Sunday, July 25, 2010

Golden Gate and Colossus



Looks like a couple of interesting new books on major US engineering fetes:

The Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam are more than just icons of American engineering. They are Depression-era monuments that transformed not only California's physical landscape, but its social one as well. The bridge linked San Francisco to rural Marin County, hastening the consolidation of the Bay Area into a huge metropolis. The dam brought reliable irrigation to Imperial Valley farms, as well as drinking water and hydroelectric power to Los Angeles and other Southwestern cities, fostering their explosive growth.

Here's more from the LA Times.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

That's Colonel Roosevelt!


At long last, Edmund Morris completes his trilogy of
Teddy Roosevelt!

The Epic Washington


I see Ron Chernow is turning out an epic book on Washington, which clocks in at over 900 pages, this October. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Violets for Your Furs



Sounds suspiciously like Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, but also quite interesting.

The story told in Fur, Fortune, and Empire could be viewed as a compelling historical case study in why governments must regulate (assuming another such case study is needed after Wall Street’s terrifying shenanigans and BP’s oily behavior). For all its broad geographic and geopolitical scope, the fur trade was essentially what is known today as a “special interest,” accounting in 1833 for less than 2 percent of America’s exports. It was an extractive operation run by plutocrats like Astor who trafficked in a nonessential, luxury product by taking a resource that is seen today, at least, as belonging to society as a whole. But unfortunately Dolin declines to go there.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Yellowstone Weekend Meander


I'll be in Yellowstone next week, meandering through the archives, so thought this would be a nice meander image for the weekend.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gore Vidal's


The anniversary of the Hollywood sign brought to mind Gore Vidal's book on Tinseltown.  Looks like a lot of fun judging from the NYTimes review.  Interesting to see that a few letters fell off over the years.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Autobiography of Mark Twain





















This looks fascinating:

....Whether anguishing over American military interventions abroad or delivering jabs at Wall Street tycoons, this Twain is strikingly contemporary. Though the autobiography also contains its share of homespun tales, some of its observations about American life are so acerbic — at one point Twain refers to American soldiers as “uniformed assassins” — that his heirs and editors, as well as the writer himself, feared they would damage his reputation if not withheld.....