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!

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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5 Responses to American Independence Wrapup & On the Horizon

  1. Brian Joseph says:

    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. Stephen says:

    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!

  3. Mudpuddle says:

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

  4. Stephen says:

    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..

  5. CyberKitten says:

    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]

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