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Quinn's book Figures of Speech would be one quite satisfactory text. The strength of the book is in its examples, the variety of sources. For example, asyndeton in a series of nouns is illustrated by quotes from the scripture, Shakespeare, Spinoza, Arnold, Darwin, Proust ... He illustrates asyndeton in series of clauses; in series of nouns; at the beginning, middle or end of a sentence. He warns of the effect of overusing the figure ... in short, without ever become boring, he shows you how to flush out a hiding asyndeton anywhere.
For those of you not educated under my ideal plan - asyndeton is the omission of conjunctions. Okay, this particular figure of speech may not effect your gullibility but I happened to like the examples given.
This book is only introductory but as such it is excellent. It is sufficiently slender and diverse to provide basic information without intimidating the reader with the plethora of classical rhetorical devices.
Anyone with an interest in effective writing will enjoy and benefit from this book.
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Reads as if it were a movie, but is all true, as judged on what I know of California frontier history.
Book is worth getting.
Quinn is one of those historians who makes broad use of dialogue in his work. While many scholars take a scant view of this method, I think it works well, if done carefully. Certainly we can question how Quinn could possibly know exactly what was said, when there was no one there to record it. However, memoirs and journals often paraphrase, and if the writer has researched the characters and the times well enough, I think it is fair to allow him to make certain assumptions, especially as it brings such dimension to the characters.
Quinn's depiction of events is very exciting without crossing over into sensationalism. And though any story of Americans' treatment of the Indians invites a certain amount of moralizing, he does not go overboard, nor does he portray the Modocs as saints. He also does an excellent job of incorprating the landscape into the story. Quinn's depiction of the lava beds the Modocs called home makes it even more wondrous that the Americans found it so important for them to leave.
This was definitely a story that deserved to be told, and Quinn does a very good job of it.
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In the end, a reader should approach this book as an outline, a primer perhaps, that covers a compelling expanse of our past, and take it upon her or himself to fill in the gaps. For those readers who prefer narrative to history, then this book should be enough. It is full of fascinating, fatally flawed characters (and lots and lots of native Americans who like to eat those characters). For readers looking for a more detailed, textured understanding of our founding, this is a decent place to start -- if Quinn's writing style doesn't drive you crazy within the first 12 pages -- because it is organized decently and many highlights are there, but keep in mind that it is only a start.
The two things I liked best about A New World was Quinn's awareness of the times and his details about its people. Usually when we study or read about American History, it is in a void. Quinn is the first writer I have read who talks about how Machavilli influenced John Smith. John Smith, always a boring figure of the past, now seems like a wild adventurer to me.
Quinn also talks about Indian savagery. I never really appreciated why the Colonists had such fears or anger towards them. Our politically correct schools always teach us how Colonists took our land from others. I have never in school how some Indians tortured soliders so much before a battle, that the European troops gave up out of fear. Or how these same Indians would take a stick and slowly work it up the bone of a person from his hand to his shoulder. Not counting the constant war between some Indian Tribes and the colonist, these stories helped me understand the attitudes of those times much better.
After Barbara Tuchman's, The Guns of August, this is probably the best history work I have read. I look forward to reading more from Mr. Quinn. If you haven't read him yet, this book is a very good place to start.
Their reading is simply not convincing. The repititions in Genesis do not look like the similar repititions in other Near Eastern literature. They have a different quality, which is evident to any reader who is willing to look at the texts as historical documents rather than as some kind of lifeline to God.
The documentary hypothesis lives. Kikawada and Quinn are forgotten by all but a handful of tenacious Christians. Do a websearch and see who supports their theory - evangelical Christian organizations.
With an extensive knowledge of linguistics, rhetoric, and literary theory as well as the careful use of the evidence used to jsutify the documentary thesis, Quinn and Kikiwada produce a reading of the first eleven chapters of Genesis which reveals a sophisticated and elegant construction that is far from being a patchwork or mosaic. Genesis 1-11 is a layering of chiasmus upon chiasmus, with each reinforcing the general themes of dispersion, a theme whic runs counter to that other closely related Near Eastern narratives of creation and the flood.
The late Arthur Quinn died prematurely, but it is time that biblical commentators and biblical scholars paid these two men their due.
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