Thursday, February 26, 2015

Never Die Easy Book Blog #1

Cooper LaRue
Comp 2
Book Blog
Never Die Easy
“ In that time of mourning, pro football rallied and became a community again. And maybe that was Walter’s greatest gift--not his athletic talent but his unmatched ability to tough all those who came in contact with him” (5).

The book Never Die Easy is an autobiography of Walter Payton. Walter Payton was a NFL player who played 13 seasons in the league as a running back and he did tremendous things on and off the field. The book goes in chronological order of him growing up so it starts out with his childhood. He was born in 1954.
Payton grew up in a poor part of Colombia, Mississippi with his parents, brother, and sister. They lived in an all African American neighborhood where people lived day to day. He lived in a small house that did not even have indoor plumbing.  His biggest role models were his parents, especially his mom. His mom got up early every morning every day to make her family a good breakfast and then she worked all day until 11PM. His dad worked two jobs and he farmed a large garden to make food for them to eat. Looking back he realizes that they were poor but at the time he didn't because everyone else around was equally poor. All day he either played sports, went to school, or did both. He spent most of his free time playing neighborhood football, basketball, and baseball. I think the way someone is raised determines their whole life. Payton was raised with role models that taught him to always give 100% and never give up and these lessons carried over into his football career. The lessons taught to him by his parents and family pushed him to become a great man that did great works on and off the field.
Payton was in the south during a very racist time period. He was born when the Brown vs. Board of Education Case was going on and tension was high among blacks and whites. The schools had started to mix races among the white and black school in town. The thing I found the most interesting so far is how Payton did not even play organised football until his junior year of high school. He had played in the marching band his first two years of high school instead. Most people in Colombia believed this was also because he did not want to compete with his brother on the field. His brother Eddie was also a great football player who went onto the NFL. Today kids start organised sports around age 9 but he did not start until he was about 17. Today players are very far behind in their athletic ability if they do not start on a traveling team when they are young, and for him to just start playing football his junior year and then become one of the best running backs ever is crazy. Payton then transferred to the predominantly white school his senior year and he had a phenomenal season. He got all state honors and he was a powerhouse running back. After this season any white player would have colleges calling with scholarships non-stop, but not so much for a African American player.
Colleges had just started accepting black on their teams and very few were offered scholarships. Payton had only three schools who offered him any type of scholarship. If he would have been playing today he would have had full ride offers from at least a dozen Division I schools. Walter Payton decided to go to Jackson State. Walter’s brother Eddie also went there a few years earlier for football and he was also a very good player. Eddie also went to the NFL but he was not as successful as Walter. I am currently trying to decide between colleges and I can relate to him in this way. Walter had to make his decision not only for football, academics, but also considering racism. Even though two other school were offering him scholarships does not mean their townspeople and other players will fully accept him. Considering these reasons he chose Jackson State. His college football career went extremely well and he received the fourth most votes for the Heisman trophy. Most people think he would have won it if he would have gone to a bigger university. His success in college lead him to 13 great seasons in the NFL.
He was drafted to the Bears in 1975 as the 4th overall draft pick for the bears. He did not immediately do as well as he hoped, but this taught him to toughen up and work harder. He wanted to prove everyone that he could be great, and a few seasons later that is exactly what he did. Once acclimated to the NFL league he started running all over teams. He ran for over 100 yards often in single games and broke records for most yards in a game, most yards rushed in a season, and he goes on to break the record for most yards ever rushed at that time. Today he is still number two on the all time rushing list. He quickly accumulated money and fame and this was all cereal to Walter. Growing up he didn't have much of anything, so for him to have millions of dollars was unreal to him. He later uses this to make charities and do great things but that is in the second part of the book. Last semester in personal finance we watched a video on how almost 60% of all NFL players are bankrupt within 5 years of retirement. Most of this was because of many NFL players were raised without much, just like Walter, but he did not let this get the best of him. He stayed humble and became a role model for thousands of kids.
Near the end of Walter’s career his best friend Roland had major complications with his knees and he was forced to retire. This had a tremendous affect on Walter because they had done everything together for the last ten years and now he was not playing anymore. This made Walter realize how lucky he was to still be healthy and playing. Not many players get to play 13 seasons in the NFL, especially running backs. I have had a similar situation to this when Mason Millard sat out a football game last season. Mason has been my best friend since kindergarten and he plays outside linebacker right behind me on defense. We would always celebrate together and we played right next to each other. When he was gone it was weird because I would always turn around to say something to him and he would not be there. I bet this is how Walter felt but on a much larger scale because his friend was done for his career and mine was only out for one game. This drove him to become an even better play and this lead to the highlight of his career.
In 1985 the Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl. Walter was of course extremely happy about this but he was upset that he did not score a touchdown. He would have loved to score a touchdown in the super bowl but he realized that it was not about him. It was about the team and he did his part in helping his team win. The first half of the book ends with Walter about to retire from the NFL.
I enjoyed the first half because is was a lot about how he made it to the NFL by hard work. My dad just saw this book on my table and he started talking about how Walter Payton was one of the best running backs ever and how he was not as dumb as most players back then. He was a good player with great character and I am looking forward to see what he does after retirement with charities.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Nick Reetz Book 1 Blog 1

Nick Reetz
Comp. 106
Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolf Hitler
Simon Dustan and Gerrard Williams
Sterling Publishing
Pages XIX(preface)-145


"In the words of Winston S Churchill, 'History is written by the victors.' Never has this been more true than the untold account of Hitler's escape from the ruins of the Third Reich in April 1945" (XIX).


Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolf Hitler by Simon Dustan and Gerrard Williams presents the argument that Hitler and his wife Eva Braun did not die in a private bunker as originally believed. The book gives its argument in four parts, each broken up into multiple chapters. Dustan and Williams argue that Hitler's escape from Germany had been meticulously planned for years, and that the plan was successful. Hitler supposedly made it to a remote village in Argentina, where he and Eva lived, and were eventually joined by other high ranking members of the Nazi Party. Dustan and Williams believe Hitler actually died in February of 1962.

Dustan and Williams argument of Hitler's demise comes from many different places. First, they argue that there is no concrete forensic evidence that the bodies found in Hitler's bunker in Germany were actually of him and Eva, as well as there being no eyewitnesses to their deaths. When DNA tested, a supposed fragment of Hitler's skull was found to be that of a woman in her mid-forties, and not even Eva's. It is believed that Hitler had many body doubles- a common practice among elected officials during war time. Josef Stalin was known to have body doubles, as well as Winston Churchill. It is believed one of these doubles, and one for Eva, are who actually died in the bunker in Germany. When the bodies were found, the Allies gladly announced the death of Hitler, never suspecting that the real Hitler was still alive. It wasn't considered a definitive victory for the troops and people back home if he was still alive. This argument is very compelling. It would be no surprise to me to find the Nazis had planned something like this. Hitler would not want to die, and the Nazi Party would likely want to keep him alive for a chance at a second rule, should the Third Reich fall. What I find most interesting is the fact that there is no actual proof that Hitler and Eva died in the bunker. The problem with this though, is the authors argue that there needs to be "concrete evidence" that Hitler died in the bunker, but at no point do they actually offer concrete evidence he didn't. While it would be hard to prove something like this, the authors can't say there needs to be concrete evidence of something then not provide any themselves, no matter the strength of the argument. They do this for most of the first half of the book.

Overall I think this book has been written well. The logic in the argument used makes sense, though I don't always agree with it, such as the need of evidence discussed previously. One thing I do question is the length of the book. I feel as though it is unnecessarily long. While the topic is interesting, I don't feel as though it warrants over 300 pages of reading with big pages and small font. Honestly, I know everything I need to to form my opinion about the authors' hypothesis from the first half of the book. I'm not sure where they're gonna go with the second half. That being said, the first half of the book was interesting enough to keep my attention the whole way through, and anyone who likes history and/or conspiracy theories would love this book.

From Baghdad, With Love -Emily Koenck


Emily Koenck
Ms.Gach
Comp 2
From Baghdad, With Love

   "Then they thrust their rifles around the corner, squared off, and zeroed in on the clicks as their target rushed to the other side of the room.
   'Holy shit.'
   The puppy turned at the sound of their voices and stared at them.
   'What the hell?'
   He cocked his head, trying to interpret their intent rather than their words.
   'You gotta be kidding.'
   Then he yipped, wagged his tail, and clicked his toenails on the floor as he pranced up and down in place, happy it seemed someone had found him at last"

  Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman was walking down a hallway in a compound housing U.S. Marines in Iraq, when he heard a noise that startled him. He started to point his gun, in case it was an attacker, when out ran a little five-week-old stray puppy. Kopelman states in his book, "He's only a puppy, too young to know how to mask it, so I can see how bravery and terror trap him on all sides while testosterone and adrenaline compete in the meantime for every ounce of his attention. Recognize it right away." Kopelman felt so bad for this stray puppy, that didn't have anything, that he took the puppy with him to try to save him. He brought the puppy back to their base and they became attached to the little puppy. They built him a box and put blankets and pillows and toys in their for him to sleep. They later on named the little pup Lava because he was found where the third Marines had lived in an abandoned house and the third Marines group was called Lava dogs. 

Kopelman knows how hard it will be keeping the puppy around base and moving all the time and having to bring Lava with them. When they had to pick up and move bases they kept avoiding talking about what they were going to do with Lava. One night they had to pack up and go and Kopelman couldn't find Lava so they had to leave without him. Kopelman was really sad and felt like he should have found Lava. When they made it to their new base he was unpacking and there was Lava snuggled up and sleeping in this bag of clothes. Kopelman was so relieved.

I can't wait to read the rest of the book to see how Kopelman will bring Lava home with him. Kopelman has avoided talking about the process that he has to go through to get Lava home with him. So far, I really enjoy the book and reading about Lava because I really love dogs. The adventure that they have been on already in the book makes me wonder what more adventures that they will go through. 


One Shot At Forever by Chris Ballard Part I

Caleb Horsley
One Shot At Forever
Chris Ballard
Hyperion
Pages 1-128

“Of all the boys, though, Shartzer and Heneberry bonded the most that summer. As the two returning pitchers, they knew they would form the team’s backbone in 1971, but it went beyond that. John was an only child and Shartzer had only an older sister. In each other, they found something of the brother they’d never had.” (82)
    Sports in today’s society are a common ground where many kids are able to form lifelong friendships. In One Shot At Forever by Chris Ballard, two young boys, Steve Shartzer and John Heneberry, form a friendships through the game of baseball that propels their team to a state title.
    The story begins in the microscopic town of Macon, Illinois and with a peculiar man, Lynn Sweet. He is a man who like to do activities in non-traditional ways and has just move to the very traditional town, Macon. As an English teacher at Macon High School, he has kids write their own obituaries and the content is what they want their lives to be like. This style of writing was revolutionary during the 1960’s and 1970’s, and it caused for many of the townspeople to question his abilities as a teacher. The only problem for the townspeople was that the students loved Mr. Sweet. As his popularity grew with the kids, a job opportunity presented itself for Mr. Sweet to be the coach of the varsity baseball team. Sweet thought he could use the extra money and liked the sport, so he agreed.
    People have a habit of wanting things to stay the same because they don’t like the idea of changing. Society has taken a drastic change from 1970 to today. It is very hard to start that change and the first people to change were often frowned upon. Lynn Sweet was one of those people who first changed, and he faced the criticism that many people do when they try and change. Many of the townspeople called him a hippie or communists because of his different points of view. Even opposing teams dislike the style of Mr. Sweet. “‘Hey you hippies,’ they yelled, ‘turn off that damn music’”(121). Bill McClard was one of the leaders who strongly disliked Sweet. He disliked Sweet’s teaching style and wanted to get Sweet fired. The 60’s and 70’s were also a time when a lot of segregation changes were beginning to take form.
During the summer of 1970, the Ironmen of Macon, Illinois have a promising baseball team that could go farther than any team from Macon has ever gone. The Macon Ironmen made it to regional play where they beat Stewarson-Strasburg. There was just one problem: “Then McClard announced that he had bad news: Mr. Roush was not on the official postseason roster that Macon had sent in to the Illinois High School Association prior to the playoffs” (78). This error caused the Macon Ironmen to be disqualified from further tournament play. Stewarson-Strasburg would now advance to the regional finals instead of Macon. The entire team and town were disappointed and heart-broken.
One flaw with the State Tournaments in the 60’s and 70’s was the fact that there was not classification. The small school of 1,000 people like Macon had to play the powerhouses from the suburbs of Chicago. It was extremely rare for any small town to win more than a game or two in the playoffs. Macon was able to overcome the odds and beat those powerhouses. Today, they have changed the State Tournaments to allow smaller school to only play other small school and bigger schools play only bigger school.
    Bill McClard, the President of the Macon School Board, used this tragic end to a season to try and get rid of Sweet. McClard did not like Sweet because of the different style he brought to teaching and coaching. “There was his(Sweet’s) salary, listed at $6,000, and a list of his duties: English II and English IV, junior class advisor, and coordinator of the senior play.There was one missing, however: baseball coach. McClard may not have succeeded in firing Sweet, but he had done the next best thing.” (89)
     Mr. McClard wanted to get Sweet fired completely from teacher and coaching, but the rest of the board decided they wanted to keep Sweet around. McClard got half of the deal he wanted and this was a win for him. In smaller towns, people who were in authority had a lot of power in the town. People would submit to the demands of the people in power because they didn’t want to face the possible wrath from them. Corruption in small town governments was very common throughout the 60’s, 70’s, and into the 2000’s.
    This concludes the first half of the book and the second half will talk about the next season of Macon Ironmen baseball and the years after.

Comp. 2 Blog: In The Company Of Soldiers

In The Company Of Soldiers    Millicent Cameron
Rick Atkinson
Composition 2
Henry Holt And Company New York
303 pages

“We have a rendezvous with destiny.
Our strength and courage strike the spark
That will always make men free.
Assault, right down through the skies of blue,
Keep your eyes on the job to be done!
We’re the soldiers of the 101st,
We’ll fight till the battle’s won!”
(page 7)

In the book, In The Company Of Soldiers, Rick Atkinson shares experiences that he observed of soldiers in combat. He talks about observations and shares personal events that occurred with the soldiers. It includes observations made while they made preparations for combat to the actual combat that Atkinson recorded.

The whole book is about the U.S. Army’s 101st division and their preparations and combat in Iraq. The quotation mentioned above is actually a song that the 101st division sang. Whenever the commanding general would walk by, the bandsmen would come to attention and would wait for the command to start playing or they would sing the song of the 101st division.

So far in the book, details like the division’s song are included. The book talks about happenings that occurred and gives detail on what the troops would do on a day-to-day basis. Along with the everyday details, the book gives specifics on what they would do aside from regular preparations. Such as what they would do when they weren’t training.

The first part of the book is interesting because it isn’t just about one specific situation dealing with the soldiers. It is details about preparations, details, and combat that went on with the soldiers. It is also an interesting view because the author actually got to be up-close and detailed with what was going on the soldiers in the 101st division. I like it because it is different from just a regular story someone might hear about soldiers. It is about specifics and is a different point of view than most stories. Some questions I would consider are: What else is going to happen to the soldiers?, How does all of what’s going on effect the soldiers?, and What are the author’s personal thoughts about what is going on?

Sua Sponte by Dick Couch

Tyler Promes
Comp. 2
Ms. Gach
24 February 2014
Sua Sponte
“Its easy to be disciplined when you have no freedoms.”
This quote embodies what this book is trying to convey. Sua Sponte by Dick Couch follows Ranger candidates through the grueling and arduous process that is Army Ranger training.
Army Rangers have been the first to fight ever since the Revolutionary War centuries ago. The are the only unit in the military that can be deployed anywhere in the world within 18 hours. To become a part of this elite group, months of training are required. This training is called RASP, or Ranger Assessment and Selection Program. In RASP, there are 3 phases the trainees must undergo. Phase one is all about attrition. The training cadre attempt to “break” the trainees by marching, running, and drilling for days at a time often with little to no food. The washout rate can be as high as 76% percent.
More often than not, you have someone who quits because they are “too tired”. They are unwilling to forgo the few months of training to be apart of an elite fighting unit that is respected and fear throughout the world. They let their thoughts consume them and this causes them to quit. Most people who attend this program have the ability to complete the training. The cadre state that it is 90% mental, and 10% physical. A lot of life requires more mental strength and will to succeed than anything. If people were to have a better, more confident mindset going into hard times, most would find themselves better off.
I am currently enlisted in the US Army and am well on my way to attending this very training. In no more than 10 months will I be apart of the Army Rangers. I believe I have covered the physical aspect quite well. I am going into this training with a “kick me out or kill me” mentality. I will not let my thoughts consume my overpowering need to be an Army Ranger. I have the utmost confidence that will pass training. This book helped me put the training into perspective.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bloody Times: Part 1

Bloody Times: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln                Austin Stoelk
and the Manhunt of Jefferson Davis                                   Comp. II
James L. Swanson
Collins, Washington, D.C., 2010
Part 1: 82 Pages

“Varina had begged to stay with her husband in Richmond until the end. Jefferson said no, that for their safety, she and the children must go.
This quotation from Bloody Times by James L. Swanson appears relevant to explain many cases in the reading. The first half of the book explains life for Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, and the quotation has great ties to Jefferson, and even has some to Lincoln. Both men have hard times during slavery and the Civil War, and most importantly, they have exact opposite views on slaves.
Jefferson Davis grows up as a poor farmer, and Abraham Lincoln teaches himself law and serves a two year term in the U.S. Congress. This information makes me believe that the men are completely different, and these ideas back up their differences along with slavery. In an interesting way, they actually are alike in important ways. They both like to read, have children that die young, and lose women due to illness. This ties back with the quotation from above. Davis seems to be caring for his wife and his children, but if he lost women and children early in his life, I wonder how caring he actually is? Also, Abraham is in the same boat. The argument could be made that technology and medicine supply was not necessarily there at the time, but the situations still make the issue difficult to find an answer whether or not the men are caring.
Jefferson Davis is president in Richmond, Virginia, and he believes slavery should continue. While on the topic, this leads me to another issue involving the quotation from the beginning of my blog: If Davis is so caring, why does he want slavery to continue? He appears to be caring, but in a selfish way, and only about his possessions. Abraham Lincoln. on the other hand, is caring towards blacks as he wants to end slavery. He is caring for this, but also proves he will do what is necessary when his army and he go into Richmond to fight if necessary (the Confederates end up surrendering and giving up the land). These actions make me wonder if Lincoln would do the same. Times in the book show both men as caring, and who would care for their wives and children as Jefferson does in the quotation, but other times I feel the men are so tied in their army that they do not necessarily care about certain aspects of their lives.
After different battles and revolts, The Union and Lincoln take over all of Virginia. Davis starts getting worried, then does an action that makes me feel he can be extremely caring. He writes a letter to his wife when he is in troubled times while fighting, and he does not know if he’ll make it back to her. He tells her he loves her, and his children, and he tells her what to expect. Events like this lead me to believe that his quotation to his wife at the beginning does have truth. If he took the time while fighting to write to his wife, he obviously cares about her and what happens to those that are close to him spiritually, but not physically.
On April 14th, Abraham Lincoln goes to the movies around 9:30 P.M. with his wife and does not come out well. John Wilkes Booth enters the theater and shoots the president dead! This news shocked the world, and the book goes on to explain the murder, but this is interesting. The news is also ironic because that day, Lincoln tells his wife that the war is basically over, and he does so in a caring way as his wife started to worry. The situation was unfortunate, but a major surprise is that Lincoln stays alive even that long; this is due to people like Booth who are obviously angry with the Union army and President Lincoln. Another irony to this is that Davis is unaccounted for during the time of murder for Davis. Has he begun to flee and escape for being so against slavery?

With the death of President Abraham Lincoln, many Americans sob. During his life and as a president, Lincoln proves to obviously be a brave, courageous man for fighting for an end to slavery. What hit many Americans was his ability to be caring and to do actions, such as stay in Richmond when he gets the territory with little security around him. Lincoln ties into the beginning quotation again because he shows a similarity to Davis in that he is obviously a caring man. Davis is a caring man as well, as he cares for his wife and children, but he does not care for any of the slaves. Toward the end of the first half of the book, America begins talking about seeing Lincoln more than just in his coffin: They did not want that to be a lasting image. I believe the second half of the book will talk about the lasting legacies, good and bad, of these two men. Both men have opposite views on slavery when running for president, but they have similarities such as caring for their women and children. They are courageous, but leave different legacies as Lincoln and his Union defeat Davis and his Confederates. This is a great first half to a book because I believe great views are given on both men. The question that I’m interested to find out is this: Will Davis get away, and what will his punishment be?

“The prospect of getting into a scrape didn’t worry them. Not at all. They welcomed it. They were predators, heavy metal avengers, unstoppable, invincible. The feeling was, after six weeks of diddling around they were finally going in to kick some serious Somali a**” - Page 6

In the first half of the book “Black Hawk Down” by Mark Bowden, the setting is Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993. A Somalian warlord named Mohamed Farrah Aidid, is keeping food from the citizens of Somalia by capturing imports. Where “Black Hawk Down” comes in, is when the Army Rangers and Delta Force go in to capture Aidid and his men. Most of the soldiers assigned to this mission were not expecting it to turn out like it did. They had been after Aidid and his men for a good six weeks and were yet to find any real information. Once information showed up about a day meeting between Aidid and some of his higher ups, the Rangers and the Delta Force jumped on the opportunity to capture them. Little did they know that the Somalians saw them coming.
One of the main characters in this book is Sergeant Eversmann. He is commanding one of the chalks in the mission. He is a young Sergeant who is getting his first chance to be a leader as an  Army Ranger and is nervous about it. Right away, he has to deal with a rough situation when one of his men misses the rope while going to the ground and falls 70 feet. Towards the end of the first half he takes command of his chalk and finds his inner leadership.

I can’t really relate to this book besides the fact that I like to read about how our brave men and women overseas are sacrificing their lives to protect us even though we may not deserve it. Some of the things that these brave soldiers do are insane but not at the same time. To the naked eye, it is all insane. The thought of war and everything that goes along with it. However, when examined closer, it is easier to see why these heroes do what they do. It is because of the people that they fight for and the people that they fight alongside with. This may not be the case for every man and woman who fights for our country, but it doesn’t matter. What they are doing for us is what matters. I have the utmost respect for all of the brave people protecting the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Reading the first half of this book has been a joy. I am usually not one to enjoy reading, but this book has intrigued me. I am very excited to start on the second half of “Black Hawk Down” by Mark Bowden. I recommend this book to anybody looking to experience the details of war and all that goes into it. As well to the people that wish to learn about more operations that U.S. soldiers do.

Camille Mumm Book Blog #7

The Human Genome Project     Camille Mumm
Thomas F. Lee Comp 106
Plenum Press
p. 1-150


“This is the chemistry of life itself, a maelstrom of swirling molecules, seemingly random but upon close examination extraordinarily ordered--a self-regulating dynamic chemical sea.” p. 5
While I find this book very interesting, many others may not. The Human Genome Project by Thomas F. Lee, doesn’t just throw the reader into a whirlwind of confusing terms, names, and dates that are important to the project. Instead Lee explains every term and its creator and origins before taking the reader way back, to the mid 1800’s where the first ideas of genetics and heredity begin.
Before Lee takes the reader back to the likes of Darwin and Mendel, he starts with an introduction that  gives the reader a nice recap of high school biology and then briefly discusses the the outcome and significance of the Human Genome Project. Lee muses on how the information that is gathered through the project might change medicine or everyday life for people.
What’s interesting about Lee’s delivery of this book is that it reads like the Lee is standing in front of a whiteboard lecturing too the reader. His point of view switches between a distant sounding third person when giving dates and other stats to a more second person point of view when explaining the concepts and ideas in an analogy. He also uses “we” or “I” quite a bit when asking questions or throwing in humor to make the book a little more interesting.
Many times in this book, the humor is a godsend. For example in chapter 6 Lee concludes a long complicated example about sorting through DNA fragments to find a specific gene that he had compared to sorting through shredded newspaper with a joke. “They lost 9 to 0” (140).This is not the most thrilling book I’ve ever read, but my interest in the subject matter keeps me reading. If this style of book was written on something that didn’t pique my interest, I wouldn’t have been able to get through this book. So as far as audience recommendation goes for this book, if genetics, history of DNA research, and so on doesn’t interest you, this isn’t your book.
Lee also provides sources for all the information and a dictionary to help the reader get through some of the terms. While they are well defined in the text when Lee explains a concept, sometimes the information in the back helps the reader recall a term that hasn't been brought up in a few chapters or when one wasn't quite clear in the first place.
On page 149, the book moves to chapter 7, which is starting to move past all of the history and names and onto the project itself. I believe this will be quite a bit more interesting. Earlier in the book Lee mentions that the ethics of the Human Genome Project will be discussed in chapters ten and eleven which I am excited to read about, because that is where all of the laboratory discoveries start applying to the public. I'me sure people were skeptical about this project when it appeared, and I'm curious to read about the different arguments. This book was also published in 1991, so the project had barely gotten off the ground. Because the project itself concluded in 2003, technology has advanced quite a bit in the field of genetics and I’m curious to see where this book left off and how outdated the information might be.

Lindsey Smith Women of the American Revolution by Paul Engle Part 1

“The war had been everywhere, as had been women of every temperament, appearance, degree of intelligence, and education”(xvii).
A large number of women from the past have been unable to express their true abilities and rights as they were oppressed by a patriarchal society. Men considered women as second class citizens, they were fragile, hysterical beings that needed protection. In Paul Engle’s book, Women in the American Revolution, roles of women in a war setting are examined, breaking the stereotype that women are helpless. Engle sets up the book by breaking it into five large sections and then giving each woman of importance their own chapter. The five sections are entitled Battlefield Heroines, Literary Ladies, Those Dashing Ladies of the Opposition, Women on Their Own, and Women Involved Through Their Families. Each section houses the biographies of three or four ladies who went above and beyond what was expected of them in the formal setting of the 1700s.
In the first section entitled Battlefield Heroines, Dicey Langston is introduced. Langston was the daughter of an old planter whose brothers joined the Patriots. As the Langston family lived in a predominantly Loyalist section of the country, it was dangerous for the Langston brothers to join the patriots and for Dicey to actively support them. Throughout the war she was constantly traveling to the Patriot camps to tell them of developing Loyalist movements. In one night she walked twenty miles to warn her brothers of an attack. Because of this, Loyalist gangs tried to terrorize Dicey and her father, stopping her in the road and trying to loot their house. Dicey was the only one protecting her house and family from destruction, as her father was too old and frail to fight back. The second lady mentioned in this section is Lydia Darragh. She was a nurse and midwife during the war and was known as the “Fighting Quaker”. Loyalist leader Howe took over her house as a headquarters for troops. Because of the close vicinity of Loyalist troops and Darragh, it was impossible to not overhear some of their plans. Lydia was a Patriot, and risked her life to travel outside the city to tell the Patriot troops of the Loyalist plans. She was never caught. Darragh also nursed many refugees, even amidst accusations that she wasn’t a true Quaker anymore.
The third lady introduced in this section is Mary Slocumb. Her husband had joined the Patriot army nearby and she had a dream that he was injured and dying. She was so worried that she rode to the site of battle, finding many wounded men. She didn’t hesitate to help care for them. Later when Loyalist troops took over her house, her husband and a small band of men tried to take it back. As they rode nearby Mary made up a story about a large number of Patriot troops coming in to fight the Loyalists to deter them from following her husband and the few men who had rode through a second before. The fourth and final lady introduced in this section is Margaret Corbin. She survived an Indian attack when young, even though her father was killed and her mother taken. Several years later she was married and her husband had joined the Patriot army. She was part of a group of wives to follow their husbands’ companies and do some simple work for them, such as laundry and cooking. What separates Corbin from the rest of the wives was that when her husband was killed at the cannon she shot at the enemy until she was shot herself. She survived that battle and didn’t end up as a British prisoner, but had a serious disability that resulted from her wounds. She was also the first woman to receive government pay and joined the Invalid Regiment. She ended up marrying another invalid and spent most of the rest of her life in severe poverty.
The next section follows the lives of several literary ladies. The first of these is Esther De Berdt Reed. She led many campaigns to help support the armies of the Patriots, even while traveling through several different towns. She was originally from England and she had to live apart from her husband in America for five years before he could bring her over. She was originally homesick for England until her husband became involved in politics. She was often left by herself throughout the war with several children to care for. Her last campaign was to gather money for shirts for the troops. She had started a correspondence with General Washington over how these shirts were to be made and distributed, but she died of dysentery before her project could be completed. The second literary lady is Mercy Otis Warren. She came from a Puritan family and while growing up was allowed to obtain the same level of education as her brothers. She ended up writing many satirical poems and plays during the Revolutionary War that mocked Loyalist troops and their leaders. Even though she wrote anonymously many knew it was she who had written these kinds of prose. After the Revolutionary War, Warren wrote a comprehensive book detailing all the events of the war itself. It was received with mixed reviews.
The third literary lady is Jane Franklin Mecom. Throughout her life she was very weak and sickly, she buried many children and her own husband. She was most commonly known as Benjamin Franklin’s sister. During the Revolutionary War she ran a business that sold Boston and British based goods which was uncommon during that time because of people’s aversion to British products. Her business succeeded though, even as she was harassed by British troops and constantly had to move for most of her life. It isn’t clear exactly how important her role was in the war, Mecom seemed to have a pretty average life compared to others that are highlighted in this book. The final literary lady is Phillis Wheatley. She is different from every other lady in this book in that she was a slave. She was taught to read and write by her masters and treated more as a daughter than a slave. She was an uncommonly fast learner compared to many people of the day. One of her goals was to bring Christianity to Africa, but she was better known for her poems that were published. Many people were amazed that a slave could produce such exemplary work, and she was revered around the world as an accomplished poet. During the war however, Wheatley failed to connect to her readers through her formal writings. Many people were reverting to informal styled satirical poems. She eventually became so depressed by her failures that she stopped writing and was forgotten as new writers stepped into the light.
Engle wrote this book as impartial as could be possible by including the next section of women, the Dashing Ladies of the Opposition. It details the lives of several women who were on the Loyalist’s side throughout the entirety of the war. The first of these is Rebecca Franks. She was the daughter of a rich Jewish lawyer and spent all her time as a socialite, going to parties and lounging. She is reported to have been very vain and self centered, and she wasn’t shy about voicing her Loyalist opinions. This ended up causing her father various problems, as many Patriot leaders thought he had the same opinions as his daughter and ran him out of business. He eventually became very poor and spent some time in debtor’s jail, but never blamed his daughter for his troubles, still seeing her as his little girl. Eventually Rebecca moved to England, where she remained for the rest of her life.
In this first half of this book, Engle has done a good job of keeping an understandable organizational system. I like the setup of the chapters each being about an individual woman so as to decrease any confusion between people. Engle explains any loose ends people might not understand if they aren’t familiar with this time period in history, making the biographies sound like a novel rather than a factual piece. It keeps the interest of the reader throughout and doesn’t feel like a lecture. Engle has done a good job of connecting to the readers. I believe his book could even help some people become interested in history.

Cody Wardell Book Blog #7 -- Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis

Cody Wardell
Composition 105


Founding Brothers
by Joseph J. Ellis
Copyright 2000 by Joseph J. Ellis
248  pages


“No event in American history which was so improbable at the time has seemed so inevitable in retrospect as the American Revolution” (3)


What better way to open the book, then with this statement. This sentence definitely sets the tone for the rest of the book and it gives me a great idea on what the book is mostly going to be about. The American Revolution and the Founding Fathers/Brothers, whatever you may call these men. The main seven Founding Brothers are John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. Other men did attribute to the creation of this wonderful nation we now call the United States of America.
The book starts out with the “HUGE” battle between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. Literally a gun battle between the two that ended with Hamilton being shot and would go on to die the next day. Aaron Burr at the time was the Vice President for Thomas Jefferson. The battle occurred when Hamilton began to stir up some political beef on Burr. Hamilton and Burr had past hatred for each other but when Hamilton began to make untrue statements on Burr, Burr had had enough. The battle took place on July 11, 1804. After Hamilton was killed, Burr would go on to be found guilty of murder. This battle was so important because these two men were such big influences in the government at the time and they were so important. Burr at the time was the Vice President and Hamilton was the face of the Federalist Party. Two men’s futures down the drain due to such hatred for each other.
The next chapter was entirely about a dinner hosted by Thomas Jefferson. This dinner was held to discuss the future plans of the United States and where the new capital shall be located for our fine country. Throughout the book, many people seem to have some sort of dislike towards Alexander Hamilton. Jefferson had also held this dinner in hopes that Hamilton and James Madison could settle their hatred for each other. Soon after this dinner, the Residence and Assumption Bill’s were passed. The dinner proved to be a success
I began to start the chapter named “The Silence” before getting half way. It has began to discuss the issues the government and it’s leaders are having on slavery. I can’t wait to get in deeper into this chapter because this book has proven to be so good. I have definitely gained more knowledge over past events with the Founding Brothers. I would give this book an 7.5 out of 10 because it does become hard to read at times due to Ellis using some large political/governmental vocabulary that I had to look up. There are also parts that are kinda slow and hard to understand. I would truly recommend this book to any American citizen to read because it is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and it will give you more knowledge on how I government has become what it is today. I can’t wait to did into the rest of this book.