American Writers (One Hundred Pages at a Time)

Episode 517: Sinclair Lewis: Babbitt (3)

The finale of my coverage of Sinclair Lewis with my final thoughts on BABBITT (1922). Is there any hope for Babbitt? I am not sure. I see some hints of it before he seems to surrender to conformity at the end. Let me know.

Episode 516: Sinclair Lewis: Babbbitt (2)

Part two of my review of the excellent novel by Sinclair Lewis, BABBITT. Here we see the calm before the storm of Babbitt's crisis of faith as he tries to invest in his social status in Zenith, without much success.

Episode 515: Sinclair Lewis: Babbitt (1)

In this episode we jump into BABBITT by Sinclair Lewis. Most of the first third of this novel is devoted to introducing the character of the ultimate conformist George Babbitt and the town that is the root of his identity (although it could be almost any town in America), Zenith.

Episode 514: Sinclair Lewis: Main Street (5)

The finale of my review of MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis. The major themes in this part are the cancel culture of Gopher's Prairie and the possibilities of escape.

Episode 513: Sinclair Lewis: Main Street (4)

Part 4 of my review of MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis. In this part we see the Kennicott marriage fall apart, while the banality of Gopher's Prairie seems to have metastasized.

Episode 512: Sinclair Lewis: Main Street (3)

In this episode we explore more of MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis as Carol Kennicott takes a more practical approach to her reforms. Yet, her frustrations continue to deepen. Much of this section of the novel explores the nature of the family in middle America.

Episode 511: Sinclair Lewis: Main Street (2)

Part two of my review of MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis. We get a more intimate look at Gopher's Prairie and its people, and see a darker side to the town.

Episode 510: Sinclair Lewis: Main Street (1)

In this episode, I dig into MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis and talk about the psychology of the newly educated and the cultural gap between Main Street and the American coastal cities. Is Main Street the peak of our civilization? Maybe it is.

Episode 509: The American Civil War (14): Fredericksburg

In this episode I look at the Library of America's anthology of Civil War writing, focusing on the end of 1862 and the Battle of Fredericksburg and emancipation.

Next, we will take a break from the Civil War and look at MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis.

Episode 508: The American Civil War (13): Emancipation, General McClellan, and the Battle of Cornith

Lots going on in the fall of 1862, in the aftermath of the Emancipation Proclamation as new debates emerge. This episode follows those debates, the firing of McClellan and Lincoln's 1862 message to Congress. Just how into colonization was Lincoln?

Episode 507: The American Civil War (12): Antietam

In this episode we explore documents surrounding Lee's invasion of Maryland, the Battle of Antietam, and the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Some of the eye witness accounts of this battle, collected in this anthology are fascinating. 

Episode 506: The American Civil War (11): The Second Battle of Bull Run

In this episode we see how Lincoln moved toward emancipation in the context of failed military campaigns and growing pressure from enslaved people. You can explore these documents yourself in the Library of America's anthology of civil war writings.

Episode 505: The American Civil War (10): The Seven Days Battle

Our next episode in this series on the American Civil War looks at the events surrounding the Seven Days Battle, especially General Hunter's move to arm blacks in occupied territories. As always we get a diverse cast of witnesses to this conflict.

Episode 504: The American Civil War (9): Shiloh

In this episode, I look at the events surrounding the battle of Shiloh such as the push for compensated emancipation, the seizure of New Orleans, and the battle of the ironclads. As always, my source is the anthology published by the Library of America.

Episode 503: The American Civil War (8): Fall of Fort Donaldson

I am still alive, yes. Just taking a break from recording.
Anyway, as we continue reading American Civil War anthology by the Library of America, we take a look at the first major Union victory, the surrender of Fort Donaldson.

Episode 502: The American Civil War (7): The Winter of 1861

I complete my look at volume 1 of the Library of America's anthology of Civil War writings. It is a dark winter for the USA after a series of military defeats. The political and military response to these defeats is the centerpiece of the documents I examine in this episode.

Episode 501: The American Civil War (6): The Battle of Wilson’s Creek

The aftermath of the Battle of Bull Run was a lot of hand wringing and searching for new ideas by the USA. The battle of WIlson's Creek deepened these anxieties. We also see how emancipation begins to be worked into Republican policy. I explore all of this in this episode.

Episode 500: The American Civil War (5): The First Battle of Bull Run

In this episode, I look at documents surrounding the First Battle of Bull Run, the first major battle of the American Civil War.

Episode 499: The American Civil War (4): Mobilization

In this episode we read into the aftermath of the attack on Fort Sumter by looking at documents by people such as Walt Whitman, George Templeton Strong, and William T. Sherman.

Episode 498: The American Civil War (3): Fort Sumter

Our series looking into the American Civil War as anthologized by the Library of America continues with the events surrounding the attack on Fort Sumter.

Episode 497: The American Civil War (2): Secession

Second in a series of the major documents telling the story of the American Civil War. This section covers the secession debate that emerged during Buchanan's lame duck period and the proffered "compromise" which would have involved constitutional amendments.

Episode 496: The American Civil War (1): The Aftermath of the 1860 Election

Today, I begin a long series on the Library of America's anthology of writings of the American Civil War. The first documents we look explore the impact of the election of 1860.

Episode 495: Neal Stephenson: The Baroque Cycle (Final Thoughts)

The final episode of my epic review of THE BAROQUE CYCLE by Neal Stephenson. I do some rankings of the books, characters, and review some of the major themes.

Episode 494: Neal Stephenson: The System of the World (3)

We have finally come to the end of my review of THE BAROQUE CYCLE. Some great moments in the final scenes of this epic story, including the hanging of Jack Shaftoe and the Trial of the Pyx.

Episode 493: Neal Stephenson: The System of the World (2)

As we reach the climax of THE BAROQUE CYCLE, by Neal Stephenson, we get two heroic moments from our central characters. Daniel Waterhouse stages a jail break and Jack Shaftoe endures being pressed and decides to face the enemies of the vagabonds (courts and the gallows).

Episode 492: Neal Stephenson: The System of the World (1)

It has all come to this, the final volume of the BAROQUE CYCLE, appropriately called THE SYSTEM OF THE WORLD. This is not only comes from the last volume of PRINCIPIA MATHEMATICA, but also from Daniel Waterhouses' thesis about the ultimate fate of the medieval and the birth of the modern.

Episode 491: Neal Stephenson: Currency (3)

We finish the penultimate volume of Neal Stephenson's BAROQUE CYCLE with some mighty fine action scenes. An attempt on the life of Peter the Great and an impaling by a cello are some of the highlights. And Jack Shaftoe comes out in force here. 

Episode 490: Neal Stephenson: Currency (2)

In this section of the final volume of Neal Stephenson's epic BAROQUE CYCLE, we see the investigative club seemingly achieve its goals through a stake out at Bedlam, leading to an important revelation.

H. P. Lovecraft Book Club: Series 10: Episode 5: Howard-Lovecraft Letters October - December 1932

I think this will be the end of my H. P. Lovecraft Book Club. While there is much more I could do, I think this is a fine place to stop. For those interested, the second volume of THE MEANS TO FREEDOM completes the conversation between Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard.

Episode 489: Neal Stephenson: Currency (1)

As we come to the close of the Baroque Cycle in the book CURRENCY, we get lessons in modern economics through a fascination discussion between Daniel Waterhouse and Eliza. Picking up with Eliza is welcome after the previous book in the BAROQUE CYCLE.

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