Current Reading - July, 2022

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Current Reading - July, 2022

heinäkuu 2, 2022, 10:38 am

First up with The Lost Region, history for historians that is part overview of the importance of the "Prairie School" of regional studies (think Frederick Jackson Turner and all that) and partly a sales pitch for a revival of Midwestern regional studies.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 5, 2022, 8:34 am

Finished Hitler at Home. Not quite as intriguing as the author's book on the German plans to remake Norway, but the lessons on the alchemy that goes into remaking the public image of dubious people are right on target.

heinäkuu 4, 2022, 8:40 am

Finished Viking Rus, about Scandinavians in 9th and 10th century Eastern Europe. After an initial chapter about the Rus who accompanied a Byzantine embassy to the Frankish court in 839 it’s mostly concerned archaeological finds with Scandinavian connections.

The book could have used better editing - the author’s sins against the English language are many and various, and consistency of transcription of non-Latin scripts notable by absence - but overall I fought it was pretty good.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 4, 2022, 12:50 pm

Three more books completed.

Edge of Empire: Lives, Culture, and Conquest in the East, 1750-1850 by Maya Jasanoff - An interesting book, rather different as it doesn't cover what you would expect. For instance, it doesn't discuss Robert Clive in India, but rather Clive in England, trying to become as English aristocrat. A bit of a struggle sometimes to read, but very engaging.

To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West by Mark Lee Gardner. A rather standard dual biography, not bad.

Florida in World War II: Floating Fortress by Nick Wynne. Something of an overview, not bad but rather superficial.

heinäkuu 7, 2022, 2:41 pm

Starting The NAACP in Washington, DC: From Jim Crow to Home Rule by Derek Gray

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 8, 2022, 2:07 pm

Finished Wings for the Rising Sun, a top-notch examination of the rise of Japanese aviation that really advanced my personal knowledge.

heinäkuu 9, 2022, 10:30 pm

I'm currently reading Beyond the Reach of Empire: Wolseley's Failed Campaign to Save Gordon and Khartoum by Mike Snook and I'm very impressed with it. I very much enjoyed his books on Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift which motivated me to get this book. I think it can be safely identified as the definitive history of the campaign, or at least one of the top ones. His end notes are very comprehensive and he quotes primary sources throughout the book rather than relying too much on secondary sources. Like the other two books I mentioned, he has actually walked the ground and done extensive research. It is however not an easy read nor a quick one, with the main body over five hundred densely printed pages and many, many names of which to keep track. But I am finding it worth the effort.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 11, 2022, 7:17 am

Knocked off High Tension: FDR's Battle to Power America, a workmanlike accounting of the politics of rural electrification during the 1930s. Not bad, but I might not had picked it up if I didn't need background for work-related reasons.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 21, 2022, 7:20 am

Finished When France Fell, a case study of what happens when you discover you backed the wrong side, and have no elegant way to undo your mistake.

heinäkuu 22, 2022, 9:09 pm

Twice I have started writing what I have read so far in July and keep forgetting to press the Post message after I look at the Preview. Now I'm putting them in a place where they will not get lost for each book, Private Comments, and then copy them in here.

Idaho Lore is one of at least three Federal Writers' project in Idaho edited and managed by Vardis Fisher. The first 1/2 of the book was called "Tales Quasi-Historical" Again, how many wasy can you torture or kill someone. That gets very old very quickly.

the second 1/2 covered "Beliefs and Customs" dealt with many of the social customs and ways of handling many tasks from birth to death with many tasks along the way.

The book is heavily illustrated with block prints that are worth paging through the book without reading what goes with them. . .they tell good stories on their own.

I finished Caballeros The Romance of Santa Fe and the Southwest. The author was born and raised in Santa Fe but called herself an Anglo as her parents were not from any kind of Spanish ancestry. She descibes the social history of the area over the 300 years as it developed. The original version of this book was published in 1930. This version was published in 1945 at the request of the publisher to descibe what happened in Santa Fe between 1930 and 1945. The author was not pleased. A lot of the events, people and activities are no longer followed.

Illinois is another of the American Guide Series. As usual I read the first parts in detail and then skimmed through the parts about the major cities and the various tours. The best parts of the general background were (1) The Hub of the continent, transportation, commerce and industry, (2) Agriculture, and (3) Architecture.

Branch Line Empires is about the many short lines that were subsidiarlies of the PRR and NYC mostly in Pennsylvania with some going into southern New York. The first half is nothing but names of these railroads, names of the principal executives, and how they failed and/or merged eventully into the "mother ship," that being the two big RRs. It was impossible for me to follow. The scond half dealtt with the industries and the transportiation of coal, limestone, some oil and general freight. That was much better.

heinäkuu 23, 2022, 8:02 am

>10 ulmannc: Thanks for reading "Branch Line Empires" so that I don't have to! Back in the day my mother's parents lived in this house that a branch line serving a coal mine ran right past; we're talking like fifty feet. This was part of a street of houses that had been homes for the management of said coal mine in Pennsylvania, and when the mine closed my grandparents bought one of the houses.

Returning the favor, don't bother with Jefferson Davis, Napoleonic France, and the Nature of Confederate Ideology, 1815-1870, which is a dreary exercise in academic make-work that one wonders why a respectable academic publishing house ever put their name on it.

heinäkuu 24, 2022, 10:44 pm

Read an excellent Heyday: The 1850s and the Dawn of the Global Age by Ben Wilson. The book looks at events around the world in the 1850s (actually up to 1862) with an eye towards their global interactions and effects. Although I flatter myself with some significant knowledge of the 1800s I came across a lot of things I was completely in the dark about. My only gripe might be that when covering so many subjects the author does make some small but significant errors in the details, but not in any significant way affecting his main theme.

heinäkuu 25, 2022, 8:30 am

>12 jztemple: That was part of the reason why I was reading the book on Jeff Davis, as that whole period, outside of the United States, I could use more information on. Part of the issue might be that I'm not really a Napoleonic kind of guy, so I'm probably lacking some basic background.

heinäkuu 29, 2022, 7:43 am

Finished Sputnik yesterday evening, which does a nice job of teasing out the nuances of the event, and how Eisenhower's perfectly reasonable logic for not racing with the Soviets backfired against him.

heinäkuu 31, 2022, 7:55 am

Last book of the month is Central Asia: A New History...; though quite coherent, it does turn into one of those books that you're more likely to dip into, rather than read cover to cover.