At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Friday, June 11, 2004

The cinematic offerings don't seem too interesting this weekend, thanks to the boy magician and the big green ogre hogging up most of the screens. I might try to see Saved! in Lubbock, though.

Sent off a resume to my dream job. It'd be nice to get an on-campus interview, if only for the free trip.


The Origins of World War I. ed. by Richard F. Hamilton and Holger H. Herwig. Cambridge, 2003. 537p bibl index ISBN 0-521-81735-8, $60.00.

History Today: “A fine work. What on earth could possibly be said about this topic which hasn’t been said a hundred times before over the past nine decades? As the twelve contributors to the collection demonstrate, however, the answer is: ‘quite a bit.’ Each of the chapters in this work examines how a particular country came to the decision to go to war, and will thus make welcome teaching vehicles for students and lecturers alike.” History: Review of New Books: “deserves reading by anyone interested in World War I or decision making in conflict situations.” Choice: "The authors offers many interesting and original interpretations. Ending with a vindication of liberalism while attacking the monarchy and Marxism, the book is lively and interpretative, although it would have been stronger with more archival evidence. Highly recommended." History Review: “This would not be the first book I'd recommend on this topic, or even the second, especially given the price; but it would be a valuable addition to the library. Serious students will sometimes strike gold and have the multifarious problems of Europe on the eve of catastrophe illuminated.” American Historical Review: “The essays on Russia and Japan offer some of the most interesting new perspectives on 1914. Regrettably, two of [the four conceptual essays] are not entirely successful.”

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Radio Silence: How NPR purged classical music from its airwaves. We have just the opposite problem here. The Lubbock NPR station, KOHM, is almost entirely devoted to classical music. We have Morning Edition and All Things Considered, of course, Click and Clack and Garrison Keillor, Thistle & Shamrock on Friday and a few hours of jazz on Thursday evenings. Otherwise it's classical, classical, classical. Most of the NPR/PRI programs I liked to listen to in the Midwest--This American Life, Putumayo, Fresh Air, Piano Jazz, Wait Wait, etc.--are unavailable. Here it's all Sunday Baroque, Harmonia, With Heart and Voice, Performance Today. The reason might be because the station is run by Texas Tech and the Music School there is fairly large. Or maybe they're strapped for cash and can't buy some of the more popular programming.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

I found the perfect job opening. The library's location and institutional affiliation are ideal, and I match the qualifications to a T. Of course I won't let myself get too excited since academe is so competitive, but it looks like a good opportunity to get out of here.


Davis, William C. Lone Star Rising: The Revolutionary Birth of the Texas Republic. Free Press, $27.

Library Journal: “nicely integrating newly revealed original source documents from Mexican archives with historical confirmation from well-known secondary sources to provide a thrilling, all-encompassing story of the war…solid…clear…carefully eschews hagiography in order to present an objective analysis….Highly recommended for all academic libraries and larger public libraries and essential for all libraries in Texas." Booklist: “Davis provides some interesting perspectives on ths causes and effects of the conflict…a beautifully written account of an epic story that can still excite and inspire.” History: Review of New Books: “Can be read with profit by both students and specialists. Examines in much greater depth the origins of the Texas Revolution. Offers an insightful analysis of the sometimes obscure links between the convoluted politics of the revolution in Texas and its downright bizarre (and still highly controversial) military history.” Publishers Weekly: “tells this story in sometimes wearying detail, but the book’s merits make up for its occasional tedium…Despite its lack of a central argument, this book contains just about everything you’d ever want to know about its subject. Consequently, this encyclopedic rendering of an oft-told tale is likely to take its place among the invaluable modern works on Texas history.”

Tuesday, June 08, 2004


Lefkowitz, Mary. Greek Gods, Human Lives: What We Can Learn from Myths. Yale, $30.

New Criterion: “provides insight and provokes thought…deeply humane.” Library Journal: “Drawing on original sources, her treatment is both accessible to the general reader interested in mythology and stimulating to the specialist. Highly recommended.” Publishers Weekly: “humane and deeply sympathetic.” New York Review of Books: “A great success…acute and fascinating.” Virginia Quarterly: “A work of significant interest to a wide readership. Nicely summarizes the pinnacle of Western wisdom on the good life and the risks it involves. From advanced high school students to commuting professionals, this book will find eager readers.” Booklist: “readers not already familiar with Greek literature may struggle to keep up.”

Monday, June 07, 2004

Reagan Memories

Schoolyard at a Mississippi elementary school. Our class is in a ring doing jumping jacks in preparation for kickball when someone runs up and says "President Reagan's been shot." A girl yells "Yippee" and then clasps her mouth apologetically. Her parents were hardcore Dixiecrats, I guess.

Baylor university, 1990 I think. Former President Reagan is on campus stumping for a local Republican Congressional candidate. I'm uninterested so don't bother standing in line for the free tickets, which are snapped up quickly. But later a friend happened to be passing by the Student Activities Center just when a second small batch of tickets became available, so he or she got us some. All I remember was the Texas Republican kids going wild, as at a rock concert, whenever Reagan chided the Democratic candidate for being a "liberal" (which he did very, very often.)