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Book reviews for "North,_Morgan" sorted by average review score:

Published in Paperback by Touchstone Books (1994)
Author: Ted Morgan
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One of the best recent North American colonial histories.
Ted Morgan's "Wilderness at Dawn" is one of the best of a crop of North American colonial histories published since 1990. Rather than a comprehensive history, it is a series of incidents that add up to a very readable whole. Morgan begins with pre-Columbian history and goes on to relate the experiences of the Spanish, French, Dutch, and various flavors of English colonies. One of my favorite stories is how the godly Pilgrims found themselves neighbors to a riotous colony led by one Thomas Morton. Before Miles Standish put their rivals out of business, Morton's drunken crew traded guns and booze to the Indians in exchange for beaver pelts and sexual favors. Anyone who believes history is boring has not read Ted Morgan's and other recent works about the American colonies. The last section of this book addresses the problems of post-Revolutionary War colonization, including chapters about the appalling dangers of trans-Appalachian settlement and about how the Old Northwest was surveyed.

A Great Collective Biography of Noted & Ordinary Americans
Ted Morgan, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist from New York City, who has written biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Sir Winston Churchill, and Somerset Maughan, organizes his "story of an empty continent filling with people" (p. 11) by the usual chronological structure (from ca. 1490 to the early 1800s). Yet his frontier approach is quite fragmented, and therefore very realistic. He includes the Spanish presence, the French, Jamestown, Pilgrim, Dutch, Puritan, Manorial, Chesapeake, Black, Salzburger, and Quaker frontiers. His careful distinction between pilgrim and puritan is to be applauded, and his viewing the Virginia tobacco planters (Manorial), the Charlestown rice culture (Black), and Austrian Lutherans in Georgia (Salzburger) as their own "frontier" gives an important geographical specificity to the peculiar characteristics of the various areas of settlement. Of note is Morgan's interweaving native interaction with the Europeans. This he does frequently, so a separate chapter about any Indian counter frontier is unnecessary. However, the idea of a moving "frontier" against an established Indian presence does belie the Eurocentric perspective of the author. WILDERNESS AT DAWN is chocked full of compelling stories of "known" and "unknown" players in the American drama. These stories cover a broad gamut of human experience. In essence, nothing is left untouched, and the verisimilitude simply oozes forth from the narrative. The story flows beautifully while the veracity of the events is not at all compromised. Ample anecdotes from diaries, monographs, and public records move the reader through gripping eyewitness accounts. While the lack of footnotes might frustrate the technical historian, such certainly enhances the readibility of the book, especially as story. Primary and secondary sources for each chapter are listed appropriately at the end of the book. Worthy of special mention are Morgan's excellent brief broad syntheses--sometimes historical, sometimes geographical, sometimes a mixture of both. One excellent example is the importance of Pope's rebellion in the present Southwest as illustrative of geograpical persistence, i.e., the Indians could not completely purge Spanish influence, as they were "Hispanicized beyond return" and had become "irretrievably hybrid" (p. 216). While some generalizations in the narrative do exist, Morgan is not prone to such as his rich details about people, places, and events paints a full, realistic portrait. On the deficit side, however, is his unfortunate rehashing of the Bering Strait origin myth (chapter one), without any reference to alternative explanations from Indian traditions. Otherwise, the book is really a mine of excellent information. These are stories to be passed on. They are worth the telling and worthy of hearing. Maps in the work are good, but sparse, as there are only eight. More would be better. The only illustrations are black and white, and they depict relevant art, relics, photos, letters, documents, quotes, etc. at the beginning of each chapter. Notes are provided at the end as well as a fine index. In summary, while the critical revisionist scholar might bewail Morgan for his portrayal of a different America, and charge him as guilty of a gullible swallowing of Turner's "frontierism", the reality of America as "no one's clone" and as "self-invented, sui generis, underivative and wholly original" (p. 492), in the mind of this reviewer, remains valid and intact. "America was a smoking test tube, a braying infant, a blank page; it was change made palpable, change glorified, change as a stated goal, fluid, undetermined, unfixed, defying the logic of the centuries, observing its distant horizon lines, a ship that had strayed from the fleet and was off on its own uncharter course" (p. 493).

New approach to American history
Breathtaking approach to a well known subject. History from the people's viewpoint. No dull dates, battles, generals, presidents; but living, breathing stories by and of the most unique and most common. Must also read Shovel of Stars, the sequel (also 10)

Old Friends: Great Texas Courthouses
Published in Hardcover by Landmark Publishing, Inc. (15 October, 1999)
Authors: Bill Morgan and Ernest J. Hammond
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Fascinating, Topical, Wonderfully Illustrated
This is a fascinating work on a fairly esoteric topic. Although I usually don't usually encounter such works unless I am looking up specific information, I came across this book and had a difficult time putting it down. The illustrations are a magical blend of art and fact. When I have visited the courthouses, I felt as if I had been there - from both the prose and the drawings. If this topic (Texas history and culture) sounds interesting, get the book - you'll love it. If you are not sure, get the book - you'll love it. This will make a wonderful gift.

Old Friends: Great Texas Courthouses
Great book whether you are from Texas or not. The author's artwork is superb and gives you the real feelings of these "old Texas friends". The stories are right out of history and very entertaining. Whether you are young or old, the past is always a great place to visit and Mr. Morgan's book is a wonderful time machine with which to travel there. Highly recommended.

A Lesson in History
The prose is remarkably uplifting and allows one to look at history in a unique fashion. The stories are interesting and some local people with firsthand knowledge about one particular story told me the article was correct to the letter. The drawings are amazingly accurate to the finest detail. An excellent gift for the upcoming holidays. Your friends or relatives would greatly appreciate this book.

Boise: The City and the People
Published in Paperback by Farcountry Pr (1993)
Authors: Clay Morgan, Steve Bly, and Stephen Bly
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It has been 20 years since I last lived in Boise. This book and its numerous color pictures, however, confirmed for me that despite intense growth, the essential character of the place remains the same. The strength of this book is the writers' obvious sensitivity to the character of the place and its people -- a sensitivity that allowed me to make this conclusion. For example, although the title says Boise, the authors, through pictures and descriptions of the rugged and beautiful Idaho outdoors, display an understanding that Idaho wilderness is inseparable from Boiseans' notions of themselves. Very much worth purchasing.

The Indian Journals 1859-62
Published in Paperback by Dover Pubns (1993)
Authors: Lewis Henry Morgan and Leslie A. White
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This book is a real treasure!
Lewis Henry Morgan was actually an attorney in Rochester, NY and practicing law around the time of the Civil War. But he is famous for his contribution to the science of anthropology, known especially for establishing the study of kinship systems and for his theory of social evolution.

His work with the Iroquois Nation was extensive; he was even adopted by a clan of the Senecas for his achievements in bridging the terrible gap between the native American nations and the US.

Much about native America would have been misunderstood or lost had he not written his journals, and his development of kinship systems set the foundation for anthropological work ever since.

The artwork in this book is stunning. The portraits are alone reason for having this book.

Mountain Born, Mountain Molded
Published in Paperback by Parkway Publishers, Inc. (01 December, 2002)
Author: Larry G. Morgan
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A memorable, nostalgic, and highly recommended narrative
Mountain Born, Mountain Molded by Larry G. Morgan is a wryly written personal memoir of growing up in the Nantahala region of western North Carolina from 1945-1955 as the fifth in a family of ten children. Childhood memories, simple games kids played long before popular culture became overloaded with atrociously [spendy] collectible toys, and the refreshing wonder of the great outdoors are all recalled in this memorable, nostalgic, and highly recommended narrative.

My Heroes, My People: African, Americans, and Native Americans in the West
Published in Hardcover by Farrar Straus & Giroux (Juv) (1999)
Authors: Morgan Monceaux and Ruth Katcher
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What a beautiful book covering history in a new light. It is good to see in print heros who have seldom gained recognition in children's literaure. The illustrations are beautiful. A must for your child's growing library!

Precolumbian Architecture in Eastern North America (Ripley P. Bullen Series)
Published in Paperback by University Press of Florida (T) (1999)
Author: William N. Morgan
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Earth Mounds Exposed
Few people are aware of the earthmound remains of Precolumbian peoples in the US. William Morgan's little book does much to change that, and in a highly readable manner. Organized by epochs, this comprehensive illustrated catalogue of over 100 important sites is a must for early-history buffs. Most important, each site is "reconstructed" and illustrated with a clear to-scale map which is at the same scale as all the other mapped reconstructions. The book is a model for such studies, as sites of interest can be quickly compared in scale with the Acropolis, the Giza pyramid complex, and other more famous sites. Highly recommended.

The Balm of Gilead Tree: New & Selected Stories
Published in Paperback by Gnomon Press (01 October, 1999)
Author: Robert Morgan
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Dark corner of the Southern Appalachians
This collection of stories is my favorite of all the Robert Morgan books I've read so far. It seems to me that the short story is Morgan's strongest literary form; whereas his novels tend to be tedious and his poetry somewhat bland, his stories often carry some genuine emotional punch. These stories, arranged in a generally chronological (in terms of the time in which the pieces are set, not when they were written or published) sequence, are all set in the Southern Appalachians, where Morgan was born and raised (although he now teaches at Cornell University). "The Tracks of Chief DeSoto," perhaps the best story in the anthology, is set in a Cherokee village at the time of the arrival of the first white explorers to visit the mountains, while "The Balm of Gilead Tree" is set in modern time. Nearly all the stories have a powerful sense of pathos, although Morgan occasionally injects a dose of grim humor. These are stories of exploitation, depression, loss, death, disappointment, and occasional small triumph. I have heard Morgan say during a lecture that he writes stories which have a sense of inevitability, whose outcomes seem to follow directly from what happens earlier in the story. He accomplishes this, although the sense of inevitability also results in a predictable approach to storytelling. Nothing happens to his characters that is unexpected or clever; they live simply and according to a cosmic plan. They are believable people, but I sometimes found myself wishing that they were a little less ordinary. I recommend this collection to lovers of Robert Morgan, as well as anyone interested in the craft of writing short stories, particularly stories with a strong sense of place. This book leaves the reader with the smell of sweat, hog, and honeysuckle lingering long after the final page is turned.

The Balm of Gilead Tree is a strong collection of stories by Robert Morgan whose Gap Creek has been selected as Ophrah's Book Club Selection for January.

Ranging over three centuries, The Balm of Gilead Tree shows Morgan's mastery and displays a wider scope of his grasp of history and language than his novels.

The Truest Pleasure
Published in Hardcover by Algonquin Books (1995)
Author: Robert Morgan
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Another great book by Robert Morgan
I loved reading Gap Creek so when I saw The Truest Pleasure on the shelf I decided to pick it up. Robert Morgan is an amazing writer and I truly enjoy reading his books.

Ginny and Tom were well written and very real characters. They fought a lot about Ginny's religious beliefs and Tom being a true workaholic but I never doubted for one minute that they were devoted to their marriage and that they loved each other. This marriage teaches us a great lesson, you never appreciate what you have until you lose it.

Through the vivid descriptions of Ginny and Tom's workload, this book has made me appreciate all of the modern conviences that we have today even more.

This book was well written and enjoyable. I would recommend this book as well as Gap Creek to anyone and I'm looking forward to reading more books by Robert Morgan.

Truly "The Truest Pleasure"
I loved reading The Truest Pleasure!! It takes pride on my shelf along with my other loved books. It was wonderful how Robert Morgan potrayed the lives of Ginny and Tom. The way Ginny and Tom communicated had too many similarities to my own life. I am now reading Gap Creek and I will be looking for my next book my Robert Morgan.

Satisfies your heart and soul.......
The Truest Pleasure is a wonderful story. Robert Morgan does not disappoint! The strength of the main character, her dedication to her husband, her family and her faith is wonderful. Her ability to try and make all of these commitments come together, and the inner struggle she goes through to attain this is both heartwrenching and inspiring. The common occurence in the lives of these people, particularly illness and death and the manner in which they handle these as a basic element of life are very poignant. It is a story that can make you stop and think about what the truest pleasures in your life are, the things that satisfy both your heart and soul.

Skid Road: An Informal Portrait of Seattle
Published in Paperback by University of Washington Press (2003)
Authors: Murray Cromwell, Morgan and Murry Morgan
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What I do not like about the book is that it focusses a little too much on the political history of the town rather than on the people who made up the population. A little time was spent on the initial Chinese American population, but more time could have been spent on those and other immigrant cultures that have historically made up the city.

Even so, it's still worth the effort. It is a fun read, and, though dated, it still kept me laughing unexpectedly over and over again.

Wonderful Read on History Of Seattle
I just loved this book. It was required to read for a History class. I couldn't put the book down. I read it in a weekend. I learned so much about Seattle, and the wild characters that help to create and establish Seattle. I never knew such people help to built Seattle.

Now I know The history behind the street names in seattle, and more about the history in Seattle that I would have never had know.

I'd love to read more books that this authors has written.

before it was Yesler
This is the consensus choice among local historians and writers for the best history of Seattle's founding, and it deserves to be. Morgan's portraits of pioneers like Doc Maynard and Arthur Denny are exhilirating and informative, and the book reads like a collection of excellent short stories rather than a dry recollection. If you are familiar with Seattle, this will change the way you look at Pioneer Square and the waterfront, but a knowledge of the city is not necessary to enjoy these stories of a city's establishment and maturation.

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