Francis Parkman – Wikipedia

DL: This is the very famous historian who was blind most of his adult life.
Francis Parkman
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Francis Parkman
Francis Parkman Jr.
Francis Parkman Jr.
Born September 16, 1823
Boston, Massachusetts
Died November 8, 1893 (aged 70)
Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts
Resting place Mount Auburn Cemetery
Occupation Historian, writer
Nationality American
Alma mater Harvard College; class of 1844
Spouse Catherine Scollay Bigelow
Signature
Francis Parkman Jr. (September 16, 1823 – November 8, 1893) was an American historian, best known as author of The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life and his monumental seven-volume France and England in North America. These works are still valued as historical sources and as literature. He was also a leading horticulturist, briefly a professor of Horticulture at Harvard University and author of several books on the topic. Parkman was a trustee of the Boston Athenæum from 1858 until his death in 1893.[1]

Biography
Early life
“Parkman was born in Boston, Massachusetts to the Reverend Francis Parkman Sr. (1788–1853), a member of a distinguished Boston family, and Caroline (Hall) Parkman. The senior Parkman was minister of the Unitarian New North Church in Boston from 1813 to 1849. As a young boy, “Frank” Parkman was found to be of poor health, and was sent to live with his maternal grandfather, who owned a 3,000-acre (12 km²) tract of wilderness in nearby Medford, Massachusetts, in the hopes that a more rustic lifestyle would make him more sturdy. In the four years he stayed there, Parkman developed his love of the forests, which would animate his historical research. Indeed, he would later summarize his books as “the history of the American forest.” He learned how to sleep and hunt, and could survive in the wilderness like a true pioneer. He later even learned to ride bareback, a skill that would come in handy when he found himself living with the Sioux.[2]

Education and career

Francis Parkman House, a National Historic Landmark on Beacon Hill
Parkman enrolled at Harvard College at age 16. In his second year he conceived the plan that would become his life’s work. In 1843, at the age of 20, he traveled to Europe for eight months in the fashion of the Grand Tour. Parkman made expeditions through the Alps and the Apennine mountains, climbed Vesuvius, and lived for a time in Rome, where he befriended Passionist monks who tried, unsuccessfully, to convert him to Catholicism.

Upon graduation in 1844, he was persuaded to get a law degree, his father hoping such study would rid Parkman of his desire to write his history of the forests. It did no such thing, and after finishing law school Parkman proceeded to fulfill his great plan. His family was somewhat appalled at Parkman’s choice of life work, since at the time writing histories of the American wilderness was considered ungentlemanly. Serious historians would study ancient history, or after the fashion of the time, the Spanish Empire. Parkman’s works became so well-received that by the end of his lifetime histories of early America had become the fashion. Theodore Roosevelt dedicated his four-volume history of the frontier, The Winning of the West (1889–1896), to Parkman.

In 1846, Parkman travelled west on a hunting expedition, where he spent a number of weeks living with the Sioux tribe, at a time when they were struggling with some of the effects of contact with Europeans, such as epidemic disease and alcoholism. This experience led Parkman to write about American Indians with a much different tone from earlier, more sympathetic portrayals represented by the “noble savage” stereotype. Writing in the era of manifest destiny, Parkman believed that the conquest and displacement of American Indians represented progress, a triumph of “civilization” over “savagery”, a common view at the time.[3] He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1855,[4] and in 1865 was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society.[5]”

Source: Francis Parkman – Wikipedia

Everything You Learned About Thanksgiving Is Wrong – By Maya Salam – The New York Times

“The holiday wasn’t made official until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared it as a kind of thank you for the Civil War victories in Vicksburg, Miss., and Gettysburg, Pa.

Beyond that, claiming it was the “first Thanksgiving” isn’t quite right either as both Native American and European societies had been holding festivals to celebrate successful harvests for centuries, Mr. Loewen said.

A prevalent opposing viewpoint is that the first Thanksgiving stemmed from the massacre of Pequot people in 1637, a culmination of the Pequot War. While it is true that a day of thanksgiving was noted in the Massachusetts Bay and the Plymouth colonies afterward, it is not accurate to say it was the basis for our modern Thanksgiving, Ms. Sheehan said.

Plymouth Rock in Pilgrim Memorial State Park in Plymouth, Mass. The rock, known as the “landing place of the Pilgrims,” was not mentioned in the Pilgrims’ original writings. Instead, it is a part of the region’s oral history.

Plymouth Rock in Pilgrim Memorial State Park in Plymouth, Mass. The rock, known as the “landing place of the Pilgrims,” was not mentioned in the Pilgrims’ original writings. Instead, it is a part of the region’s oral history.CreditErik Jacobs for The New York Times
And Plymouth, Mr. Loewen noted, was already a village with clear fields and a spring when the Pilgrims found it. “A lovely place to settle,” he said. “Why was it available? Because every single native person who had been living there was a corpse.” Plagues had wiped them out.”

Opinion | The New Know-Nothings – By Jennifer Finney Boylan – NYT

By Jennifer Finney Boylan

Ms. Boylan is a contributing opinion writer.
July 25, 2018
“My fellow Americans: It is my honor today to announce the formation of a new political party, which I am calling “the Republican Party.”You can be forgiven for thinking, Wait, don’t we already have one of those? But please. Under Donald Trump, the Republican Party, at least as we once understood it, has become a fantastical entity, a creature not wholly unlike the Abominable Snowman, or the Chupacabra, or the mythical Squonk of central Pennsylvania, the imaginary creature that spends its days deep in the forest, weeping in despair at its own hideousness.

“There is no Republican Party,” said John Boehner, a former Republican speaker of the House, back in April. “There’s a Trump Party. The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere.” ”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval

Outing Death – born of Bhutanese folklore – The New York Times

WeCroak, Mr. Bergwall said, was born of Bhutanese folklore saying that to be happy, one ought to contemplate death five times a day. For the more than 9,000 users of WeCroak, most in their 20s and 30s, he said, there is no time like the moment to get a grip on life by embracing mortality. Hovering near the top of the App Store’s paid health and fitness chart, the app, which I first read about in The Atlantic, is an exhortation to mindfulness. “Meditation urges you to focus on your breath,” Mr. Bergwall sai

Source: Outing Death – The New York Times

How Mao Molded Communism to Create a New China – by Roderick MacFarquhar – NYT

“Toward the end of his life, dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease, Mao Zedong claimed two achievements: leading the Communist revolution to victory and starting the Cultural Revolution. By pinpointing these episodes, he had underlined the lifelong contradiction in his attitudes toward revolution and state power. Mao molded Communism to fit his two personas. To use Chinese parlance, he was both a tiger and a monkey king. For the Chinese, the tiger is the king of the jungle. Translated into human terms, a tiger

Source: How Mao Molded Communism to Create a New China – The New York Times

 

David Lindsay

Hamden, CT

Very interesting piece and comments. I tend to agree with the Chinese gentleman, who dislikes the use of the Monkey King to describe the political purges of Mao, but not entirely. I recently studied the Monkey King, or Monkey, because it is considered one of the four great novels of Chinese literature. I was delighted by the book, which is full of farce, comedy, slapstick and political satire. The Monkey King is a folk hero from stories of old China. He has super powers, and is more like a Marvel or DC superhero, a very naughty one, than any kind of political genius.

Professor Roderick MacFarquhar points out that Mao himself wrote that he was inspired by Sun Wukong, the Monkey King. That the story seems to be an entertainment for children, doesn’t change the fact that the book has many levels of meaning, especially in its covert attack on the Emperor of China, and stuck up officials of all stripes. Out of reverence for this amazing story, I crafted a synopsis of the book into one of the chapters of my first book The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteen-Century Vietnam.

Attacked by Rotten Tomatoes – The New York Times

“LOS ANGELES — Hollywood had a horrible summer.Between the first weekend in May and Labor Day, a sequel-stuffed period that typically accounts for 40 percent of annual ticket sales, box office revenue in North America totaled $3.8 billion, a 15 percent decline from the same span last year. To find a slower summer, you would have to go back 20 years. Business has been so bad that America’s three biggest theater chains have lost roughly $4 billion in market value since May.
Ready for the truly alarming part? Hollywood is blaming a website: Rotten Tomatoes.”

David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval

I am a huge fan of the website Metacritic.com. It is extraordinary.
Since I abhor excessive violence and torture, I research new films carefully.
I saw Zero Dark Thrity after researching Metacritc, and am glad I saw the film. It was homework.
I look forward to an in depth analysis or comparison of Metacritc to Rotten Tomatoes.
This article is interesting, and it raises many questions, which are brought up by angry commenters. Ticket and popcorn prices are too high, intermissions too infrequent. Volumes are too high.The violence has gotten out of control. When I saw Dunkirk in Cincinnati, the day Inconvenient Sequel came out and was sold out, the theater showed a preview of a horror film about killing young women, called something like the Snowman Head murdering monster. It was grotesque, and I was deeply offended, that I was exposed to such images. I complained to the manager. There are plenty of reasons why I go carefully and infrequently to the movie theaters. Add to the list, excessive, gratuitous violence in the review trailers.
I posted on my blog, InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com, a favorable review of Dunkirk. I agree with the NYT metacric score of 80. I did not enjoy the film, but found it gripping, and extremely useful history and homework. What an amazing historical drama. For those of us who love small yachts, it is a exhilarating story on more than one level.

Where History Is Being Made – by David Brooks – NYT

“James and Deborah Fallows have always moved to where history is being made. In the 1980s, when the Japanese economic model seemed like the wave of the future, the husband and wife team moved to Japan with their school-age children. Then, after 9/11, they were back in Washington, with James writing a series of essays for The Atlantic about what might go wrong if the U.S. invaded Iraq.

In 2006, they moved to China and both wrote books about China’s re-emergence. Over the past few years they have been flying around the U.S. (James is a pilot), writing about the American social fabric — where it’s in tatters and where it’s in renewal. That was pretty prescient in the lead-up to the age of Trump.”

David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval
Love this op-ed piece “Where is History Being Made,” David Brooks. Thank you. I tuned into the Fallows in the 1980’s, when I was trying to understand the onslaught of excellent Japanese cars into America. I went on to study the Toyota Production System, JIT, and Total Quality Management at the Univ. of WA Business School. It was surprising to learn that the basics came from Bell Labs at ATT and the work of Edward Deming and other American statistical process and quality engineers.

Your main point is so scary. Will the country correct from Trumpism in time to save democracy. And I will add to that, will we save the world from out of control climate change, which we are heading for. Will the Sixth Extinction include the human race? The poor Fallows might have to move to Antarctica!

As to your detractors in these comments today, I refer you to a saying of my father, a wonderful, liberal New York Republican who fought with his brothers and their wives for civil rights and environmental protection. He admonished, with big a grin, “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”

David A Lindsay Jr