Tag: Biography

‘Turncoat’ Offers a Fresh Look at Benedict Arnold

 

Benedict Arnold has become synonymous with treason. Yet few today know his story. Turncoat: Benedict Arnold and the Crisis of American Liberty, by Stephen Brumwell is a fresh look at the man and his times.

Arnold was a brilliant general, probably only second to George Washington in talent. Next to Washington, he may be most responsible for the survival of the patriot cause. His dogged defense on Lake Champlain in 1776, and his spirited attacks in the Saratoga campaign in 1777, defeated Britain’s northern offensive and led France to enter the revolution on the American side. Absent Arnold, Britain would likely have won by 1778. Three years later, he tried to give Britain the war by betraying West Point to them.

Brumwell traces what led Arnold to switch sides. It was more complicated than many believe.

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday. Book Review Biography offers intimate look at WWII fighter pilot By MARK LARDAS […]

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review on Ricochet on the following Sunday. Seawriter Preview Open

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Book Review: A Look into Sam Houston’s Life and Legacy

 

Ron Rozelle is a Texas treasure. What he writes is worth reading. Exiled: The Last Days of Sam Houston, by Rozelle, continues his string of books worth reading.

It is a biography of the father of Texas. Most biographers concentrate on Houston’s early career, especially the period where he led the Texian Army or served as the first president of the Republic of Texas. Rozelle uses a different tactic. This book focuses on the end of Houston’s public life, as Texas’ first US senator and as governor of the state of Texas.

For a century, from Houston’s death until the 1960s, in Texas these were the least popular part of Houston’s career. Houston opposed Texas joining the Confederacy. Yet Rozelle realized that is what made those years worth examining. They were neglected and they were fascinating.

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review on Ricochet on the following Sunday. Seawriter Preview Open

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The White King: A Narrative Story on the Life of King Charles I

 

England’s King Charles I is often pictured as arrogant, clueless, and stupid. A less common view, offered by Alexandre Dumas in Twenty Years After, portrays him as a noble martyr. Where does the truth lie? The White King: Charles I, Traitor, Murderer, Martyr by Leanda de Lisle offers an objective biography of this king.

De Lisle paints a portrait of a Charles Stuart that reveals him more nuanced than the popular image of the man today. He is shown as intelligent and active, acting more out of principle than of self-interest. Indeed, principle would lead to his downfall. As de Lisle shows, he was willing to compromise on many areas, including the power he would exercise as king.

Yet, Charles was unwilling to compromise on religion. His life took place against the backdrop of the Thirty Years’ War, a convulsion driven by religion. Charles viewed himself as “The Defender of the Faith,” the faith being the Anglican church established by Henry VIII. Charles refused aid from France contingent on a conversion to Catholicism, from the Scots if he became Presbyterian, and rejected a settlement with the victorious Parliamentarians because it required changing the established church along Puritan lines.

Baseball and the American Spirit – Two Children’s Books

 

Growing up I’ve always heard baseball described as “America’s pastime.” As a boy, I didn’t really understand it. In the seventies, baseball was one sport among several in the year, and so I just understood it to mean Americans love baseball. Later years proved that not to be the case, so I remained confused until I learned of its earlier days, when just about darn near everyone played baseball. There were the major league teams we know today, but there were semi-pro teams, local teams, local clubs, baseball games for all ages and all types and just about everyone took part. In the past year my two-year old girl who loves books found two stories of unique players I’d never heard of in the history of baseball.

The first book, Queen of the Diamond, tells the story of Lizzie Murphy, a ball player in the early twentieth century. Her father played on a team, and taught his kids to play. The story follows this plucky girl who loves baseball so much she pursues opportunities to play, even getting on a semi-pro team. Sheer determination and skill work in her favor and she plays before crowds. Interestingly, it’s her father and brother who encourage her in the early days. Her mother is constantly worried about how unladylike playing baseball is, but her father and brother both recognize Lizzie has talent.

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Sunday. When it appears, I post the previous week’s review on Ricochet. Seawriter Book Review Slave-trader, swindler, con-man Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2017 10:00 pm Preview […]

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I subscribe to Book Bub, which highlights Kindle sales, so I purchase books for $1.99 and don’t have much to lose. Often, there’s a lot to gain, as a number of these bargains turn out to be gratifying reads. Books on sale can be featured again later, so here are three to consider when their prices are lowered.  I […]

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Sunday. (This week’s was printed on Wednesday.) When it appears, I post the previous week’s review on Ricochet. Seawriter Preview Open

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This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.