The History Book Club discussion

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jun 26, 2009 01:34AM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Hello Everyone,

This is our community room (Off Topic Cafe). For all newcomers who are wondering about this thread, just as an FYI...we have had quite a few of these already and when each topic thread has gotten so long that they have become too difficult to navigate; we have just opened another one. This is our fourth Off Topic Cafe; we have opened up a new one every time we have started a new selection.

You might want to know where are the others. Every thread is always saved; but the older ones are archived. So if you are interested just search through any of the archival folders and you will find the old and probably very long Off Topic Cafe which was set up for a previous book. Some of them make for some very interesting enjoy,

In the meantime, this is the current one for your enjoyment.

Some of our newest members might wonder what is the Community Room for? It is a place where you can have discussions on anything you find of interest.

We have discussed in the past; art, music, movies, opera, jazz, The Teaching Company tapes, crossword puzzles, weather, education, courses, books that folks have read and want to recommend to others, etc. The sky is the limit.

We only ask that everyone is respectful of all topics and everyone's differing opinion.

Please just jump right in and post. We have found that the more everyone posts; the more enjoyable it is for all members. We would love to hear from all of you on any topic. I am sure you will find someone willing to converse with you. Enjoy.


message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
I want to say how sorry I am for the friends and relatives of the Air France plane; so sad for everyone. What do you think happened to the plane?

message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Oldesq, I just saw that report; it does not look good. Very sad. I did not know that these planes did not have radar on board to be able to circumvent violent conditions. A commerical pilot was the first one to see the debris (burning debris); and I guess he radioed back its location. Burning debris would indicate according to experts that the plane broke up in the air. Such a tragedy for everyone on board and for all of their loved ones.

message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
President Barack Obama has touched down and is in Saudi Arabia to confer with their leader (nice touch - very warm welcome and they played the national anthem). Impressed. Hope things go well.

message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jun 03, 2009 10:59AM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Guess who showed up in the media after all of these years:

JD Salinger and he is suing!!!!
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jun 04, 2009 09:41AM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
President Obama gave a good speech in Cairo (JMHO)


What did the rest of you think? Mohammed, what was the reaction in Egypt? I am interested in hearing your view.

message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod

I really like the book; I was not one of the group members who voted for the book (there were quite a few); but I am really enjoying his style of writing.

It is a group read so we will be reading it for awhile. I hope you do jump in.


message 8: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments Kristen,

I'm enjoying From Dawn to Decadence. Barzun has his opinions, but so does everyone. I like his selections of topics, his choices of supplemental quotations, and his style of writing. The scope of the book is mammoth, so I'm glad it takes 800 pages to cover it. But I can understand why some would find it tedious by the end. I can't judge the end myself, not having gotten that far. For me, 50 pages per week is nice bite-sized chunks. And so far this group has been a nice place to discuss the book.

message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Look forward to you joining us. I think Barzun is a real intellect; I don't think we will agree with everything he says; but he surely will make us think.

message 10: by Virginia (new)

Virginia (va-BBoomer) | 210 comments I'm slowly catching up; just got the Roanoke book, so bare with me on that one. I see I have some Constitution areas to check out.
I like Barzun so far; I agree that it's setup is interesting.
I like the 'side' reading we are now doing; that way, if you just want some variety from the main selection, you have something else to read and follow.

message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jun 06, 2009 10:36PM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Virginia, there is no rush; all of the threads stay open through the next set of books to give everybody enough time to get caught up and post. But thank you for letting us know.

I am finding that I love the way Barzun thinks, his approach and the format of the book itself; I find that I disagree with him sometimes; sometimes even vehemently; but I chalk that up to my different cultural experiences; I am not so sure that Barzun minds that we disagree with him and oddly enough I feel that in person, he is the type that would relish a good old fashioned debate.

I would like to have at least a couple of options for folks, a) the spotlighted book which needs a deeper read and is more of a group pleaser b) the monthly reads and c) some short dynamic and powerful texts like Common Sense which can spur all sorts of peripheral discussions and are quick perusals with in depth conversation.

It is odd; but while reading Common Sense and thinking about Paine's view of society and government; some of Paine's arguments though based on theorists like Hobbes and Locke still sound like some of the arguments that Barzun makes about culture.

I also find that sometimes with a deep book, I need to put it down and think about something else for a day or two.

I think the Roanoke book is a very serious scholarly work which focuses on some folks' good intentions which went astray and why. It sort of tells the story of our country and our democracy trying to make "equality" work; growing pains again (learning curve?)

I think after all of these years we are still working on trying to perfect our democracy and make it even better. Look forward to your input on the Roanoke book as well.

In this Lincoln year, I thought this might be an interesting ancillary read about some of the trials after the Civil War.


message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
What a beautiful day it was here; sunny and warm. Took a run to the flower shop to have my strawberry jars planted and window boxes, and started cleaning out the garage - I guess a very late spring cleaning. But better late than never (lol); took a quick trip to the beach and got in a run with my GSP. A great day.


message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jun 14, 2009 11:26PM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
I am very concerned about the current situation in Iran based upon news reports that are only being made through the use of reporters' cell phones. Very tense situation and my heart goes out to the young people of Iran.


message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
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Thank you Chris.


message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Folks, we set up a new Off Topic Cafe for every spotlighted book since these threads get long and hard to navigate. The last Off Topic Cafe called 10 Downing Street is archived/housed in the Second World War "archival spot". This is the current location for Off Topic comments.

All best,


message 16: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jun 20, 2009 10:00PM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
For those of you who love opera, this summer the Met will be having a late summer festival and for free ten of its HD presentations can be viewed at Lincoln Plaza. (August 29 - September 7)

Here is the schedule:

Free Summer Events | Summer Recital Series | Summer HD Festival | Press Release

The theater may be dark over the summer, but you can still experience extraordinary Met performances, in Lincoln Center, thanks to a brand-new initiative.

Starting August 29, the Met will present its first-ever Summer HD Festival, featuring screenings of ten productions from the company’s Peabody and Emmy Award-winning Live in HD series. The HD productions will be shown in Lincoln Center Plaza on consecutive nights—for free.

The series opens with Laurent Pelly's acclaimed production of Donizetti's La Fille du Régiment, starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez, and closes with Anthony Minghella’s staging of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, featuring Patricia Racette and Marcello Giordani, on Labor Day.

Three of the HD productions to be shown are conducted by Met Music Director James Levine. The Met’s Summer HD Festival is sponsored by Bank of America with additional support from the Metropolitan Opera Guild.

The screenings are free with no tickets required; 2800 seats will be available each night on a first-come, first served basis. There are no rain dates.

Here is a full schedule.

La Fille du Régiment – August 29 at 8 pm

Donizetti’s comic opera La Fille du Régiment stars Natalie Dessay as Marie, Juan Diego Flórez as Tonio, Felicity Palmer as the Marquise of Berkenfield, Alessandro Corbelli as Sulpice, Donald Maxwell as Hortensius, and Marian Seldes in the spoken role of the Duchess of Krakenthorp. Marco Armiliato conducts. Approximate running time: 140 minutes.

Roméo et Juliette – August 30 at 7:30 pm

Plácido Domingo conducts Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, starring Anna Netrebko and Roberto Alagna as the star-crossed lovers, Isabel Leonard as Stéphano, Nathan Gunn as Mercutio, and Robert Lloyd as Frère Laurent. Approximate running time: 175 minutes.

Eugene Onegin – August 31 at 7:45 pm

Valery Gergiev conducts Tchaikovsky’s most beloved opera, Eugene Onegin, with Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky in the title role opposite Renée Fleming as the heartbroken Tatiana, with tenor Ramón Vargas as Lenski. Approximate running time: 160 minutes.

Macbeth – September 1 at 8 pm

Met Music Director James Levine conducts Verdi’s Macbeth, featuring Maria Guleghina as Lady Macbeth, Željko Lučić as Macbeth, Dimitri Pittas as Macduff, and John Relyea as Banquo. Approximate running time: 145 minutes.

Il Barbiere di Siviglia – September 2 at 7:45 pm

Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, in a production by Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher, features Joyce DiDonato as Rosina, Juan Diego Flórez as Count Almaviva, Peter Mattei as Figaro, John Del Carlo as Dr. Bartolo, John Relyea as Don Basilio, and Claudia Waite as Berta. Maurizio Benini conducts. Approximate running time: 165 minutes.

Peter Grimes – September 3 at 7:45 pm

Anthony Dean Griffey sings the title role of Britten’s Peter Grimes, with Patricia Racette as Ellen Orford and Anthony Michaels-Moore as Balstrode. Donald Runnicles conducts. Approximate running time: 150 minutes.

La Bohème – September 4 at 8 pm

Franco Zeffirelli’s production of Puccini’s La Bohème features Angela Gheorghiu as Mimì, Ramón Vargas as Rodolfo Ainhoa Arteta as Musetta, Ludovic Tézier as Marcello, Quinn Kelsey as Schaunard, Oren Gradus as Colline, and Paul Plishka in the dual roles of Benoit and Alcindoro. Nicola Luisotti conducts. Approximate running time: 130 minutes.

Orfeo ed Euridice – September 5 at 8 pm

Mark Morris’s production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice stars Stephanie Blythe as Orfeo, with Danielle de Niese as Euridice. Heidi Grant Murphy is Amor. James Levine conducts. Approximate running time: 100 minutes.

Il Trittico – September 6 at 7:30pm

James Levine conducts Tony Award-winning director Jack O’Brien’s production of Puccini’s Il Trittico, which consists of three one-act operas: Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi. In Il Tabarro, the three principal characters caught in a deadly love triangle are portrayed by Maria Guleghina, Salvatore Licitra and Juan Pons. Barbara Frittoli is the young nun Angelica, with Stephanie Blythe as the Princess in Suor Angelica, and the comedy Gianni Schicchi features Alessandro Corbelli in the title role. Approximate running time: 170 minutes.

Madama Butterfly – September 7 at 8:00 pm

Academy Award-winning film director Anthony Minghella’s production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly stars Patricia Racette as Cio-Cio-San, Marcello Giordani as Pinkerton, Dwayne Croft as Sharpless, and Maria Zifchak as Suzuki. Patrick Summers conducts. Approximate running time: 145 minutes


message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jun 23, 2009 08:32PM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Hello All,

Interesting to see that on the current poll that The First World War by John Keegan and Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond are neck and neck for the top spot in this poll. There is only one other book that has scored higher in previous polls and that is The History and Decline of the Roman Empire - Volume I by Gibbon with 8 votes. One of these only needs to get three more votes to dethrone the front runner and only two more votes to tie. This is pretty exciting actually.

Personally, I voted for Plutarch's Lives Volume I and I will tell you why (and I am the lone wolf with that vote).

Gibbon's book talks about the decline of the Roman Empire and I thought it would be good to offset it by talking about the Roman Empire's rise to power "first".

I guess I am one of those structured folks who wants to know what happened first before I read the ending.

The book was written in 100 C.E. and it has been one of the most important views that we have of that period which was 2000 years ago. It traces the Bronze Age with its myths, Alexander's reign and the late Republican Rome.

Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to a family member and stated that every gentleman at that time (the ladies did not count then I surmise) should have read Plutarch's "Lives", Livy's "History of Rome" and Virgil's Aeneid.

Accounts show that most of the founding fathers had read Plutarch and in the Federalist Papers (a selection which is coming up soon on the board), Hamilton, Jay and Madison when describing elements of good and bad leadership use this classic for their examples.

One reviewer stated: "His biographies are a great study in human character and what motivates leaders to decide and act the way they do, this masterpiece has proven to be still prescient today. If you are truly interested in a classical education, put this book on the top of your list! I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in political philosophy, and history."

That sounded good to me. So that is my unabashed plug for Plutarch's Lives Volume I (there are II).

Plutarch's Lives 1 by Plutarch

However, if Plutarch's Lives seems like a yawn to you or you want to be in the midst of excitement, then I hope the battle continues between The First World War and Guns, Germs and Steel. May the best book win the poll.


The First World War by John Keegan

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Note: These are all great books and nobody can go wrong voting for any of the ten. Happy Voting.

message 18: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Did anybody see that Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett have both passed away today? Very surprising in Jackson's case.


message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod

I noticed your new avatar and what a good buddy you also have. Could not tell if he/she was a black or chocolate lab?


message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jul 16, 2009 06:34AM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
For of those of you who would like to participate in a poll of the 100 best beach books; NPR is conducting such a poll. Each voter gets to vote for 10 from a provided list. It looks like fun.

Here is the url if you would like to give this a whirl:


The poll is under books and is called:

100 Best Beach Books Ever: Final Voting

I only mention this because I voted already and I am wondering if the numeral on the end is specific to the fact that I already have cast my vote; this should not affect any of you from voting anew even though I cannot use the above url to even access the list; it just says where the book list was: Thank you for voting. Just access the npr website and the books section and you should be good to go under any circumstances.

Here is the general npr url; you can see the reference to the voting on the right.


message 21: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
This is a great presentation on Lincoln.

The Journal: Lincoln and his Legacy

Summary of Program: Bill Moyers
Episode: The Journal: Lincoln's Legend & Legacy
In this special performance edition of Bill Moyers Journal acclaimed actor Sam Waterston and historian Harold Holzer explore Lincoln's legacy and legend in the poetry and prose by great American writers across the decades who have wrestled to define the true Lincoln through the lens of their own times.

Other Lincoln Sources:

message 22: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jul 17, 2009 08:41PM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
I do not think they make anchormen/newscasters like Walter Cronkite any more; such a loss.

What a career and life he must have had.


message 23: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
I thought this was a very interesting article regarding the time period of the American Revolutionary War.

It appears that the Battle of Chelsea Creek was the first naval engagement of the American Revolution. Chelsea Creek separates the city of Chelsea from the East Boston neighborhood of Boston in the state of Massachusetts (for those of you who are international members). The ship, the HMS Diana, a British schooner, found its resting place there almost 200 years ago. This was one of the earliest forays and seems to be one of the forgotten ones. However, Massachusetts and the National Park Service have received a grant to preserve the buildings and the battle field where the battle of Chelsea Creek took place; they would also like to see if there are any remains of the British schooner.

The article states that this battle took place after Lexington and Concord but before Bunker Hill.

Here is the article for those of you who are Revolutionary War buffs.

message 24: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Here is NPR's complete printable list of Summer of 09 books:

message 25: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 67 comments How is everyone doing? It seems like the group has kind of filtered down on this book. Have people stopped reading it or are you (like myself) just getting caught up in life and falling behind? I really am enjoying the book however I've been reading it in small pieces at a time when I can fit it in and by the time I finish a chapter I have forgotten the things I was going to comment on in the beginning. There is certainly alot of material here.

message 26: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 11, 2009 08:57PM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
No Sarah, I have been very busy at work but plan to post ahead soon. This book is very dense but well worth the read. As you read just post away; I find that works well. All of the chapter threads are kept open so folks can get caught up as they can. I think reading just seven pages a day in this book is a lot to think about. If folks just focus on seven pages each and every day; they will get through Barzun without any issue. It is like taking two or three courses wrapped up in a single book. Don't feel pressured; just take a little bit at a time and everyone will get caught up. We can always add a couple of weeks at the end for everyone to get caught up before jumping into the next book. I also want folks like yourself and others to feel free to post away with all of their questions and comments; it will help spur on others. As moderator, I want to make sure to find a balance and get others to post their comments and opinions; so I have held back a bit.


message 27: by Joe (last edited Aug 12, 2009 06:44PM) (new)

Joe (blues) Bentley wrote: "This is a great presentation on Lincoln.

The Journal: Lincoln and his Legacy ...."

This really looks quite interesting. Thanks for posting it!

message 28: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Joe wrote: "Bentley wrote: "This is a great presentation on Lincoln.

The Journal: Lincoln and his Legacy ...."

This really looks quite interesting. Thanks for posting it!"

You are welcome Joe; I hope you enjoy it.

message 29: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 14, 2009 10:23AM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
A group of thinkers, writers and journalists were asked what President Obama should read.

Here is the quote followed by the article:

So in the hope that he's willing to take a few more reading assignments, we asked a few of our favorite writers and thinkers to offer their suggestions on what the new president should have by his bedside. These writers and thinkers include: Reza Aslan, Andrew Bacevich, Jacques Barzun, Alan Brinkley, Steve Coll, Debra Dickerson, James Fallows, Joel Garreau, Nathan Glazer, Jeff Greenfield, David Ignatius, John Judis, Rachel Maddow, Joe Nocera, George Pelecanos, Jim Pinkerton, Walter Shapiro, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Ron Suskind.

What I thought interesting is our Jacques Barzun was among the thinkers asked for his opinion about what the new President should be reading.

Source: Political Animal - Washington Monthly


message 31: by Virginia (new)

Virginia (va-BBoomer) | 210 comments As I indicated to Bentley not long ago, I had to move this past Saturday, from Yonkers to New Rochelle. Not having moved for 22 years, it has been traumatic and very physically difficult (arthritis doesn't ease up just because you need to be loose and able to do packing, etc.). Now the move is done, and I'm unpacking (not after this AM; exhaustion caught up with me), and now have to hunt for where the special box I put our current book, etc. is, or at least remember what that was. Of course, we had to have an August heat spell for the move and these days afterwards, which is weather I hate, and find very difficult. I moved from a communal living situation in a private house to a Senior Living building that is just months old, and just perfect for me now; I wish this had existed before now, actually. But it has still been traumatic.
I shall be back, but I am WAY behind. This move has taken over me mentally and emotionally for several months. Now maybe life can come back to some kind of normalcy and in as much in my control as anyone's life can be.

message 32: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Hello Virginia,

We are glad to hear from you. I am so glad that things are working out much better for you. I certainly understand how bad moving can be. I am glad that the situation is perfect for you.

You can contribute on this thread and even the current events thread until you get acclimated to your new place and settle in.

Glad to have you back in whatever capacity. The weather should get cooler soon.


message 33: by Virginia (new)

Virginia (va-BBoomer) | 210 comments I sure hope so; but it is nearly late August, so heat spells should be shorter and less intense as we get into September. That's what I tell myself to keep up the courage, but it was kinda hard in the midst of the move. And I need to shop but am too tired to cope with the heat outside (this entire building, as well as my apartment is beautifully a/cd). Oh, well, nothing's perfect, especially the weather!

message 34: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
That is for sure; keep your chin up.

All best,


message 35: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 67 comments Virginia,

Glad to hear your move is complete. Every time I move I realize how many things I have accumulated .. and how many books! Hopefully, you will meet some really interesting people in your new community.

I have had a really hard week as well. I work in a small office of 16 people (which is part of a large corporation). On Wednesday, 7 of them were laid off. Its something we all saw coming but I have had very mixed feelings about how it was handled. I also had the "special honor" of going to the hospital to tell one of my co-workers (who was recovering from a difficult birth two days before) that she no longer has a job. Its not something that was part of my job .. but HR wanted to call her on the phone and, as I consider her a close friend outside of work, I requested that I be allowed to be there in person and we would call HR together. It was the hardest thing I've ever done as part of my employment.

I hope everyone else is doing well.


message 36: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Our photo has been updated to reflect a picture of Andrew Jackson replacing the photo of Jacques Barzun.


message 37: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Another article on what Obama is reading in Martha's Vineyard:

message 38: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 26, 2009 10:14AM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
It is very sad news that Ted Kennedy passed away today. On both aisles of the Senate, he will be sorely missed and by the people he served.

message 39: by Edward (new)

Edward Lengel (edwardlengel) | 21 comments Bentley wrote: "Another article on what Obama is reading in Martha's Vineyard:"

If I were president, I'd post a public reading list designed to impress my key constituencies and otherwise demonstrate what an intelligent guy I am; and keep a private list of all the weird stuff I really read! You gotta wonder how accurate these things are ;)

message 40: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Ed wrote: "Bentley wrote: "Another article on what Obama is reading in Martha's Vineyard:"

If I were president, I'd post a public reading list designed to impress my key..."

You know Ed..that is a great idea!!! (lol)...This is probably hard to believe but some of the media gets close-up shots of the books he is carrying at one time or another and I guess they assume he is reading them; but some of the lists actually have come from interviews with Obama and/or the press secretary (Gibbs) has released the list.

message 41: by Virginia (new)

Virginia (va-BBoomer) | 210 comments Hi, Bentley,
I'm slowly coming back to 'normal' daily living in my new surroundings. And while I don't have my own computer for now - my 'old' one died, and I am awaiting a new one a friend is prepping for me, and once I have room for it, lol - I am using my work one, and the computer room here in my building (while I can come down here anytime, it is especially handy while I am doing laundry where the laundry room is around the corner from the computer room).
I have not found the Barzum book yet, so I am lost on that for now, and so far behind I wouldn't know what to do when I find it.
I would love to get American Lion, but by the time it would arrive, it would be too late. I can take a trip to Border's - my favorite place which I avoid to save money, lol - and see if they have it. Should I do so, and pick up where you are, or join the next one?
I do want to do Federalist Papers; am glad to see it is upcoming rather than being done now so I won't miss it.
What exactly comes after American Lion, so I can get the book. Is it the Lincoln one, or another one before that?
I grew up in Massachusetts, 20 miles from Cape Cod, so was 'raised' on the Kennedy family, as you were, too. While Ted Kennedy certainly wasn't an angel by any means, Ted, Jr's fantastic eulogy told the true story of his father and how seriously he took his role as father and patriarch. While it is obvious that his sons and a lot of the other Kennedy offspring all suffered from the effects of either losing their fathers or various effects of being a Kennedy including bad examples of adulthood, Ted's spirit and survival and work ethic has carried on. His own kids have not been idle and most of the others have been busy as well.
I've always felt that Ted really didn't want to be President. Once he got into the Senate, and got past the freshman year, he took to it like a duck to water. There was no more relieved and free man than when he backed out of the Presidential campaign in 1980, and didn't have to go through that ever again. He could really concentrate on the Senate, and he did so grandly. A lot of people dislike his Senate work because he was a liberal; that's too bad, in my opinion. His civil rights influence and bill creation and passing alone is a major accomplishment, and most people agree with that.
I do feel there is quite an empty space now that Ted has gone.
Sorry to get long-winded, but his death affected me a lot; it brought back a lot of memories of my SE MA upbringing and environment.
Happy Labor Day!

message 42: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 07, 2009 09:26AM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Hello Virginia,

Glad that you have surfaced. Hope things are going well.

It sounds like you are still working out the computer issues. The Barzun book is one that has been out for awhile and the library should have it. I actually purchased mine at Barnes and Noble. It is very dense, very worthwhile but not your average read; I think right now it would be hard to catch up with us; but the threads are open so you could catch up at your leisure. My feeling is that you should try to get the FDR book we are reading next starting in October. You have plenty of time to get it.

The American Lion is a great book; I am really enjoying it. This was the August/September book and is worthwhile to read. You would be able to catch up on that one I think.

I try to set up books way in advance so that folks have an opportunity to get the book; maybe even start reading it a little and be ready to go when the time comes.

The Federalist Papers are all available on line and we are doing just one a week; so that can be a side read for you. And will be an easy one for everyone to participate in.

In terms of what comes next:

The FDR book is next after Barzun and that is our leisurely read.
That book is our spotlighted thread book (those books are always reader/group selected)

In terms of the Presidential Series which is a new addition to the book club; there will always be a few selections from that area and these will be books that we will read in either one month or two (for those folks who want to read faster and cover more territory). These selections will be going on at the same time as the spotlighted thread.

Currently we are reading The American Lion as you correctly pointed out. And for the November/December timeframe, we will be reading A. Lincoln by White.

At the same time, we will begin The Federalist Papers for our Charter, Important Documents segment. That is going to be a very leisurely read.

Yes, I agree with you about the Kennedys and about Ted. I think he felt relieved of trying to do something for others (striving for the Presidency). I think he was very secure in the Senate position and loved it. Most of the bills that had an influence on the quality of a citizen's life had something to do with Kennedy. It is odd thinking about all three Kennedy boys (JFK, Bobby, and Ted); but I think Ted in the long run became the most introspective and was the most sensitive of all three Kennedys as well as the most prolific. Christopher Dodd in his eulogy stated and I think correctly: "John inspired the nation, Bobby challenged it and Ted Kennedy changed it."

I think there is a very open space now that he is gone and it is very sad. No need to apologize Virginia, I think a lot of people feel similarly and were able to say thanks to him and honor him at the end. I do not think I have seen such tributes except for presidents before.

And a happy Labor Day to you - too.

Glad to see you back. I think if you look back in the notes some folks reached out to you in the past.

PS: I have placed the book jackets of the current and future discussions already slated so that you can reference reviews, etc. and be able to make your decision. :-)


American Lion Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham

No Ordinary Time Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin

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From Dawn to Decadence 500 Years of Western Cultural Life 1500 to the Present by Jacques Barzun

The Federalist Papers (Signet Classics) by Alexander Hamilton

message 43: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 07, 2009 11:23AM) (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
For those of you who might watch PBS - Channel Thirteen; they are offering some programs on Dutch New York and Peter Stuyvesant.

Here is the current PBS url regarding these telecasts (again with these channel broadcasts and links; one is not always sure how long these will be available); but they are available now:

Here is an interactive map of New Amsterdam (NYC - Manhattan) in 1660; it must have been quite a lovely place at that time.

This is the NY400 calendar - lots of things going on!

Here is a site called the Hudson 400 and there is a New Amsterdam tour that you can take today; it includes a downloaded audio tour, a map and a colorful brochure! It looks like fun.

Here is the Hudson 400 site:

Here is the New Netherland and the Half Moon site:

September 8th though September 13th is the NY400 Holland on the Hudson week:

Here is the brochure:

NY400 site:

There will also be a royal visit from Netherlands to kick off the festivities.

In fact there will be a dedication from the Netherlands:

"The New Amsterdam Plein and Pavilion is the gift of the Netherlands to New York in honor of 400 years of friendship.

The Pavilion and street furniture for the surrounding plaza are designed by Dutch architect Ben van Berkel of UNStudio. It will serve as an attractive gathering place for New Yorkers, commuters and tourists, as well as a tribute to our common history and shared values.

The Pavilion is situated on Peter Minuit Plaza at the Battery, one of New York’s main intersections, with 75,000 people passing through each day.

Part of Peter Minuit Plaza will be renamed New Amsterdam Plein. The Plaza is currently undergoing a major renovation; it will only be accessible on September 9, and is closed afterwards. The presentation and the Pavilion can be viewed from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal terrace.

During the presentation, there will be a special display about the Schaghen letter, New York City’s ‘birth certificate’. This important document will be exhibited at the South Street Seaport Museum, as part of the exhibition New Amsterdam: The Island at the Center of the World."

This looks like fun (Peter Stuyvesant's Ghost Walks) (lol)
Plus many other presentations and events in November!

Then there is the link to the Mannahatta Project (fascinating). Take a whirl on the interactive map and compare the then and now of Manhattan:

The New Netherland Institute Site:

Live in your Living Room: NYC Concerts:

There is also an upcoming book presentation in relationship to these events:

Arts and Society in Flanders and the Netherlands Note: I could only find on goodreads the 2007 edition which is obviously being updated.

Have fun,


message 44: by Liz (new)

Liz | 119 comments Thanks Bentley! I've had The Island at the Center of the World The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America on my shelf for a while. I'll have to make a point of getting through it for the 400th anniversary celebration. Wish I were close enough to take part in the actual events!

message 45: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
Hello Liz,

Thank you for the add. There are some great material and videos on the Channel Thirteen web site (the first url that I posted above); a great full program can be watched on early Dutch New York and Peter Stuyvesant. It is not the same as being there; but it might help. (smile)


message 46: by Vincent (new)

Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1246 comments Hello Folks

Here is a listing of lectures coming up at the New York Historical Societyin New York for those interested.

More details are on the website

They are mostly not too expensive - especially if one becomses a member.

There is a full day (six hour) symposium on Lincol on January 23.

I will probably be at some if someone wants to meet.

Lincoln’s New York: The City in
the 1860s
Harold Holzer, Barry Lewis

Remembering David Herbert Donald:
Tributes to a Great Historian
Harold Holzer, Jonathan Alter, Jean
H. Baker, Matthew Pinsker

Empire of Liberty
Gordon Wood

The Future of the Stock Market and
the World Economy
Byron R. Wien, James Chanos, Leon
Cooperman, James Grant, Lewis

Lincoln’s Constitution: From the
Civil War Amendments to the Warren
Benno Schmidt, Akhil Reed Amar,
Charles Ogletree

Great Historians and Their Influences:
An Evening with Walter Isaacson
Walter Isaacson

Evolution of the Upper West Side
Barry Lewis

The Future of New York
Michael Goodwin, Governor George
Pataki, Richard Ravitch, James
Tisch, Fred Siegel

America’s Future, America’s
Benno Schmidt, Philip C. Bobbitt,
Robert C. Post

Yankee Stadium Forever:
College Football
Regis Philbin, Dave Anderson,
Pete Dawkins, Paul Hornung
Tony Morante, Bert Sugar

The Future of the U.S.A.
Roger Hertog, Richard Haass,
Robert Kagan, R. Glen Hubbard,
Mortimer Zuckerman

Enemies of the People
Frank Rich, Kati Marton

The Draft Debate
Josiah Bunting III, Douglas Bandow

Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief
Harold Holzer, Craig L. Symonds,
James M. McPherson

Roosevelt’s Advisors
Alan Brinkley, Adam Cohen, Julie M.

Right Time, Right Place
Richard Brookhiser, Rich Lowry

Daring Young Men
Richard Reeves, Lesley Stahl

Great Historians and Their Influences:
An Evening with Simon Schama
Simon Schama

9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Lincoln & Emancipation: An
Anniversary Symposium

Longshots and Underdogs: Great
Moments in New York Sports
Bob Herbert, Adam Gopnik,
Bert Sugar

Ex parte Milligan–Military
Commissions During the Civil War: A
Supreme Court Re-enactment
Associate Justice Antonin Scalia,
Walter Dellinger, Philip Lacovara,
Benno Schmidt

Yankee Stadium Forever: Pro Football
Frank Gifford, Dave Anderson, Tony

The History of the Abyssinian
Baptist Church
Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts III

David Ruggles and the NYC
Underground Railroad
Graham Hodges, Eric Foner

Homer & Langley
E. L. Doctorow
(Visit or for more
information on this program.)

Great Historians and Their Influences:
An Evening with Annette Gordon-Reed
Annette Gordon-Reed
Stay tuned for more

PS - many are linked to book promotions.


message 47: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
These look great Vince. The Anniversary Symposium sounds fabulous on Lincoln. I will have to check out the website.

Thank you so much.

message 48: by Joe (new)

Joe (blues) wow... I wish I lived closer to NYC.

message 49: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44328 comments Mod
The Lincoln Symposium is on a weekend and enough in advance; your significant other and yourself could come in for a weekend and take advantage of some of these I would think; you being a Presidential buff.

Thanks to Vince for letting us know about these.


message 50: by Joe (last edited Sep 08, 2009 05:23PM) (new)

Joe (blues) Yes, Vince.. Thank-you.

I think my favorite one would be Harold Holzer & James M. McPherson both together on the same night discussing "Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief" 12-1-09. LOL... I could take a 1/2 off of work, drive to New Haven, take the train into NYC, and make a night out of it. Wednesday morning would be rough though.

But your right.... That weekend event about emancipation would work out best.

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