Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Sunday Salon... Happy Independence Day! Historical Books with Buzz, and a little "Independence" News

Happy July Fourth! Today is the day we celebrate the birth of The United States of America. On July 4th, 1776 Congress announced that the 13 American Colonies were now independent states, free from British rule.

The Declaration of Independence, one of America's most cherished documents, was originally drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11th, 1776 and June 28th, 1776. On July 2nd, 1776 the Continental Congress voted in favor to declare our independence from Great Britain, and onJuly 4th, the wording of The Declaration of Independence was finalized and approved by Congress. Historians differ on the actual date that the Declaration was signed, some believing that it was signed on August 2nd, 1776. In any case July 4th is the day we as American's celebrate our freedoms as a nation.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Many names are associated with the Declaration of Independence... Two future presidents, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams... The oldest signer was Benjamin Franklin, he was 70... And John Hancock, whose LARGE decorative signature on the Declaration has become synonymous with "signature". Want to learn more about the influential men & women of the times? How about reading a good book? Here are some Historical Books with Buzz...

The Lette
rs of John and Abigail Adams by (John & Abigail Adams) and Edited by Frank Shuffelton... The story of John & Abigail go beyond a love story. They lived through a remarkable
period of time during the infancy of our nation. Abigail was the perfect partner to
John, a woman with her own opinions and thoughts. And that is why this book has gotten so much praise, for its' wonderful exchange between two "equals", and its' ability to give us a glimpse into this period of history through the passionate exchange of ideas between two people who respected and loved eachother. Here's what the publisher writes... An intimate portrait of a colonial family and an important historical record of the beginnings of American government.
The Letters of John and Abigail Adams provides an insig
htful record of American life before, during, and after the Revolution; the letters also reveal the intellec
tually and emotionally fulfilling relationship between John and Abigail that lasted fifty-four years and withstood historical upheavals, long periods apart, and personal tragedies. Covering key moments in American history-the Continental Congress, the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War, and John Adams's diplomatic missions to Europe-the letters reveal the concerns of a couple living during a period of explosive change, from smallpox and British warships to raising children, paying taxes, the state of women, and the emerging concepts of American democracy.

The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence
Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams... Two of the most influential men behind the Declaration of Independence were both "friends" and rivals, first meeting as members of the Continental Congress and later as rivals for the highest position of the United States, president. From the Publisher... An intellectual dialogue of the highest plane achieved in America, the correspondence between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson spanned half a century and embraced government, philosophy, religion, quotidiana, and family griefs and joys. First meeting as delegates to the Continental Congress in 1775, they initiated correspondence in 1777, negotiated jointly as ministers in Europe in the 1780s, and served the early Republic—each, ultimately, in its highest office. At Jefferson's defeat of Adams for the presidency in 1800, they became estranged, and the correspondence lapses from 1801 to 1812, then is renewed until the death of both in 1826, fifty years to the day after the Declaration of Independence.

1776 by
David McCullough... David McCullough didn't win a Pulitzer
Prize for 1776 (he did win one for both his biography of Truman and John Adams), but he won the popularity prize. When this book came out in 2006, it soared in popularity, and for good reason- David McCullough is a great writer and makes history accessible to the "non-history" major. Here's a description from Amazon... Esteemed historian David McCullough covers the military side of the momentous year of 1776 with characteristic insight and a gripping narrative, adding new scholarship and a fresh perspective to the beginning of the American Revolution. It was a turbulent and confusing time. As British and American politicians struggled to reach a compromise, events on the ground escalated until war was inevitable. McCullough writes vividly about the dismal conditions that troops on both sides had to endure, including an unusually harsh winter, and the role that luck and the whims of the weather played in helping the colonial forces hold off the world's greatest army. He also effectively explores the importance of motivation and troop morale--a tie was as good as a win to the Americans, while anything short of overwhelming victory was disheartening to the British, who expected a swift end to the war.

As we shoot off the fireworks, grill the burgers and enjoy our freedoms, it's almost inconceivable to think back 234 years ago and imagine the freedoms we did not possess then. (of course for us women that took even a little longer than 1776!) But at least we are afforded the ability to go back in time and read the thoughts of our fore fathers in books and the original documents. And if you'd like to read the real thing, the Original Declaration of Independence (along with Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights) is permanently housed and exhibited in the Rotunda for the Charter of Freedom, which is located in the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.

What historical books are you reading? Who's your favorite "independent" figure?
I hope you enjoyed a bit of historical book buzz today! And hope you have a wonderful Independence Day!

*P.S. Did you know that originally Thomas Jefferson wrote in one of the drafts of the Declaration "subjects" instead of "citizens"!? For a long time scholars speculated about the "citizens smear" on the draft, but recently with the help of spectral imaging technology, the Library of Congress has determined that Jefferson originally wrote "subjects" in a line (which was later removed from the final text), and thought better of it, because we were no longer subjects! You can read about it at News from The Library of Congress.


Harvee said...

I like your choice of books for the day! Happy 4th!

Booksnyc said...

I like your suggestions! Would also add Founding Brothers.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Harvee!
Thanks for stopping by! You have a wonderful day too!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Booksnyc!
Thanks for the suggestion! Founding Brothers sounds so interesting! I love those "behind the scene" stories! AND it's available in Kindle too!

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

What great book selections for the day!

Happy Holiday!

Here's my salon:

carla said...

I've always enjoyed history and those sound like great options to read!
I try to read about one of our Presidents every year. I've only done it a few years but it's been fun. This year was William McKinley.
Have a great week!

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