“The aspect of our politics has wonderfully changed since you left us”, wrote Thomas Jefferson about George Washington after America’s first president chose to retire at the end of his second term. Jefferson did not stop with comments like that. During Washington’s second term in office, Jefferson had insinuated that America’s first and only unanimously-elected president was lucky and over-rated. The political intrigue between these two very different founding fathers is just one of many interesting facets of this compelling biography of George Washington. The reader will learn about Washington’s ability to command undisciplined troops against a powerful British military, his influence in molding a new government, and all this against a backdrop of an on-going turbulent relationship with his mother. The nurturing of this new government was no easy task. During Washington’s second term, two political paradigms started taking shape. Washington pushed for a strong federal government while Jefferson led supporters for more states’ rights. Sounds like 2015!
February is full of holidays, including Presidents Day and Valentines Day. It's also African-American History Month (which, I guess is a holi-month). This weeks eBooks feature biographies on this theme.
Since we are all a little short on time, I've picked three, concise ebooks, aimed at a younger audience, but with enough information to interest any age. Check one out, and learn more about a few of the African-Americans who have shaped our country.
This is a detailed story of the band The Smiths by a clearly ardent fan that would certainly be of interest to other fans of the band (like myself), but also to anyone following the history of indie music. They are such an English band, and the author details many locations and subtexts that may not be readily apparent to those who are not native Mancunians or familiar with British pop culture and local history. He talks about all of the band’s influences and shows the reader where they fit into musical history. This is a really thick book of 704 pages covering the span of the band’s life, so there’s a lot of detail here, considering they were only together for 6 years.
This is the biography of Edward Curtis, a talented photographer. His obsession was to photograph and document the American Indian before destruction of their ways. Egan writes is a riveting story of how Curtis spent ten years, sacrificed his marriage and family, finances and health to produce a twenty volume work The North American Indian. The photographs at the end of each chapter are a good accompaniment to the text.
Comedian/director Marshall writes very openly on her life experiences growing up in the Bronx, getting pregnant and married young in New Mexico, her marriage to Rob Reiner, friendship with Carrie Fisher, and relationship with Art Garfunkel. Marshall revisits tough subjects like abortion, drugs, lack of mothering skills, and her now fading health. Great stories abound of her time spent on TV shows, movies, and her career as a movie director. Marshall's humor is how she gets through the difficult stuff and lives with a simple motto: “try hard, help your friends, don't get too crazy, and have fun.”