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Flag Day Post: Books & Beef with Betsy Ross

Today, June 14, is flag day in the United States so I thought this post would be appropriate. My daughter who just finished second grade, decided to do her biography project on Betsy Ross (she had to do several persuasion papers, a biography, autobiography, an entrepreneurial project (design, build, and sell for profit a product – in her case an easel made out of popsicle sticks) and more), which I found a bit disconcerting. As an astute student of history I know that the only “proof” we have of Betsy Ross sewing the first American flag is a family legend which started after she died by her grandchildren. At first I was put off by my daughter’s choice, mostly because of the tale told about Ms. Ross is now told so often and is printed in so many history books that it actually became fact, with absolutely no evidence. Much like George Washington’s wooden teeth (they were made of bone – could you imagine chewing with wood splinters?), or that Columbus discovered the Earth was round (the first globes went on sale the year Columbus sailed, by the way he didn’t “discover” America either) and many more. If you’re interested…

Book Review: The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers by Thomas Fleming
Latest Posts , Non-Fiction / February 27, 2013

Post firs published as Guest Review From Man Of La Book: “The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers” by Thomas Fleming on http://twofistedreader.com About: The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers by Thomas Fleming is a history book which tells about the lives of six famous men from the perspective of their relationship with the women in their lives. I do love books which tells us more history from the “trenches”, after all, there are very few big events which aren’t made of small, personal moments. Buy this book in paper or electronic format. Thoughts: The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers by Thomas Fleming is what one might call “history light”. While there was no new information revealed in the book, it is a wonderful introduction to more serious works which deal with the Founding Fathers, their policies and how the relationships with other influenced their work (which still has ramifications to this day) and their policies. Mr. Fleming does not view the Founding Fathers as untouchable historical figures, but as men of flesh and blood who lived, loved, laughed, hurt and gotten hurt. The author’s research is excellent and his writing style is enjoyable. Those who only learned…

Fun Facts Friday: James Russell Lowell
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / February 22, 2013

On this day in 1819 James Russell Lowell (d: 12 August, 1891) was born in Cambridge, MA. Mr. Lowell was a poet, critic editor and even a diplomat. Works by James Russell Lowell Lowell attended Harvard at age 15. He was known as a troublemaker and wrote: “During Freshman year, I did nothing, during Sophomore year I did nothing, during Junior year I did nothing, and during Senior year I have thus far done nothing in the way of college studies.“ For his first attempts at poetry, Lowell wrote for the Harvardiana literary magazine (which he also edited). He freely admitted that his poems were bad and said that “I was as great an ass as ever brayed & thought it singing.” Even though he was elected “class poet” (1838) he was not allowed to read a poem on Class Day since he was suspended. Lowell did graduate from Harvard and not knowing what to do he decided to practice law. Lowell married Maria White, a sister of a Harvard classmate, who persuaded him to become an abolitionist. The Lowells had 4 children, however only one lived past infancy. Lowell grieved over his children and particular his first born, Rose,…

Fun Facts Friday Special Thursday Edition: Thanksgiving
Latest Posts , Opinion / November 24, 2011

This is a post I wrote a few years back for NJ.com titled ” Thanksgiving Myth vs. Fact“. I thought it would be fun to re-post it today with pictures from a trip my family and I took to Plymouth MA a few years back.. Hope you enjoy it even though it isn’t a “bookish” post. ====================== Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for many reasons. It’s none secular (which means everybody celebrates it), it’s not commercialized, the food is good and the idea behind the holiday is fantastic. We all learned about this holiday at school, and if we didn’t I’m sure after a year or two in America you learned all you think you should. A few weeks ago I took my family to Plymouth, MA for a long weekend, a great trip if you’ve never been. I bought my 4 year old daughter a book about the Mayflower so she’ll know what she’ll be looking at (and hopefully get her a bit excited) and learned a few things myself. Myth: The first Thanksgiving was a religious based occasion Fact: The first Thanksgiving was a three day festival which included drinking, gambling and sports. If it was a religious…

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