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If you're not from the South, you might find Alex's dialect charminging unusual. A few times I had to read a passage over and over again to fully understand what words Alex was saying. Here is an example where it took me a while to realize that Alex meant "Lord" when kept saying "Law":
"They didn't have no men folks, but they had several children. Making liquor was the only way they had of making a living. Law, they had it hard."
The author cleverly asks questions to get Alex to reveal his pioneer wisdom. More than that, though, the author's selections and chapter arrangements helped to organize the sprawling encyclopedia of Alex's mind.
By the time I reached the end, I was sad to have the "conversation" over. I felt I had known Alex a bit personally, and I mourned at his passing. It was joyous reading while it lasted and my heart ached to know more of Alex.
This is a fabulous book I can't recommend enough. 10 STARS.
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John Stewart, rather than waste time on the hordes of cute little cartoon models apt for a tourist rather than physicist, gets straight to the heart of the matter and presents amazingly powerful results (on differential geometry/ Spinors/ Asymptopia/Initial Value Problem). He doesn't skip any steps in his proofs and doesn't try to appeal to science fiction intuition.
As someone who hasn't encountered spinors before reading this book, I'm grateful for the helpful appendi on the matter. Unfortuneately however I've found in different books the notation for spinors can vary wildly. The result is that I must refigure out all the basic properties to understand the notation. My complaint is that Stewart doesn't seem* (perhaps it's my ignorance) to use the most common notation, but on the other hand, he also provides the most easily used and referenced appendix.
In summary, if reading most of that relativity tripe make you a tourist, Stewart makes you a citizen.
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wonderful general reading work -- filled with the detail
and chronology -- and flow of American history. It is
difficult to try to convey what the experience of using
this work is like. The "history" of the United States is
presented in crisp, clear, but meaningful style and
point. Each year of the history of the United States
(starting with the 1st section of the CHRONOLOGY, cited
as 1010-1013, but actually beginning with the date of 986:
"Norse navigator Bjorn Herjulfson is blown off course
while searching for Eric the Red's coastal Greenland
settlement, founded in 986." [There is a bit more to
this citation -- the delightful irony, of course, is
the subtle inference that the discovery of "America"
has always been a sort of accident, or unintentional
error...]is filled with the citations of events for
that year arranged in chronological order.
Though there are numerous citations, by day-month-year,
in the work, concerning not just what is happening in
the English colonies, but also in the surrounding land
adjacent to the colonies, the main thrust after 1607,
is to concentrate the citations on the events within
the colonies, and later states. But still, the flow
of the work is what is so amazing -- for one sees the
events unfolding before one's mind on a day to day
basis (instead of reading a clipped general sentence
or two in a general American history book).
This work is divided into 5 major sections -- each
introduced by a noted writer. The "Introduction" is
by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., the General Editor.
Schlesinger beings his "Introduction" in a very
provocative fashion: "'In the beginning,' wrote John
Locke in the _Second Treatise on Civil Government_, 'all
the world was America.' Locke intended only a metaphor
for the state of nature that preceded the establishment
of civil society. But his metaphor evokes much more.
It implies a way America was first seen in Europe -- as
a new beginning, a break in the long, sad continuities
of history, a fresh chance for fallen humanity."
From there, Schlesinger writes of the major sources of
paradox which he sees in American history. The first
paradox, he says, is that though Americans seem to live
by experiment (William James's "pragmatic tinkering"),
they also show a recurrent weakness (Schlesinger's term)
for ideology. The second paradox lies in the antagonism
between the American affirmation of equality and the
American tolerance of inequality. The third paradox
is the continuing tension between order and violence
in American life. The fourth paradox lies in the question
of conformity versus diversity. And the final paradox
has to do with the nature of the American experiment
itself -- how Americans, themselves, have seen their
vision, or mission, or goal.
Schlesinger discusses each of these sources of paradox
in the "Introduction." The 5 sections of the work are:
Founding a Nation (986-1787), introduced by Gordon S.
Wood -- Testing a Union (1788-1865), introduced by
Marcus Cunliffe -- Forging a Nation (1866-1900),
introduced by S. L. Mayer -- Expanding Resources
(1901-1945), introduced by Richard C. Wade --and
Emerging as a World Power (1946- ), introduced by
Robert H. Ferrell.
An example of the sort of detail which is available
in this marvelous reference/general reading treasure
is this set of citations -- under the year 1762:
3 November 1762 War: In the secret Treaty of
Fontainebleau, French monarch Louis XV deeds to Spain
all French territory west of the Missisppi River and
the Isle of Orleans in Louisiana to compensate Spain
for her losses at the hands of the British [in the
French and Indian War/Seven Years War]. The French
are anxious to bring an early end to the Seven Years
War. (p. 97)
Then on p. 174, under the year 1800, comes the citation:
1 October 1800 International: In the secret Treaty of San
Ildefonso, Spain cedes Louisiana to France at the command
of Napoleon Bonaparte, who envisions a French colonial
empire on the North American continent. [This ownership,
of course, allows him to sell it to the Jefferson
led government, as the Louisiana Purchase (1803), when
Napoleon's dreams of empire die in Haiti at the
hands of Touissant L'Ouverture.]
There is also an excellent Index in the back to
find people, places, and events in the CHRONOLOGY.
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Really neat book, appeals to all. Can even convert those of us once grossed out by these slimy creatures.
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I read the work while visiting the area and found it irresistable. The natives have many surprising habits, including a preference for rotting rather than fresh whale blubber (this creates many difficulties for our protagonist) and a penchant for midnight raids on slumbering neighbors. Jewitt is a good writer and his dated prose has a tendancy to amuse the reader. He does a good job both of mentioning the details of every day existence and of capturing the emotional bonds he develops with other members of the tribe. The end of Jewitt's adventure leaves the reader deeply saddened, sharing the conflicting emotions that he himself was torn by.
As it is no longer out of print, I intend to give copies to a variety of friends with interests in anthropology, Native Americans, and adventure in general.
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His museum more than meets that goal. Its catalogue shows it to be the place to go for the art of both American frontier artists. For example, the museum has A dash for the timber. This oil on canvas made Remington a major painter, in 1889. The museum also has The fall of the cowboy. Two cowboys with their horses about to pass through gate rails, under a gray sky, in a wintry landscape, are painted so close in tones that you know a way of life's in its twilight years. Also, the museum has The outlaw. The bronze freezes in time the realistic folds in the rider's hat and his shifting weight against his pitching horse.
The catalogue also shows the museum to be the place to go for American drawings, paintings, photographs, prints, sculptures and watercolors. The staff sees as landmark additions American Indian symbols by painter Marsden Hartley and Barber shop, Bass rocks #2, Blips and ifs, Chinatown, and Egg beater #2 by lithographer and painter Stuart Davis. John Singer Sargent's portrait of Alice Vanderbilt Shepard, too, is seen as a catch. It contrasts the girl's carefully worked face with the thinly painted rest. Who can forget the brilliant white with blue and pink in her jacket and folds of her blouse?
Pride of ownership also goes out to sculptures by Alexander Calder and David Smith. There's Lunar landscape by Louise Nevelson, on painted wood. It goes out also to photographs. In fact, the museum's photography collection now swells at over 250,000 objects. For example, there's Berthoud by Robert Adams. There's Great gallery, Horseshoe Canyon, Utah, by Linda Connor. There's Music - a sequence of 10 cloud photographs by Alfred Stieglitz.
There are even daguerreotypes by Josiah Hawes and Albert Southworth. Two women posed with a chair has quite a range of clear tones, because of an extra layer of silver having been electroplated to copper plate. The smallest detail in their lace collars is caught. The light from the ceiling skylight also catches both women, in a Rembrandt-like highlighting.
Patricia Junker et al have come up with nicely arranged illustrations and clearly thought out write-ups for each item in the exhibition. AN AMERICAN COLLECTION's a keeper. It works well, too, with Junker's JOHN STEUART CURRY: INVENTING THE MIDDLE WEST and WINSLOW HOMER: ARTIST AND ANGLER.