Sunday, December 16, 2007

Links & Reviews

Another day, another snowstorm in the Northeast - Boston got rather more snow from this one than was forecast, but it's now switched over to sleet and then is going to change over to rain very soon. All that's sure to make for a wet, sloppy mess, and the blistering wind that's accompanying the storm isn't making things any more pleasant. Here's hoping the power stays on and the streets don't flood. Thankfully I've got plenty to do around the house today.

Without further ado, a few of the things I caught during the latter part of this week:

- Over at Boston 1775, J.L. Bell's been examining family legends of ancestral participation in the Boston Tea Party. Here's Part One, and here's Part Two. Interesting historical investigations, as ever. John's also been doing some campaign fact-checking, noting some major inaccuracies in recent comments by Mike Huckabee and his campaign manager regarding the signers of the Declaration of Independence. No, most of the Declaration's signers were not ministers.

- Joyce notes the impending closure of Loome Bookseller in Stillwater, MN - they've posted an amusing YouTube video advertisement for their closing sale, which is embedded in Joyce's post.

- BibliOdyssey offers up some of the illustrations from Flora Sinensis, MichaƂ Piotr Boym's 1656 treatise on the plants of China. It's "one of the rarest and most important botanical works ever produced," and "the first western book to report on the indigenous sub-tropical plants of China."

- In the Boston Globe, Anna Mundow interviews D. Graham Burnett, the author of the new book Trying Leviathan (yet another one that's sitting on my shelf waiting for me to read it).

- Scott Brown reports on some high-selling Philip Pullman books on ABE, noting that even the highest one of those in November (which sold for $3,100) didn't make ABE's top ten for the month.

- In the Times Literary Supplement, Arthur Freeman has a fascinating essay on the 1535 Sacra Bible (believed to be the first - if partial - Bible printed in the British Isles) and its preface, which he attributes to Henry VIII himself. Another really interesting investigation into the publication's timing and print history.

- Some more interesting results from Sotheby's Thursday book auction: a Shakespeare Fourth Folio sold for £96,500 (well over the £35,000 estimate) and a Kelmscott Chaucer (one of the 425 copies printed on paper) made £37,700.


- Michael Dirda reviews Philip Gura's American Transcendentalism in the Washington Post.

- Over in the Globe, Michael Kenney reviews Our Savage Neighbors, a new treatment of the colonial Indian wars by Peter Silver.

- In the Guardian, Keith Thomas reviews John Burrow's A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, Romances and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century. Thomas writes: "[Burrow] has undertaken a herculean task which would have daunted most scholars. Inevitably there are some trivial slips on which the specialists will pounce. But he has turned his formidable assignment into a triumphant success. The result is a highly enjoyable book, based on a vast amount of reading, written with attractive simplicity, brimming with acute observations, and often very witty. Anyone who wants to know what historical writing has contributed to our culture should start here."

- In the NYTimes, Gil Troy reviews Edward Larson's recent book on the presidential campaign of 1800, A Magnificent Catastrophe.

- The Little Professor reviews and analyzes Clare Clark's The Nature of Monsters.