Challenging the Myth of Slavery


Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

This new book by Edward Baptist, The Half Has Never Been Told:  Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, looks really interesting.  The above link is to The New York Times article on the book.  This is a book that challenges many of the myths that our country has told itself about slavery.

The Concise Untold History of the United States


I read the Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick book The Untold History of the United States.  They have now released a companion book, that is shorter and more closely follows the TV series.  It is called The Concise Untold History of the United States.  The difference between the two books as Oliver Stone explained on his Facebook page:

“Concise Untold History” was released last week. At 306 pages, it faithfully renders the text of the 12-hour series. The original 618-page edition, with 90 pages of footnotes, is really closer to a primer that substantiates the details presented in the film. 

I am particularly passionate over this ‘Concise History,’ and find it poetic in keeping with the spirit of the series. It’s a light-weight paperback that can easily be carried around.  

I was really impressed with the first book.  I was a History Major and eventually graduated with a degree in American Studies.  I have seen at least some of the information that Stone and Kuznick wrote about corroborated in other sources.  I  don’t normally like to recommend a book I haven’t read, but if you are at all interested in what they have to say, but feel a little daunted in a 600 plus page book, this seems like a good place to start.  From what I saw of it the series was excellent as well.  After reading the first book and seeing about half of the series, I feel pretty safe saying this would be a very interesting read.

Public Image Video

Off to see the canvassing wizard.  I have been reading a lot about John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) recently, including his two books.  I have also been listening to a great deal of Public Image Limited, which is his band after The Sex Pistols.  This is their groundbreaking first single Public Image.  This song was quite influential in the world of post punk.  Listen to the guitar and how similar it is to early U2 for instance.  Extra points for bassist Jah Wobble playing from a chair!

Twin Peaks Novel Next Year

“Twin Peaks” novel will reveal what happened during the show’s 25-year hiatus via @Salon

I am about to hit the highway towards Lubbock.   Posting will be slow today.  In the mean time there is more great news for Twin Peaks fans:  Co-creator Mark Frost will be publishing a novel next year that explains what has happened in the 25 years between the last season and this new one.   I will definitely be reading this when it comes out.  If you are a fan I recommend The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer

Secrets and Puzzles

In Fort Worth, headed to Lubbock today.   Spent the few days between shows canvassing in Austin.  When you walk a city’s streets it takes on forms and shapes that one does not encounter by car.  Garden gnomes,  concrete monkey statues, and abstract art mine the yards and porches.  Some houses are as clean as a hospital and some look like the Star Wars trash compactor.   Cats of all stripes and colors silently watch your every move.  Dogs that you can’t see bark at your presence.  A man that looks like he time traveled from the 50’s is grinding metal with sparks in the shadows.  A young woman tends a Japanese rock graden.  Each block, and sometimes home, is its own universe, governed by a different diety. 

What goes on in all those homes day and night? There are so many secret worlds that we don’t know about.  I was thinking of human beings as puzzle pieces.  In order to understand the truth of creation you would need the experience of every being that has ever lived.  Books and communication can give us some of the pieces we lack, but we will never have them all.  We remain fumbling in the darkness, with imperfect knowledge of the world as it really is.  Even when those rare treasured souls light a candle for us, giving us the ability to see slightly farther than normal, the light remains brief and dim. 

Last Week Tonight On Columbus Day

The always brilliant John Oliver show Last Week Tonight on Columbus Day.  I remember reading in Howard Zinn’s The People’s History of the United States about some of Columbus’s men riding the natives like horses.  The olden days!

Life’s Like That, Isn’t It?

Life’s Like That, Isn’t It by Larry Kirwan

I vaguely referenced this song in an earlier post.  I love this song.  Despite it saying Black 47 in the above video, this is actually the version from Larry Kirwan’s solo album.  (Kirwan is the lead singer of Black 47.)  I actually prefer the version on Black 47’s Elvis Murphy’s Green Suede Shoes, which has become my favorite album by the band.  Kirwan is a great writer both in song and in prose.  (They’re debut self titled album is definitely worth getting too.  It’s hard to pick between the two.  Home of the Brave, their third record, has a lot of great material on it, but is a bit overlong and a few clunkers on it.)  His biography Green Suede Shoes: An Irish American Odyssey, as I have mentioned before, is one of my favorite rock n roll biographies ever, as Kirwan knows his history as well as his music.  I wanted to reprint the lyrics, as they are really powerful, but I could not find them available anywhere.  You’ll just have to listen.