June-July 1963, the 100th anniversary of the most famous battle in American history, Gettysburg. The Supreme Commander, and I do mean THE Supreme Com June-July 1963, the 100th anniversary of the most famous battle in American history, Gettysburg. The Supreme Commander, and I do mean THE Supreme Commander, frustrated at mortal attempts to commemorate the centennial, has ordered a demonstration to show what the US Civil War was really like, JEB Stuart shall ride again leading Lee’s second invasion of the North towards Gettysburg.
The Confederate Cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia, always resourceful, has no problem adjusting to 1963 technology, though our modern methods do seem a bit strange. The roads, the semi-trucks, even the tanks sent against them are merely new ways to do what they have been doing for years versus the Yankees. What’s more, they know the terrain better and horses don’t need headlights to travel at night.
Written in 1963, ‘An End to Bugling’ takes a respectful, humorous poke at ‘new must be better, and the role of authority’. The humor does have a ’60s glow, something along the line of the movies “It’s a Mad, Mad,Mad, Mad, World” or perhaps “Viva Max”.
JEB’s troopers head north to Pennsylvania, cutting a swath through Maryland, it’s fun all the way.
If you’re a US Civil War fan, you haven’t read everything there is on Gettysburg until you’ve read this one.
———————————————————— Extra fun for me, started reading this when visiting the Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, Virginia battlefields over the July 4th week, timely! ...more
Volume 3 of 10 : ‘The Decisive Battles’ covers the grinding down of the South, which finds ways to carry on when all is lost.
The many photographs inVolume 3 of 10 : ‘The Decisive Battles’ covers the grinding down of the South, which finds ways to carry on when all is lost.
The many photographs in this volume include a handful taken from the Southern side. I hadn’t realized that many photographs taken by Southerners were destroyed immediately after the war as people didn’t want reminders of the defeat.
The combat of the Civil War are covered in the first 3 volumes, each remaining volume deals with a special side of the conflict such as cavalry, soldier life, forts, prisons and other special events.
As with format of all ten volumes, this 1911 publication is a delight in itself, the edges of the pages adorned with illustrations, the fonts of the titles and text, all a treasure in itself....more
The Cass Saga tells the tale of a small West Virginia town that rises almost overnight in the wooded valley with the sudden interest of lumber compan The Cass Saga tells the tale of a small West Virginia town that rises almost overnight in the wooded valley with the sudden interest of lumber companies. The heyday of the town peaked in the 1920s, however logging operations continued at various levels through the 1950s.
Hometown Author Roy Clarkson gives a thorough look at the aspects that made life what it was through the years, how the logs were initially ’driven’ down the rivers, a method eventually replaced by the steam trains, how the lumber company functioned, the variety of schools, stores and personalities in the town.
The details are enough that you could recreate making lumber, from the felling of the tree, getting it to the and processing it in the plant as well as what the working men ate everyday and how it was cooked. Sometimes the details go right down to the names of the horses.
I found the final chapters the most interesting, they deal more with the townspeople, how all the events of the era created a society.
The logging operations brought steam locomotives. When logging stopped in the region, many small towns disappeared. The same was to happen to Cass, but interest in preserving the trains led to the creation of a scenic railway, which is now a mecca for train enthusiasts of any level. The company homes in the town have now also been renovated giving visitors a look back into a long ago time.
This book fills in the blanks, which also has 200 black and white, page size photos.
An entertaining look at the popular culture in Austin, Texas during the years 1918-1929. Local to Austin author Zelade covers all those important top An entertaining look at the popular culture in Austin, Texas during the years 1918-1929. Local to Austin author Zelade covers all those important topics of the day, music, sex, and alcohol, though not necessarily in that order.
He plumbs the archives of the University of Texas student papers for a lot of interesting stories and cartoons, many of which I found rather racy for ‘the good old days’. I suspected people had sex back then, but I wasn’t sure.
If you have Austin or Longhorn connections, you will find the stories a bit more intriguing as you notice names and places that may ring a bell, even if they are just a name on a building now a days.
The second half of the book focuses on various Austin personalities that ‘made good’, that is moved on to bigger things in the world, actors, actresses, band leaders and bankers. The story on Tex Ritter I found particularly enlightening. I’d lumped him in with all the other old western singers one hears about, but along with his mentor John Lomax they practically created the cowboy genre.
The glossary of 1923 slang is a fun topper, or I should say this book is the bee’s knees. ...more
I always wanted to read the Bible from front to back, or I should say, from Genesis to Malachi and Matthew to The New American Standard Bible 6/6/2016
I always wanted to read the Bible from front to back, or I should say, from Genesis to Malachi and Matthew to Revelation. Like many folks I learned the various Bible stories and lessons here and there, starting in Sunday School, then Church, movies and TV shows. So I thought why not read it like a (good) book?
The New American Standard goal is to provide a translation as close as possible to the original languages and to make sure the translation is in a fluent and readable style. For example, terms like the ‘Thees and Thous’ are only used when quoting.
I did enjoy the reading and at times I felt like I should be telling folks about what I’d read, you know, as if no one else had read the Bible before, so at times, I had to laugh at myself....more
Volume 2 of 10 : ‘Two Years of Grim War’ - covers the suspenseful middle years, when the Civil War was indeed, a ‘Tug-of-War’ with the Blue or the GraVolume 2 of 10 : ‘Two Years of Grim War’ - covers the suspenseful middle years, when the Civil War was indeed, a ‘Tug-of-War’ with the Blue or the Gray gaining advantages.
Given the photographic technology of the day, most of the photos are posed, or of the landscape of the towns and battlefields, many with remarkable clarity. Several reflect upon those that will move no more, the dead laying in their final repose. Of the hundreds of photos, a handful originate from Confederate sources, their rarity making them all the more interesting.
The format of the 1911 publication is a delight in itself, the edges of the pages adorned with illustrations, the fonts of the titles and text, all a treasure in itself. ...more
This is a souvenir, coffee table book you purchase because you can’t afford anything else in the store and you want to get something to remember your This is a souvenir, coffee table book you purchase because you can’t afford anything else in the store and you want to get something to remember your experience.
We were visiting Nashville with my sister and had to go to the ‘American Pickers’ store. For those who don’t know, the Pickers are a pair of fellows featured on their TV show, who travel about the USA finding and buying interesting old stuff in barns and buildings, mostly long forgotten.
The store was a fun visit and since my sister bought the book I enjoyed reading it. Nice photos, that you may recognize from the TV shows, and sage advice, mostly common sense, on how to negotiate, from Mike Wolf one of the Pickers. ...more
With the a 4.1 trillion dollar budget proposed for the US for 2016 and an increasing 19 trillion dollar national debt, “Silent Cal” as President CooliWith the a 4.1 trillion dollar budget proposed for the US for 2016 and an increasing 19 trillion dollar national debt, “Silent Cal” as President Coolidge was known, must be screaming from his Vermont grave!
As the country’s 30th President, Coolidge’s primary goal was to reduce the 3.3 billion dollar budget and the 28 billion dollar national debt, which was mostly incurred by World War I. The difference in the billion-trillion numbers boggles budget conscious mind!
Many people could identify a President with an era of the country, Lincoln with the Civil War, FDR with the depression and World War II, JFK with the start of the 1960s, however for personalities of one of the most exciting times, the ‘Roaring Twenties’, perhaps Babe Ruth, Harry Houdini, Charles Lindbergh, Gatsby, Bootleggers, Flappers, Jazz men would come to mind, but not many would name Coolidge.
‘Coolidge’ takes a thorough look at his life; from his Vermont family roots to every political wrangling, from local politics to the White House. This is a big book, so be prepared for a lot of budget details and family insights.
While you do get a close look at politics of the times, and the role of the railroads with the entry of autos and airplanes on transportation scene, there isn’t much to make you feel the popular culture of the era, what is going on during the ‘20s from the everyday person point of view, which I think would make it a more fun read, but then again, an even bigger book. As Coolidge was a fan, there are interesting meetings with Charles Lindbergh after his famous flight.
Calvin Coolidge was about economy, honesty, individualism, and yes, didn’t talk much, a good man, and this is a good read.
This book has 10 pages of photos, a lengthy bibliography but mmm, no index. ...more
Amazes me how quickly Author Kelton develops characters and a story of interest, diving right into a west Texas tale of muddled justice.
The story taAmazes me how quickly Author Kelton develops characters and a story of interest, diving right into a west Texas tale of muddled justice.
The story takes places in the San Angelo area and just south of there around the Diablo river. A variety of place names are dropped of which I have visited, so that added an extra interest on my part. The story gives a feeling of the mystery and openess of the land in that region. ...more
It is said, It’s not the story, it’s HOW you tell the story, and author Philbrick does a rip roaring job of describing the adventures of the PilgrimsIt is said, It’s not the story, it’s HOW you tell the story, and author Philbrick does a rip roaring job of describing the adventures of the Pilgrims who arrived in a new world aboard the Mayflower in 1620.
If you went to school in the USA you know the tale of the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving, though you may be a little rusty on the particulars, and you probably even drew and colored a Turkey using your hand as an outline.
Yes, there was turkey served at the first Thanksgiving, but it wasn’t easy surviving to get to that first event. The byline for the book is ‘a story of courage, community, and war’. I was continually impressed with how the Pilgrims handled all those aspects of the tale.
Though the Mayflower is a well known story, the author does such a good job of conveying all of it in a compelling read, the dread and even terror that they must have felt looking over to that cold, and barren shore of what was to become Plymouth colony.
He also relates how the story was viewed over the years with the changes in the eras into how we view the Pilgrims today.
Only at the end did I wonder a bit of the author’s intentions, he seems to liken the lessons learned dealing with the American Indians with something we could now apply to the wars in Middle East? Perhaps so, but I couldn’t help but wonder if he slanted the Pilgrim story to support this as a cautionary tale? ...more
‘Donavan’ is my second Elmer Kelton, this one is solidly in the cowboy-western genre, whereas ’After the Bugles’ is more of the historic-fiction feel‘Donavan’ is my second Elmer Kelton, this one is solidly in the cowboy-western genre, whereas ’After the Bugles’ is more of the historic-fiction feel with the aftermath of the Texas Revolution being the backdrop.
‘Donavon’ rolls along with the white-hatted sheriff and the black sombreroed badder than bad guy, with the caught-in-between gentle, but capable, as western women are, wife of the bad guy, who could become wife of the sheriff.
A good read of the wild west of south Texas. ...more
Watching a Larry McMurtry interview I noticed he mentioned how good western writer Elmer Kelton was, so that it was surprising that many Texans had n Watching a Larry McMurtry interview I noticed he mentioned how good western writer Elmer Kelton was, so that it was surprising that many Texans had never heard of him.
Larry was right, I never had heard of Elmer. As these things go, once you learn of something, it starts showing up in your life. Appropriately I was in a classic, musty, dusty, junk, ‘antique’ and book store housed in a 100 year old building in Taylor, Texas and picked up 3 Elmer Kelton paperbacks, all as musty as the store itself, owner said, 2 dollars, I said, I’ll take ‘em.
They were all published in the ’70s, with their yellowed pages, and glue dissolving from the tender bindings, I first read ‘After the Bugles’. The center of the tale is the Buckalew family as it struggles to find its way back to their homes in the aftermath of the Battle of San Jacinto and start of Texas Independence from Mexico.
(Funny the bold headline on the back cover says ‘The Civil War was over’ so I was expecting Blue-Gray tale, no fault of Elmer’s I’m sure, some intern marketing person probably wrote it).
The Buckalews are joined by other families and scurrilous characters on their journey. The reading is good and accurate historical fiction as it gives insight to various perspectives, the Mexicans and Indians as well as the new Texicans.
With 20 pages to go in this relatively short tale of 160 pages, there were about a half a dozen outstanding story lines that needed resolved. I was sure it was going to ‘be continued’ but heck if Elmer didn’t neatly wrap it up.
Always like to read a seasonal tale at Christmas time and as I discovered this one in a box of our decorations when putting up the tree this year, (h Always like to read a seasonal tale at Christmas time and as I discovered this one in a box of our decorations when putting up the tree this year, (how was it in there all these years and this is the first I’d seen it? perhaps a little Christmas magic? ) this one was perfect.
This amusing short story fits in with the genre of ‘Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB gun’. A youth’s view of all the mayhem that goes with the typical American Elementary School Christmas pageant, made even more frantic with the local ruffians putting their interpretation on how things should have happened in the Manger.
Although I’d never heard of this 1972 book till now I’m glad I’m caught up. The cover says ‘now a classic TV movie’, I’ll be looking for it! ...more
For the War in the Air there are many books about the bombing campaigns in Europe, and in the Pacific it’s usually the carriers, so I found ‘Finish F For the War in the Air there are many books about the bombing campaigns in Europe, and in the Pacific it’s usually the carriers, so I found ‘Finish Forty’, covering the land based bombing campaign in the Central Pacific with B-24s, an interesting and informative change of pace.
Author Phil Scearce writes of the unit his father Herman, flew with throughout the war. Books about relatives can often be too centered on the loved one, sentimental, however Phil does a good job of making his father part of the team and not the primary subject. In fact I would say the B-24 is the main character.
There are plenty of descriptions of the flights to and from Japanese targets, along with what differed from flying a bomber over Germany. I particularly enjoyed various details on the B-24, such as the procedure to ‘crank her up.’
The first few chapters appear to have the markings of a rookie writer, you can see him checking off the writing boxes of who, what, where, when, too regularly. However Scearce breaks out of the routine with gripping depictions of events.
Louis Zamperini (“Unbroken”) makes a brief appearance as he was in the same bomb group, and the search for his plane is discussed. Scearce consulted with author Laura Hillenbrand on various events.
Finish Forty is a good read on an interesting aspect of the war, which is not often written about. ...more
Thousands of Scenes Photographed 1861-1865, with TeThe Photographic History of the Civil War
In Ten Volumes
Francis Trevelyan Miller Editor-In-Chief
Thousands of Scenes Photographed 1861-1865, with Text by many Special Authorities
Volume One : The Opening Battles
How’s that for a title page?
The format of this series, published in 1912, is a treasure in itself, good maps, a touch of color in illustrations, some of the text has embroidered edges and, yes thousands of photographs. And don’t think you are getting away with just looking at pictures, each photo has a healthy paragraph with it. In addition, there is a general commentary on the conduct of the war.
Like any one familiar with the United States Civil War, I knew of Matthew Brady and his role in photographing the war. Ken Burns’ documentaries certainly made many more folks aware of the photography also.
While Brady did take many photos, he was also more of a producer, an organizer, a father of the movement, who sent many teams out to record the history with the camera. There were also Confederate Secret Service photographers who used the camera.
One has the image of James Bond with his small camera up his sleeve, so it’s hard to imagine, just how did Johnny Reb Bond take sneaky photos with the bulky, time lapse, equipment of the day? Difficult to skulk about! But he did take many photos of encampments, installations and troops on parade.
In this Introduction, along with the action, is a great look at the work of what it took to produce a photograph, the chemicals, mobile dark rooms, and the personal efforts and sacrifices men like Brady took to use this new and often scowled at new medium.
The Brady Wagons, full of strange, new equipment, were called ‘What-is-it’ wagons so many times by the troops, it became their semi-official name.
Onto the next volume ‘Two Years of Grim War’ ! ...more
Author Terkel made a radio career of interviewing and he did well continuing using the format of oral histories in books, which I think is an easy wayAuthor Terkel made a radio career of interviewing and he did well continuing using the format of oral histories in books, which I think is an easy way to write a book, but there’s probably more to it than I suspect.
In ‘The Good War’ he continues the genre with short interviews of anywhere from a couple paragraphs to 5 or so pages in length, short and potent, of what folks did during World War 2 or how it affected their lives afterward.
Mostly Americans, but also a variety of all nationalities and all walks of life. He talks to quite a few established people, that is, those whose professions are now columnists, writers, CEOs, professors etc. While those experiences are no less important, their stories are polished. I more enjoyed the talks with the ‘regular’ folks whose stories were a bit less organized, staccato remembrances, as if you could see them remembering as they spoke.
I began reading as if this were a book of the usual form, but after breezing through story after story, I found I wasn’t giving the heartfelt tales their full appreciation, one over rode the previous one. So I adapted a strategy of reading only one or two at a time, letting them soak in a bit. At almost 600 pages, at this pace it can take a while to finish the book !
Published in 1984, the folks in ‘The Good War’ are about the age of my Grandparents, Uncles, later, some coworkers, so I often felt I was listening to their stories. The Good War is a Good Read. ...more