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Book Review: A Country of Vast Designs

24 Jul

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6895978-a-country-of-vast-designs

Excellent reading for a period of American history that is rarely studied.

James K. Polk committed himself to being the most consequential single term US President 1845-1849 by adding Texas, California and Oregon territories; reestablishing an independent Treasury and reducing tariffs.  The territorial expansion fulfilled the national “Manifest Destiny”…the goal of being a nation from Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans (sea to shining sea).

Polk was an unlikely candidate having lost two races for Governor of Tennessee.  (However, he had been the Speaker of the House for Andrew Jackson and a one term Tennessee governor.)  He won the Democratic nomination on the sixth ballot!

James K. Polk accomplished great things in an era when letters were delivered by horseback.  Railroads were a novelty.  Newspapers were the media for the masses.  Imagine!  The author Robert W. Merry brought authenticity with many quotes from Polk’s diary, congressional records and newspapers of the day.

 

Book Review: Miramont’s Ghost

20 Jun

For my previous book review, I chose Matilda Empress because my niece is featured on the cover.

I chose Miramont’s Ghost because the author ‘Elizabeth Hall’ grabbed my attention.  Elizabeth being my middle name and Hall being my maiden name…I answered to ‘Elizabeth Hall” for over 30 years….no I am not the author….I like seeing my name on the cover 🙂

Miramont’s Ghost is historical fiction.  Most of the narrative is set in France in the early 1900s (before WWI).  It concludes at Miramont Castle in Colorado.  One theme dealt with the dilemma of Adrienne’s clairvoyance which disturbed her family and the community.  Later in the book, Adrienne pivots, realizing her insights could/should solve problems rather than “be the problem”.  This was a history subject I was not familiar with.  I enjoyed the drama revealed in this book.

Friday Photos: IChing No. 15 Humble

16 Jun

Paul Hayes USMC WWII,
tank driver, Purple Heart recipient with his wife Ruth (2012)

Book Review: Matilda Empress

23 May

 

I judged this book by its cover!  It features my niece (one and the same with my previous post)!  Not only was she best in her class, but also a fashion model during high school working in New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, Cape Town, Singapore and more.

Matilda Empress is historical fiction from an obscure period of British History.  Matilda was the daughter of Henry I and mother of Henry II.  The narrative is elegant with elaborate details of the days and times of 12th century England and Europe.  Descriptions of clothing, meals, medical treatment, religious customs/beliefs and more…evoke an appreciation of the life and times.

The author does a lovely job introducing each chapter.  I needed more information.  I was lost a few times.  I recommend reviewing (then referring to) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empress_Matilda  to follow the story which closely follows the historical time line.

My favorite character is Greta, Matilda’s lady’s maid… for her devotion, dedication and resourcefulness during decades of service.

 

Friday Photos: Washington D.C. 2008

20 Jan

Best wishes to our nation on this 45th inauguration day!

“I have a dream” engraved in stone

16 Jan
"I have a dream" from the location the words were spoken.

“I have a dream” from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where the speech inspired our country and the world.

Indy Star: Indy when the Cubs were last champs

3 Nov

From Indy Star

Indy when the Cubs were last champs

http://indy.st/2ffCtsF

The last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series was Oct. 14, 1908.The next day The Indianapolis Star reported the victory on Page 1. “Cubs Win Pennant Easily from Tigers,” the headline said. “Wherever they are talking about the world’s baseball championship tonight,” the story began, “they are cussing the wonderful Chicago Cubs.”Here are nine other things people were talking about that day, according to The Star. These are headlines only, except for the “Man Says He Was Robbed” and “Horse Stealing Disease” stories and the one about the man who fell over dead a moment after saying how well he felt and the one about the mugging of the too-trusting man from a small town. Those, due to their brevity, are reprinted in full.