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What are you reading? - Page 279

post #4171 of 5698
For Cause & Comrades by James McPherson

To anyone remotely interested in the Civil War, I highly recommend this book. McPherson pored over letters and war diaries of officers and enlisted men from both North and South to answer such questions as:
  • What motivated men to enlist?
  • What did they think of this motivation once they had seen combat?
  • What kept them fighting?
  • What did Union troops think about slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation? And how did their attitude shift as the war went on?

One of the best things about this book is that McPherson knows enough to get out of the way and let the men speak for themselves. He amasses quotations and organizes them around a central them, and sometimes offers tentative interpretations. Here are a couple of goods ones that come to mind, but the book is full of equally good ones:
  • A Rebel from Kentucky: "We are fighting for liberty against tyrants of the North who are determined to destroy slavery."
  • A Rebel Artilleryman from North Carolina, angry at being ordered about like a negro: "I valenteard in this bloddy ware for to fight for my cuntery [and] for my rights...and I am determined to have my rights in the company or I will fight every bloddy officer in the the company...they never was a man born yet that cold shit on me for I think I am just as good as they make them."

You'll notice that spelling is not corrected in the quotations. This is one of the chief virtues of the book. The creative spelling of the men is sometimes touching, sometimes funny, and sometimes it reveals things like educational level and regional accent. I remember one soldier from Georgia writing to his wife about the good conduct of this "pusson" and the bad conduct of that "pusson."

Overall this is one of the better Civil War books I have read, and I have read a lot of them.
post #4172 of 5698
Quote:
Originally Posted by dexterhaven View Post
You'll notice that spelling is not corrected in the quotations. This is one of the chief virtues of the book. The creative spelling of the men is sometimes touching, sometimes funny, and sometimes it reveals things like educational level and regional accent. I remember one soldier from Georgia writing to his wife about the good conduct of this "pusson" and the bad conduct of that "pusson."

I love this too in old writing. You would probably be tickled reading Clark's (of Lewis and Clark) expedition journal if you ever get the chance.
post #4173 of 5698
Quote:
Originally Posted by james_timothy View Post
Man, try the Dosadi Experiment instead.
Herbert novels aren't mutually exclusive I'll get to Dosadi after this series. As far as Passage to India, it was great....but "OMG GREATEST BOOK EVER?!" Gotta be kidding me. Probably next on my list (If I'm not distracted by a trash novel at the last minute) will be this: edit: If anyone has a goodreads account and wants to be my buddy, hit me up.
post #4174 of 5698
Just finished Infinite Jest and then read A Supposedly Fun thing I'll Never Do Again. I'm David Foster Wallace'd out. Now I'm reading Kafka on the Shore. Not sure what i'll read after that, though.
post #4175 of 5698


post #4176 of 5698
He examines the lives of Theodore von Karman, Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, John von Neumann, and Edward Teller and asks the musical question, why were these guys so fucking smart?
post #4177 of 5698
post #4178 of 5698
I've just recently started paradise lost. on book V currently and really enjoying Milton's writing. the structure isn't too difficult (especially since it was written in english to start with) and each book only being 30-40 pages of prose means it's easy to read, then put down to pick up again later
post #4179 of 5698
Reading Leo Strauss and Nietzsche by Laurence Lampert after I found it while looking for a birthday present for a friend. Also slowly plodding my way through Anti-Oedipus by D&G.
post #4180 of 5698
Aside from Fahrenheit 451, I've never read a sci-fi book, but I have the sudden urge to read one. What are some classics that are worthy reading?
post #4181 of 5698
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenHero View Post
Aside from Fahrenheit 451, I've never read a sci-fi book, but I have the sudden urge to read one. What are some classics that are worthy reading?
Required Reading (IMHO): Slaughterhouse Five by Vonnegut - Absolutely a must read, along with Cat's Cradle The Martian Chronicles by Bradbury - Yes, it was probably required reading in middle school, but as far as an entry into classic science-fiction, there are worse books to start with. Any Asimov anthology, if short stories are more your thing. Need I mention Douglas Adams and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? [The Handmaid's Tale] by Margaret Atwood - Now, is this sci-fi? Not sure, but if you like future dystopias, this is a good one. Probably forgetting some really obvious ones, but these were the first that sprung to mind.
post #4182 of 5698
+1 on the Chesterton props
Just finishing The Russian Debutante's Handbook, trying to figure out what's next.

Additional classic SF:
Asimov, I, Robot or the Foundation trilogy (short story anthology is also a good suggestion)
Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles
Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game
Dune
A Canticle For Leibowitz
Ringworld
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
post #4183 of 5698
Yes! Ender's Game! I knew I'd forgotten one!
post #4184 of 5698
I recommend Neuromancer for sci-fi that's more on the cyberpunk end of things.
post #4185 of 5698
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenHero View Post
Aside from Fahrenheit 451, I've never read a sci-fi book, but I have the sudden urge to read one. What are some classics that are worthy reading?
Dune. Classic. Best. Sci-Fi. Ever. Read the first six novels, or, at least, the first three. Neuromancer was good, but not "Sci-Fi", rather, cyberpunk. I liked it but a lot of things about it irritated me.
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