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Edwards, born in the Delta around 1915, worked the fields as a kid before he learned to play the guitar and began hoboing around the South. He rode the rails, played in innumerable small towns, and polished his craft. Along the way, he hung out and played with the likes of Sunnyland Slim, Big Walter Horton, Little Walter Jacobs, Robert Junior Lockwood, Muddy Waters, B.B. King and yes, Robert Johnson. The book describes how these architects of the modern blues passed songs, licks, and stories back and forth, keeping a form that relies so heavily on tradition dynamic and vital.
A major strength of the book is Edwards' distinctive voice, transcribed by his collaborators to retain its distinctive rhythms and dialect. The book's title sums up his attitude. His memories include violent death, physical and emotional loss, and great material want. Still, you sense strongly that he wouldn't have had his life any other way. His narrative is devoid of self-pity, but it never glosses over the difficulty of the times he endured, which included stints in prison.
The book concludes with useful appendices that define key terms and offer capsule biographies and discographies of musicians Edwards encountered. A good bibliography is also included. Highly recommended for those interested in the blues and in American social history. Great read.
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And everything describing Draco and his thoughts is just beautiful... There's a bit near the end where he wants a last flight and sunshine which completely breaks my heart *sob*.
It's the sort of book I will gladly stay up all night reading... beautifully written... just amazing!!!
(Pls. note: this review was written by me about the BOOK - I don't know how much the tape has been abridged, but I strongly suggest you read the book anyway cos, as I said, it's brilliant!!)
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An introduction touches briefly on historiography, the physical environment of ancient China, and calendar systems. A chapter by William Boltz provides background on language and writing (this was quite technical, but I found it comprehensible without much background in Chinese linguistics). And Kwang-chih Chang covers the prehistory of China, concentrating on the archaeological evidence but looking also at the debates over the historicity of the Xia dynasty.
The core of The Cambridge History of Ancient China uses the traditional Shang / Western Zhou / Spring and Autumn / Warring States chronological framework, with paired chapters on each of the periods, one covering material culture (archaeology and art) and the other more historical in approach. This provides an important historiographical and methodological balance. A chapter by Robert Bagley on "Shang archaeology", for example, tries to avoid the biases of traditional history, presenting a fascinating twenty page introduction to the archaeology of bronze metallurgy and using that to highlight the breadth of Chinese culture outside the Shang areas, in the Yangzi valley, Sichuan, and the north. In contrast to this, David Keightley's chapter on the Shang focuses on written inscriptions (bronzes and oracle bones) and what they tell us about politics, religion, and society in the nascent dynastic state.
The historical chapters generally avoid becoming enmeshed in the details of particular wars, successions, and the like, addressing instead larger scale social and administrative changes. Edward Shaughnessy probes the origins of the Western Zhou and their conquest of the Shang, then describes their subsequent history. Though cautious about the use of historical detail from later texts, he highlights the significance of Western Zhou political theory for subsequent Chinese historiography. Cho-yun Hsu describes the multi-state system that evolved in the Spring and Autumn period (with recognition of a shifting Ba or "senior state") and sketches its social, administrative, and economic developments. And for the Warring States period Mark Lewis focuses on the institutional and military development of the various states and their consolidation into progressively larger units, laying the groundwork for the imperial unification.
The chapters on material culture are longer than their historical counterparts, largely due
to the space taken up by illustrations. Jessica Rawson begins with a general introduction to Western Zhou archaeology, then proceeds from pre-Conquest Shaanxi (and the uncertainty about Zhou origins) down to the Ritual Revolution, providing details of key sites. Lothar von Falkenhausen covers late Bronze Age archaeology, describing finds from cemeteries and tombs in the different states and regional cultures. With more detailed information available, Wu Hung deals with Warring States art and architecture in a more systematic survey. Four chapters supplement these eight. Nicola Di Cosmo surveys the northern frontier area from Manchuria across to Xinjiang, covering the archaeological and historical record down to the development of pastoral nomadism and the first contacts between the Chinese core and a nomadic kingdom (the Xiongu empire) towards the end of the Warring States period. David Nivison presents a historical account of the classical philosophical schools and texts, in an approach which makes the relationships between the great philosophers clearer than more abstract presentations. Donald Harper uses excavated manuscripts to present a balanced view of Warring States occult thought and natural philosophy (astrology, divination, magic, medicine, and so forth), too often veiled behind the much better-known philosophical tradition and the later orthodoxy of Han yin-yang and five phases correlative cosmology. And Michael Loewe describes the legacy left to the Qin and Former Han empires: views of the past, religious and philosophical traditions, institutional and administrative systems, and other unifying strands (he also provides a general sketch of law and legal history, something not covered in other chapters).
I have only two minor complaints about The Cambridge History of Ancient China. It is well provided with half-tones (an essential part of the chapters on archaeology and art), but it badly needs more and better quality maps: you will find yourself floundering, especially with place names that don't appear in modern atlases. It is also too large and expensive a volume to be as widely read as it deserves. There are arguments for a single volume - I'm glad I had the chance to read it cover to cover - but if The Cambridge History of Ancient China were published as four or five separate paperback volumes it would be a better proposition for students interested in (say) Warring States occult thought but not Shang archaeology.
The book is topically organized, with each chapter written by a leading scholar on that topic. The list of contributors reads like a "Who's Who" of contemporary Sinology: K.C. Chang on Chinese "pre-history"; David Keightley on the Shang Dynasty; Hsu Cho-yun on the Spring and Autumn Period; David Lewis on the Warring States Period; David S. Nivison (see his _The Ways of Confucianism_) on ancient Chinese philosophy, etc.
The general reader should be warned that the scholarship here is sometimes a little intimidating. However, careful reading will be well repaid. As you can see, the price is a real problem. Perhaps it will come out in paperback some day, but I wouldn't count on it happening any time soon.
If you are seriously interested in ancient China, hock your wedding ring and buy this book!
A "MUST READ" for all financial services participants and strategists. I have read the book three times over and everytime I read this book I find a new angle which I could apply to my business.
A must read for managers of financial service firms, and consultants as well as researchers who work in the area of strategic planning, technology choice, process design and process re-engineering.
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Do yourself a favour and take a trip back into Nineteenth century where technology is just a blink in everyone's eye. What you will discover, however, is that human beings have not really changed, just the conventions have.
Trollope presents a dilemma for most readers. On the one hand, he wrote an enormous number of very good novels. On the other hand, he wrote no masterpieces. None of Trollope's books can stand comparison with the best work of Jane Austen, Flaubert, Dickens, George Eliot, Tolstoy, or Dostoevsky. On the other hand, none of those writers wrote anywhere near as many excellent as Trollope did. He may not have been a very great writer, but he was a very good one, and perhaps the most prolific good novelist who ever lived. Conservatively assessing his output, Trollope wrote at least 20 good novels. Trollope may not have been a genius, but he did possess a genius for consistency.
So, what to read? Trollope's wrote two very good series, two other novels that could be considered minor classics, and several other first rate novels. I recommend to friends that they try the Barsetshire novels, and then, if they find themselves hooked, to go on to read the Political series of novels (sometimes called the Palliser novels, which I feel uncomfortable with, since it exaggerates the role of that family in most of the novels). The two "minor classics" are THE WAY WE LIVE NOW and HE KNEW HE WAS RIGHT. The former is a marvelous portrait of Victorian social life, and the latter is perhaps the finest study of human jealousy since Shakespeare's OTHELLO. BARSETSHIRE TOWERS is, therefore, coupled with THE WARDEN, a magnificent place, and perhaps the best place to enter Trollope's world.
There are many, many reasons to read Trollope. He probably is the great spokesperson for the Victorian Mind. Like most Victorians, he is a bit parochial, with no interest in Europe, and very little interest in the rest of the world. Despite THE AMERICAN SENATOR, he has few American's or colonials in his novels, and close to no foreigners of any type. He is politically liberal in a conservative way, and is focussed almost exclusively on the upper middle class and gentry. He writes a good deal about young men and women needing and hoping to marry, but with a far more complex approach than we find in Jane Austen. His characters are often compelling, with very human problems, subject to morally complex situations that we would not find unfamiliar. Trollope is especially good with female characters, and in his sympathy for and liking of very independent, strong females he is somewhat an exception of the Victorian stereotype.
Anyone wanting to read Trollope, and I heartily believe that anyone who loves Dickens, Austen, Eliot, Hardy, and Thackery will want to, could find no better place to start than with reading the first two books in the Barsetshire Chronicles, beginning first with the rather short THE WARDEN and then progressing to this very, very fun and enjoyable novel.
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