29 May 2009

And so We Begin!

I must admit, I was a little jealous that your version had such fancy pictures! (heh.. see how serious i am about all this. i get all excited about reading a "heavy" book and then pout about not having as cool of pictures!) Then, I flipped a little further into my book and realized that I, too, have pretty pictures in an insert in the middle. Yay!


I really don't know what I was expecting when I began this book. I admit that much of my interest in selecting this book was because I admitted to myself that the amount of information I've retained on this time period, from my bygone history classes, is embarrassingly little. So, understanding that it's WAY more complicated than this, my very vauge idea of what happened that I carry around in my head goes something like this: Big Bad Britain oppresses all its subjects; Brave Noble Settlers rise up and, against all odds, win their independence. Lots of wars... Important declarations.. Yay America... The end.

I really like that Mr. McCullough starts us of with a little peek at what's going on in England, pre-revolution; it was a new angle that, previously, I'd pretty much known nothing about. Our author's narration is definitely compelling. I agree with Ritsumei: the description of the procession was great; I really felt drawn into the story immediately.

I found, as I began to learn about King George III, I was very surprised. Perhaps it's the American slant on all the history that I've ever learned, but I'm pretty sure he's always been painted as the crazy bad-guy. With this description, he seemed very likeable; easy to relate to. He's a patriotic king. He's just trying to do his duty.. You almost feel bad for the guy since you know how the story of his trying to beat "the 'riotous rebels' of America" into submission will end.

I am very impressed by Ritsumei's dilligence in keeping up with all the name dropping that's going on. I did not keep such detailed notes :) However, I feel like Mr. McCullough does a reasonably good job throwing in a breif introduction of people whom he will talk more about further on in the chapter, so I wasn't completely lost as I read about all the action with Parliment.

The stuff with Parliement and the big speeches and lively debates between those supporting and those not supporting taking action on the (pre-labeled) insurgence in America. It was astonishing to think they'd argued until 4am!! And it didn't sound as though there were any fillibusters, it was straight arguing. That's intense.


Ritsumei said...

Nasty headache, so I'm going to bed early. But look carefully: there are actually 2 sections of pictures in the regular edition. Some of them are ones that look familiar from the illustrated edition. Though I must admit that I'm disciplining myself not to look ahead, because that leads to woe (as I knew & we re-learned in Little Women). And the coronation picture of the King I posted is one I saw, as is the picture of the Battle of Bunker Hill. So all is not lost!

misskate said...

Eeew.. no nasty headaches allowed!!
Definitely get some sleep.

I'm excited for the next installment.. I'll be careful not to flip ahead and read, only peek at the pictures :)

Ritsumei said...

The headache has been successfully banished! But now I've gotta go give Monkey some breakfast...

Ritsumei said...

I'd previously missed the "crazy king" thing, so completely that prior to the book I couldn't have told you the king's name at the time of the war. Oops. But even with that, I'd expected somebody... bad. I mean, there's Henry VIII with all those wives, throwing tantrums because Rome won't recognize his divorce. Then there's "let them eat cake," in France. That and the shenanigans of modern royalty pretty much rounded out my image of what is Royalty, and it's not a very flattering image. King George was a surprise: a patriot king, trying to do his duty. I like the way you put that. But in the process, even though he's a decent guy, he's still not above using the corruption & favoritism & such that's an established part of the system. And they *were* taxing without representation, and then acting all surprised when folks complained. So, although at first I was puzzled as to why a good king would be the one to loose the colonies, after pondering it a bit, it makes more sense.

Aren't those speeches crazy! I was somewhat tempted to look them up and see if I could read a few of them, just for fun. But I ran out of time. Looking up the people kept me pretty busy!