Monthly Archives: July 2010

President McKinley’s decision to commit troops and fulfill a divinely inspired injunction to “uplift and civilize”.

A war of frontier and empire : the Philippine-American war, 1899-1902 New York : Hill and Wang, 2007      David J. Silbey Philippines , History , Philippine American War, 1899-1902 Hardcover. xvi, 254 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 22 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [219]-242) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

It has been termed an insurgency, a revolution, a guerrilla war, and a conventional war. As David J. Silbey demonstrates in this taut, compelling history, the 1899 Philippine-American War was in fact all of these. Played out over three distinct conflicts — one fought between the Spanish and the allied United States and Filipino forces; one fought between the United States and the Philippine Army of Liberation; and one fought between occupying American troops and an insurgent alliance of often divided Filipinos — the war marked America’s first steps as a global power and produced a wealth of lessons learned and forgotten.

In A War of Frontier and Empire, Silbey traces the rise and fall of President Emilio Aguinaldo, as Aguinaldo tries to liberate the Philippines from colonial rule only to fail, devastatingly, before a relentless American army. He tracks President McKinley’s decision to commit troops and fulfill a divinely inspired injunction to “uplift and civilize” despite the protests of many Americans. Most important, Silbey provides a clear lens to view the Philippines as, in the crucible of war, it transforms itself from a territory divided by race, ethnicity, and warring clans into a cohesive nation on the path to independence.

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A compelling new account of the transformation of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, from apprehensive soldier to one of our greatest heroes.

Eisenhower : a soldier’s life London : Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2003, c 2002      Carlo D’Este Generals ,  United States ,  Biography, Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969 Hardcover. xi, 848 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps, ports. ; 25 cm.       Includes bibliographical references (p. [809]-822) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

In the weeks leading up to D-Day, Dwight D. Eisenhower seethed with nervous energy. He had not expected his military career to bring him to this moment. The son of pacifists, Ike graduated from high school more likely to teach history than to make it. Casting new light on this profound evolution, Eisenhower chronicles the unlikely, dramatic rise of the supreme Allied commander.

Beginning with the lasting effect of Eisenhower’s impoverished youth, bestselling biographer Carlo D’Este follows his subject through West Point and a sometimes troubled marriage toil under MacArthur in the Philippines during the 1930s the inner sanctums of the War Department the general’s painful North African apprenticeship and, finally, the dramatic events leading to the Allied victory in May 1945.

Exposing for the first time numerous myths that have surrounded the war hero and his family  D’Este also probes Eisenhower’s famous clashes with his American peers and the British chiefs of staff, as well as his relations with legendary figures, including Winston Churchill and George S. Patton.

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Five titles from Brian Fagan about archeology.

Time detectives : how archeologists use technology to recapture the past New York : Simon & Schuster, c 1995      Brian Fagan Archaeology , Technological innovations Hardcover 288 p. : ill. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [263]-270) and index. Fagan offers a fascinating look at how the key archaeological discoveries of the past 50 years were made, and how new techniques and devices have led to new insights into ancient civilizations. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Grahame Clark : an intellectual life of an archaeologist Boulder, Colo. : Westview Press, 2001 Brian Fagan Archaeologists ; Great Britain ; Biography, Clark, Grahame, 1907-1995 Hardcover. First edition and printing. xix, 304 p. : ill., maps ; 23 cm.  Includes bibliographical references (p. 267-290) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

The British archaeologist Grahame Clark was a seminal figure in European and world archaeology for more than half of the twentieth century, but, at the same time, one whose reputation has been outshone by other, more visible luminaries. His works were never aimed at a wide general public, nor did he become a television or radio personality. Clark was, above all, a scholar, whose contributions to world archaeology were enormous.

He was convinced that the study of prehistory was important for all humanity and spent his career saying so. For this, he was awarded the prestigious Erasmus Prize in 1990, an award only rarely given to archaeologists. This intellectual biography describes Clark’s remarkable career and assesses his seminal contributions to archaeology. Clark became interested in archaeology while at school, studied the subject at Cambridge University, and completed a groundbreaking doctorate on the Mesolithic cultures of Britain in 1931. He followed this study with a magisterial survey, The Mesolithic Settlement of Northern Europe(1936), which established him as an international authority on the period. At the same time, he became interested in the interplay between changing ancient environment and ancient human societies.

In a series of excavations and important papers, he developed environmental archaeology and the notion of ecological systems as a foundation of scientific, multidisciplinary archaeology, culminating in his world-famous excavations at Starr Carr, England, in 1949 and his Prehistoric Europe: The Economic Basis (1952). Clark became Disney Professor of Public Archaeology at Cambridge in 1952 and influenced an entire generation of undergraduates to become archaeologists in all parts of the world. He was also the author of the first book on a global human prehistory, World Prehistory (1961).

Fish on Friday : feasting, fasting, and the discovery of the New World New York : Basic Books, c 2005      Brian Fagan Fish as food , History Hardcover. First edition and printing. 338 p. ill. 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

What gave Christopher Columbus the confidence in 1492 to set out across the Atlantic Ocean? What persuaded the king and queen of Spain to commission the voyage? It would be convenient to believe that Columbus and his men were uniquely courageous. A more reasonable explanation, however, is that Columbus was heir to a body of knowledge about seas and ships acquired at great cost over many centuries.

Fish on Friday  tells a new story of the discovery of America. In Brian Fagan’s view, that discovery is the product of the long sweep of history: the spread of Christianity and the radical cultural changes it brought to Europe, the interaction of economic necessity with a changing climate, and generations of unknown fishermen who explored the North Atlantic in the centuries before Columbus. The Church’s tradition of not eating meats on holy days created a vast market for fish that could not be fully satisfied by fish farms, better boats, or new preservation techniques. Then, when climate change in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries diminished fish stocks off Norway and Iceland, fishermen were forced to range ever farther to the west – eventually discovering incredibly rich shoals within sight of the Nova Scotia coast. In Ireland in 1490, Columbus could well have heard about this unknown land. The rest is history.

The journey from Eden : the peopling of our world New York, N.Y. : Thames and Hudson, 1990      Brian M. Fagan Human beings , Migrations Hardcover. First American edition. 256 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 239-247) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Kingdoms of gold, kingdoms of jade : the Americas before Columbus New York, N.Y. : Thames and Hudson, 1991      Brian M. Fagan America , Antiquities Hardcover. First edition. 240 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [230]-234) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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Like all great American captains Lt. Cmdr. Henry Lee Plage put the USS Tabberer hard over and headed for harm’s way.

Halsey’s typhoon : the true story of a fighting admiral, an epic storm, and an untold rescue Bob Drury and Tom Clavin World War, 1939-1945 , Naval operations, American,  United States. Navy. Fleet, 3rd , History, Halsey, William Frederick, 1882-1959 New York : Atlantic Monthly Press : Distributed by Publishers Group West, c 2007 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. Map on lining papers. xix, 322 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., map ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [309]-312) and index.  VG/VG

Halsey’s Typhoon chronicles the epic tale of men clashing against the ruthless forces of war and nature. In December 1944, America’s most popular and colorful naval hero, Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, unwittingly sailed his undefeated Pacific Fleet into the teeth of the most powerful storm on earth. Three destroyers were capsized sending hundreds of sailors and officers into the raging, shark infested waters. Over the next sixty hours, small bands of survivors fought seventy-foot waves, exhaustion, and dehydration to await rescue at the hands of the courageous Lt. Com. Henry Lee Plage, who, defying orders, sailed his tiny destroyer escort USS Tabberer through 150 mph winds to reach the lost men.

Thanks to documents that have been declassified after sixty years and dozens of first-hand accounts from survivors — including former President Gerald Ford — one of the greatest World War II stories, and a riveting tale of survival at sea, can finally be told.

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Thoughtful and colorful by turn, this insightful history illuminates the impact of the railroad on our lives

Railroads triumphant : the growth, rejection, and rebirth of a vital American force New York : Oxford University Press, 1992      Albro Martin Railroads , United States , History Hardcover 1st ed. and printing. xiv, 428 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index.  Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

In 1789, when the First Congress met in New York City, the members traveled to the capital just as Roman senators two thousand years earlier had journeyed to Rome, by horse, at a pace of some five miles an hour. Indeed, if sea travel had improved dramatically since Caesar’s time, overland
travel was still so slow, painful, and expensive that most Americans lived all but rooted to the spot, with few people settling more than a hundred miles from the ocean (a mere two percent lived west of the Appalachians). America in effect was just a thin ribbon of land by the sea, and it wasn’t
until the coming of the steam railroad that our nation would unfurl across the vast inland territory.

In Railroads Triumphant, Albro Martin provides a fascinating history of rail transportation in America, moving well beyond the “Romance of the Rails” sort of narrative to give readers a real sense of the railroad’s importance to our country. The railroad, Martin argues, was “the most fundamental
innovation in American material life.” It could go wherever rails could be laid–and so, for the first time, farms, industries, and towns could leave natural waterways behind and locate anywhere. (As Martin points out, the railroads created small-town America just as surely as the automobile created the suburbs.) The railroad was our first major industry, and it made possible or promoted the growth of all other industries, among them coal, steel, flour milling, and commercial farming. It established such major cities as Chicago, and had a lasting impact on urban design. And it worked hand in hand with the telegraph industry to transform communication. Indeed, the railroads were the NASA of the 19th century, attracting the finest minds in finance, engineering, and law.

But Martin doesn’t merely catalogue the past greatness of the railroad. In closing with the episodes that led first to destructive government regulation, and then to deregulation of the railroads and the ensuing triumphant rebirth of the nation’s basic means of moving goods from one place to another, Railroads Triumphant offers an impassioned defense of their enduring importance to American economic life. And it is a book informed by a lifelong love of railroads, brimming with vivid descriptions of classic depots, lavish hotels in Chicago, the great railroad founders, and the famous lines.

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