Wednesday, August 19, 2009

day +729

With it so ghastly hot and no errands or activities on today's schedule, I stayed inside finishing 1776. It's a riveting read. One of the things that I enjoyed most about it was McCullough's extensive use of primary sources, mostly letters. It really invites the reader in and allows us to have a palpable, nuanced understanding of the characters' personalities.

In addition, as I've become more and more familiar with the history and topography of New York City as a consequence of my photography, I found it quite fascinating to read about the significance of these local spots during the battles of 1776. I had long known about the war in what are now the five boroughs of New York but never to as much detail. The Harlem and Hudson Rivers, Harlem, Hells Gate, and Spuyten Duyvil not to mention other parts of the city, such as Brooklyn Heights which I explored well before I picked up a camera, all saw action. Really fascinating stuff.

This was my first McCullough book. Maybe John Adams' is next?

Besides 1776, I've been reading the popular A People's History of the United States: 1492 - Present by Howard Zinn. Though rich in very interesting quotes from all sorts of people in the past, it lacks footnotes which for a historian is akin to a capital offense. This really hurts the gravitas of the book, I think. Despite this disappointment, I'm interested to learn what fresh observations Zinn might offer into the conversation.

My cardiologist called me late this afternoon with the results of Monday's echocardiogram and the Holter monitor. The tests were normal. Absolutely nothing to worry about, he told me. I shouldn't need to take these tests for about another two years.

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