Saturday, September 27, 2008

Per Ms. o. d.'s request, - bookcase # 2.


I will consider this part of my stuff around the house series, which may or may not go on forever.
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This picture includes the shelf below the the picture I posted last time. Ms. o. d. wanted to see what was on it. Well, here it is. Starting from left to right.
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The first book is "Genesis" by Bill Moyer. Sometime back in the 1980's, something possessed me to join a book club, and this is one of the many books I got that I did not want, before I figured out that I really shouldn't join a book club. Personality wise, I'm just not rigid enough to send in a card every month saying I don't want something. I'm terrible with routine maintenance also, for the same reason. Anyway I read it, but I can't remember what its about.
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The next is "The Human Form in Art" & that's a Patti Anne book. I can't draw very well.
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Next is "Cavalier in Buckskin", is a biography of George Custer. I found it hard reading, but maybe I just wasn't in the mood when I read it. The same author also wrote a biography of Billy the Kid, which I have somewhere. I found that one more interesting - learned a lot about the history of Lincoln County, New Mexico, as well as about the west in General.
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Next is a series of books by Harry Turtledove. This series of 10 or 11 books is an alternate history of North America. People have been playing this game for years - what if the south won the civil war? Well Harry Turtledove is the only one I know who wrote 11 books about it. The first book, "How Few Remain", takes place in 1881. The preface of the book explains how Lee won the battle of Antietam (or Sharpsburg, Md) and pushed on toward Harrisburg, PA. At that point the British & French intervened and force Abraham Lincoln to offer peace terms. Lincoln was not assassinated (and George Custer didn't die in 1876 - he was in Utah and Kansas instead), Stonewall Jackson still lived, and the United States was split into two countries. In 1881, in this history, there was a second war between the states, when Mexico sold the Confederate States (James Longstreet was CSA president) their two Northern States in order to pay off their debt. This made the CSA a continental nation, the USA felt threatened and a war ensued. The British were allied with CSA, and attacked from Canada, so the USA invaded Canada. Abe Lincoln was an old man, he walked out of the Republican party taking about 1/2 its members with him and joined the American Socialist Party. The two party system in the United States became Democrats and Socialists, and to me it seemed much more like a European party system than what we currently have. (It reminds me of the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats in Germany). The Democrats were pretty close to reactionary, and the Socialists make Barak Obama look down right conservative. In real history, Lincoln emancipated the slaves in 1862 (or 1863, I forget). He freed the slaves in all the areas where he did not have control, so the initial impact was more propaganda than anything, but propaganda's important. In this history, the south manumitted the slaves in 1881. There is a huge difference between emancipation and manumission, and that is a big part of the entire rest of the series of books. So that's the first book.
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The next book picks up at WWI - trench warfare in the USA, with the USA supporting Kaiser Wilhelm. And on it goes. During the series, the USA takes Canada away from the British, not a popular move with Canadians, Quebec becomes a country, a pawn of the USA, fascism arises in the Southern states and so on.
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My favorite character in the series was Scipio. I think he shows up in the 2nd book, and plays a role all the way through. He was born a slave, but was manumitted, and was unique. He was a house slave in a South Carolina plantation, and was educated so he could play the role of a high class sophisticated butler. He spoke two dialects - that of the educated elite, and that of the former slaves along the Congalese River, and nothing in between.
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Harry Turtledove weaves complicated plot and sub-plots, and kills off a lot of major characters. Sometimes the characters run into each other, but usually there is a whole lot of different but parallel stories going on. It can become wonderfully complicated. Some of the books are more interesting than others.
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I'm from the south, I grew up in eastern Kentucky. I've lived all over the United States, and I've spent 8 years of my life in Germany, so I've seen a fair amount. No matter how much my Eastern Kentucky accent mellowed throughout my life, whenever I opened my mouth in Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Indiana (near Chicago-land), Colorado, California or most anywhere else I lived, people knew that I came from somewhere south of the Ohio River. Heck, my paternal grandfather was named after James Longstreet, Lee's 2nd in command after Jackson died. Anybody who does not think Kentucky is a Southern State, has never been there. Now I live in North Carolina, where there is no confusion at all. I identify with the south, much more than I do with the north - its culture is much more what I'm used to and comfortable with. Harry Turtledove (from California) feels it would have been a terrible fate for North America if the south had won the civil war, if you can believe his voluminous fiction writing on the subject. I'm very much inclined to agree. For a century, southerner's thought a bolt of lightening would shoot out of the heavens and strike them dead if they voted for a Republican. Abe Lincoln, considered a great man in most of the country, was despised in the south. Well the veterans of the confederate army are all dead now, and so are their children, and most likely their grandchildren are dead and their great grandchildren don't remember, so the war is good and over. I'm glad it turned out the way it did. I think Harry Turtledove probably got it right.
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I bought all these books off of Amazon, for anything from a penny to a few dollars. Plus shipping, of course.
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In the midst of the Turtledove books is a stein I bought in Germany, a souvenir of where I was stationed & used to work when I was in the Army.
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After the Turtledoves is a little blue book called "The Moon is Down" by John Steinbeck. This book came with Patti Anne & it is a first edition. I've not read it yet.
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Then comes "A Walking Tour of Harper's Ferry", which I bought in Harper's Ferry.
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I read "Destiny", tho I can't remember the name of the author & I'm too lazy to look right now, and I also read "Revolution in Russia". I havent read the others.
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So that's it. Another part of the book case.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

that was a long post

Ms. O. D. said...

Danke Schon! Thank you for sharing! I'm so glad you did, the series by Harry Turtledove sound very interesting!

A Valdese Blogger said...

Anon: yes it is a long post. You may notice I was forced to use many words more than once.

ms. o. d.: my pleasure & thanks for the request.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Wow. Those bookshelves are ... strangely empty. And only stacked one deep!

Pardon me while I stare in fascination at that ... and dream of the day when my own shelves will be that sparse.

A Valdese Blogger said...

Susan: Ah - you should see the floor & nightstand upstairs - tons o' books & magazines. If I keep taking pictures of stuff around the house, I'll get there eventually.