What are you reading (July 2008)?
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The Amar book is good stuff but slow going, even for a lawyer such as myself. I took Constitutional Law with his brother Vik, and their ideas are very similar.
The Greenblatt book is a very good read but, as with any book on Shakespeare, it is difficult to separate what is likely true in an objective sense from what is simply the author's personal hunch or wishful thought. I recommend it, but read Schoenbaum's Shakespeare's Lives and/or Ron Rosenbaum's The Shakespeare Wars first as a counter-influence.
Simplexity by Jeffrey Kluger
and an article...
"Meat's Meat": An Account of the Flesh-Eating Habits of Western Americans
Author(s): Martin Schmitt
This is a short (fun) article that begins with Antelope and ends with Wolverine, covering a variety of creatures (sandhill crane anyone?) that early western travelers ate... including 'man meat'.
It will shortly be a blog item.
So far, it is quite good, and it is an enjoyable and informative follow-up to Naim Kattan's Farewell Babylon, an autobiographical memoir on the same topic. (His touchstone will not work for some reason.)
I'm using How the Other Half Lives in my U.S. History survey course this fall, and I expect to focus heavily on the rise, development, and decay of America urban centers. Riis's attitudes about ethnicities would now be considered racist, but his descriptions of living conditions and his images are extremely important in documenting the squallor in which many thousands of people lived in the late 1880s in New York City.
Caveat: If you get this version of Riis's work, you're going to want to look up his images and photographs on the web. The reprints of the prints of the woodcuts have been reduced to exactly two tones, BLACK and notBLACK. So nearly every one is indecipherable.
Nancy Isenberg has already shown me, half way through the book, that almost everything I knew about Burr was disseminated (mostly by Hamilton and his cronies) in order to impugn his character. At the moment, it looks to me as though Burr's political demise was due to Virginian power politics than to any major character flaw he might have had.