Episode 1-32: Heroes Depend On Which Side of History You Stand Wherein I review: 126. The Cuckoo’s Egg by Clifford Stoll 127. Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer by James Swanson A little historicalisciousness. Cliff Stoll was one of the first people to track down international hackers. TOPICAL. And we learn that his name was Mudd because he was a f–king dirty ass Confederate who was all down with kidnapping Lincoln.
There’s been a lot of talk about Lincoln in the Bardo over the past 18 months or so. It won a lot of awards, for sure. I finally got it from the library and I read it. And I have no idea, honestly, if I liked it or not. I did? There’s a lot going on here. Abraham Lincoln’s youngest son, Willie, has died and been laid to rest in a cemetery in Georgetown. Lincoln is mad with grief and spends the better part of the night after the funeral sitting in the cemetery, mourning his son. Meanwhile, Willie’s spirit […]
Lincoln in the Bardo is an “experimental novel” that actually took home the 2017 Man Booker Prize, and it really is the kind of book that critics would love. It’s brilliantly written. It’s smart, and funny, and it is full of pathos, and the premise is brilliant: Basically, the book grew out of a story that Saunders heard about how Abraham Lincoln would return to the crypt of his son Willie after he died of typhoid fever to hold the body. The book is primarily told from the point of view of a bunch of ghosts. I don’t know exactly […]
There’s something about the way Sarah Vowell writes about history that brings it to life for me. Probably because there’s something about the way that Sarah Vowell writes about people, and history is made of people. It often doesn’t feel that way. (Ironically, there’s a section in here where she tells a story about a time where she ended up yelling at some guy in a supermarket about how the only time it would be interesting to live through history would be if you were there when they discovered the polio vaccine, otherwise it’s all war and natural disasters and […]
Perhaps the most spectacular thing about this book is that it takes arguably the most mythologized president in US history – Abraham Lincoln – and builds a compelling and detailed account of his life and administration without losing any kind of emotional impact. We all know what happens, here. We all know who Lincoln was (more or less), and we all know that he was one of the greatest presidents (more or less), and we all know that this ends in tragedy. But the simultaneous attacks on secretary of state William Seward and president Lincoln still packed a wallop. I’m […]
If you’ve ever asked yourself, Abraham Lincoln, what is with that guy? This is the book for you. The answer to that question is both simple and complex. It’s complex because all people are complex, and the political landscape that Lincoln navigated–although lacking 24 hour news cycles, talking heads, and loudmouthed pundits–was nevertheless a treacherous and multi-faceted one. Team of Rivals is in large part Doris Kearns Goodwin’s attempt to illustrate just exactly how it was that he navigated those treacherous waters: gaining the presidency, winning the loyalty of the newly formed Republican party and love of the people despite his lack […]