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Tag: History

The Half has Never Been Told, by Edward E Baptist

The Half has Never Been Told, by Edward E Baptist

Just starting an important history book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, by Edward E Baptist. It’s excellent so far, especially in bringing voices normally left out of histories to the fore: slaves. Their thoughts, their viewpoints. It’s admirable work by the author in putting that together, which can’t be easy, for obvious reasons. Difficult reading so far. Not because it’s intellectually complex or loaded with jargon. This isn’t quantum physics, one scientist…

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Forget the Alamo, and Other Myths that Divide Us

Forget the Alamo, and Other Myths that Divide Us

I love mythology. Reading it, studying it, pondering its sources and patterns. I love uncovering common mythic threads in multiple cultures, and how we humans repeatedly tell stories about ourselves that strike the same or similar chords — usually without realizing this. East to West, North to South, and all points in between, our myths, when studied holistically as myths, remind us of our commonalities far more than our differences, which is one of the reasons why that study is…

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Happy Saint Paddy’s Day!!

Happy Saint Paddy’s Day!!

 On this day when everyone is Irish, I think it’s good to remember how many of us got here, what it took, the tragedies overcome and the triumphs at the end of the road. Kathryn Miles has written what sounds like a moving, important book. I caught part of her interview today on NPR: Brief article with excerpt from the book, here    

The Passing of Tony Judt

The Passing of Tony Judt

One of our finest historians passed away on August 6th. Tony Judt, the author of numerous historical works, with a primary focus on French intellectuals, passed away after a long battle with ALS. He was 62. I recently read his excellent Ill Fares the Land, which would have been a strong and timely work regardless of how it was written. Given the fact that he dictated it while suffering from the ravages of Lou Gehrig’s disease made it all the…

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The Ground of Change

The Ground of Change

Wright’s book is picking up steam. He writes with compression, gets to the point quickly, after marshaling his facts and evidence. And the story he tells is enthralling. Polytheism, to monolatry to monotheism. Some of it I already knew. But much of it is new to me, based upon recent excavations and readings of better, more accurate translations of existing scripture. Wright’s gift is to put it all together in a very accessible, organized manner. There is much evidence to…

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The Sting of the Sun

The Sting of the Sun

About 100 pages into a fascinating new book, detailing the rise and fall of gods, goddesses, the religious impulse and its repercussions. The Evolution of God, by Robert Wright, is a general history, starting from the earliest hunter-gatherer societies, moving into chiefdoms after the discovery of agriculture, onto city-states in Mesopotamia and Egypt, and through the advent of Levantine monolatry and monotheism. I’ve reach the foot of Mount Monolatry and fierce storms are taking shape. Wright reminds us how much…

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Hallelujah

Hallelujah

One of my favorite songs by Leonard Cohen is “Hallelujah.” Many artists have covered it, with various degrees of success, and it appears at the end of one of my favorite movies, “When Night is Falling,” to memorable effect. Am pleased to publish an essay about the great novelist/poet/songwriter with the grissly old voice. Yahia Lababidi compares and contrasts the work of Stephen Patrick Morrissey and Mr. Cohen in a fresh and original way. * * * * * Am…

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