H.W. Brands biography of General Ulysses S. Grant is a wonderfully thorough account of a citizen, a soldier, and a great American.
Unfortunately, the wH.W. Brands biography of General Ulysses S. Grant is a wonderfully thorough account of a citizen, a soldier, and a great American.
Unfortunately, the way history is taught these days, so much is lost and Americans, by and large, are ignorant of the achievements that ordinary people are capable of rising to.
Ulysses Grant, the General who saved the Union, the President who championed the rights of blacks in a time when it was so unpopular during Reconstruction, and the public servant who advocated for the well being of American Indians, the forward thinking citizen & statesman who reached out to both Mexico and Canada as a neighbor and friend - has been relegated to the dusty shelves of history.
Unfortunately, in our time, as we constantly endeavor to reconcile our standing on the world scale, we misguidedly align our political leanings with the likes of loud-mouthed nativist tycoons, hard-hearted and selfish ideologues who haven't the slightest clue about what it means to stake everything on a belief that invests in the well-being of all is in the best interest of the nation collectively. Such narrowly defined interests of political elites whose competing personal interests and vast accumulated wealth stand as a greater threat to America's future than any ideological or religious foe.
Ironically, these self-consumed, wealthy elites appeal to populist issues and recruit the very people who stand to benefit the most from a more equitable distribution of this nation's vast wealth to do their political bidding - strangely enough, by appealing to family values, bolstering rugged independence, and stoking the fires of xenophobia as rallying themes for unity. And yet, these elites care not one wit about how such supporters from the Nation's middle and lower classes, whom the war is ultimately being waged upon. Never-mind the least of its members.
U.S. Grant was so far ahead of his time. It is difficult to imagine that people like He and Lincoln were progenitors of the modern day Republicans.
Read the following excerpt from W.W. Brands, and try to imagine President Grant's words coming out of the mouths of even one contemporary Republican Presidential hopeful.
"Grant gave visibility to issues he feared Garfield would be tempted to ignore. Rutherford Hayes had bought peace with the South by abandoning African Americans there; Grant strove to recommit the Republican party to their defense. He spoke conspicuously at a benefit concert for the Colored Citizens' Association of New York and Brooklyn. 'I sincerely hope with you that the time is not far distant when all the privileges that citizenship carries with it will be accorded you throughout the land without any opposition,' he said. Some Republicans and very many Democrats contended that blacks couldn't be trusted to vote responsibly; Grant rejected this claim. 'I have no fear that the franchise will not be exercised as carefully and judiciously by our fellow citizens of African descent as by any others. Perhaps more care will be used because it is a boon so recently given to your race and therefore prized more highly.'"
And yet truth is stranger than fiction. Thinking about the party of Lincoln, and Grant - what they stood for and how their party has come to reflect the exact opposite. Try to imagine the current GOP Presidential hopefuls - even Ben Carsen speaking so supportively of today's minority de jour, the Mexican.
It is difficult to reconcile Grant's and Lincoln's legacy with such a narrowly aligned collection of blowhards whose sole emblematic call for unity is predicated upon greed, hatred and clannish, exclusionary color-by-numbers religiosity....more
Larry McMurtry doesn't offer much detail on the craft of writing in this memoir. He does drop quite a few names but maintains a comfortable enough disLarry McMurtry doesn't offer much detail on the craft of writing in this memoir. He does drop quite a few names but maintains a comfortable enough distance as to avoid dropping any bombshells. This book strikes me more as musings without too much depth. It's a safe book and seems to have been cobbled together to make a little cash....more
"Glock" covers the history - both positive and negative - of the handgun that changed contemporary America. Paul Barrett offers insights that make rea"Glock" covers the history - both positive and negative - of the handgun that changed contemporary America. Paul Barrett offers insights that make reading about the topic enjoyable. I'm not so sure I enjoyed some parts - the ones that detailed certain people's eccentricities, and oddities, but I suppose they are part of the story as well....more
Chip and Dan Heath explore the process of decision making and share their research results in this quick read. All of their findings are easy to applyChip and Dan Heath explore the process of decision making and share their research results in this quick read. All of their findings are easy to apply and make sense - mostly because they call for prudence and commitment to a process. I suppose the fundamental take away is; slow down and consider the alternative.
"Decisive" is a good read that fill benefit anyone who takes the time to put into practice what has proven itself through research and application. The perspectives offered make sense because they are practical, pragmatic and effective with take-aways that can be garnered/applied to whatever challenges may arise....more
I first read about Joel Salatin in Michael Pollan's, "Omnivore's Dilemma," and my impression from Pollan was that this guy would give the farmer's perI first read about Joel Salatin in Michael Pollan's, "Omnivore's Dilemma," and my impression from Pollan was that this guy would give the farmer's perspective on sustainability. Well, he delivered on that aspect. Unfortunately, his continued usage of the hook, "folks, that ain't normal" began to grate on me.
I'm not sure why this repetition of such a cliched declaration ever escaped the editor's pen, but it did. And what may have come off as folksy, squeaky intonation a la Jeff Foxworthy - imagine "you might be a redneck if..." - coupled with the hillbilly notion that city folk, liberals and poor people are folks of the 'other' variety and all Salatin's wisdom begins to lose its luster. Despite his efforts, this guy is no Mark Twain.
While I admire Salatin's savvy regarding sustainable farming, I can't ever see myself sitting down to a cup of coffee with him, because of his smarmy digs at people who are anything other than "country." While he describes himself as a libertarian of the Jeffersonian variety, his ideals are way right of center despite great effort to distance himself from conservatives.
I really want to like Salatin, but his words are too inflammatory, too laced with rage against the government, and anyone who is not like him. This Bob Jones University graduate describes himself as a suit-wearing presenter whenever he shows up for presentations and public talks, ostensibly so that people don't draw the wrong conclusion that he is aa bumpkin/uneducated idiot.
Nonetheless, Joel Salatin reminds me of Abe Lincolin's admonition that it is better to keep your mouth shut so that no one thinks you are a fool rather to open your mouth, thereby removing all doubt. Judging from some of his revelations, like this gem, "I've got news for you, trees don't grow in hardware stores." - he ought to ditch the suit. That kind of thinking sprouts from a head under a straw hat.
There are times when Salatin's ruminations regarding sustainability make so much sense. However, when he peppers such sage advice with rants against government regulations that he does not agree with, or liberals who,"want to raise taxes so they can give it away" to the poor, the power in his message wanes, and his rhetoric becomes as parched and over-used as the soil that he laments local sourcing owing to commercial scale farming practices - where, 'just ain't normal... becomes the clarion call for the middle-aged pissed off, scared, country-fried WASP; the same variety whose sentiments are echoed by the FAUX cable news network blowhards.
My suggestion is that you read Barbara Kingsolver's, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" and Michael Pollan's, "Omnivore's Dilemma" because they cover the same material, devoid of religiosity, and nativist, clannish bullshit....more
This book is really more of a 'How to' regarding harvesting of beef and butchering the carcass. Danforth also offers some detailed science regarding mThis book is really more of a 'How to' regarding harvesting of beef and butchering the carcass. Danforth also offers some detailed science regarding meat, and associated biochemical processes.
It is not, however for the faint of heart. It is, after all, a how to book....more