Current Reading November 2021

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Current Reading November 2021

Nov 1, 2021, 7:48 pm

I completed reading Grape Belt Trolleys. This covers between Erie PA and Buffalo NY and its surrounds.

The coming and going of small trolley systems from about 1890 up until Henry Ford and his friends knocked them out of service is the same story just spun a bit differently each time. The second version of this is the buying up of trolley lines by subsidiaries of GM, etc, so more busses can be sold.

In this particular version, the writing is fun to read as the author was taking excerpts from local papers and there is some fun writing going on here. It's an enjoyable set of stories for this area.

Edited: Nov 2, 2021, 7:36 am

>1 jztemple: Sounds like something I'd probably like. The study of culture creation seems like a hot topic, though I'm coming to the conclusion that one of my current reads, Seapower States, which deals with such issues, is a meretricious hot mess.

Nov 2, 2021, 9:19 am

>3 Shrike58: The book doesn't really focus on culture creation but does look at how Webster's books, like his speller and dictionary, plus his lifelong obsession with promoting a national identify, helped shape who Americans are today. Webster isn't your typical mythic founding father, he was a bit of an ass at times, but he had the gift of being able to promote the idea of national unity and was an advisor to Washington and many leaders in New England.

Nov 2, 2021, 5:25 pm

Completed Relish: The Extraordinary Life of Alexis Soyer, Victorian Celebrity Chef by Ruth Cowen. A very interesting character, way more than a chef. The book is well written and moves nicely, although there are some British-isms that might motivate a non-Anglophile to call up Wikipedia for help.

Nov 3, 2021, 7:54 am

Finished Seapower States, which wound up mostly being a pro-Brexit polemic. Remind me not to take strategic advice from the author. Lambert should also stick to straight naval history, as he doesn't have the chops to be a historian of culture.

Edited: Nov 17, 2021, 7:26 am

More world history in the form of Revolt: The Worldwide Uprising Against Globalization. This is basically the distillation of an Israeli journalist's career to date, and a wake-up call to all the nice people who have benefited from the global economic order of the last few generations with no concern for the "externalities" of the whole enterprise.

Nov 11, 2021, 8:03 am

Yet more world history, I've been meaning to read Adam Tooze for awhile now, and Shutdown has wound up being my introduction to the man's work. Whether or not you buy his notion that COVID has been a real historical turning point, he does do a good job of walking the reader through the gyrations of the monetary decision makers, as they stave off world economic collapse.

Nov 11, 2021, 7:51 pm

I have completed Delaware A guide to the First State which part of the Federal Writers Project. The writing style and organization of the information within the various sections is better than some of the other books in the series. It could be me as I do know a bit about Delaware so take my comment for what its worth.

Edited: Nov 15, 2021, 11:22 pm

Completed reading Stopping Napoleon: War and Intrigue in the Mediterranean by Tom Pocock. A book about some of the post-Trafalgar activities of the British in the area of the Mediterranean. Not an in-depth history but an entertaining and interesting narrative nevertheless.

Nov 18, 2021, 11:24 am

Finished The Longest Line on the Map, which considers the history of trying to link the Americas with, first, a railroad, and then a commercial-grade road. The book is good in parts but really doesn't hang together.

Nov 18, 2021, 4:18 pm

I’m reading The Syrian Wars, about a series of wars between the Seleucid and Ptolemaic kingdoms over what’s now southern Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. Quite good.

Nov 19, 2021, 6:09 pm

Finished a short The Cinderellas of the Fleet by William Washburn Nutting which is primarily about the American Sub Chasers in the first world war, although part of it is about the earlier Motor Launches (MLs) and their use by the British. It is a more anecdotal look rather than a thorough history but is very enjoyable to read. I read it on Kindle.

Edited: Nov 21, 2021, 7:57 pm

I completed The Overland Mail 1849 - 1869 Promoter of Settlement Precursor of Railroads by Le Roy Hafen. This is the second book I have read by Le Roy Hafen. It's a summary of US Postal Service mail activities prior to the start of the Transcontinental Railroad. It is a good read as long as one doesn't try to read all the footnotes. Having read several of the Survey volumes for the route of the transcontinental railroad helped me to understand the various mail routes and post roads. One should open the map at the rear and this will help you better understand the book.

Edited: Nov 22, 2021, 10:16 pm

Finished the Kindle version of The Burma Wars: 1824-1886 (Conflicts of Empire) by George Bruce. While more of an overview rather than an in-depth analysis, it is very informative and reasonably well-written.

Nov 23, 2021, 8:51 pm

I completed Shared moments : Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park remembered in postcards today. I started back in August. If you are into post cards of this area, this is the book for you! I started in August and got about 1/2 way through it and had to stop as the book is huge and HEAVY. I finally got smart, cleared off part of my large table in the library and finished it off in two days. Pictures is where it is at with this book.

Nov 27, 2021, 8:41 am

Knocked off Moon Rush, a work of advocacy for commercial lunar exploitation that already feels dated.