Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Reading, Read

Behind on this, not that my recommendations are as popular as, say, Tam's or Professor Reynolds', and I get a lot of my reading recommendations from them, so... 

American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence: Pauline Maier: Books. In a way this book is disappointing. I've mentioned that 1776 is one of my favorite musicals. Alas, as history, it's... Well, "bunk" is too strong a word. It compresses several years of debate which largely took place in pamphlets and early op-eds into a stage play musical; no stick fights in Congress. Little if any name-calling.  Few if any dramatic debates, and none on slavery.  The HBO series John Adams is much closer to the truth: Almost everyone in the Second Continental Congress was for Independence, they were just arguing about how to go about it. Many of the apparently reluctant delegations were just waiting for instructions from their states.

This book reminded me that, in reading about the period--and I do, a lot--I have begun seeing a revision to the old trope that "One third were for Independence, one third against it, and one third neutral." It seems that at least one half were for Independence, a quarter against it, and the last quarter either just wanted to be left alone or thought it was impossible.

I was also struck by how closely the (not-in-Philadelphia) debate paralleled many of the debates currently on-going in the US today.  My fellow Tea Partiers should read this one.

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents: From Wilson to Obama: Steven F. Hayward: Books
Steven Hayward is one of the bloggers at Powerline, and makes no bones about the fact that he is reviewing the Presidents from a conservative point of view; specifically, he is rating them on how well they met their Presidential Oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.  Not surprisingly, considering the cast, the Democratic presidents pretty much received failing grades.  Republican presidents don't do all that well, either.
Pick this one up for the bibliography, if nothing else.

Holidays in Heck: P. J. O'Rourke.  Tam saids she was disappointed in this book, which caused her to wonder whether the guy she has described as her "dream date" (I suspect as much so she could pick his brains for snarkiness style points, not that she needs any help) has lost his edge in late middle aged father-hood.
He doesn't do war reportage anymore, but, frankly, there were parts of this book that still had me rolling.  There also some that had me thinking "Come on, get on with it."

Next up:  I downloaded Outies (The Mote in God's Eye 3): J. R. Pournelle for the Android Tablet Kindle app, and figured, what the heck, downloaded The Mote in God's Eye and The Gripping Hand as well.
I also bought The Hunger Games trilogy for my Sony reader, but Adobe is MIA on the web, and I can't download it until it comes back from overstaying it's three day pass or something.  (The Sony eReader store had it for a couple of bucks cheaper than Amazon; this is the first time either of us has had a problem with the Sony store. Note that the problem is not Sony, but Adobe; I wold have expected the other way around...)
In a previous post (Reading) I mentioned White Devil: A True Story of War, Savagery And Vengeance in Colonial America: Stephen Brumwell
A further review:  Continuing my 18th Century theme.  Robert Rogers is the main focus, but not the only one, of this history of the French and Indian War.  Actually makes reference to Rogers' Rangers in popular culture, i.e., Kenneth Roberts' novel Northwest Passage and the Spencer Tracey movie made from it; also, the US Army's version of "Rogers' Rule of Ranging", which, as published, seem to owe more to Kenneth Roberts than to Robert Rogers...
The author is a Brit, and sometimes it shows.  He excoriates George Washington for the execution of major John Andre, captured in the act of suborning Benedict Arnold, but ignores the fact that it was in retaliation for the execution of Nathan Hale.
No cats were harmed in the writing of this blog post, no matter how enthusiastically Sparrowbane tried to help me type.  Any typos are on him.

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