My wife and I were out and about yesterday and hit two book stores: Babbitt’s Books in Normal, a fantastic used book store with thousands of fairly off beat volumes and a black cat as a charming guard cat for the establishment, and the Barnes and Noble in Bloomington. As faithful readers of this blog know my wife and I are dedicated book packrats. Here are the books I purchased yesterday:
1. Thaddeus Stevens by Ralph Korngold-A 1955 biography of the great abolitionist Congressman from Pennsylvania, who was usually an adversary of Lincoln, sometimes an ally, who reshaped Reconstruction in a punitive direction after Lincoln’s death and came close to unseating his successor. A great man, but one whose impact on the country ran contrary to the goal he wished to accomplish: full equality for blacks. A Greek tragedy of a life in many ways.
2. The Racial Attitudes of American Presidents from Abraham Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt by George Sinkler-A 1971 study of how these presidents viewed racial minorities, particularly blacks. Considering how much is written about race in this country, I believe this is the only book I can recall on this aspect of the topic. I have begun to read it and it looks fascinating.
3. A History of Apologetics by Avery Cardinal Dulles-A 1999 reprint of the 1971 book by Dulles. I have never read anything by the late Cardinal Dulles without coming away dazzled by his intellect, and I doubt that this will be any different.
On to Barnes and Noble:
4. Strategy by Lawrence Freedman-I am always excited when I come across a new book that I was not aware of. This 2013 history of strategy looks like a 751 page gem.
5. Old Mars-A new science fiction anthology edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardiner Dozois which has stories about the colonization of the Red Planet, but not the Red Planet as it exists in fact, but as it existed in the minds of science fiction authors in the 40s and 50s when it was assumed that it would be suitable for humans to live on without terraforming.
6. The Cave and the Light-Arthur Herman’s just published study on the impact of Plato and Aristotle on Western society down through the centuries.
7. The Greatest Brigade-A prize from the marked-down books. Thomas Craughwell’s first rate study published in 2012 on the Irish Brigade. Over 7,000 men served in the Irish Brigade during the War, almost all of them immigrants, and some 4000 of them were killed and wounded, the Irish Brigade sustaining one of the highest level of battlefield casualties during the War of any brigade. To an American public often hostile to the Irish, they demonstrated a heroism and love for their new land that only the most bigoted could not cheer.
In the comboxes please tell me about your recent book purchases. Our books tell much about ourselves, so let the revelations proceed!