Stephen Karlson (shkarlson) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Stephen Karlson
shkarlson
50bookchallenge

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WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION EMPLOYED IN THE AMERICAS.

Today was Economic Education Day, and I wanted something to read on the train to the meeting in Chicago. Kenneth C. Davis's America's Hidden History: Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women, and Forgotten Founders Who Shaped a Nation got the nod, and it earned an enthusiastic Book Review No. 24. You've got to like a book that offers chapters titled "Isabella's Pigs" or "Warren's Toga" or "Arnold's Boot". It gets you from 1492 to the ratification of the Constitution, but it argues that the path was neither as predetermined nor as uplifting as more cheerful versions of that history would have you believe. The professionals might quibble that the incidents and people selected were cherry-picked, or their importance exaggerated, or the explanations or the parallels to today reductive or simplistic. Never mind all that, it's great entertainment. Write the critical review or the incisive and detailed evaluation some other time. I won't spill too much information, but there were Protestant dissenters with a commission to set up a colony in the New World long before 1607, and those pigs were very useful, both at identifying Jews and Moslems, and at bringing the pox and the swine flu to the colonies.

(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)
Tags: history, recommended book
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