Current Reading: March 2022

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Current Reading: March 2022

Mar 1, 6:35am

I'm about halfway into Efter Revolutionen, about the "revolution" of 1968 and how its ideas have affected the Swedish left since. Acc'd to the subtitle, it's specifically about the cultural legacy, but in practice at least as much attention is being paid to the more narrowly political.

Mar 6, 3:19pm

Finally finished a very long but very rewarding biography William Pitt the Younger by Robin Reilly.

Edited: Mar 8, 9:20pm

I have finished reading two books.

The first is The Rockies. It's OK but it seems a bit same from chapter to chapter with simply a change in what the people are trying to gather and sell: Beaver, Buffalo, Gold, Silver, etc.

The second one is "The Last Winter Chronicles of the last year-round long-distance steam locomotive show in the U.S." by Frank Barry. Wow. This ranks right up there with the photos in the O. Winston Link Books. I've been th Chama, rode the train, wandered through town and have become completely hooked on the Cumbres and Toltec, one of the best scenic and tourist railroads around. It is one of the very few books I have given 5 stars. For me one of the reasons to give it 5 stars is I have read it more than once. It's been 3 times so far.

Edited: Mar 10, 10:23pm

I'm currently reading a really fantastic book, The Cowboy at Work: All About His Job and How He Does It by Fay E. Ward. The author was a working cowboy in the early years of the twentieth century and decided years later to set down his working knowledge in a straightforward readable style, illustrated with many, many great sketches. There is just an astonishing amount of detail in the book, like how to work a herd, the details of a chuck wagon, the numerous ways to secure a pack on the back of a pack animal (with lot of illustrations), roping, branding, even a chapter on chuck wagon cooking. And that barely covers the subjects covered. If you have an interest in the old time cattle industry, the role of the cowboy or anything of that vein this really is a must have book.

Mar 10, 9:39pm

Just finished Fins: Harley Earl, the Rise of Detroit and the Glory Days of Detroit, an entertaining and illuminating examination of what Earl, the great automotive stylist, meant to GM in particular, and American culture in general.

Mar 12, 9:05am

Finished Empire of the Black Sea this morning. While a bit dry, it certainly seems more reliable than The Poison King, and certainly does a better job of putting Mithridates the Great into context.

Edited: Mar 29, 7:39am

Finished Lords of the Sea: A History of the Barbary Corsairs. Was mostly curious about how they hung on so long, when it seemed as though they were a nuisance that should not have survived the Ottoman recession for as long they did. Call it a combination of good survival skills and the ability to make themselves useful to various competing European powers; at least until the post-1814 peace.

Mar 16, 4:43am

Now reading I tyst samförstånd, about Swedish aid to Soviet-aligned rebels and regimes in Cold War era Africa. A popular work that doesn't hesitate to take sides: specifically against said aid.

In the foreword the author says that he doesn't think Sweden should ever give aid to belligerents. In the current situation one can't help wonder what he now thinks about Swedish aid to Ukraine.

One also wonders what he thinks about the aid given to Finland during the Winter War.

Edited: Mar 16, 5:47pm

From the library--both DC history titles:
Snow-Storm in August by Jefferson Morley

Washington Goes to War by David Brinkley

Mar 31, 8:08am

Finished up Krazy, a magisterial life and times of cartoonist George Herriman.

Mar 31, 11:31pm

Finished up the month (with 45 minutes to go!) with three books.

Cavaliers and Roundheads: The English Civil War, 1642-1649 by Christopher Hibbert. I've read a number of Hibbert's books which I enjoyed, but I found this one a slog. Many of his books have taken a non-chronological, topic based approach to their subject and Hibbert's stylish writing makes that approach work. This one is a fairly chronological narrative history of the war and bogs down in seemingly endless mentions of destruction, pillage and murder interspersed with occasional battle descriptions and numerous short biographies of the participants. I gave up about half way through, I'll trying again with some other books I have on the English Civil War.

Industrial Revolutionaries: The Making of the Modern World 1776-1914 by Gavin Weightman. I enjoyed the author's biography of Marconi and his The Frozen-Water Trade: A True Story, but I was disappointed with this one as it consists of many biographies of individuals with only minor discussions of their accomplishments.

George Washington, Entrepreneur: How Our Founding Father's Private Business Pursuits Changed America and the World by John Berlau. I really enjoyed this different approach to yet another look at Washington. I had previously visited Mount Vernon and was especially interesting in the business aspects of the place and this book nicely discussed how Washington was as revolutionary in his economic, agricultural and entrepreneurial activities as he was in creating the United States. The book isn't very long and flows fairly well, although the author is at pains to constantly mention this or that author as providing the actually leg work for the point Berlau was making. Nothing wrong with that, but it is (for me at least) a bit distracting. He does have plentiful end notes and could have just been satisfied with that, in my opinion. But this book was published in 2020 and maybe this is considered the current proper style of attribution.

May 19, 10:59pm

>10 princessgarnet: read the Brinkley book ages ago remember liking it quite a bit