Saturday, July 15, 2017

American Independence Wrapup & On the Horizon

Well, gentle readers,  July's halfway marks the conclusion of my American Independence series, at least for another year. What ground did I cover this year?

  • Revolutionary Summer, Joseph Ellis;  a history of the summer of 1776,  in which the States declared their independence, and the British fleet arrived to squash the rebellion.
  • Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet, Bill Kauffman;  a biography of Luther Martin which is principally about the Constitutional debates. Martin was the most prominent republican ('anti-federalist") in attendance
  • The Lost Continent:  Bill Bryson travels the United States to revisit childhood trips through small-town America, regaling the reader with memories and reflections. Though Bryson pines for an image of small-town America, whenever he arrives in a small town he complains about the lack of restaurants and the presence of locals.
  • A Place in Time, Wendell Berry. Stories about the Port William membership, a ready remembrance of the America that was.
  • East of Eden, John Steinbeck; a family epic set in the Salinas Valley of California that revisits the story of Cain and Abel.
  • Passionate Sage, Joseph Ellis; on the character and beliefs of John Adams.
  • Unsettled America, Wendell Berry.  Berry's first and most famous defense of agrarian America, doubling as a condemnation of the thing that replaced it.

I'd also been reading Founding Federalist, on the life of Oliver Ellsworth, but halfway in realized I am very tired of reading about the Constitutional convention.  It's time to move along, and resume this year's study series: the Discovery of Asia. I've eased myself back into the waters with Japan: A Cultural History, which is presumably dated given its early-1980s publication,but contains some outstanding photography.  The author takes readers briefly through a sketch of Japanese history that mostly serves to provide context for the art that is commented on;  the era of the pre-Shogunate civil wars is covered in the chapter on castles, for instance.  Architecture is the chief focus here, but there are also sections on laquerware and prints.  A favorite of mine features two Japanese women and a bicycle.

This isn't the print...I am still scouring the web for any digital reproduction of the one I saw.

Earlier in the week I also finished India: A New History, so the Discovery is on the move!


  1. You read some great books. The American Revolutionary era has been focus of my reading throughout my life. Lately I have slacked off a bit but I think that I might ramp up the intensity again.

    Your reading on Asia sounds very worthwhile and very interesting.

  2. I'd intended to read more on the military aspects of the revolution this year, but the book I wanted wasn't quite ready at my library!

    As far as Asia goes, pre-modern Chinese and Indian history has been a weak spot of mine for a while now. That's the main reason I launched back in January, but I keep cheating and reading about 'modern' India and China!

    1. My first book on US/UK relations (and not in a good way) has made it into my read-soon pile - essentially 6 books stacked on my couch - including one on the military aspects of the War of Independence. So, at some point in the next four weeks..... [grin]

  3. love the print... blue bike, yum yum(The Mikado)... how will she pedal with her geta on? barefoot, maybe...

  4. You should see the one that's in the book! One of the two women has REALLY long hair. I'll scan it myself if I have to..


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