Monday, February 05, 2007


A week ago I was claiming to be right on top of my next chapter. Well, that was a week ago. A lot can happen in a week.

Last night was the music performance and it all went off fine. Attendance was a little low due to it being Super Bowl Sunday, but us folk nerds had no idea until a couple days before hand. It was fun to perform again and I am happy to say that my set was pretty much flawless. But I am glad it is done and I can get back to reading and writing.

Today was a day off for me and I sat down, fully intending to polish up my chapter and get it posted here. The personal stuff about that year is fine but 1950 was the year the Korean War started and I know very little about that event. I found myself immersed in history books and here it is my bedtime. That is my excuse.

I've got two great history books to recommend though. Postwar by Tony Judt (subtitle: A History of Europe Since 1945) is an 851 page tome with small print but this guy really knows what he is talking about. I am only on page 40 and already I have had to actually learn European geography, pre-WWII and postwar. In fact, learning about all those Balkan countries makes me feel that someday I can get through Rebecca West's Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, which is an account of her journey through pre-WWII Yugoslavia and which I tried to read back when I was reading the books for 1940, since that is when it was published. Postwar however is filling in for me where the Upton Sinclair books ended. Luckily by page 241 he will be up to 1953 which will get me through four chapters of my book.

For basic info on what happened when I was using A Pocket History of the United States by Allan Nevins and Henry Steele Commager, but that is one of those America can do no wrong history books, like the ones we all read in school and I knew I was not getting a full picture. I had been hearing lately about Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, so I picked it up at the library this weekend. While most history books tell the story from the perspective of rulers and wars, Zinn tells it from the viewpoint of the actual citizens of our country, which includes the workers, the women and various minorities. Let me tell you, that is a whole different story, possibly biased in its own way but at least giving me a more balanced look at it all.

Since I am doing this whole reading project because I want to learn about the world around me and how we got to where we are, there is no point in rushing things. I had the idea that I would keep my reading lists for each year and the chapters in consecutive order here on the blog, but that has caused these weeks when I post nothing as I struggle with a new chapter. So I am moving on. My New Year's resolution (I knew I needed one, but couldn't come up with anything until today) is to post something every day. When I get the chapter done I will post it. Meanwhile I have plenty of other books to write about as well as words of the day and we'll see what else I can come up with.

Now you must keep me honest and check back and see how well I am keeping my resolution. Please, comment away. I love those comments. It really keeps me going.

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