Friday, July 23, 2010

A JOURNEY OF SELF-EDUCATION

Recently, I felt that my education concerning history was lacking. After some soul searching, I felt I needed to take some kind of action to become better. I know a lot of histoy, but I felt that I was not as knowledgeable as I should be. So I contemplated taking some classes, but they would surely be very narrow in their scope, right? How then could I expand and deepen my knowledge? I identified several areas or time periods in American history that I felt I needed to know more about. Next I looked for books that addressed these time periods in a balanced way and I read them. So I've spent this last month or so reading and reading a lot.

I found that if someone arrives at the point where they feel they need more education it is that person's responsibility to educate themselves. Therefore, I embarked on a self-education program. I've read eight books so far in the last month. I identified periods of our history that I felt I didn't know enough about, found written material on those periods and read them. The amount that I've learned in the last month has been incredible. I would be arrogant to think that I'm done, but I feel I've broadened my knowledge and I look forward to the new school year and my opportunity to give my knowledge to my students. It's been an interesting ride and I have vowed to myself that the ride will continue.

For those of you who wrote to me in concern, thank you. My attention has been riveted in my self-education and with other obligations I was a little busy. I'll post some things about the books I've read and provide a list of them if anyone is interested. Thanks for the posts. I'll do more now.

10 comments:

Ducky's here said...

Which period do you find most interesting?

I'm interested in The Gilded Age at the moment and the period of empire building and anarchism. Don't really have a good grasp of the time and I think it gets neglected.

I've started with Stiles' biography of Vanderbilt as a buildup to the robber barons. Frightening, talk about a threat to freedom.

Reading up on the Haymarket riots at the moment.

佳瑩佳瑩 said...

一棵樹除非在春天開了花,否則難望在秋天結果。..................................................

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I would be very curious -- on which time periods have you concentrated? And how did you manage to vet the appropriate books for veracity?

BZ

Law and Order Teacher said...

Ducky,
I too am interested in the Gilded Age. I recently read "Dark Horse The Surprise Election and Political Murder of James Garfield." It's a great study of Gilded Age politics with some really great characters such as Conkling, Arthur, Grant, and Blaine to name a few. Power politics at its finest.

I read a biography of Carnegie some time ago and he too is a really interesting guy with a lot of contradictions.

Labor "relations" were certainly tense during this period, with interesting reactions by presidents. Thanks for the visit.

BZ,
I don't read anything by Zinn except as a curiosity. There historians who have biases, but are professional enough to write without a lot slant. I read a Henry Clay bio, by the Fiedlers that was exceptional. "Henry Clay, Essential American" said it all. He is a particular interest of mine and this a great and fair bio of him.

David Kennedy wrote the textbook I use in class and has written a lot of good stuff. He's pretty liberal, but his writing is fair. I just finished "Freedom from Fear" Americans in Depression and War, 1929-1945." An exceptional book and a fair look at the New Deal. He admits it failed to end the depression, but it did realize FDR's hope for a permanent alliance of government entitlement recipients and the Demo party.


I greatly admire Joshua Chamberlain, northern general. "In the hands of Providence" is a great book about Chamberlain. He wrote the "Passing of Armies" which is also a good book, but written in Victorian style so it's a little tough to read. Larry Sweickart is a good writer and any of his books will educate you.

My best advice is if it sounds interesting read it and if it's full of slanted crap stop reading. I make ample use of the library, but I buy books I really want to have and read again.

I certainly would enjoy communicating with you about history books, my great interest. Thanks for the visit.

Ducky's here said...

If you are interested in Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain:

Conceived in Liberty:
Joshua Chamberlain, William Oates, and the American Civil War

by Mark Perry

Unfortunately out of print but you might spot it at a used bookstore or eBay.

DaniloM_W志竹olff0615 said...

大肚能容,了卻人間多少事,滿腔歡喜,笑開天下古今愁。..................................................

Tapline said...

L&O Teach,,,,Since I go to camp during the summer months,,,I read....and This summer is no exception...I am current reading a very large book about the immigration to America, of the East-European Jew from the 1880's. It is certainly eyeopening...The millions who came from Russia, Germany and Romania......I just got back from camp, and left the book there, so I cannot give you the author, but it certainly is giving me an education into Historical events in New York City and beyond.....Stay well...

Z said...

And you REMEMBER what you READ? :-)
I'm impressed by you, tho I know that's not why you posted this...I'm looking forward to learning more from YOU (the lazy way!:-)
Thanks!!
you have been missed!

Law and Order Teacher said...

Ducky,
Thanks. I'll check it out.

Z,
Thanks. I'm still mopping up a couple of books, but I'll post some about them and what I learned.

Tap,
That sounds like something that I would like. I'll dig around to find it. The immigration patterns speak volumes about America. Thanks for the visit.

家唐銘 said...

馬丁路德:「即使知道明天世界即將毀滅,我仍願在今天種下一棵小樹。」............................................................