Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Today is for books

I heard a really interesting story on NPR the other day – I Wish I’d Been There is a new book out. It poised the question to historians - if you could be a ‘fly on the wall’ at any event in American history – what would it be. They were asked to write a short (150 word) essay about their choice.
I also poised the question to 4 people – 2 bosses (one is an historian) and my two daughters. The men had things like Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, his second inaugural address, Pearl Harbor, the battle for Trenton, Signing of the Declaration of Independence, D-day, Lewis and Clark. Molly choose The March on Washington and Martin Luther Kings speech. Marianne choose the first flight of the space shuttle but wondered why no one choose some ‘social’ issue. I choose Lewis and Clark – either the journey across the prairies, the meeting with the Shoshone or the trip down the Columbia. The girls and I also wondered why the men choose battles. One boss said because they involved moments of great leadership – “follow me and die for me”
The book editor tried to anticipate the event with the most votes. They were totally wrong. The event with the most votes was Lewis and Clark! And by far! I find that fascinating – not only because it was my choice but they said this survey was done before the current 200 year anniversary celebration of the journey and before the book Undaunted Courage. I do think it was a pivotal event in more ways than one – but am just surprised that so many historians would have liked to have been there. I’m going to have to read the essays now to learn more.

I also just finished reading Water for Elephants by Sara Greun. What a great story! A real peek into life with a traveling circus during The Depression. Beautifully written, funny, poignant, entertaining. The ending is so wonderful and just perfect. A great read.

Back to knitting next time!


Julia said...

I'd better not read that book, because it would probably just annoy me! I wouldn't want to be at any particular event, but I would like to stay in a Quaker village for a few days and ask lots of questions. I'd like to go to spinning bee. I'd like to see how women wove. I'd like to see what they were knitting. Wars and exploration I could pretty much live without. Just out of curiousity, did they editors of the book ask any women's historians?

Roxie said...

Oh, I'm going to run out and look for both books. What fun! I would like to be a fly on the wall while Dolly Madison was planning and throwing a party, and traveling with Sacajawea. Yup, Loois an Klark again.