Coming Down to the Wire

So I’m drawing to the close of 2008 and I am catching up on the reading list. I think I may have forgotten one or two in the chaos of moving, but the total right now is 47 read or re-read which is darned close to a book a week. And I still have two weeks to go.

What Hath God Wrought was a fascinating 900-page survey of American history from 1812 to 1848. Howe’s book was chosen to fill this gap in the Oxford University series on American History, after his former professor, Charles Sellers’, survey of the same period, The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846, was rejected. Throughout, Howe writes snide footnotes to Sellers’ work, usually in sections most critical of Andrew Jackson. Like many historians, Sellers lionizes Jackson for his populism and support for the democratization of American society against the elitism of the New England monied classes. By contrast, Howe sees Jackson and the Jacksonian Democrats as white supremacists who practiced genocide on every ethnic group they encountered in the western expansion. The book was so fascinating to me because I have always been much more interested in international history than American, yet I have all these vague notions of the events of this period. WHGW filled in that impressionist canvas with concrete details–a constant refrain of “I never knew that.” The heroes of WHGW are John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay, whom Howe lauds for resisting slavery, Indian removal, and the Mexican War. Howe, who has also written a history of the Whigs, credits them for promoting federalism, infrastructure improvements, including public education, and emancipation rather than ruthless expansionism. Very compelling.

27. What Hath God Wrought, Daniel Walker Howe
26. Night of the Soul Stealer, Joseph Delaney
25. Brisingr, Christopher Paolini
21-24. Heaven’s Net Is Wide, Across the Nightingale Floor, Grass for His Pillow, The Brilliance of the Moon, Lian Hearn
20. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, David Wroblewski
19. A Peace to End All Peace, David Fromkin
18. The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin Hamid
17. The Voyage of the Narwhal, Andrea Barrett
16. The Shadow Isle, Katherine Kerr
15. The Death of the Heart, Elizabeth Bowen
14. David Golder, The Ball, Snow in Autumn, The Coriloff Affair, Irene Nemirovsky
13. Th1rteen R3asons Why, Jay Asher
12. Five Go to Smuggletop, Enid Blyton
11. And Then We Came to the End, Fabulous, just like my experiences at a Nashville PR firm, Joshua Ferris
10. The Tenderness of Wolves, Cold, but no Cold Mountain, Stef Penney
9. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Paul Torday
8. Dragonhaven, Robin McKinley
7. The Tale of Despereaux, Kate DiCamillo
6. The Asolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Alexie Herman
5. The Monsters of Templeton, Lauren Groff
4. Heart-Shaped Box, Joe Hill
3. Inkspell, Cornelia Funke
2. Riding Lessons, Sara Gruen
1. Summer People, Brian Groh

Reread:

16-20. The Eustace Diamonds, The Prime Minister, The Duke’s Children, Can You Forgive Her, Barchester Towers, Anthony Trollope,
13-15. LOTR, three volumes.
5-12 Island, Castle, Valley, Sea, Mountain, Circus and Castle of ADventure, Enid Blyton
4. Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, Ruth Plumly Thompson
3. The Silver Princess in Oz, Ruth Plumly Thompson
2. Captain Salt in Oz, Ruth Plumly Thompson
1. Earth Abides, George R. Stewart

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