Thursday, May 6, 2010

Supreme Hummus

Day 86 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project. Robert has finished Supreme Power, by Jeff Shesol, and moved on to Empire of Liberty, by Gordon S. Wood. Whew! Robert reads a lot! And he reads an amazing variety of books--these are history, but, if you read this blog fairly regularly, and also his comments, you see is also a connoisseur of mystery!

The Shesol book, as the subtitle tells us, is about Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court, and the interactions of the President, the Senate, the judiciary, and the New Deal. It's complicated. Whoa. Oddly, the current Amazon page for Supreme Power also has a pictorial ad for It's Complicated (on blu-ray & DVD), showing Meryl Streep in bed with Alec Baldwin. Politics: who's in bed with whom, eh?

Speaking of legal tangles and past Presidents, I just learned from the blog Hummus Anonymous that today is the National Day of Prayer, thanks to Harry S Truman. (If you click the link you may 1) drool over the list of Cinco de Mayo party foods, and 2) be reminded of the ironies of U.S. citizens celebrating a minor Mexican holiday with the Midwest and, of course, Arizona. (These links may also 1) make you a fan of Kim, blogger, and 2) addict you to hummus.)

Empire of Liberty is about (its subtitle:) A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815, by a scholar of the American Revolution, and is Volume 8 in the Oxford History of the United States. I have a feeling Robert will read the entire series! It looks closely at that crucial and confusing time after the astounding American political revolution toward personal liberty to see if the new Constitution and its republic can indeed survive. The year 1789 reminds us of the French Revolution and the danger of excess, chaos, and confusion when people throw off the powers that oppress them. Wood documents a more peaceful enactment of a political system founded on respect for personal liberty.

Again, it's complicated, and, again, the movie ad appears, a movie I saw with blogger Kim, as a matter of fact, in the wild world of wacky coincidence and random hummus!


Kim said...

and the word I had to type for that post was "coneups" which sounds like a new brand of bra from Victoria's Secret which will be coming out soon!

Kim said...

I am honored to be honored in your most honorable blog! I will make you hummus or a pie or take you to a complicated movie for this honor!

Kathleen said...

Coming out, indeed.

Anonymous said...

Part of the attraction is the mystery of history - to at least approach a glimmering of understanding how we got where we are, we should explore where we came from. Gordon Wood is a good place to start, with "The Creation of the American Republic" and "The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin" (good books to read, and re-read - I bought new copies of both books last year, to supplement the ones I already had).

But, for another good pair of books about the emerging Republic, last year I read Richard N. Rosenfeld's "American Aurora: The Suppressed History of Our Nation's Beginnings and the Heroic Newspaper Who Tried to Report It" (about, in part, Franklin's grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache) and Roger G. Kennedy's brilliant "Burr, Hamilton, and Jefferson: A Study in Character." Very different stylistically from each other. (And, truth to tell, between Wood, Rosenfeld, and Kennedy - I'd pick Kennedy for felicity of expression. He's a great read.)

So far, of the eight volumes of the Oxford History of the United States, I've only read James McPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era," David M. Kennedy's "Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945," and James T. Patterson's "Grand Expectation: The United States, 1945-1974." So the current volume will only get me half-way through the set.

Before I start on volume five, though, I know I'm going to re-read "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" - just as soon as I get it back from the friend I lent it to! (Still wishing they'd figure out what to do with the portions of book four that had been completed before Stig Larsson died, too.)