This has….not been a good week for utilities in my neck of the woods. Because of heavy rains, flooding, and thunderstormy-drama, I’ve been without phone and DSL service since Tuesday, and the library has had to close for one day because of downtown’s own power and internet access issues. My plans for a week of love-related reviews to celebrate the Feast of St. Valentine has thus been given the kibosh. In the downtime, I have been reading (…and wasting time playing Game Dev Tycoon……), so consider this a “coming attractions” post.
Reviews, or at the very least comments, will be arriving for:
The Four Noble Truths of Love: Buddhist Wisdom for Modern Relationships, Susan Piver
The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis
The Courageous Eight: Hidden Figures of the Civil Rights Movement, William Waheed
The Slave Who Went to Congress, Frye Gaillard
The Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold
A couple of these I can dispatch right off hand. The Slave Who Went to Congress is a children’s biography of Benjamin S. Turner, one of Selma’s notables. Ben Turner was already accomplished prior to the Civil War, despite being bound in slavery; having taught himself to read, he proved an able and desired-for manager, and was able to hire himself out and retain his earnings. After the war, he grew in influence as a businessman and entered politics, and such were his talents that he would have done well there even outside of Reconstruction, in my opinion. I read this book mostly because the author credits the library in his forward and I needed to see what information he drew on in case people who read it or attend his lecture here in a few weeks desired to review the same sources the author did.
The Courageous Eight was also a book researched and written in the library, but I had some personal interest in reading it because it celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Selma Voters League, which with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was working for civil rights before King moved in in ‘65. I was especially interested in learning about the leaders of the 1920s. Because I know the author somewhat personally (he and I had many talks while I was helping him find materials), it pains me to say that I found the book….wanting. It’s a general history of the voting movement in Selma, and although the eight are often mentioned there’s virtually nothing about their actual lives; we don’t get any real sense of them as people, with the slight exception of Dole who Waheed has done other work on. Less serious but still bothersome was the generally problematic punctuation – far too many proper names were let without capitalization, and there were other grammar issues. I suspect the book suffered from the desire to publish it by 2020 to celebrate the League’s anniversary. There’s content here, to be sure; the gold standard of Selma ‘65 books, ( Selma 1965, Chuck Fager ) doesn’t review the founding of SNCC or the League, so Waheed’s entry is helpful there. It seems like a missed opportunity, though. On the bright side, the cover art is most clever, linking Courageous 8 and the 100 year anniversary of the Voters League graphically.