Yes, it's a blog about reading.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Reading Tuchman

I can't believe I never read anything by Barbara Tuchman before this. Coming from a family of history majors who have all read all of her books many times over, it seems strange. I guess I was too busy reading Jane Austen! In any case, I am enjoying The Proud Tower. The first section, entitled "The Patricians", seemed like an extension of all the Victorian novels that I've read. The second section about anarchists set off many bells of recognition. Wasn't Henry James' novel, The Princess Casamassima, about anarchists?

"The End of the Dream" about the United States becoming an imperialist power shed a lot of light on the political situation at the end of the 19th century. Since I'm currently listening to Truman, there is some overlap. When Truman was young he heard William Jennings Bryan speak at the democratic convention, and he and his father were fervent Bryan supporters. I always remember my brother quoting Bryan's famous speech: "You shall not press down upon the brow of labour this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold." Stirring oratory, but who knows what he meant, something to do with silver, I think.


  • At 9:34 AM, Blogger Margaret said…

    Well, I'm commenting on my own blog; how wierd is that? I just wanted to add that William Jennings Bryan disgraced himself in the debate about whether or not the U.S. should go to war in the Phillipines. He swung the vote for war so that he might have a better issue to campaign on in the presidential race. His party ended up having to vote for him (hold your nose and vote for him was how one Democrat put it) since he won the primary and the hope for a third party candidate did not materialize.

  • At 5:07 AM, Blogger Margaret said…

    I love it when all of my reading comes together like a melting pot. for instance, listening to "Truman", reading "The Proud Tower" and "Herzog", I feel that I'm dipping into 20th century American, and world history, in different spots. Herzog mentions Truman's decision to drop the bomb and how he, Truman, called those who protested 'bleeding hearts'. Herzog also talks about arguing over the ideas of Proudhon in college; Proudhon, I just learned in Tuchman's book, was one of the 'prophets' of the anarchists.


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