Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Early Days

Lately I seem to be concentrating on the early 19th century, particularly in the New York area. I started off with a history of the Erie Canal (Wedding of the Waters), which included the political career of DeWitt Clinton. Then I read a recent biography of Aaron Burr ( a contemporary of Clinton's), The Fallen Founder, which tries to debunk much of the "romantic" Burr myth, and suggests that he was a very normal politician of his times who was pigeonholed by his opponents. History is written by the winners, after all.
Now I'm on to a biography of Washington Irving--with a quick detour the past couple of days into reading Salmagundi after I had read up to that point in his career. (Salmagundi was a short lived periodical of political and social commentary produced by Irving, a brother and a friend.)
Just today I ran into mention of a history of the ratification of the Constitution which I then ordered from Powells (one of the best sources I know of for books that might be out of print) along with some other work by the same author.
One reason for my interest is that the early to mid 19th century was the time when the United States was joining the Industrial Revolution and engaging in many Internal Improvements and the resultant politics needed to implement infrastructure projects. Our own Whitewater Canal in Metamora is a product of those efforts.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Peter Pan

How many Peter Pan stories are there, I wonder? Barrie seemed to keep using the basic story in different places. I have seen Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens that has many of the elements that are in Peter Pan and Wendy. I have to admit I enjoy the Dave Barry versions of recent vintage as well.