Biography of John Burroughs. Few have heard of him now, but Burroughs was once very well-known. “For several decades he may have been the most popular writer of any kind in the country — when he and President Theodore Roosevelt traveled across the U.S. by train in 1903, observers said the writer often drew more admirers at their whistle stops than the politician, soon to be returned to the White House.” His fame was deserved; his work is worth checking out.
Basically the same stories as the other book. I would say this book was a bit more eloquent. A bit longer.
A short biography of John James Audubon by John Burroughs. Written in 1902. I didn’t know anything about Audubon. He was a naturalist. After spending many years in various businesses, mostly failing, decided to follow his talent for drawing animals. Worked out well.
The book is divided into two parts. In the first part Burroughs defends Leaves of Grass against academic, conventional-minded critics that objected to Whitman’s very unconventional style and often highly sensual themes. He also commends Whitman as a true lover and interpreter of nature, Burroughs favorite theme. The second, more interesting to the average reader section is a short biography of Whitman. It describes his early childhood life, his time working in D.C., (including his getting fired from the Treasury Department for the crime of being the author of Leaves of Grass), and his experience volunteering as a nurse during the Civil War, including several remarkable letters written by Whitman about his experiences. Whitman himself lended a hand in the books writing.
Short biography of naturalist John Burroughs, by his close friend, Dr. Clara Barrus.
Burroughs was a well-known writer during his time. Subject matter similar to Thoreau. Work is very readable but not nearly on the same level as Thoreau, although that is really not a fair comparison for anybody.
Born in 1858 in NYC. Very wealthy family. Father stressed education. Uncle Robert Barnwell Roosevelt interested in social reform and conservation.
Sickly as a child. Father encouraged him to build up his body, which he did. Became very interested in natural science. Studied insects intensely.
Went to Harvard. Very good student.
Tried law school. Didn’t like it. Dropped out.
by Kevin Phillips
Born in Ohio (like Grant, Garfield, Hayes, Benjamin Harrison,Taft, and Harding) 1843.
Iron was biggest manufacturing industry in Ohio in mid-19th century. McKinley’s father and grandfather were iron makers.
Dropped out of Allegheny College due to depression. Recovered, but his father’s business failed.
Volunteered for Civil War. Served three years.
I read his book All I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten a long time ago. I remembered it as rather cornball, but I did remember it, which is something. I read something about this volume recently and decided to give it a try.
This one is pretty cornball as well, and formulaic, but I can’t say didn’t enjoy parts of it. The title come from a newspaper article, an interview with a guy, who when asked how his matteress got on fire, answers that it was already on fire when he lay down on it.
A couple stories stood out to me. The one about the driver instructor who was loved by his students because he just listened to them and tried to get to know them. Another good one was about his time at a Zen monastery. The head of the place reads to him this:
There is really nothing you must be.
And there is nothing you must do.
There is really nothing you must have.
And there is nothing you must know.
There is really nothing you must become.
However. It helps to understand that fire burns, and when it rains , the earth gets wet.
There was also the story about the Hunt Saboteur Association, whose purpose was to break up fox hunting events – often humorously – thereby saving foxes from death. The interesting point was that doing good can also be fun, it doesn’t have to be grim and hard work.
Biography about Joey Gallo, mobster from NYC. Subject of the Dylan/Levy song, “Joey”. Levy actually new Gallo personally, back in the sixties when “mobster chic” was popular among the rich white privileged types. Morons.
Didn’t like the book at all really. Written in a hipster beat kind of way, I found the style annoying, and at times it was hard to follow.
All I can say is: “Wow”. Book details many incredibly deceitful and often illegal activities of this horrible individual. Two of Trump’s guiding principles: revenge and attack. All you need to know about him.
A real page-turner. Grant was an interesting man, during an interesting time. Book makes him out to be a pretty extraordinary guy: uninterested in ceremony and affect, but keenly interested in getting whatever the job was complete.
Didn’t take notes on this book (!)Johnson was a fool. Took over from Lincoln, tried to back the South in a foolishly strong-armed manner. Made a lot of enemies, most notably Thaddeus Stevens.
A very long biography of Lincoln. More detail than I needed.
A few things stood out. Lincoln’s early study of the the speeches of ministers and politicians paid off down the road. Without his writing and oratory ability he never would have been president. He was a very shrewd politician, knowing exactly when the time was right to move. Finally, he always spent time working out all the angles on an issue before he made a decision.
Short interesting history of France. Read for our trip…
Buchanan was from Pennsylvania, at the time the second most populous state in the country. He came from a relatively well-off family, and was able to attend college, Dickinson. As most future politicians at the time did, he study law after college. He served in Congress, and held many posts for various administrations, most notably as Polk’s Secretary of State.
His presidency was a disaster. Most historians think he was too generous in his treatment of the South, where most of his support came from. He completely botched the slavery issue in Kansas by siding way too heavily with the South. He also was weirdly inactive when the South succeeded, basically doing nothing, claiming the Constitution didn’t allow him to act. Buchanan is often ranked as the worst president in US history (and that’s saying something).
An autobiography of a guy from a poor, sometimes violent, very dysfunctional Appalachian family. Spent his childhood in the backwoods of Kentucky, and his teen years the Ohio Rust Belt. Joined the Marines after high school, which along with his grandparent’s guidance, helped set him on the right track. Went on to graduate from Ohio State and then Yale Law School.
The book was a New York Times bestseller. Vance is now a regular on the talking-head circuit and probably has made a shit-load of money. Good for him.
It was an interesting, easy read. I can’t say I was particular stunned by what he had to say. His description of his rough upbringing was interesting, even for a hillbilly such as myself who is is somewhat familiar with how it goes. His thoughts on what how families stuck in this type of environment could be helped are not terribly insightful. Basically, the government can’t do much, they need to be like him and pull themselves up by their bootstraps (not realistic if you ask me).
I’m glad I read it. I preferred Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams by Alfred Lubrano, which dealt similar subject manner in a more thoughtful manner.
Pierce was the fourteen president of the United States. He was a Democratic from New Hampshire.
Ironically, although one if his highest priorities was keeping the Democratic party together, he ended up splitting it apart. By supporting the negation of the Compromise of 1820, which marked a line across the country above which slavery was outlawed, he reignited the issue of slavery across the country. “Bleeding Kansas” was one of the unfortunately consequences.
During the next election only seven of the 44 Democratic congressman were re-elected. Republican James Buchanan, an even worse leader, was elected next.
A very sympathetic treatment of Fillmore. Book was too long, but I certainly learned a lot. Millard was (according to this book) a very principled man who put country over personal glory. Things didn’t work out exactly the way he wanted, but that’s not extraordinary.
Fillmore was a Whig. The Whigs were sort of the Democrats of the day, believers in a government that invests, helps, and stabilizes the country. Mostly anti-slavery, but they also attracted some members from the South, which allowed them to build a strong enough coalition to prevail, at least on occasion.
Besides the Compromise of 1850, which Fillmore was instrumental in making viable, he mostly was involved in foreign policy. Lots of “stuff” happened in Hawaii, Japan, China, Nicaragua, with Britain, etc.
Fillmore tried to run again as the head of the “Know Nothing” party, but was defeated.
In the mid-1850 the U.S. experience a time very similar to today: strong anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic sentiments, and a party (the Know Nothings”) that took full advantage of it.
Born in Virginia, raised in Kentucky. Sporadic education due to take of school on frontier. Made a name for himself in military. Nicknamed “Old Rough and Ready”. Lead a series of mostly successful battles during the Mexican War. Not much of a planner, but good at improvising.
Ran for president – reluctantly – as a Whig. He would be the last Whig to be elected president. Died just a few months into his term, perhaps due to food poisoning.