Wednesday, February 09, 2011

American Heroes, by Edmund S. Morgan

Last night on my way home from work, the car thermometer said it was 4 degrees Fahrenheit outside. But there was something else even more significant weather-wise: a gusty wind out of the north blowing around 30 miles an hour. And then, it started to snow.

When I woke up this morning, the temperature was 0 and it had snowed about 7 inches. Of course, in Amarillo 7 inches of snow means you've got drifts 4 and 5 feet high. Area schools were closed for the day. So we stayed home, built a fire, ate, watched TV, and read.

A good bit of today I spent reading the latest from historian Edmund S. Morgan, American Heroes: Profiles of Men and Women Who Shaped Early America (New York: Norton, 2009). It's a collection of articles and essays--some never published before--that Morgan, now 95 years old, has written through the years. And although some of them were written as far back as the 1930s, they're all as fresh and alive, instructive and inspiring as ever. Here we have in all their glory and infamy, Puritans, witches, Quakers, and Revolutionary leaders. Morgan combines his penetrating insight into the past with some wonderful quotations from primary sources. Each chapter can be read in anywhere from 10-30 minutes. And each one is a perfect little gem. Just right for an afternoon at home.

So that's what I'm reading these days. How 'bout you? Any good books you've recently discovered?

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