Saturday, October 11, 2014


No, I didn’t fall off the earth. Again. However, a history of the US from the end of the revolution to the beginning of the Civil War isn’t exactly easy to blog about. I suppose I COULD wax poetic about the Erie Canal. After all, thanks to the Erie Canal my east coast ancestors who had been facing the Atlantic for nearly five generations made it to Ohio in one and the west coast in two. If there had been a state west of Oregon I suspect I’d be living there. Yeah I know Hawaii is out there but there’s a whole lot of blue water between, say, Astoria and Honolulu.

As much as possible I buy used books. I look for reasonable condition for a decent price. And most of the books that make it onto my list were published at least twenty years ago. If not longer. Makes the hunt that much more interesting.

I’m a fan of American historian James MacGregor Burns. When I ran across mention of his latest Fire and Light, a history of the Enlightenment. I went shopping. Didn’t hold out a whole lot of hope since I prefer hardbacks and the book came out early last year. Imagine my surprise when I was able to score a copy of a book that lists for nearly thirty dollars for less than six.

Imagine my further surprise when I discovered it was a library discard. Barely a year old and already sent to the knacker’s yard, so to speak. I really wish this book could talk because I would love to find out why it was shown the door. I’d like to believe that the library ended up with an extra copy. I’d like to but the library ID doesn’t show a copy two designation. I suspect that somebody didn’t agree with the late professor’s politics and a raised a stink.

Burns was an unapologetic supporter of the New Deal. He was an old fashioned liberal and his writing reflected that. Hell, their loss is my gain. It’s joining a small but growing collection of American and English history and biography.

And after reading the one and two star reviews I’m echoing the King in the King and I. It is a puzzlement. /Funny how the right wing fundies can put out their screeds and no one really expects them to present the other side of the argument. But, let a liberal be perceived as even half partisan and stop the presses. He’s a dastard and a rotter who is obviously out to destroy the country. As Bill the Cat would say: Thbbbbbbbp!

Oh, and so far it’s a pretty good book.

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