Thursday, May 7, 2009

I'm Honored....thank you very much for inviting me in....I read A TEAM OF RIVALS a while back, but am all too happy to read it again as it is one of the best Lincoln books I read in a long time. I just finished Harry Holzer's Lincoln: President Elect. I look forward to the discussion.


  1. Robert,Nice to hear from you again!I was beginning to worry about you.Bosox using my real name on Google for a few years though.Avrds in case you didn't see my post in the war zone I did finally pick up Children of Grace you sent me sometime back on the Nez Perce war of 1877.I'm really enjoying it.A lot more narrative type read than the other Nez Perce books I've read though Utley's still stands as the finest book on a single tribe I have read.

  2. Great to see you, robert!

    Bo, if you pass along your e-mail address to me at I will send you an invite to be an author.

  3. The history gang is reconvening! I can't tell you how nice to see you all here.

    Bo, I haven't read Children of Grace, other than to look through it for particular references. I've made a commitment to wrap up the work I'm doing on Garcia by the end of the summer so will probably quickly read through all of the ones I have sometime this summer.

    I don't think I know the Utley. What's the title? I did pick up the new one by Elliot West. Thanks for the heads upon that one.

    Once we learn to navigate this site and have a flow for specific book discussions, maybe we can set up an Indian history section on the side. Your insights are always helpful. We can even explore smallpox blankets if Robert is up for it ..... !

  4. Sorry I mixed up the name.It is by Alvin Josephy"The Nez Perece Indians and the opening of the Northwest" I'm always mixing up those two authors.Utley's book on the Mountainmen is great and I see a few just now including one on the Sioux I haven't read.Does anyone else have trouble leaving this site?It won't click back to my start page once I'm here so I have to click home to get my MSN page.No big deal.

  5. Ah, yes, that's the gold standard, although one of the very first books I ever read about Native history is I Will Fight No More Forever, by Beal. Now scholars think that Joseph never even said those words but it was inspiring at the time.

  6. And yes, I've had a little trouble with posts, but they all seem to show up eventually....

  7. So far I've had to submit twice to get a post up but that's no big deal either.

  8. This is a fine idea indeed, and many thanks, Gintaras. So glad to see Robert (not exactly Redux, but sorta) and others regrouped. It seems everyone I know in or out of forums has read "Team of Rivals" so it appears that "needs must." When I'm done with Bolano's "The Savage Detectives" I'll try to join in, and will certainly follow along 'til then.

  9. Welcome New York! I hope you will join in. I haven't read it either -- am just on chapter 2 -- so will be reading along with you.

    Look forward to our discussions.

  10. I've found that you can avoid the problem of posting comments by signing in through Google.

    Great to have you aboard, NYT.

  11. Thanks again Gintaras, but I seemed to have fumbled something so that a shadowy figure of a 3rd "follower" showed up. ("The Third Follower" might be a good title...of what, I know not.

    I have acquired from SF Public Library a copy of "Team of Rivals" in the only form available, 8 (count 'em) CDs read by none other than Richard ("John Boy Walton") Thomas. I'm going to try to listen at work without raising the curiosity of the woman in the office next to mine. Not long ago, I got so caught up in that "Switched at Birth" episode of "This American Life" that I turned up the sound to catch all that was said--she must have wondered...and I just let her...

  12. Ah, so you are the shadow follower! Well welcome again, NY.

    Look forward to your comments.

  13. Hi avrds. Yes, I'm trying to avoid revealing that I'm old enough to recall "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?" etc.

    I began listing to the ToR CDs today and don't think this way of "reading" is going to work. Without text, I don't have the all important footnotes, and I can't tell when something is in quotes.

    The latter is important; I really need to know what material is quoted. If it turns out the cascade of cliches are being quoted and are not just how Goodwin writes, I might be more tolerant. There seems to be no unmodified noun or verb...well, here's a list just from the first 10 tracks or so: blazing fire (twice), unflagging faith, fiercely idealistic, unparalleled array, blissful home (honest!), powerful ambition, treasure trove of sources, infectious humor, uniquely American story, gaunt frame, awkward walk, winning smile, ready good humor, unaffected good humor (previously infectious but still apparently unaffected), from dusk to dawn at the local tavern, contagious mirth (yikes, more microbes?), lively manner, dimpled smile...

    And on it goes. I will do so, too. I'd hate to miss what so many people I know have found of value. But I need to find the book.

  14. I think your eye can dismiss those more than the ear can, if you know what I mean. I used to listen to a lot of books on tape driving back and forth to campus and also on my spring road trips, but I always found it helpful to have the book at the same time. I rarely just listen to a book. You should be able to find an inexpensive used copy in the city.

    I'm about 150 pages in now and it's really good. I'm really looking forward to the discussion.

  15. New York:

  16. Thanks, avrds. The reading aloud tradition in my family that began for me when my dad read "Tom Sawyer" to me lasted to when I read the 6th Harry Potter with my daughter (she was too old by the 7th). However, listening to CDs just didn't work for this book. I bought a copy of ToR and what you predicted is true--the constant pairing of words with modifiers is easier to overlook on the page than in the ear. Then, too, some of what I may have perceived as cliches may have been a result of long familiarity with some of the "scenes" that Goodwin sets--growing up in Richmond VA may well have marked me for life (or at least my view Civil War history, which can send my brain into vapor lock if taken too much at once).

    I have little hope of having time to finish the book by 6/1, but will try to pop in with my signature random irrelevancies from time to time.

  17. New York, I don't think any of us who have not yet read the book will be finished by June 1 -- Gintaras still hasn't received his -- but my guess is we can read along and discuss it. Doesn't seem like a book you need to know the ending to make sense of the beginning.

    And if Robert agrees to guide us, he usually goes chapter by chapter which is a useful way to discuss a book this dense.

    Thought you might enjoy the link about reading aloud. I often listen to books on tape in the car, but it is really different to have a book read to you in person.

    I was raised listening to my father read the stories and poems of Edgar Allen Poe (where is Dooxy when I need him?). Could quote the Raven by the time I was six or so. Weird mother that I was, I took it even farther and often read Shakespeare to my daughter at bedtime.

    Nothing like hearing a four year old quote "tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time...." in a little four-year-old voice to make your day, and make you feel like you've done your job the best that you can, assuming that you believe quoting Macbeth is suitable for a four year old at bedtime!

    I wonder how common that is with this group? If we were all read to and continued that with our own kids? (Mine is 23 now and not much of a reader which is interesting.)

  18. Hi avrds,

    I posted in the main ToR thread that I discovered why the version I was listening to was so unsatisfactory--it was an abridgement! The library did not mark it as such, but it's only 8 CDs--a check at revealed the full book on CD runs to 34 CDs! I won't try to figure out how the abridger(s) went about their task, but the book is MUCH more satisfactory.

    Thanks for reassuring me about the schedule, too. This will most assuredly be my major summer reading project.

    I love the vision of your 4-yr-old being read Shakespeare to & quoting same--esp. that world-weary passage. Remind your 23-yr-old of that, would you?

  19. NY:

    Glad you got the book straightened out. Books on tape are great for long stretches in the car, but they are definitely limited. I've tried listening to novels with little success or enjoyment.

    I bought the tapes and book of the Hemingses of Monticello, and think that's around 36 c.d.s. I'm driving to California next month with my daughter and if she can tolerate it figure that will be my book.

    I'm pretty sure by the way that my daughter remembers those readings at night and can probably quote a little Shakespeare with the best of them -- I still remember being scared to death by the Gold Bug readings as a child. She still loves to go to see Shakespeare (and opera). Just doesn't want to _have to_ read him.