Castle

The movies…
Marshall (♦♦♦♦): Black lawyer Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) is entrusted by the NCAAP to defend a black chauffeur (Sterling K. Brown) in Greenwich, CT, who has been accused of rape by his white employer. As Marshall is not allowed by the judge as legal counsel because he doesn't hold a CT license, he engages, reluctantly on both sides, the service of Jewish insurance lawyer Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), whom, with Marshall's help, will have to acquire criminal defense experience in a matter of months. But as the case is tried in court, it becomes evident that it is anything but cut and dry. Powerfully acted by Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, and Sterling K. Brown in the leading roles, Marshall treads a fine line between inspiring legal thriller and drama. On both counts it delivers in spades. Based on a true story, with race and bigotry fueling public opinion, before the apogee of the Civil Rights Movement, this accused black man is doomed from the start. A full century…

Rasputin’s Daughter by Robert Alexander (♦♦♦♦♦)

I finally finished Rasputin's Daughter. Wow! What a book! The author does a great job at portraying Rasputin in all his human complexities. It's an eye opening look into the life and death of one of Russia's most vilified historical figures. My only regret is having taking years to actually finish the book.

The story begins with the capture and taking into custody of Maria Grigorievna Rasputina, Rasputin’s older daughter, by the Thirteenth Section, the committee in charge of interviewing witnesses of the events that led to Rasputin’s death. The book is divided in sections, though not stated so, and in the introduction of each section there is a narrative about a character that takes part in the assassination, but whose identity is not revealed until the final pages.

Telling the story from a daughter standpoint, Maria manages to portray him as both, a man and a larger than life figure. Rasputin, a monk from Siberia, deeply spiritual and gifted in the arts of healing and of foretelling the future, form an unshakable bond with Nikolai II and Aleksandra, Tsar and Tsaritsa of Russia, due in part to a heavily guarded state secret: Aleksei, the heir to the throne, is sick with hemophilia, and no one but Rasputin has been able to heal him once and again when his life has been in danger. Thus begins a friendship, polluted with gossip of marital betrayal and speculation of treason, amidst Russia’s war with Germany, which grants Rasputin access to unimaginable power. Ultimately, young members of Russia’s royal families conceive a plot to eliminate Rasputin and rid the country from his so-called evil influence; what they accomplish instead is the stuff of legends.


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