American Writers (One Hundred Pages at a Time)

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.

H.P. Lovecract Book Club: Series 10: Episode 4: Howard-Lovecraft Letters June-September 1932

The next episode in my series looking at the letters of H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. This episode focuses on the summer of 1932 and a handful of massive letters dealing with issues such as war with Japan and American regionalism and folklore.

Episode 488: Neal Stephenson: Solomon‘s Gold (3)

The climax to SOLOMON'S GOLD by Neal Stephenson is a heist on the Tower of London by Jack Shaftoe. For most of this section, Newton and Daniel Waterhouse are completely outclassed by their antagonist. SOLOMON' S GOLD is my least favorite book in the BAROQUE CYCLE, but it has a riveting climax.

Episode 487: Neal Stephenson: Solomon‘s Gold (2)

This is part 2 of my review of SOLOMON'S GOLD, part of the BAROQUE CYCLE, by Neal Stephenson. As always it is a fun exploration of the 17th and 18th centuries. In this section, Daniel Waterhouse starts an investigative club.

H. P. Lovecraft Book Club: Series 10: Episode 3: Lovecraft-Howard Letters, September 1931-June 1932

More of my look at the Robert E. Howard-H. P. Lovecraft letters, focusing on the period from September 1931 to June 1932. We really get into explorations of American regionalism in these letters.

Episode 486: Neal Stephenson: Solomon‘s Gold (1)

The final volume of Neal Stephenson's BAROQUE CYCLE begins with Daniel Waterhouse's return to England. He learns about the beginning of the Industrial Age and runs errands, while a mystery begins.

Episode 485: Neal Stephenson:Bonanza/The Junto (6)

Our final look at THE CONFUSION by Neal Stephenson. These sections involve a dramatic journey across the Pacific, religious drama in the Americas and Jack Shaftoe's traumatic return to Europe. Great stuff.

H. P. Lovecraft Book Club: Series 10: Episode 2: Robert E. Howard/HPL Letters, December 1930-August 1931

I guess some more of my commentary on the Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft letters. A bit of a slog but they are certainly worth reading for a glimpse at the ideas of each author about history and folklore.

Episode 484: Neal Stephenson: Bonanza/The Junto (5)

In this episode, I look continue my read-through of the BAROQUE CYCLE and come toward the end of THE CONFUSION. In this section of the tale, we pick up with the adventures of Jack Shaftoe in the Indian Ocean, where he becomes a temporary king.

Episode 483: Neal Stephenson: Bonanza/The Junto (4)

In part four of my review of Neal Stephenson's THE CONFUSION, we see the high point of Eliza's character, as she uses the Nine Years War to destroy an alchemist banker (sort of) villain. It all comes down to the emergence of new banking systems in Western Europe.

H. P. Lovecraft Book Club: Series 10: Episode 1: Howard-Lovecraft Letters (1)

Here starts a 9-part series exploring the Lovecraft-Robert E. Howard letters. It will be a nice way to finish up this series. The conversation begins with a discourse on the peopling of the British isles.

Episode 482: Neal Stephenson: Bonanza/The Junto (3)

This is part three of my review of THE CONFUSION (Book 2 of the BAROQUE CYCLE). In this section, Eliza in France, escapes a trap by marrying a villain, while changes are in the works for the English banking system.

H. P. Lovecraft Book Club: Series 9: Episode 19: The Challenge from Beyond

We end out look at Lovecraft's stories with THE CHALLENGE FROM BEYOND, a round-robin tale. Started promising but then Lovecraft hijacks it. Next up, a 9-episode conclusion to this book club focusing on the Howard-Lovecraft letters.

Episode 481: Neal Stephenson: Bonanza/The Juncto (2)

This part of THE CONFUSION by Neal Stephenson focuses on the voyage from Spain to Cairo and Jack Shaftoe and the Cabal stealing the Solomonic gold from creepy French slave traders and the Pasha's men. Plus, Jack gets revenge for Eliza. Lots of fun.

Episode 480: Neal Stephenson: Bonanza/The Junto (1)

In books four and five of THE BAROQUE CYCLE, the story becomes "confused". We will explore these two intertwined stories in six episodes. We start with a reintroduction to Jack Shaftoe in Algiers, still a galley slave.

H. P. Lovecraft Book Club: Series 9: Episode 19: In the Walls of Eryx

As we wrap up this look at the Lovecraft revisions we come to the Kenneth Streling story "In the Walls of Eryx", a science fiction tale with a Lovecraftian theme.

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