Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lindsey Smith Breaking the Chains By William Loren Katz Part 1

“The reason for slave resistance was slavery. Masters, whether kind or mean, quickly learned that bondage bred defiance” (19).
Everyone knows the general story of the Civil War and the bonds of slavery that fueled the conflict. Many will tell you about overseers, runaway slaves, the Underground Railroad, and punishments, but not many will tell you about the rebellions. To be honest, most history classes only cover one rebellion of slaves, if any. In reality, slaves protested every day from the second they were captured in Africa. They didn’t just bow down calmly to their fate and then try to run away in fear. They fought tooth and nail for their freedom. In William Loren Katz’s book, Breaking the Chains, Katz analyzes the various ways slaves fought against their unjust imprisonment.
The first instances of slavery were in the 1500s with Christopher Columbus and other explorers claiming already discovered land and its inhabitants for their own. The natives were no match for the foreigners weapons and eventually had to submit to these strangers. As time went on and America was discovered, Native Americans were taken captive and there was an organized attempt to make them a permanent part of American society. There was only one problem. The Native Americans knew the land better than their supposed masters and could easily escape into the woods, never to be seen again by their white masters. Also, their tribes would viciously attack towns and villages just to release their fellow tribe members. The slave owners soon realized they would have to go outside the country to have an effective business in slavery.
This idea to trade countrymen as slaves to other countries soon led to the exportation of African slaves to America by the British. Social status didn’t matter in the slave trade. You could be a king or a peasant, you could still end up on the boat to America. Even on the trip over to America, slaves didn’t just back down and let themselves be carted off. Many ships were sabotaged before they even got out of the harbor. Groups of African slaves would try to overtake their white captors and many succeeded while others were beaten back down. The captors thought that Africans didn’t know how to navigate ships or be able to find their way back home and that would ensure their safe passage to America, but many Africans had held jobs based out of the ocean before, making them capable of leading the ship back to home shores after a mutiny.
As slaves adjusted to their new environment in America, they definitely kept trying to be free. As many touched land, they ran even farther south to create maroon colonies of a mix of Native Americans and Africans alike. This was one of the first documented instances of interracial marriage, and their union proved to white slaveholders that they were a force to be reckoned with. None of the slaveholders could ever conquer these colonies and take back what they considered their property. As more slaves came over from Africa, so did the South’s power. Their reliance on the slave trade led to an economic boost, but with some educational consequences. Money raised in the North was used to pay for newspaper publication and schooling, while money in the South was raised for more people to watch over the slaves and increase the size of slave auctions. With the great and growing success of the slave trade business as well as general slave unhappiness and revolt, it was obvious that white slaveholders wanted to take a stand to gain control.
Most of these slaveholders ended up brainwashing their slaves. No slave was allowed to read or write because that would give them an enlightened mind. The slaves were constantly lied to to make sure that they wouldn’t run away out of fear. Slave mothers were separated from their children and sold down the river to the highest bidder. No slave was allowed to get legitimately married and drums couldn’t be played as it was too close to an African ritual. Christianity was forced on all slaves as a way to further separate them from their supposedly dangerous African ways and try to further brainwash them into serving their masters. While all of this was done in an attempt to weaken the Africans, they only ended up stronger.
Slaves eventually perfected a system that allowed them to rebel in small ways that succeeded in having them do little to no work. Many slaves would deliberately break machinery and tools, fake illnesses, and even sometimes attempt to kill their masters through poison or legitimate force. They all struggled to find a voice in the clutches of slaveholders. Many plantation owners commented after the war that most of the Africans who were in their care before were now at least three times more productive than before.
Katz breaks the book into sections based on the time period and events happening during that time. He names chapters based on the events in a type of chronological/topical order as well. The format flows easily and is a very fast read. The facts read like a story rather than a history lesson. I thought that the first half of this book was enjoyable and placed an emphasis on a part of history that is not well outlined by a large group of writers. Many don’t realize the impact slavery had on America at the time and the bravery needed by those men and women to find a bright side to slavery and escape the daily toils.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cooper LaRue Book blog #2

“It is every athlete’s toughest decision. How do I leave the game? Do I hang on as long as I can and enjoy this, or do I walk away while I’m near the peak of my career?” (132)

The book Never Die Easy is an autobiography of Walter Payton. The first half of the book was all about his accomplishments in the NFL. It went through his college seasons and his 13 seasons in the NFL with the Bears. The second half is about what he did after he retired. This part is just as interesting as the first half because you learn more about the type of person Walter was. He gets the nickname Sweetness not only his likeable personality but also his charitable work.

Walter Paytons retirement was not a major surprise to anyone. His last season he signed a just one year contract and this made it obvious that he would retire after that season. It was a very hard decision for him to make. He had been playing football for the last 20 years and now he will leave it all behind and start a new path to his life. I can imagine how he felt after he retired because I just finished my senior year of football. He had a decision to keep playing or not but I did not. Senior year is such a sad time because it is the last time for everything. I missed football the day after the season ended and Walter felt the same way. I bet it was much harder on him though because of how much larger of an impact it had made on his life. After his last game at Soldier Field he just sad on the bench. Even though they had lost his last game he enjoyed it. When asked why he just sat there for hours after his last game he said it so he could experience everything. He wanted a picture that he could remember forever but most important of all he did not want to let go.  He did great things on the field and now that that was over he started doing great things off the field.
Walter started two charities. One was for Christmas toys and the other was for college tuition, but both were made for the same goal. Walter grew up as a poor kid in Illinois and he knew what it was like see kids that never had the opportunity like he did to have a chance to go to college and he saw families who could not afford Christmas presents. From these experiences he stated a toy drive that gave toys to kids in poverty that would otherwise not get presents for Christmas in the state of Illinois. When he was alive nobody knew that he had started this charity because Walter wanted the charity to stand alone. This charity still goes on today and provides hundreds of kids with presents each year. His biggest charity is called “Team Sweetness.” This is a charity that raises money to help underprivileged and neglected kids in Illinois to go to college. Each year over a million dollars is raised and is given out through scholarships. I think these actions show what type of person Walter was. He used his talent and success to give back to kids who were just like himself growing up. He life was going great until 1998 when his life was turned around.
In 1998 he was diagnosed with a liver tumor. This was causing him extreme pain at times and it caused him to lose a ton of weight. He became tired and his priorities in life started to change. He first tried to keep his sickness private but once he found out he could help others he decided to share the news. He became an advocate for organ donation in hopes of helping others get their needed organs. He even did a commercial to spread awareness for this. The next year he died at the age of 45 from his liver tumor and this also helped spread awareness for organ donation.
After walter died he had two memorial services. One for his family and close friends and another for the public at Soldier Field. Thousands of people filled the stands of the place where he played his last game and he was remembered for all of his accomplishments. Walter did not consider his 110 yards, 16,728 yards, or his super bowl championship his biggest accomplishment. He realized that life was about much more than football. He helped other kids who needed it most. I enjoyed this book because is was great to see how one man changed the lives of many. He became a hero for many and he never lost sight of what was important. Today many professional player get caught up in themselves and they forget about all the people that could use their help. Walter did the best of his ability to show kids that they can succeed in life no matter their background.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Black Hawk Down - by Mark Bowden - #2

Mason White
Composition 106

Black Hawk Down
Mark Bowden

“Sergeant Mike Goodale had tried to explain this to his mother one time, on leave in Illinois. His mom was a nurse, Incredulous at his bravado.
‘Why would anybody want to go to war?’ she asked.
Goodale told her it would be like, as a nurse, after all her training, never getting the chance to work in a hospital. It would be like that.
‘You want to find out if you can really do the job,’ he explained.
Like those guys in books. They’d been tested and proven. It was another generation of Rangers’ turn now. Their turn.” (10)

In the second half of the book Black Hawk Down, it is all about the battle. The Delta Force has already grabbed the target and are out of the battlefield. Now, soldiers must escape from the bullet rain of the Somali people.  By this point, a handful of brave soldiers have died trying to protect the Delta Force and also while trying to get to safety after the target was secured.

A lot of the second half of the book is still about one of the main characters, Sergeant Eversmann. Him and his unit are trying to get to a better, safer point in order to survive. The unit ends up going and trying to help a Black Hawk helicopter that had been shot down by a rocket propelled grenade (RPG). To Sergeant Eversmann’s surprise, this was not the only helicopter that had been shot down. In the battle in Mogadishu, Somalia, two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down while in the airspace over the battle.

This book was very interesting to me in many ways. One of the ways was because of how detailed it was. Once I was done reading the book I went and watched the movie. Most war movies like this are okay at following the actual story behind the event. However, the movie, Black Hawk Down, followed the book extremely well, down to a lot of the details.

While reading this book, I gained a different perspective on war. As well as what my freedom means and how it has come to be. These soldiers fight tirelessly day and night to keep the United States of America the way it should be. I recommend this book to anybody looking for a story of thrill and excitement and also to people wanting to know of the amazing American war story that is, Black Hawk Down.

Cody Wardell Book Blog #8 --- Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis

Cody Wardell
Composition 105

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

“American Revolution was still an experiment, a sail into uncharted waters that no other ship of state had ever successfully navigated. There were no maps or charts to guide a republican government claiming to derive its authority and legitimacy from public opinion, that murky source of sovereignty that could be as choppy and unpredictable as waves on the ocean. ” (248)
I began my last book blog with a quote about the American Revolution. I will begin this one with one similar and equally as good as the first quote. This quote comes from the end of the book. I chose this quote there is many specifics and actual quotes from the Founding Brothers in every chapter that make a quote hard to pick a quote that makes sense and is of extreme importance. This quote is important because the quote describes just how important the American Revolution was. The American Revolution paved the way for the birth of this great nation. This quote describes and shows just how the Founding Brothers put all the pieces together to make this nation an icon of today.
The best chapter by far of my second half of the book was Chapter 3: The Farewell. This chapter is about the Farewell Address of George Washington to the United States. He was stepping down as president and this was a huge deal because for the first time since the creation of the United States. Many thought this would ruin all that the country had established and they would have to start all over again. Most politicians close to Washington knew that the letter was coming and some of those politics began to begin their campaign for the next president. The two prime candidates were Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. As stated in the book, Washington had thought about stepping down before but never could and finally when he hit his 60’s he realized it was a good time to leave behind his legacy. It was never proven but the author Joseph Ellis states that he believes that Washington finally stepped down because he was sick and had thought about it in the past because he had gotten seriously sick. This chapter had also described how Washington in his late stages of his presidency had become a popular icon in the newspapers and so many papers wrote their opinion on him. I found this chapter so interesting because it went into detail about the resignation and the late stages of the career of George Washington which you seldom hear of.
I really like the last half of the book. The best part about this book that I can set aside from other books I have read in this class, is that I learned so much that I did not know. This book is kind of a hard read and gets extremely descriptive and uses difficult words in some sections. I would recommend this book to any young adult or older that actually wants to learn more about the “behind the scenes” look on the creation of the United States. After this book I can now see how and why this book was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. I reall did enjoy reading this book.

Nick Reetz Book 1 Blog 2

Nick Reetz
Composition 106

Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolf Hitler 
Simon Dustan and Gerrard Williams
Sterling Publishing
291 pages (145-291)

"During this period, the FBI was taking reports of Hitler being in Latin America very seriously. Thousands of documents pertaining to Hitler from these years are still classified as Top Secret on both sides of the Atlantic..." (242).

In the first half of the book, I complained that Simon Dustan and Gerrard Williams, the authors of Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolf Hitler did not provide hard evidence of their claim that Hitler had actually survived after World War II, and went on to live a long life in South America. In the second half of the book, they were able to provide very strong evidence that Hitler, his wife Eva Braun, and many other high ranking Nazi officials were able to escape capture to go on to live in South America, specifically Argentina and Brazil. The book shows pictures of FBI documents detailing Hitler's stay in Brazil, along with many other Germans. Many eyewitnesses claim to have not only seen Hitler, but also Eva and other well known Nazis. However, I do not believe this is absolute proof. It backs up the author's argument extremely well, and makes the theory seem very believable, but to say there is no doubt about Hitler's life is impossible. At this point in time, so long after the events of WWII, I don't know if it is possible to actually prove Hitler survived, however the case is very strong.

The book also details what Hitler's life was actually like in South America. Unfortunately, even after all the evil he brought on the world, his life seems to have been rather pleasant. He lived with his wife and possibly hundreds of other Germans in nice venues, without much fear of being caught by the Allies. They thought he was dead, so why look for him? Even if they did think he was alive, they had already announced him dead to the world. They would take a major hit to their credibility and reliability to the world if they had announced Hitler was still alive and living comfortably. That seems to be part of what made the Nazi's plan so excellent. Unless the Allies found out right away that Hitler was not dead, which they were very eager to tell the world about and come out with a decisive victory in Europe, they would likely not try hard to find him. They would rather just sit back and accept the fact that he is alive even though the world thought he was dead, and be glad at this. The Allies saw no chance of him rising to power again, and let him be. The plan and end result make so much sense, and with so much evidence to support the claim, Hitler's life beyond WWII seems very likely.

I absolutely recommend this book to any history and/or WWII buff, and also anyone who enjoys conspiracy theories. The book is very well written, using facts and evidence to back up claims, especially in the second half. When they claimed the FBI had documents that showed they were looking into the matter, they actually showed some of the documents. That is a pretty good way to prove they existed. However, I think the authors were a little long winded and redundant at times. They would go on and on about one subject, often repeating facts. One example of this came in their evidence that Hitler lived in a town called Casino, Brazil, for a long time. They went on for two or three chapters about this, when they could have accomplished the same thing in one chapter. The authors were very eager to prove their idea, and perhaps got a little overzealous with their writing. However, I still enjoyed the book, even if it took awhile to read.
From Baghdad, With Love                               Emily Koenck
Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman                     Comp. II
Jay Kopelman and Melinda Roth 2006
173 pages

         "I call friends and family back in the States and tell them about Lava and ask for help. I call on a cell phone, so I think at first that the silences on the other end are the usual international lag, but I realize silences stretch out, that may friends are trying to place the word puppy within the context of words they have concerning me."

       Jay Kopelman was going through a hallway in a compound housing U.S. Marines in Iraq when he heard a noise and was about ready to fire when a little puppy comes running out. Jay felt so bad for the puppy that he wanted to take the puppy for himself. Which is what he did. Jay became really close with Lave and they started to have a bond. He doesn't want to leave him behind so he keeps trying to find  a way to get Lava home. He is worried sick that he won't be able to take Lava back home with him. He has seen what the dogs have gone through and he doesn't want Lava to go through it.  Kopelman loves Lava and doesn't want anything bad to happen to him.
        In the second part of the book Kopelman focuses on how to get Lava to his home. He calls friends and family to try to have Lava shipped there. Kopelman didn't realize that he wasn't the only person to want to bring an animal back home. Everybody else that wanted to bring an animal home with them got declined and could never manage to get that pet home. Kopelman was determined and he wasn't going to stop till he got Lava home with him. He has never loved something and cared for something so much before.
       In the end, Kopelman was able to bring Lava home to California with him. He was asked by many why he cared so much about bringing Lava home or why he cared what happened to him. His response was that he cared and loved Lava and he saved him and didn't want to loose him. Lava gets settled in and loves his new home with Jay. It took Lava awhile to get use to the new surrounding. Lava was being a naughty puppy chewing things up and acting weird, but Kopelman didn't stop trying. He then trained Lava and Lava and Jay live in Jay's house is a great dog.
      How could the marines not let Kopelman take Lava home right away was a question that was going through my head while reading the book. I didn't see what the big deal was with Kopelman bringing Lava home. Lava would have been more safe with Kopelman than to stay in Iraq. The big deal with Lava not going to the United States in the first place was because he wasn't born in the United States, but Kopelman was going to try to make Lava a U.S. citizen. It is weird how it is the same for the dog just as it is for an illegal immigrant, well not exactly the same but the same concept.
      This book shows many examples as to why hard dedication and not giving up that anyone can pursue what they want. Kopelman didn't give up and he kept trying to do whatever it takes to make sure he can get Lave home safely with him. After something does work for so long, many people tend to give up and not try any further into the situation. Kopelman shows as a great example to keep trying till the goal is met.
       From Baghdad, With Love is such a great book, and I wouldn't only recommend it to people who love dogs, but I would recommend this book to everyone. This book shoes passion, dedication, and love, all of which everybody needs to know. This book is such a inspiration to not give up and to keep trying till a goal is met. His story is inspiring and I highly recommend everybody to read it.

Book blog

Jacob Kelly
Comp II
Book Blog


In the second half of Mutants, it talks about everything from genetics, to the question of life and death. The most amazing section to me was the section on theories of how people age. There are tons of theories, but the one most people believe in is the free radical theory. The free radical theory is the theory that molecules that are capable of oxidising DNA, proteins, lipids, just about anything they come in contact with, are the reason for aging. The theory states that these molecules that cause all this oxidization are the reason people get wrinkly, organs fail, and that everything ages. Free radicals for sure damage cells and “There is an abundance of correlative evidence that supports this”. Everyone and everything has these free radical molecules. Most don’t do any damage, but if a free radical hits a gene that is vital to the survival of a cell, it could kill the cell. If a free radical hits a gene in a stem cell, it could initiate cancer. If the free radical hits a sperm or egg cell, it could be transferred to the next generation of offspring. The rest of the book talks about examples of aging from how currently we live a lot longer than in the 1960’s, and how in the 1960’s we lived longer than in the 1800’s and so forth. The book is really an interesting read for people who are planning on doing something biological in the future and it has really good information in it.
Gunner C
DMACC comp
Ms Gach

This Drinking Nation

“Alcohol advertising and promotions targeting underage consumers continued to appear, and in September 1992 the Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a petition asking the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on such ads and similar marketing devices.”(148)
This quotation goes to show that the alcohol companies truly were targeting the young crowd. Once again Jonathan Harris did a great job of getting the facts straight. This quotation was one of many that Harris used to make his book as strong as it needed to be.
The strength of any paper or book is determined by what information is put into the paper or book. Without the facts the paper or book is not even going to be worth the paper it is on. Harris had a topic that is interesting because the substance has been around for a very long time. That is one of the reasons why his book was so interesting to me.
On page one hundred-eighty Harris talked about how the substance alcohol was at its most widespread point ever recorded in US history. This was in the year 1820. Alcohol was a must have by many Americans. However, there still needed to be limits on the substance such as today.
From the beginning of time alcohol has been a substance that America loves. Even during the prohibition alcohol was still accessed. Harris did a good job on explaining the substance during that time and made it seem as if alcohol was necessary to the people of America. Overall the book by Harris was put together very well and was full of facts and information.

The Pregnancy Project Alyssa Buren
Gabby Rodriguez Comp. II
Simon and Schuster 2012
105 pages
“ ‘There’s something I need to tell you,’ I stated. As nervous as I had been when I first announced I was pregnant, now I was even more nervous. ‘My senior project is about stereotypes, rumors, and statistics, and in order to study my topic, I introduced a fake pregnancy so I could learn about people’s reactions. I wanted to tell you before I tell the rest of the school.’ ”
Gabby Rodriguez was a strong high school senior proving she could fight against stereotypes based off her family. Her senior project was to prove that people don’t have to follow the same footsteps as their family. Just because her family had a long run in of teen pregnancy, she was not going to follow that path. She did the project to prove that you can beat stereotypes.
The second half of the book the struggles for Gabby continue with the fake pregnancy. At her family Christmas, her family ignored her and Jorge (her boyfriend). Her brother Javier took the pregnancy the hardest and was mean to Gabby and Jorge. Jorge’s parents were very upset with them and when Gabby returned to school after Christmas the comments got worse and worse. Gabby had to do a decoy project because her pregnancy project was hidden from so many people. She acted like her real project was shadowing a social worker. In the meantime, her mom and herself worked to make her a fake “baby bump.” They made the belly out of wire and clay. She started wearing the belly after spring break so the belly seemed like it grew realistically.
When Gabby gets ready for the big reveal, she tells her science teacher Mr. Myers first and a few other teachers. Her and Mr. Myer’s had been pretty close and he felt lied and betrayed. He took not knowing very hard. When the time came to present her project, she gave her speech in front of the whole school. She gave an amazing speech and many people came up to her after congratulating her on an awesome job. She thought her project would end here after she gave an interview to a local newspaper. The paper’s story is sent all over the country and local TV Stations begin contacting her. Good Morning America was even contacting her right away and wanted her to give the first national TV interview. She end up doing the Today Show as her first national TV show. People continued to show their gratitude through letters and Facebook messages. She knew her project succeed because she helped at least one person.
How could you put yourself through all the harsh comments and negativity? was a question that came to mind as I read through this book. Gabby was continuously getting negative comments and treated differently once she revealed she was pregnant. Gabby was a smart girl and was going to succeed in life. People knew that so when she got pregnant, many people thought she through her life away. This would be hard to deal with when you know that you aren’t really pregnant and know you never messed anything up, it’s just a project. She took harsh comments continuously at school and sometimes from her brothers and sisters. Sometimes they were hard to take for Gabby, but she just pushed through and made it all the way to the end. You have to be a strong person to deal with the negativity when you really have no reason too. She showed great strength, perseverance, and dedication to this project that I don’t think I would be able to do myself.
This book shows many examples about how teen pregnancy is not a easy glorified thing. Many shows today are about teen pregnancy and paint and irrational picture of teen pregnancy. Gabby has been living her whole life with teen pregnancy all around her. Her mother had her first child at fourteen and all of her older brothers and sisters were teen parents. So Gabby knows what real teen pregnancy is like and it is not like what some TV shows make the situation out to be. Teen pregnancy is hard and you have to put your whole life on hold once you become a teen mom. Gabby shows in this book that teen pregnancy isn't glorified and is very hard.
This book was a very good book and really can speak out to many people, not only just about teen pregnancy. I would recommend this book to anyone. The book can give people hope that they can beat stereotypes that are placed on them. Her story is inspiring and showed that anyone can beat hardships.

Wellendorf Book Blog #8

Ben Wellendorf
Composition 106

Michael Lewis
W.W. Norton & Company
286 Pages

“One absolutely cannot tell, by watching, the difference between a .300 hitter and a .275 hitter. The difference is one hit every two weeks.” (pg. 164)

The reason I chose this quote is because this is what the GM, Billy Beane, was talking about.  He is trying to explain that there may be a small difference between two hitters, like a hit every two weeks, but that doesn’t always show the case.  Most people would choose the .300 hitter because they obviously have a better average than the .275 hitter.  What a lot of people wouldn’t notice is possibly the person’s on-base percentage.  Even though they may not be a great hitter, they could easily be someone who is great with getting on base.  Also, .300 and .275 seems like a huge difference, but it’s really only one more hit in two weeks.  

The second half of Moneyball was very good, and I’m very glad I chose this book.  Oakland did end up making it to the playoffs in 2002 and 2003, something that they couldn’t do for a long time.  They brought in under appreciated players that big markets passed on and turned them into great players.  This was a brand new way of looking at new baseball players.  Another way Billy Beane changed the game was actually drafting college baseball players unlike high school baseball players, who were more unlikely to make it to the majors.  One of the stories in the book was how the Athletics drafted a high school junior in the first round of the MLB draft.  Billy Beane was so upset that they drafted him, that the legend is he threw a chair through a wall.  It turned out that the high school junior they drafted had a decent career in the majors, but nothing significant.  

Moneyball was such a good book.  I was very intrigued throughout the whole book, and it actually made me want to watch the movie.  I watched the movie on Netflix, and it was very close to the book.  I was shocked by how Billy Beane was able to figure out how to turn a very small-market baseball club into a winning team.  The book was really cool to read and see some of the players that play today in the book.  The players were not any big named players at the time, but now are MLB All-Stars, which is just crazy to think about.  The craziest story in my opinion was at the end of the book.  Billy Beane got offered to become the GM of the Boston Red Sox, a very prestigious organization that was a big market ball club but have not won a world series in over 80 years.  Billy Beane turned down the offer, even though Boston offered him a very big contract to become their next GM.  The Red Sox ended up hiring Theo Epstein, who is now the GM of the Chicago Cubs.  Epstein followed Beane’s theories of finding players who go under appreciated, and ended up breaking Boston’s World Series curse.  

Caleb Horsley One Shot At Forever Book blog part 2

Caleb Horsley
One Shot At Forever
Chris Ballard
Pages 129-230
“On the field, the players lined up and shook hands. Knowing Lane’s reputation, Heneberry expected the players to be bitter or perhaps complain about how we should have beat these sumbitches. They weren’t. Instead, a couple of the boys said ‘Great game.’ Another said, ‘We’re hoping you guys win the title.’” (188)
This quotation takes place after Macon beat Lane Tech in the semifinal baseball game. Lane Tech was the overall number one seed and most people projected them to win the state tournament. Macon was able to overcome the odds and now had a shot at winning the state championship.
    Throughout their journey to the state finals, Macon had many obstacles to overcome. The first was the size of the town they live in. Macon only had 1,200 people living in the town and they were facing some school that had over 3,000 male students. The larger schools had an extremely unfair advantage due to the pool of athletes they were able to choose from. The year is 1971 and high schools had not yet been separated by classes(size) to make sports more fair for smaller schools. Every school was for themselves and the state champion was the true champion.
    Another obstacle showed itself in the regional finals vs Bloomington. The Macon Ironmen beat Bloomington 3-2, however, Steve Shartzer fractured his hand when he landed on it awkwardly while sliding into home plate. Steve was the best pitcher they had and the leader of the team, and Macon could not afford to lose him for state. Since Steve fractured his non-throwing hand, he pushed through the pain and continued to play baseball. Steve was eventually named the Regional Player of the Year for leading the Ironmen to the championship game.
    The Cinderella story came up just short of being complete when Macon lost to Waukegan in the state championship game 4-2. Although the Ironmen fell just short of their dreams, they defied the odds and showed the state of Illinois and the country that they could play baseball. Macon represented all the small towns of Illinois and gave hope to other towns that they could someday do what Macon did. To this day, Macon’s run at the state final is the accomplishment Macon citizens are most proud of.
    The Ironmen's coach, Lynn Sweet, was a coach who coached like no one else at the time. Practices were optional, and he let the players run the practices on their own. Lynn had long hair, bushy sideburns, and a mustache during a time when men were supposed to have short hair and clean faces. Most of the reporters at the state tournament disagree, but a few back Sweet up with the idea of letting kids have fun and play how they want. Lynn Sweet was one of the first coaches in Illinois to change their coaching style from yelling at the kids to being more of a friend to the players. Today, you can still see some coaches who yell and demand discipline, but there are many more who are like Sweet and befriend the players on the team.
    I think we can all learn something from One Shot At Forever. People can look at a town like Macon and see the success the kids had when they went out and just had fun. From my own experience with sports, kids play much better when they are playing for a coach who truly cares about them. Lynn Sweet coach the Macon Ironmen perfectly to fit the needs of the kids and they give Lynn everything they had. The life lesson I gained from reading this book is to always give a 100% effort no matter how big the challenge you are facing is. The Ironmen proved that anyone can overcome the odds to do extraordinary things. I really enjoyed reading this book because I love sports and I would recommend this book to anyone, especially sports fans.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Camille Mumm Book Blog HGP part 2

The Human Genome Project     Camille Mumm
Thomas F. Lee Comp 106
Plenum Press
p. 150- 298

“Most humans have at least a measure of control over their daily lives. We are as a rule, free to make choices about our education, employment, marital status, or geographical location. But we are prisoners to our genes.” p282

While the first half of this book dealt almost exclusively with the history of genetics and the origins of the Human Genome Project, this second half deals with the controversies, implementation, ethics, and outcomes of the project. One of the more interesting portions of this is the legal dispute. While the argument over specific dollar amounts and committees isn’t the most entertaining read, the concept is interesting. Because of the magnitude of this project as well as the monetary and ethical controversy the US government had to get involved. So through a series of committees, budgets, and argument over which group should be the official head of the project, a plan emerged.
Another chapter in this book is devoted to the possible outcomes of the HGP and discusses how the work could directly affect diseases like Alzheimer's or Huntington’s disease. The potential that unlocking the human genome holds is huge and could mean finding a treatment to help people with diseases that have been nothing but a death sentence. The reader can tell that author Thomas F. Lee is excited by the ideas that mapping the human genome can trigger. Whether these are things like gene therapy or improved testing, a three million base pair map will help a lot of people.
The controversy of the HGP has been one of the most interesting parts to read about, I can see both sides. The potential that the HGP has is incredible but people worried that having the “map” would make doctors and researchers see a person as no more that a pattern of repeating AGCT. Because this book was written before the project came to a conclusion, these are legitimate concerns; but because we are living in a world where the human genome is mapped and far better understood, we know that researchers have not dehumanized medicine with this new technology.
Another concern expressing in the ethics portion of the book was the concept of “designer babies,” the concept that if scientists know which genes control which traits; parents would be able to not only pick the best set of genes that the combination of their DNA offered, but even go in a change an unborn baby's genetic makeup. Again because of the time frame of this book, people did not know what kind of effects the HGP would yield, and we know that even with the genome mapped, “designer babies” haven’t become a reality. I feel like this concept is not entirely gone yet and people still fear what might happen with advanced genetic technology and I agree.
After watching the movie Gattaca in my anatomy class, I have contemplated the issue of genetic discrimination and other ethical dilemmas. That movie was produced right in the time frame of the HGP and this book. Because I am looking into careers in genetic research, I may have to face some of these controversies in my future, and this book clued me in on more that I even thought existed.
This book got quite a bit more interesting in the second half because wasn’t so much of a long history lesson with bunches of names and dates. Despite this, the book still feels like Lee is lecturing all of the information to the reader, which I don’t mind. I’m personally interested in the topic and the years that this book was written in offer a unique perspective. Obviously the HGP hasn’t affected most people’s everyday lives the way people in the early 90’s feared, but even with the human genome mapped, the discoveries are far from over.

Lindsey Smith Women in the Am. Rev. Part 2

“Mary Katherine Goddard, America’s first woman printer and first woman postmaster, was removed from both of these positions in the mid-1780s not because of lack of ability, but because she was a talented and successful woman, and therefore, threatening to her male peers.” (183)
The above excerpt was common for many women of the 1700s, especially ones who tried to break out of the stereotype of women being fragile creatures. In the second half of Paul Engle’s book, Women in the American Revolution,  he explores three more kinds of women who were involved during the American Revolution. They range from several more women involved with the opposition, women on their own, and women involved through their families.
The first woman in the second half of this book is Fritschen von Riedesel. She was the wife of the commander of the first german contingent to help the British. Riedesel traveled with him through every battle, unheard of during that time. She had several children during these travels, but fiercely protected all of them from harm. Many knew her by her commanding nature and even the men would listen to her when she wanted something done. Because of their support of the British, they were thrown out of several houses during their time spent in America. It was hard to find many Loyalist families in the areas of battle. Over time, her husband became quite sick, making it harder for the Riedesel’s to travel the troops. Eventually, Riedesel’s husband was promoted to lead troops in Canada, so the whole family was moved with him. While there, Fritschen often traveled with her husband to meet the several Indian tribes that lived there. While many believed that the Indians were dangerous, the Riedesel’s found the opposite and lived a quiet and peaceful life in Canada. After the war, Fritschen wrote memoirs of her time in America that were published and even though she never realized it, Fritschen was a part of many histories people wrote of the Revolutionary War. I believe that Fritschen was very brave to be so loyal to her husband even when those who chose to side with the British were often in great danger.
The second lady of the opposition is Margaret Shippen Arnold. She was married to Benedict Arnold after a brief courtship, even though he was twice her age and her father was hesitant about the marriage. Margaret was often found at balls and parties where she had originally met Arnold. Several years into their marriage, when the Revolutionary War was in full swing, Arnold was appointed to take charge of West Point and at this point was still on the Patriot’s side. After several months, he was approached by the British to sell West Point to the British, making it a turning point of the war. His wife helped in that she kept up correspondence with British officers to finalize the deal. After this deal was made public, both Benedict Arnold and Margaret were put under public scrutiny and mobs focused on terrorizing Margaret especially. She, however, tried greatly to pretend she was innocent and went to Philadelphia to try and calm the general public that thought she was a traitor. After some time Margaret’s lie seemed to work and the public was swayed into thinking that she wasn’t capable of deception because she was a woman, and therefore too frail. I don’t understand what led the Arnolds’ to betray the cause and it wasn’t outlined in the book, which made it kind of confusing to understand their contribution to this book.
The last woman in this section wasn’t on the British or the Patriot’s side. Her name was Ann Lee, and she was the leader of a Shaker colony. The Shaker’s were often recognized by their excessive shaking, claiming to speak in tongues, and conscientious objection. Ann, as the leader of this strange group, even claimed to be the reincarnation of Christ. She had started out as a poor girl in England, working in factories to earn a living. As she grew, she realized she didn’t like her own sexuality, and was devastated when her father forced her into an arranged marriage. She was forced to bear several children against her will, and all of them died. While in England she came upon the original founders of the Shaker religion and became deeply involved in their way of living. She refused to sleep with her husband and spent a lot more time with the members of this new religion. While her dedication grew, so did her outbursts, and she was arrested several times. The growth of the Shakers in England was starting to stall at this point, so Ann was sent to America to start a new community. After several years of work, the Shakers were able to buy a piece of land in New York and worked even harder to create a stable community. As the Revolutionary War picked up momentum however, the Shakers were singled out. Because they refused to fight, Patriots saw them as traitors to the new American nation and arrested them. Ann herself was captured and beaten many times by mobs who thought all the Shakers were involved with witchcraft and assumed they supported the British. I think Ann was severely brainwashed or suffered from some kind of mental illness to be a part of the incredibly strict Shaker religion.
The next section of this book was entitled Women on Their Own, and the first woman featured was Mary Katherine Goddard. She published the first signed copies of the Declaration of Independence and kept regular newspapers published during the extent of the Revolutionary War. She was also the first woman printer and woman postmaster. Even though her brother essentially owned the printing press she worked at and encouraged her to get the postmaster job, Mary was always the one working. After several years, her brother learned of her success and became threatened. With the help of several other men, he made sure she was stripped of all her titles and not allowed to work again, just because she was a successful woman. It’s a tragedy that Mary was discriminated against just because of her gender, she could have accomplished so much more.
The next woman, Patience Wright, was the first American to successfully sculpt. She was the one who essentially established the first wax museums. She was able to create very lifelike figures before photography was even invented and was also friends with Franklin. After her success in America was well established, she moved to England to show her pieces to a wider audience in bigger cities. She was well received and quickly made a nice living for herself. During the Revolutionary War she was credited with telling Franklin some secrets and was deemed America’s first woman spy, even though she said little and was often very disorganized. Eventually her fame started to run out in England because of rumors spread by Loyalists, and she decided to move to France for a while. She didn’t find much success there because there was already a prominent wax sculptor who was very successful, and she was once arrested by French police who thought she had killed a man when she was actually carrying a wax head. I did not understand the significance of putting this woman in the book at all while I was reading it, even though she was a prominent wax sculptor, she didn’t do much for the American Revolution.
The last section was entitled Women Involved through their Families, and I really didn’t understand why this section was in the book at all, because all these women did was be married to important men. They didn’t really contribute anything. Like the first woman, Martha Washington. Her husband was a well-known general and eventually became President, but all she did was help him with some correspondence and keep Mt. Vernon going while he was away. The second lady, Sarah Franklin Bache was Ben Franklin’s daughter, and while she was in charge of a group of women making shirts for Patriot soldiers, she didn’t do much else. the third lady, Catherine Littlefield Greene was married to a well-known general, Nathaniel Greene, but did little else besides bear children and follow her husband around to various camps. The fourth and final lady of the book, Abigail Adams, was obviously married to John Adams, a prominent lawyer and instrumental help in the creation of the Declaration of Independence, also didn’t contribute much. She lived in the middle of a battlefront throughout the war, but other than sacrificing her husband to the public she didn’t do much and ended up having a romantic correspondence with a family friend, Lovell while her husband was away.
This book might seem boring to many, and some parts were, especially at the end, but I learned a lot about women’s roles during the Revolution. Engle did a good job outlining every woman’s life in detail while also making it interesting. Some sections didn’t seem to make sense with the theme of the book, but altogether it made an interesting read. I would recommend it to people who have read a lot of history books and are looking for a different angle on a famous event.