Lincoln Book Haul

Friday, June 10, AD 2016

 

Well, yesterday my family and I made our annual pilgrimage to Springfield to attend the Lincoln Museum and go to the Lincoln Tomb.  As we made our way though the Museum we encountered a large number of Amish touring the Museum, the women wearing long dresses and poke bonnets that made them look as if they stepped from the 1860s.  The Amish were obviously fascinated by what they were seeing and talked among themselves in “Pennsylvania Dutch”.   Illinois has had a large colony of Amish in the Arthur, Illinois area, about 72 miles from Springfield, since the 19th century.  (Although the Amish are as theologically as far from the Church as it is possible for Christians to be, I should note that I have a huge amount of respect for them.  They take care of their own, and ask nothing from the larger society in which they live, except to be left alone, a sentiment which resonates with me.)  After the museum my family went to the Prairie Archives bookstore where I again marveled at their large collection of Lincoln books.

As usual we had a first rate lunch at the nearby The Feed Store.  (Nothing shouts Midwest more than eating in a restaurant with a name like that.)  We finished our day at Lincoln’s tomb praying for the repose of his soul and the souls of his wife and kids.)  Once again I thought to myself how nice it was that the first or second greatest President in our history, has his tomb in a cemetery open to all, where there are no guards, no charges for admission, not even for parking.  You simply pull up to the small parking area next to the tomb, go in and make your way through the tomb.  We owe Mary Todd Lincoln for that.  After Lincoln’s murder, there was an attempt to have Lincoln buried in Washington with a grand mausoleum being erected thereafter over his remains.  Mary Lincoln would have none of it.  She took her dead husband, and had the remains of her dead son Willie exhumed, and traveled with them both back to Springfield for burial.  She wanted nothing more from Washington except to get out of there as quickly as she could, a city where she had suffered grief that makes her such a poignant figure in American history.  (An exhibit in the Museum shows her framed by a rain stained window, sitting forlornly, mourning the loss of Willie.  My bride observed to me yesterday that, sadly, we know precisely how she feels.)

It wouldn’t be a McClarey expedition if we didn’t buy books.  We bought books yesterday at the Museum, the Prairie Archives and a used book store in Bloomington during an extended pit stop on our way home to Dwight.  Most of the books were about Lincoln (surprise!) and here are those books:

  1.  Lincoln’s Political Generals, David Work (2009)-Usually the incompetence of the generals appointed for political reasons is highlighted by historians, but it has always struck me how many of them, a perfect example is Illinois Congressman turned general John “Black Jack” Logan, eventually became competent officers.  Just as more than a few West Pointers failed the iron test of war, more than a few politician-soldiers passed it.
  2. Abraham Lincoln:  The Quest For Immortality, Dwight G. Anderson (1982)-A controversial book, Anderson contends that Lincoln deliberately sought to achieve immortality by becoming a second Washington.  I find his thesis unconvincing, but I was happy to add his book to my collection as it is well argued and does highlight an aspect of Lincoln often missed, surprisingly, by other historians:  that Lincoln was very conscious of history and how he and his contemporaries would be perceived by future generations.
  3. Lincoln the President, volume II (1945-reprinted 1974)-James G. Randall’s Lincoln the President is an exhaustive look at Lincoln as President, from an interesting standpoint: an admirer of Lincoln who also thought the Civil War was unnecessary. Scholarship was superb, albeit dated after six decades.  I now have three volumes, of the four, in my library.
  4. Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, Winter 2008 and Summer 2009. Cutting edge articles on studies of Lincoln and his times are published twice a year by the Springfield based Abraham Lincoln Association.
  5. Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen:  A Culinary View of Lincoln’s Life and Times, Rae Katherine Eighmey, (2013)-I told my bride that Lincoln had a marked indifference to what he ate, with a slight preference for the humble country fare on which he was raised, but that did not dampen her enthusiasm for this tome.
  6. “Here I Have Lived”:  A History of Lincoln’s Springfield, Paul M. Angle (1933-reprint 1971)-A look at Springfield during the life of Lincoln.  It is hard to overestimate the impact of that community on Lincoln.
  7. Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason, David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften (2010-first paperback printing 2015)-A look at the impact of Lincoln’s study of Euclid on the way he thought.  Go here to read a post I wrote back in 2012 on that subject.
  8. The Annotated Lincoln, edited by Harold Holzer and Thomas A. Horrocks (2016)-A 604 page look at most of the major writings of Lincoln and a representative sample of his correspondence.   The clarity, and logical precision, of Lincoln’s mind shines through in his writings.  When one considers the meager education that Lincoln had, viewing his body of work makes one weep for the output of most modern politicians, albeit one can rarely be certain what is written by any modern politician after they attain office, and what is the product of the minds of staffers.  O tempora, O mores!

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3 Responses to Lincoln Book Haul

  • I have another new-book recommendation. My Library had it.
    .
    Lincoln and the Politics of Slavery – The Other Thirteenth Amendment and the Struggle to Save the Union by Daniel W. Crofts

    Apparently, early the morning of Lincoln’s first Inauguration, the US Senate (the House had earlier) passed an Amendment that would have stated the Federal government would never act against slavery in states where it existed. It never went to the states -deep south hiot heads, Fort Sumter – anywhere. The book was too detailed and I stopped after the lengthy prologue.

  • What fun! Thanks for the book titles.

    Re: Mary Todd Lincoln’s grief/loss in Washington DC & the poignancy of her suffering.

    My graduate work & the majority of my career (& life) has been spent working with people with multiple disabilities. I say that to say this. Mary seems to have exhibited many characteristics of having a traumatic brain injury after she was involved in that carriage accident, the attempted assassination of Lincoln through sabotage to his carriage, which ended up almost killing Mary, instead. To me, given the side effects of TBI, and the lack of treatment and understanding she endured, only increases the poignancy of her suffering.

  • It may be TCT. Having lost one child myself, and having experience that grief, I can only imagine the grief that Mary eventually dealt with, losing three of her four sons and having her husband murdered before her eyes. She has always struck me as one of the more poignant figures in American history.

Vacation 2015

Sunday, July 26, AD 2015

family-on-vacation

  Come Sail Away sung by the Chipmunks.  (I know, that was evil of me.)

 

I am on vacation beginning today with my family until August 2.  My internet connection in the coming week will range from intermittent to non-existent.  I will have posts for each day I am away on the blog, but if something momentous occurs, for example:  Elvis is discovered working at a Big Boy’s in Tulsa, the Pope issues a Bull against blogging as a complete waste of time, or Obama reveals that Area 51 does contain aliens and Joe Biden has accidentally started an intergalactic war with them, I trust that this post will explain why I am not discussing it.

We will begin up in Kenosha, Wisconsin with a visit to my bride’s mother.  We have been doing this since the birth of the twins and it has always been a fun family gathering.  Our new dog will be meeting her new cat so that will probably liven up the proceedings.

 

My bride, I and our 23 year old and 20 year old “kids” will be taking off for the Gen Con Convention in Indianapolis, a pilgrimage the McClarey clan makes each year to renew our uber-Geek creds.  If any of you are close to Indianapolis and you have never attended, it is worth a drive to see tens of thousands of role players, board gamers and computer gamers in Congress assembled.  If nothing else you will go home reassured as to how comparatively normal you are.  Last year’s attendance was in excess of 56,000 and there are multitudes of gaming related events.

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7 Responses to Vacation 2015

On Vacation 2013

Sunday, August 11, AD 2013

 

Family on Vacation

I am on vacation this week with my family.  My internet connection in the coming week will range from intermittent to non-existent.  I will have posts for each day I am away on the blog, but if something momentous occurs, for example:  Elvis is discovered working at a Big Boy’s in Tulsa, the Pope issues a Bull against blogging as a complete waste of time, or Obama reveals that Area 51 does contain aliens and Joe Biden has accidentally started an intergalactic war with them, I trust that this post will explain why I am not discussing it.

Among other activities we will be attending the Gen Con Convention in Indianapolis, a pilgrimage the McClarey clan makes each year to renew our uber-Geek creds.  If any of you are close to Indianapolis and you have never attended, it is worth a drive to see tens of thousands of role players, board gamers and computer gamers in Congress assembled.  If nothing else you will go home reassured as to how comparatively normal you are.  Last year’s attendance was in excess of 41,000 and there are multitudes of gaming related events.  A good symbol of the holy grail of nerdiness that is Gen Con is here.  Below is a Gen Con video  which gives a nice feel for the magnitude of the convention.

 

My wife and daughter participate in the live action dungeon at Gen Con.  I do not participate due to my great personal dignity, and because I doubtless would cry in anguish as my character was slain two seconds into the dungeon!  I normally hang around at the game auction along with most of the grognard veteran gamers, i.e. geezer gamers.  The type of wackiness that goes on at Gen Con is best symbolized in this video which has nothing to do with Gen Con but which certainly has the Gen Con spirit.  (Hattip to Pauli at Est Quod Est.)

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3 Responses to On Vacation 2013

  • Have fun! At least you aren’t going to Brony Con. Now those people are out there.

  • The ultimate in escapism! 😉

    I couldn’t stand it – but enjoy yourself. I trust you will emerge as your usual self and not some cyber hero/villain/character.

  • “…Obama reveals that Area 51 does contain aliens and Joe Biden has accidentally started an intergalactic war with them…”

    Actually, I think Biden is a space alien. Its the only plausible explanation.

On Vacation 2012

Sunday, August 12, AD 2012

Family on Vacation

I am on vacation this week with my family.  My internet connection in the coming week will range from intermittent to non-existent.  I will have posts for each day I am away on the blog, but if something momentous occurs, for example:  Elvis is discovered working at a Big Boy’s in Tulsa, the Pope issues a Bull against blogging as a complete waste of time, or Obama dumps Biden and picks his teleprompter as his running mate, I trust that this post will explain why I am not discussing it.

Among other activities we will be attending the Gen Con Convention in Indianapolis, a pilgrimage the McClarey clan makes each year to renew our uber-Geek creds.  If any of you are close to Indianapolis and you have never attended, it is worth a drive to see tens of thousands of role players, board gamers and computer gamers in Congress assembled.  If nothing else you will go home reassured as to how comparatively normal you are.  Last year’s attendance was in excess of 36,000 and there are multitudes of gaming related events.  A good symbol of the holy grail of nerdiness that is Gen Con is here.  Below is a Gen Con video from 2011 which gives a nice feel of the convention.

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7 Responses to On Vacation 2012

  • Welcome (back) to Indy! I’m in an outlying area too inefficiently located to fight my way downtown, else I’d shake your hand personally. Nonetheless, I think you’ll like the stuff left over from the Super Bowl hooplah.

  • Enjo, enjoy to repeat T. Shaw. and return safely. Hail Marys

  • I hope you and yours have a wonderful time.
    I have something to ask you – maybe you will think it over on your journey home. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have some sort of a response button to push after reading a fellow American Catholic’s comments? Lots of times I would like to say Amen to a post without writing a response– I don’t mean a “like” that will get posted anywhere else- just something on our own board, if I may call it that- sort of an intramural “like”. It would be interesting too because some of our friends who just read and don’t comment may participate in this way and kind of give us a “poll” of where we stand
    And if I haven’t told you, and all of the members before- I really appreciate this place. Thanks

  • I dunno Don

    I guess there is salvation for you, but you must be treading on egg shells, brother. 😉

  • Good time to be on vacation. ^.^ I look forward to being able to geek with my girls.

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On Vacation

Sunday, August 9, AD 2009

Family on Vacation

I am on vacation this week with my family.  My internet connection in the coming week will range from intermittent to non-existent.  I will have posts for each day I am away on the blog, but if something momentous occurs, for example:  Elvis is discovered working at a Big Boy’s in Tulsa, the Pope issues a Bull against blogging as a complete waste of time, or there is an alarming outbreak of common sense in the government, I trust that this post will explain why I am not discussing it.

Among other activities we will be attending the Gen Con Convention in Indianapolis, a pilgrimage the McClarey clan makes each year to renew our uber-Geek creds.  If any of you are close to Indianapolis and you have never attended, it is worth a drive to see tens of thousands of role players, board gamers and computer gamers in Congress assembled.  If nothing else you will go home reassured as to how comparatively normal you are.  Last year’s attendance was in excess of 28,000 and there are multitudes of gaming related events.  A good overview of Gen Con is here.  Below is a Gen Con video from 2006 which gives a nice feel of the convention.

I have been threatened with being tossed in the Klingon jail, a fixture at Gen Con, before but it hasn’t happened yet.  As long as I mind my manners at the convention, I will be back on line next Sunday.

klingon jail

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9 Responses to On Vacation

  • I am positively emerald with envy about your pilgrimage to Indianapolis. Sigh.

    You might want ear plugs this time, though: the angry howling about D&D 4.0 is going to deafening.

  • So jealous– I still haven’t made it to a con!

    Have fun, and geek on!

  • Well, Dale, the DM rolled the dice, and D&D 4.0 got a 1. Sorry. We will have to wait for 4.5.

  • I read the four of you and I am reminded of the line in the movie Diner ,

    “Do you feel there is a lot of stuff going on that we don’t know about?”

  • When around large groups of geeks, roll vs san loss….

    I still hold that the Pope is a Geek in his own right– the way he lights up when he’s talking about doctrine and God, the piles of writing, the careful thought on things a lot of folks don’t even notice. (Gotta admit, “God” is a great thing to choose as a fandom!)

  • Cassius: Did Cicero say any thing?

    Casca: Ay, he spoke in geek.

    Cassius: To what effect?

    Casca: Nay, an I tell you that; but those that understood him smiled at one another and shook their heads; but, for mine own part, it was geek to me.

  • Henry:

    Yep, that’s basically it. I haven’t actually played a game since 2.0, but I own and liked the 3.0/3.5 basic books a lot. A basically sensible revision that left the spirit of the game intact.

    A good friend still plays regularly and gave 4.0 a big thumbs down. Too much pandering to the tabletop boomlet. 4.5 or bust.

  • Dale

    Last books I bought were 2.0, but I played the computer games based upon the 3rd edition (both 3 and 3.5) and thought the additions were good. Everything I’ve seen with 4.0 is indeed that –tabletop — which is a shame.

On Vacation

Thursday, June 18, AD 2009

On Vacation

I’m on vacation this week with my family.  Yesterday my wife and I took the kids to Brookfield Zoo, something we have been doing since 1998 when the kids were quite young .  I hope that my three sophisticated teenagers still enjoy it and are not just humoring dear old Dad.  My wife and I certainly still love going to the zoo.  A few observations:

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5 Responses to On Vacation

  • I grew up in Berwyn, IL and frequently visited the zoo throughout my childhood. It is indeed an “only in America!” type of place. I’ll have to go back and visit one of these days!

  • Is the pic of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza?

    Good posting.

  • Yep and thanks Tito.

  • I’m not generally a fan of Picasso’s work, but his Don Quixote is one of my favorite pieces of art (I like his bullfighting scenes as well).

    When my wife and I were dating a decade ago, she and her mother and sister went to Spain for a week. She asked me if I wanted her to bring me back anything. I printed out a picture of the above work of art and told her that I wanted a t-shirt with that on it and the word “Espana” beneath it.

    She actually found exactly what I wanted and brought it back to me.

  • Don Quixote sums up nicely both the glory of Spain, seeking to accomplish the seemingly impossible and stunningly doing so more than once, and also the difficulty that Spaniards have often had throughout their history in dealing with this frame of reality.