Sunday, October 24, 2010

A little late weekend meander

I'm not sure where I read about this book, but just picked it up this a.m. and have found it hard to put down. So far it's very well written and provocative.

Each chapter focuses on individuals who have promoted American empire, from Benjamin Franklin and John Quincy Adams to William Henry Seward to Henry Cabot Lodge and John Foster Dulles. And then of course the ultimate empire proponent, Paul Wolfowitz.

Here's the only review I could easily find online, which suggests the individuals combined do not make a strong enough case -- I guess time will tell. All three of these books sound interesting:

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/66456/charles-s-maier/empire-without-end?page=show

20 comments:

  1. Nice cover! I have to wonder if Immerman is giving Wolfie more credit than he deserves.

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  2. It will be interesting to see what he thinks about Wolfowitz, whom he sees as the chief architect of the Iraq invasion, the ultimate example of what happens when you pursue empire for liberty.

    The chapter on Franklin was a bit disjointed but then Franklin's views changed over time and he went from embracing one empire and then another. Interesting quotations sprinkled throughout about Franklin's views.

    Immerman points to this, which I had never heard of (or at least had never paid much attention to): "Observations concerning the increase of mankind, the people of countries, etc." about the value of the American frontier and basically the foundation of American imperialism:

    http://bc.barnard.columbia.edu/~lgordis/earlyAC/documents/observations.html

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  3. I'm reading now about JQ Adams. Immerman says he was the greatest Secretary of State in US history. Should be interesting.

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  4. I did some research for a historical paper on Adams when I was in law school. Back in those days, the majority of historians agreed he was the greatest secretary of state in the 19th century. He wrote about 90% of the Monroe doctrine which governs USA foreign policy in the Americas to this day.

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  5. I just wondered if anyone is planning to read Eric Foner's new book about Lincoln. I know that I want to get it some day. All these new history books are between $15-20 for kindle, so I'm waiting a while. Agency model since March is that some of the big publishers are setting the prices that books can be sold as ebooks.

    I read Elizabeth Keckley's Behind the Scenes memoir earlier this week. It was good and not very long. She was born a slave and like many of them was beaten, bought her freedom later on and worked for Mary Lincoln in the White House. She recalls moments when she had talked to the President. Got it as an ebook (free because of public domain) on manybooks.net.

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  6. I'm on the list for Eric Foner's book and Ron Chernow's on Washington at my public library. It's a long list for the hardcover, and they don't have it in their ebooks.

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  7. Marti, I have the Foner on order as well. I really like his work, and this book got a rave review.

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  8. How's this for a way out meander:

    Alex Anderson - creator of Rocky & Bullwinkle - passes away:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/24/AR2010102402638.html?hpid=moreheadlines

    I wonder if folks in Russia enjoyed these cartoons as much as we did in Brooklyn during the Cold War days.

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  9. Marti, if you have any interest at all in Obama's Wars (which someone suggested he title No Exit) you should give it a try, particularly if you can get it at the library.

    I loved Game Change, which is a better book, but this one definitely is fascinating behind the scenes reporting.

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  10. Friends, we have lost Mary/Chartres/Furphy/many other inventive posting names. A great and insightful reader she was, witty, too. I hope nytperdu will memorialize her for us here and at Escape.

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  11. Thanks Carol. The first thing that comes to mind about Chartres -- and she was always Chartres to me, even though we met on several occasions -- was that she read life to the fullest.

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  12. Carol, they are having a memorial at Caesar's on Saturday if you are interested. I'm assuming that's the place the Tadich four or five met for dinner.

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  13. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sfgate/obituary.aspx?n=mary-nesbit&pid=146170925

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  14. My condolences to Mary's family. Sadly, our world is a little smaller today.

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  15. 'Theodore Sorenson, Kennedy Speechwriter and Advisor, Dies at 82'

    http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/45193/

    Theodore Sorensen, a former speechwriter and advisory to former President John F. Kennedy, died on Saturday, according to the White House. He was 82.

    The Washington Post reported that he died due to complications from a recent stroke in a New York City hospital.

    Sorensen was best known for writing some of Kennedy’s most famous speeches, including his inaugural address, and he helped script the famous line: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

    He was also one of the former president’s most trusted advisers until his assassination in 1963.

    Sorensen was noted for his large contributions to the Kennedy administrations and no aide has had more influence on a president’s speeches than he, Princeton University historian Sean Wilentz said, according to the Post.

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  16. So sorry to hear about Chartres. She was such a strong part of our old Am History group at the NYTimes and enjoyed her pithy insights. My warmest regards to her family and friends.

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  17. I was offline for three weeks back east and was stunned and saddened to read about Mary today.I'm really bummed I could not go to San Fran this past weekend as I just got back to Los Angeles this afternoon.Like Goliard I also got to meet Mary in person and my life was the better for it.Mary was also my first friend in the NYTimes forums way back.My first contact from her was over a Richard Brautigan post I put up and it turned out Mary knew Brautigan a bit.

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  18. I have just finished reading via audio book Susan Vowell's ''The Wordy Shipmates'':

    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51W9n1cV2tL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg


    I enjoy her rather biting style. But historically, she is accurate. The genocide committed in the name of Jesus Christ would be rather embarrassing for that good Jewish liberal.

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