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1775: A Good Year for Revolution by Kevin Phillips

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Dickens’ “it was the best of times and the worst of times” is often quoted, but the deeper meaning forgotten, especially in today’s rough and tumble world of politics. We tend to be nostalgic and rekindle some kind of forgotten magic that has long passed. The old timers share war stories and say how great things used to be with our contemporary history books painting the mystical tale of successful periods in our history. There is no way these founding fathers could have imagined that we would still be around as a nation or the many changes.

As an American, the year 1776 has been ingrained as the year our nation embarked on this democratic experience that has sustained for over two hundred years.  The battles, Paul Revere’s ride, Jefferson penning he Declaration of Independence and the Boston Tea Party.  Were these pinnacle events that occurred in 1776 or was the mark further back?

Author Kevin Phillips has been on the political scene for over a half century and written extensively about some of the major political realignments. Like most in the field, he had grown disillusioned with the politics. In his new book, 1775: A Good Year for Revolution he steps back to our nation’s early days about the emerging republican (small-r) majority or plurality.

Phillips makes a convincing case that 1776 is not the most important year to remember in our history, but that it was actually 1775 when major events moved in favor of the revolutionaries. He documents and tells in vivid detail events and observations that pointed to his case.  Here are some of the points I found interesting in the book 1775.

Out of the colonies only a few, Connecticut, South Carolina, Virginia, and Massachusetts made up the vanguard of the Revolution, contributing two thirds or even three quarters of its momentum and leadership. These four had most of the wealth and population and held old charters so they had a history behind them.

Communications was a problem and the British did not get word of some of the changes in the colonies.  Then the British had bad maps of the coast line or really understand the geography.

Phillips notes the large make up of slaves and indentured servants in the new territories. The diversity of the national ideals moved away from the political and constitutional class with Britain and a push for economic self-determination.

One poignant issue then that we face today is money.  At first the lack of a common currency created problems then after independence inflation and a pumping up with more money printed from $5 million by the end of 1775 to $15 million by mid-1776.

Overall, what I enjoyed about the book is that it reframes some our basic assumptions into a realistic portrait that no matter how much we glamorize the early days, they had a lot more problems that we had today. If the successes of 1775 did not happen, we either would be speaking with a British accent or have taken shape into a mini-European model of small states.

This book is an eye opening look into one perspective of the history of the United States.  It is a detailed history lesson that makes will make you appreciate 1775. I learned a lot of new facts and it was nice to venture back to those days that are often taken for granted.  Everyone needs a good history lesson now and then.

Book Facts:

1775: A Good Year for Revolution

By Kevin Phillips

2012 Viking 628 pp

ISBN: 978-0-670-02512-1

 

Follow Dr. Wilson Trivino on Twitter@T4Vista

Literature

An Evening with David Sedaris at Fox Theatre April 16

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ATLANTA, GA (Feb. 24, 2015) – The Fox Theatre is pleased to present An Evening with David Sedaris, author of the previous bestsellers Naked, Me Talk Pretty One DayDress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and regular National Public Radio contributor who will be appearing for one night only at the Fox Theatre on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 7:30pm.

Celebrating the June 3, 2014 paperback release of his latest title, #1 New York Times Bestseller, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, author David Sedaris comes to Atlanta for an evening of engaging recollections and featuring all-new readings.

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Literature

Dr. Mike’s “The Fallacy of the Calorie”

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Dr. Mike (Michael S. Fenster, MD) has a sense of humor in dispersing his dietary and nutritional advice in The Fallacy of the Calorie, but what’s also funny is the fact that this cardiologist is dishing out all this information while criticizing supposed self-proclaimed food experts.

Take this passage, for example: “These days it seems as if everybody has an opinion about food and health. People watch Dr. Oz, tune in to the Food Network, or read some anecdotal diatribe on the Internet and all of a sudden they’re full of expert opinions and analysis.”

Dr. Mike mentions only Dr. Oz by name. He then goes on to allude to a bunch of straw men who give consumers lots of conflicting food guidance before launching into his own enterprising book of culinary realness. Dr. Mike is in your face and sounds like a go-getter, I guess. He says if I’m happy with the food I eat and my state of wellness, health, verdure, heartiness is a-okay, then this is not the book for me. PUT THIS BOOK DOWN. If only!

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SPX 2014 Programming Schedule

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SPX is fast approaching! Check out the release about this year’s panels and programming to plan your weekend. They all sound remarkable, highlighting diversity in the comics and cartooning industry that is often overlooked.

The Small Press Expo is pleased to announce the SPX 2014 Programming Schedule.  SPX continuing the festival’s established tradition of rich, thought-provoking programming featuring leading comics artists and critics in conversation. As in previous years, the Programming Schedule will feature two simultaneous tracks on both Saturday and Sunday, September 13th and 14th.

SPX 2014 programming highlights include special Q&A sessions with headline guests Lynda Barry, Jules Feiffer, Charles Burns, Raina Telgemeier, Drew Friedman. Eleanor Davis, Mimi Pond and John Porcellino, many of whom will also join in other panel discussions.

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