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Monday, January 27, 2014

It's Monday, What are You Reading? Woodrow Wilson

It's Monday, What are You Reading?
Woodrow Wilson by John Milton Cooper Jr.

This post is the seventy-fourth entry for this meme suggested by Sheila@ One Persons Journey Through A World of Books. [Entries 22-25 in the series were posted at  the Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories] 

Click to see at Amazon

Book Description from

The first major biography of America’s twenty-eighth president in nearly two decades, from one of America’s foremost Woodrow Wilson scholars.

A Democrat who reclaimed the White House after sixteen years of Republican administrations, Wilson was a transformative president—he helped create the regulatory bodies and legislation that prefigured FDR’s New Deal and would prove central to governance through the early twenty-first century, including the Federal Reserve system and the Clayton Antitrust Act; he guided the nation through World War I; and, although his advocacy in favor of joining the League of Nations proved unsuccessful, he nonetheless established a new way of thinking about international relations that would carry America into the United Nations era. Yet Wilson also steadfastly resisted progress for civil rights, while his attorney general launched an aggressive attack on civil liberties.

Even as he reminds us of the foundational scope of Wilson’s domestic policy achievements, John Milton Cooper, Jr., reshapes our understanding of the man himself: his Wilson is warm and gracious—not at all the dour puritan of popular imagination. As the president of Princeton, his encounters with the often rancorous battles of academe prepared him for state and national politics. Just two years after he was elected governor of New Jersey, Wilson, now a leader in the progressive movement, won the Democratic presidential nomination and went on to defeat Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft in one of the twentieth century’s most memorable presidential elections. Ever the professor, Wilson relied on the strength of his intellectual convictions and the power of reason to win over the American people.

John Milton Cooper, Jr., gives us a vigorous, lasting record of Wilson’s life and achievements. This is a long overdue, revelatory portrait of one of our most important presidents—particularly resonant now, as another president seeks to change the way government relates to the people and regulates the economy.

Happy Reading!

Dr. Bill  ;-)

Monday, January 13, 2014

It's Monday, What are You Reading? The Cost of Liberty

It's Monday, What are You Reading?

The Cost of Liberty: The Life of John Dickinson 
by William Murchison

A Book in the "Lives of the Founders" Series
This post is the seventy-third entry for this meme suggested by Sheila@ One Persons Journey Through A World of Books. [Entries 22-25 in the series were posted at  the Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories]

Book Description from

The Cost of Liberty offers a sorely needed reassessment of a great patriot and misunderstood Founding Father, John Dickinson.

Author William Murchison brings to life one of the most influential figures of the entire Founding period, a principled man whose gifts as writer, speaker, and philosopher only Jefferson came near to matching. In the ­process, Murchison destroys the caricature of ­Dickinson that has emerged from such popular treatments as HBO’s John Adams ­miniseries.

Today Dickinson is remembered mostly for his reluctance to sign the Declaration of Independence. But that reluctance, Murchison shows, had nothing to do with a lack of patriotism. In fact, Dickinson immediately took up arms to serve the colonial cause—something only one signer of the Declaration did. But he stood on principle to oppose the Declaration even when he knew it would deal the “finishing blow” to his once-great reputation.

Dubbed the “penman of the Revolution,” Dickinson was not just a scribe but also a shaper of mighty events. Author of the landmark essays Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, delegate to the Continental Congress, key ­figure behind the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, president of both Pennsylvania and Delaware: Dickinson was, as one esteemed ­historian aptly put it, “the most underrated of all the Founders.”

This lively biography gives a great Founder his long-overdue measure of honor. It also broadens our understanding of the Founding period, challenging many modern assumptions about the events of 1776 and 1787.

Happy Reading!

Dr. Bill  ;-)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage - Comments and Review

Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage
Comments and Review

I rarely review the books I read, for my own use and pleasure. I do write reviews for LibraryThing books, but also rarely publish them here. I do write reviews for Book Tours, of course.

This situation is different. This book, and the process it 'introduces,' needs to be discussed by people like you and me. We each have material in our possession - a rapidly growing amount of material… that needs to be considered for preserving, for archiving, perhaps. Have you given this any thought at all? What have you done about it, to date?

Are you preserving photographs you take in a way that you can retrieve them - especially the important ones - in the future when you want to? How about content you create for your blog? Will your children we able to capture and preserve it when you are gone? Is it worth preserving? What are you doing to determine the value of your creations and how they will be preserved?

Do you agree this is important?

My Review:

Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage Edited by Donald T. Hawkins is essentially the first text book in the new field of Personal Digital Archiving (PDA).  It was largely informed by the presentations at three conference on the subject of PDA and subsequent conversations among interested professionals in a number of related fields closely related to this specific topic. I can certainly see this book used as a text as the basis for discussions in seminars and workshops, especially at the graduate level of study related to family history, library, archival activities, information technology and several other fields.

The first few contributed chapters would be useful to individuals actually wanting to pursue PDA on their own as well as for professionals. The middle chapters share several research projects that help define various aspects of the emerging PDA field of research and study. The final couple of chapters attempt to look forward and suggest the first specific types of research to be undertaken. The final chapter, in particular, encourage us each to broaden our view as to the many aspects of the PDA process that must be considered - some not even mentioned in previous chapters. As a retired academic involved during my career in attempting to develop a new field of study, I fully appreciated this presentation. It helped me read every word even though some of the middle chapters were more technical than I would have preferred.

As noted by earlier reviewers, most of us have much of our intellectual property in digital form, now, and are seriously wondering what to do with it. Does it have value? We certainly believe some of it does, but how do we handle it. What about the material created and held by political figures, corporation executives, writers and artists, other digital content creators. This book does a fine job of asking the right questions and beginning the long, tedious discussion, research and practice cycle that will provide the answers.

Note: This review originally prepared for LibraryThing as an Early Reviewer.

Dr. Bill  ;-)