My bride and I enjoyed going to a used book sale last Thursday that we have been attending for about the last fifteen years. We spent $38.00. As usual Don the spendthrift purchased most of the books:
1. My bride purchased A Guide Through Narnia by Martha G. Sammons (1979) (Essays on C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia” – but it was with the travel books, so I was expecting more of a Narnian gazetteer for travelers), The Bride Wore Pearls by Liz Carlyle (2012) (Historical romance novel set in the Victorian era; our Anglo-Indian heroine’s costume in the cover art is late Regency, though, and she hops into bed with our quasi-Masonic hero about half a dozen chapters in; not worth finishing), Lose 200 Lbs. This Weekend by Don Aslett (2000) (Another of his “de-clutter your life” books) and Schroeder’s Antiques Price Guide (1999) (The most recent they had there — presumably the collectors are hanging onto anything more recent; what I really needed was a print version of info I’d already found online about the collectible figurines I’m selling on eBay, plus tips on how to pack them for shipping).
I purchased all the rest:
2. The Battle: A History of the Battle of Waterloo by Alessandro Barbero (2003)-I like the fact that the author begins his book with quotes from Wellington indicating what folly it was to attempt to write the history of this battle.
3. Ivory Vikings by Nancy Marie Brown (2015)-Speculation on the origin of nine medieval chess pieces.
4. The Arms of Krupp (1968-paperback 1970)-William Manchester’s history of the German family of weapons manufacturers.
5. The French and Indian War by Walter R. Borneman (2006)-The French and Indian War has been attracting more attention recently by scholars, which is a good thing. The various French wars of the seventeenth and eighteenth century had an enormous impact on the colonies that would become the United States. Our first steps toward a unified nation were taken as a result of these conflicts, and many of the men who led our forces in the American Revolution learned the trade of war in the greatest and last of these struggles.
6. The Achievement of Samuel Johnson by W. Jackson Bate (1955)-A look at the writing and thought of one of my favorite literary curmudgeons.
7. Bomber Offensive by Noble Frankland (1970)-One of the myriad Ballantine buck books on World War II that I gobbled up as a teenager.
8. Abraham Lincoln by Thomas Keneally (2003)-One of the brief Penguin Lives where established authors write a short life of some famous individual. The authors usually have no special expertise as a biographer of the subject they are writing about. As one might expect, this experiment has produced mixed results.
9. Leadership in War by Sir John Smyth (1974)-A look at British generals in World War II by a Brigadier General and holder of the Victoria Cross. (The Brit equivalent to the Medal of Honor.)
10. Patton: A Study in Command by H. Essame (1974)-A well written look at Patton by a British Major General who commanded a brigade in World War II.
11. Aristotle For Everybody: Difficult Thought Made Easy by Mortimer Adler (1978)-I have long been a fan of the work of the late Mortimer Adler. A leader of the revival of interest in Saint Thomas Aquinas in the twenties, he founded the Great Books Program. He spent his life explaining to moderns in the West their intellectual heritage. A non-observant Jew, he long was attracted to Catholicism. Baptized as an Episcopalian in 1984, the faith of his wife, he was baptized into the Faith in 1999, two years before his death.