Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cheaters never win….

Do you get a badge for being honest?

Annie Dookhan in Court
Courtesy of the Boston Globe

            There’s a strange case slowly rolling out in Boston right now.  Annie Dookhan, age 34, a tiny woman, is alleged to have mishandled some 34,000 cases of evidence obtained in arrests of drug dealers and other troublemakers during the past decade.
            Already, some 2000 prisoners have been released or are about to be, with thousands more in various stages of litigation to go free.
            Many of these people are guaranteed bad actors, with murders and other crimes on their records, but with the current good luck to have had evidence in their criminal prosecution handled by this tiny little lady.
            Was she some hidden activist, dedicated to setting these men free? No.
            In fact, she reportedly added cocaine to samples where there was none.

            Apparently, she discovered that, in order to fill her quota of tests every day, in order to get her job done, and look good, all she had to do was cheat!
            This apparently intelligent young woman figured out how to fool the system, and according to reports that are coming out now, she fooled the system six ways from Sunday.  She even lied about her academic credentials to get hired!

            Law enforcement all over the United States has the problem of working very hard to catch the bad guys, and obtain the evidence needed to put them in prison.  By most accounts, they do an excellent job, and there are safeguards to protect the wrongfully accused, both in the police system and in the justice system. 
            However, when tests of evidence are backlogged for months, no one is well served.
            Annie found out that it was easy to cheat, and according to reports of her case, cheat she did. She eyeballed test samples instead of conducting the proper chemical reaction test. When a double-checking chemist returned her samples that showed a mismatch, she allegedly added known narcotics to samples which contained none. She forged other chemists’ initials on sample documents. She moved the tested products out the door, correct or incorrect, and corrupted the laboratory’s system so badly that the State had to shut it down.
            Now, no matter what happens, Annie is marked for life as a CHEAT.
            Even in this era when over 100 kids are accused of cheating on an exam at Harvard, society still looks down on cheats.

            Most systems in most places are based upon the assumption that people are honest, and want to do the right thing. 
            There are backups, and safeguards and double checks, but mostly they exist to detect human error. 
            And then along comes someone like Annie.

            Now, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will likely install all manner of safeguards to prevent a repetition of this disaster.
            We, the public, should expect that this process takes place in full view, and the new officials and employees who are installed are competent, well-regarded, and have the academic credentials they claim to have.

            Are we growing a culture in our society that learns that cheating is okay?

            Annie Dookhan’s actions may have created for all of us a TEACHABLE MOMENT. 
            What can we do in our schools to drive home the concept of Honesty? 

            Is there more that can be done in our society to teach children time-honored lessons like “Cheaters never win and winners never cheat?”
          Let’s work on it!


The Personal Navigator offers these books and papers:

  U.S. Government State Papers, 1817

State Papers of 14th Congress: Reports from Secy of the Treasury, Comptroller of the Treasury, Acting Secretary of War, Postmaster General, et al on Accounts of the U.S. Treasury  as of 1816 1817 Washington, DC: William A. Davis, Printer for U.S. Government.  Bound collection of letters from the Secretary of the Treasury, Comptroller of the Treasury, Postmaster General, et al. Includes listings of debt for the late John Adams, ex-President, and Meriwether Lewis, Late governor of the Territory of Louisiana. Adams owes the government $12,898 for housekeeping when he was president. Comptroller reports to President Madison that this expense was deemed inadmissable by his predecessors...Late Lieutenant James B. Decatur owes $130.75, which won't be recovered: "He fell before Tripoli". Meriwether Lewis, famed for the Lewis & Clark Expedition of the Louisiana Territory, was later Governor of the Louisiana Territory. This book shows he owed the Government $571.50. But he died in 1809, so no account is rendered. Report from Secretary of the Treasury William H, Crawford on direct taxes and other revenues collected. Reports are also sent to Speaker of the House Henry Clay. Also Crawford reports on public lands sold in Mississippi Territory 1,073,842 acres for $2,303,366. Also lands sold in states of Ohio and Indiana, and Territory of Illinois adding $15 million. Acting Secretary of War report includes statement of $1435 paid to George Fisher for carrying express mails by order of General (Andrew) Jackson. Also $1500 to Lewis Cass, Governor of Michigan Territory, for seed wheat for distressed inhabitants of said territory.Many pages of small expenditures for recruiting, advertising for deserters, and stage fare for deserters, also for toll at turnpike gates, shoeing horses, wood, forage for public horses, drum heads, tin pans. There's an expense of $312 to Lieutenant John Donelson in General Jackson's  army for an expedition against the Creeks in 1813, on expedition to Pensacola and New-Orleans in 1814. This is a marvelous financial picture of the United States in the early Nineteenth century. 21 x 33 cm.  Marbleized paper with leather spine. Gilt title: "STATE PAPERS 14th Congress". Rough-cut paper, with many fold-out pages. Good condition, binding intact.  (8268) $90.00. History

Penny Magazine of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, The, Vol. I, March 31 to Dec. 31, 1832 by Knight, Charles 1832 London, England: Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. Lord Brougham was the instigator of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge in London in 1826, and it published its first weekly eight-page issue in March, 1832.  The intent was to spread knowledge amongst the poor, and this little paper was distributed all over the UK, selling 200,000 copies at its peak.  Publication ceased in 1844, after demand had faded and publishing expenses grew too great. Articles in this first volume did not patronize the uneducated--Charing Cross, now greatly improved, illus. with woodcut.  Pompeii, with woodcut, recently discovered, article takes readers on a walk through the city. British animals: The Dormouse, and the Mole, with illus. "On the Choice of a Labouring Man's Dwelling"; History of Somerset House, with illus.  Sugar, its agriculture and production. Statistical Notes on the population of England and Wales. Instruction of the Deaf and the Dumb. "London Bridge"--old bridge is almost pulled down and the Thames now sweeps through the five broad arches of the new bridge.Review of "Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin". The British Museum--article describes obelisks, with illustration. "The Natural Bridge of Virginia" with illustration from the largest state in the American Union. "Mahogany" (Swielenia mohagoni) notes that until recently only the rich could afford a mahogany table, but now (1832) anyone can. All about cutting and transporting from Honduras. Many more abstruse topics for the poor. 389 pp. + index 18 x 28.5 cm. (11½” tall). Marbled boards with calf spine, front cover detached, text block has damp stain on first 85 pages, yet good.  Overall, poor.      (8269) $92.00. Educational        

Fly-ing Dutchman, The; or, The Wrath of Herr Vonstoppelnoze with sixteen comic illustrations by John G. Saxe,             1862 New York, NY: Carleton, Publisher, 413 Broadway. 35 pp. + adv.   13 x 19.3 cm. This book is widely available in new reprints, but this  is the 1862 edition with clever cartoons and a poetic story about the combat between and annoying fly and Herr von Stoppelnoze.   Dark brown blindstamped and decorated cloth on board with gilt title. Inscription on ffep: "Miss Louisa Grant". Slight wear on corners. Very good. (2932) $18.00. Humor                                                                      

Sermons by the Late Rev. George Shepard, Professor in Theological Seminary, Bangor, Me. With a Memorial by Prof. D.S. Talcott, first edition           1869     Boston, MA: Nichols and Noyes. 368 p.  13 x 19.5 cm.    This book today is widely circulated in Print on Demand and electronic versions, but this original 1869 edition is the one that captured the attention of so many. Rev. Shepard (1801-1868) preached the Gospel, and was unsparing in his criticism of slavery.  At his death he was praised by the noted abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison. Memorial by Prof. Talcott relates life and brilliant theological path of Rev. Shepard, from birth in 1801 in Plainfield, CT on to preaching in Hallowell, Maine and Professorship at Bangor Theological Seminary. "The Diversions from Preaching" criticizes popish influences in the contemporary Protestant churches. "The Eclipsed Luminary" preaches from Matthew. When the Christian ceases to shine, and darkness comes in its place, it is very great darkness. "Salvation in  no Other" from Acts iv. 12. "The Shipwreck of Paul" from Acts xxvii. 22, 31. Better to put trust in God, rather than bolts and planks. "Elijah the Tishbite" from I Kings xvii. 1. "Not Fit for the Kingdom" from Luke ix.62, preaches a stern message for the converted. "The End at Hand" from I Peter iv.7. and more.           Decorated brown cloth with gilt design and lettering on spine. Engraving of Rev. Shepard at frontispiece. "Nellie Grant" stamped on ffep and "Isaac Hills" written in pencil. Clean and tight copy. Very good. (2929) $48.00. Religion                                                                                     

Sovereigns and Courts of Europe, The by "Politikos" with Portraits, Authorized Edition 1893     New York, NY: D. Appleton and Company. 439 pp. w adv. 12.8 x 19.6 cm. This book today is widely circulated in Print on Demand and electronic versions, but this 1893 authorized edition  captured the attention of many for its gossipy "insider-story” style. Sultan of Turkey-- mysterious 1876 death of ex-Sultan, five days after he was deposed on plea of insanity. Alexander III of Russia's story begins with death by horseplay in 1865, assassination of his father, Alexander II in 1881 and Alexander III's accession to the throne, celebration for half a million common folk at one huge dinner... William II, Emperor of Germany, whose birth in 1859 was heralded all over Berlin by a 101-gun salute. Death of Victor Emanuel I, first king of unified Italy brought great sadness, and King Umberto I is now king.  He is the only man generally respected in Italy, author writes. Book ends with long section on Queen Victoria of England, whose portrait serves as frontispiece.            Decorated maroon cloth on board with gilt and red printing. Slight edge wear and worn spot on back cover. Inscription on ffep: "Happy New Year dear Nellie (Grant), 1893 Angelina P. Loveland." Very clean and tight. Very good. (2939) $36.00.  Biography      

Song of the Sower, The by William Cullen Bryant, illustrated with Forty-two Engravings on Wood           1871 New York, NY: D. Appleton and Company. 48 pp.     17 x 23.5 cm. This book today is widely circulated in Print on Demand and electronic versions, but this 1871 edition is truly an elegant work of art.  Add to that the owner carefully slipped poetry from newspapers in the 1880s and put them in the pages, but didn't stain the pages.  Beautiful engravings by Winslow Homer capture the misery and drama of the civil war, and the lot of the Mill Girl.  Also engravings by Griswold, Fenn, Hennesy, Bushing, Hows,and Nehlig.  Elaborately decorated brown cloth on board with gilt edged pages. Inscription on ffep: "’ Merry Christmas’ To my dear  ‘Loudel’ from Angie, Dec. 25th 1871." Slight wear at heel and toe of spine, else very fine.  (2940) $50.00.  Poetry                                                                         

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

UK in the Twentieth Century

England’s Angry Muslims,
Churchill, the Decline of Great Britain, and The Troubles…..
--a discussion about the UK in the Twentieth Century

            Once a month, a small group gathers in the Rockport Public Library, to rip into some piece of world history.
            William Tobin, history teacher at Cambridge Rindge & Latin, began the group ten years ago, and now, he’s pushed the fledgling history students out of the nest, to fly on their own.  He is now devoting his attention to the company he formed four years ago, W.T. Green Energy Consultants.
            This month, the topic is The United Kingdom in the Twentieth Century. 
            In the past few decades, many thousands of former subjects of the Queen have come “home” to England to work and live.  A whole world of Pakistanis came for jobs that paid much more than they could earn at home.  They rented and bought cheap real estate and formed ghettos.  They had their families join them, and they lived in tight-knit communities where they tried to re-create the society they came from.  The same mosques, the same language, the same dress style, particularly with the women.  They did not, or could not mix with the British population. 
            Jobs dried up.  They felt alienated and frustrated.  It took little to start the idea of Jihad among some. 
            Beverly Varrengia introduced  the subject of the growing population of Muslims in the U.K. with Melanie Phillips’ book Londonistan: How Britain Created a Terror State Within. 2006.
            How will Great Britain deal with a growing population of people who have little desire to become members of British society, who feel isolated and alienated, and in some cases have grown into a massive, seething cauldron of hate and trouble? 
            We may see the beginnings of the same situation in the United States, and certainly we have seen it in several other European countries. 
            The word “Multiculturalism”--- what does it mean?  Is there a general attitude amongst the majority of Britons of appeasement, denial, compliance? 
            Then, we turn our attention to Northern Ireland, and all those years of hateful conflict between the Loyalists, Protestants holding on to Great Britain for their lives, and the Catholic opposition
            Dick Varrengia reports on  Making Sense of the Troubles: The Story of the Conflict in Northern Ireland by David McKittrick and David McVea. New Amsterdam Books. 2002. 368 pp.
            “The Troubles” raged in Northern Ireland, and boiled over to Britain and Ireland during its nearly 30 years, from the late 1960s until nearly 2000.
            It is hard to imagine the white-hot hatred of those times.
            The tension between England’s Muslims occupies our thoughts—then we’ve shifted to the tension between Catholics and Protestants, who are all Irish.

            Rick Heuser is next to present his view of Britain in the 20th century with Our Times: The Age of Elizabeth II by A.N. Wilson.
            Now, we’ve faced the raging Muslims and the angry Northern Irish.  Now we have A.N. Wilson, an author of over 40 books, delving into the modern history of Great Britain. It’s not a pretty story, because Britain is in “unrelenting decline.”  
             Dominic Sandbrook, writing a review of Our Times in The Guardian in 2008 notes that Wilson gives “the biggest beating” of any politician to “Roy Jenkins, or 'Woy', as Wilson calls him. Since Jenkins is usually the hero of books like this, there is something unexpectedly and perversely refreshing about finding him traduced. When Woy first surfaces, Wilson draws attention to his 'Balliol bumptiousness' and 'claret-marinaded dinner-party manners' and mocks the 'pomposity of his aristocratic, high-table verbal mannerisms ... the ever-stirring right hand, sometimes to emphasise a debating point, sometimes to feel along a hostess's thigh'. But he is only warming up, for when Woy reappears as a founder of the SDP, he is 'puffed-up, pompous and vacuous'. He was, Wilson tells us, 'an incompetent Home Secretary and a disastrous Chancellor', his achievements dwarfed by those of Margaret Thatcher, a 'person of high intelligence'.”

            Which brings us to the last book, which I report:  Churchill, A Biography, by Roy Jenkins, 2001. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1002 pp.
            No one in the United Kingdom made more of an impact upon that country, indeed the British Empire, in the Twentieth Century than Winston Churchill.  
            In spite of A.N. Wilson, I found Roy Jenkins in a different light. Jenkins (1920-2003) was a career politician, entering Parliament in 1948 and staying connected with British government for 50 years.  His biography of Churchill, one of 18 books he wrote, is an excellent look at the long life of Winston Churchill (1874-1965).
            Churchill lived his life with a destiny for greatness.  He was a soldier, but unlike nearly any other.  He managed to position himself where he would experience danger, and then he managed to capture the exclusive rights to the story. Even when he was on the Queen’s list as a young soldier, (in India, Sudan and South Africa) he was mailing back thick dispatches to London newspapers.
            Roy Jenkins wrote this voluminous engorgement of parliamentary history in two and a half years, when he was in his eighties.  At every point one can sense Jenkins’ rather tart view of Churchill.  He gives Winston his due, as a statesman, elegant speaker and writer, but also as an almost mythical character,  who always, in the direst of times, manages to sit down to a well-laid table and enjoy a fine meal, with plenty of champagne, port, brandy and a good cigar.
            Churchill might have been one of those fine men we have seen all through British history, and that of the United States.  The man, born to a leading family, accustomed to wealth and station, attending the “right” schools, occupies reasonably impressive posts in government. 
            In America, Henry Cabot Lodge, Averill Harriman, Teddy Kennedy come to mind.
            However, Churchill, who tried his utmost time and again to elevate himself in British government, from his days as a “Flailing” First Lord of the Admiralty in World War I, became the right man at the right time after Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s disastrous handling of relations with Adolf Hitler put Britain at the brink.
            It is amazing how Jenkins, an excellent writer, can delve into tons of letters, diaries, official journals and other material to construct a colorful, extremely detailed picture of Winston’s life and his relations with those around him.  Churchill often whisks himself away to the south of France, or cadges a voyage in the Mediterranean aboard the yacht of a wealthy acquaintance, and while he is thus “resting”, churns out reams of manuscript for his next book or article.
            Churchill’s life style was legendary.  He stayed in bed until noontime, furiously dictating memos, letters, newspaper articles. Then his valet drew his bath and he lowered his fat, pink body into the tub.   After dressing, he would engage in the performance of luncheon, which routinely involved distinguished guests who would partake of Winston’s rich wit and wisdom.  There were always good food, wine and spirits, and cigars. 
            In the afternoon, if Parliament were sitting, he would attend, and perhaps deliver a speech.
            Then there would be dinner, another spread of elegant food, drink and people, usually with Winston as the principal figure.
            Jenkins’ account of Churchill’s leadership of Britain after he became Prime Minister in May, 1940 is particularly interesting.  Winston flew to France numerous times to try to give the French leaders (PM Paul Reynaud et al) encouragement to resist Hitler. At the same time, Churchill was trying his best to bring the United States into the fray, so once he promised the French that American intervention was nigh.  Jenkins called Churchill’s hopefulness of that “living in cloud-cuckoo land”.
            Churchill tried everything to get Roosevelt to commit to U.S. intervention.  Roosevelt sent Harry Hopkins to visit Churchill early in 1941, and Hopkins spent a month with him.  The two formed a fast friendship. Jenkins notes that Churchill’s and Roosevelt’s relationship was never that warm sort of friendship.
            Here’s this comment:
“…in joint wartime photographs, from Placentia to Yalta, Roosevelt always looked Churchill’s superior. He held his head higher, and his careless yet patrician civilian clothes suited him better than the fancy uniforms which Churchill was only too inclined to assume…..Roosevelt… often enhanced by a long cigarette holder at a jaunty angle. In the nicotine stakes this was a more elegant symbol than Churchill’s often spittle-sodden cigars.” p.663.
            Churchill came to lead Britain in its darkest hours at the start of the war with Hitler. He replaced Neville Chamberlain, a man who will forever by identified with weakness and appeasement.   Nazi bombers were pounding London and other British cities, and invasion by the Germans by air and sea seemed imminent.  Morale was low.  His leadership at the beginning was resisted, and unappreciated, but he persisted, and the British people came to see him as the figure leading them to victory.
            In 1946, after he was voted out of office and Clement Atlee became Prime Minister, the new United States President Harry Truman invited Churchill to come to Westminster College in Fulton, MO to speak.  This was the famed speech where he declared:

            “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.”

            In this speech, which was met with great animosity not only in the USSR, but in many parts of the U.S., Europe and the U.K., Churchill drew the shape of the Cold War that would dominate our lives for the next four decades.  It was primarily important for sounding the call for an alliance between the U.S. and the U.K. to oppose communism, and the beginning of the idea of a North Atlantic alliance.
            Churchill suffered a final stroke 12 January 1965 and died 24 January. His funeral was a grand affair, with his body lying in state in Westminster Hall for three days. This was the first time such an affair for a non-royal personage had taken place since the death of Gladstone in 1898.

            If you live near Rockport, we invite you to join us for History Book Club meetings.  Our next meeting is Wednesday, October 31 (Hallowe’en). The topic will be Russia in the 20th century.  Beverly Verrengia will chair the meeting.  Attendees can read about the time of Nicholas II, the Russian Revolution, the early years of Communist Russia and Lenin, Stalin and World War II, the Siege of Leningrad, the Cold War, the Collapse of the USSR, or any related topic.

    For its November 30 meeting the club will turn its attention to Germany in the 20th century, and that will include the start of the century, the Kaiser and the Great War, the Weimar Republic, the origin of the Nazi party and Hitler, World War II, Divided Germany after the war, the Berlin Blockade, the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Reunification, or other such topics. Richard Verrengia will lead this meeting.

    The January, 2013 meeting will focus on China in the 20th century, from Sun-Yat-Sen to the Rape of Nanking, Chiang Kai-Shek and World War II, Mao Tse-Dung (Zedong) and the Cultural Revolution, and China after Mao.  Rick Heuser will chair this meeting.

The Personal Navigator offers these books for sale:

Journal of Countess Françoise Krasinska Great Grandmother of Victor Emmanuel, attributed to Klementyna Tanska Hoffman, translated from the Polish by Kasimir Dziekonska. 1896         Chicago, IL: A.C. McClurg and Company. 182 pp. 10 x 16 cm. Fascinating account of a young Polish noblewoman, from 1759 to 1761 as author relates her adventures as in a journal.  She begins, at age 16 in the Castle at Maleszow on New Year's Day.  She tells about her life, her visits to Warsaw, about the King, Augustus III, her sister Basia's forthcoming marriage, and apologizes for disparaging comments about the Staroste, whom she will marry.  Her own wedding is dreadful, conducted in strict secrecy before dawn, to the Duke of Courland.  The journal ends at that point.  The Countess lives a wandering life, in convents in Warsaw and Cracow, her fickle husband returns from time to time, but their marriage is kept secret, to spare the old king the shock. She finally joined him in Saxony, he clung to her and they lived happily.  They had one child, Marie Christine, who married the Duke of Savoy. They had two children, a girl who married the King of Lombardy-Venice and a son who became the father of Victor Emmanuel. Both the King and Queen of Italy are the great-great grandchildren of Françoise Krasinska (1895). With illustrations including portrait of the Countess at frontispiece.          Decorated maroon cloth on board, spine missing, thus poor. (8267). $22.00. Biography  

Lowell on the Merrimack, An Art Souvenir explaining 54 Albertype views of the principal Public Buildings, etc. of the City of Lowell, Mass. by Bigelow, Edwin S., Compiler and Publisher. 1892  Lowell, MA: Edwin S. Bigelow  54 plates. 25 x 17.5 cm.         Very attractive book of high-quality black-and-white photos including Memorial Library, Pawtucket Falls, Boston & Maine R.R. Station, Canal Walk from School Street, City Hall, St. Anne's Episcopal Church, Aiken Street Bridge, Entrance to Lakeview Park and Lake Mascuppic, Residence of Gen. Benj. F. Butler, Nesmith Street, Cricket Club House, Vesper Boat Club House, Court House on Labor Day, 1892, Monument Square and Statue of Victory, with strollers; more. Maroon cloth on board, gilt decoration, lightly mottled, interior binding slightly loose, yet very good. (8262) $40.00. Travel   

Temple Bar, vols. 94, 95. 96, 97, and 102

Temple Bar, with which is incorporated "Bentley's Miscellany", A London Magazine for Town and Country Readers, Vol. 97, January to April 1893        London, England: Richard Bentley & Son, New Burlington Street. 632 pp.            14 x 22 cm. "Diana Tempest" by Mary Cholmondeley; "Letters of a Man of Leisure" gives reader a taste of elegant prose from Edward Fitzgerald, friend of Tennyson and Thackeray. Amazing what a bright, well-educated man can do when he doesn't have to go to work each day. Bingham's Idea by E.L. Phillimore. "Sport in the Snow, or Bear-Hunting in Russia".  Writer hunts for bear near Lake Onega, shoots a splendid old male bear, 540 lbs. "The Campaign of Waterloo" by W. O'Connor Morris. "Frances Anne Kemble" by Henry James.   Half calf and marble boards, very faint rubbing, corners slightly bent,  very good.  (8261) $35.00. Literature
Temple Bar, with which is incorporated "Bentley's Miscellany", A London Magazine for Town and Country Readers, Vol. 95, May to August 1892 London, England: Richard Bentley & Son, New Burlington Street. 588 pp.         14 x 22 cm.  "A Concord On The Steppe" by Francis Prevost,a colorful account of life among the Russian peasants in the shadow of famine, 1891. "English Court Life in the Eighteenth Century" derived from the Letters and Journals of Lady Mary Coke, printed for private circulation in 1889. "The First and Last Days of the Broad Gauge", the rail system that began in 1838, but was superseded by narrow gauge in the 1870s."Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley"; "Wayfaring in the Rouergue" Edward Harrison Barker tells of his adventures in this southwestern part of France, tasting the cheese of Roquefort, visiting Millau, Moulin, St. Affrique; Part of "God's Fool" by Maarten Maartens.           Half calf and marble boards, very faint rubbing, book sales slip attached to rear free endpaper, very good.  (8263) $35.00. Literature    

Temple Bar, with which is incorporated "Bentley's Miscellany", A London Magazine for Town and Country Readers, Vol. 96, September to December 1892 London, England: Richard Bentley & Son, New Burlington Street. 588 pp.        14 x 22 cm.  Part of "God's Fool" by Maarten Maartens. "Old Memories Interviewed" by Mrs. Andrew Crosse, relating her adventures-- guest of Walter Savage Landor, jolly gossip about King Arthur at the Glastonbury archeaological meeting, tales of entomologists-- watching a bee drown a wasp; studying storks (one lady stork had a lover). "A Stroll Through a Great Cruikshank Preserve" by George Somes Layard.  This is an appreciation of George Cruikshank, the last link in the chain of great English satirists.  "Mr. Menelaws: A Long Vacation Study" a jolly narrative about a man who was a poor, blinking, aspiring piece of humanity, whose talent had mouldered, fungus-grown, and whose mind was warped. "Among the Aleuts" writer asks an Aleut why he has married his daughter, and he answers, "Why not? The seals do it." Life among the Aleuts, or Inoits. Food for children includes seals' eyes, lichen scooped out of a reindeer's stomach, and blood drawn from some living animal.              Half calf and marble boards, very faint rubbing, very good.  (8264)  $35.00. Literature      

Temple Bar, with which is incorporated "Bentley's Miscellany", A London Magazine for Town and Country Readers, Vol. 94, January to April 1892        London, England: Richard Bentley & Son, New Burlington Street . 20 pp.            14 x 22 cm. Start of  "God's Fool" by Maarten Maartens. "The Wedded Poets" by Mrs. Andrew Crosse,  drawing upon her rich exposure to the leading lights of English poetry. Catty comment from Wordsworth upon the marriage of Browning to Elizabeth Berrrett, Miss Mitford, the literary gossip and what she had to say about the Brownings, Sara Coleridge's comments on Mrs. Browning's poetry, and Mrs. Crosse's favorite subject, Landor. Much more about the Brownings.  Mrs. Crosse knew everyone in Nineteenth Century literary England. "An Aide-de-Camp of Massena" tells of the fascinating Memoirs of General Marbot, which throw a flood of light on the campaigns of Napoleon. Marbot was aide-de-camp of Augereau, Lannes and Massena. How they all quarrelled!  Rich collection of stories about Napoleon, Sainte Croix, more. "Wayfaring by the Tarn" by Edward Harrison Barker is another of his fascinating journeys in southwestern France. He relates the history of Ambialet, the religious conflict of the 12th and 13th centuries in this area northeast of Toulouse.  "Norway in Winter" by A. Amy Bulley.   Half calf and marble boards, very faint rubbing, old auction sticker on back cover, very good.  (8265) $35.00. Literature          

Temple Bar, with which is incorporated "Bentley's Miscellany", A London Magazine for Town and Country Readers, Vol. 102, May to August 1894        London, England: Richard Bentley & Son, New Burlington Street. 580 pp.            14 x 22 cm. "A French Ambassador at the Court of Catherine II" by Mrs. D'Arcy Collyer. Story of the embassy of M. le Comte de Ségur to St. Petersburg; "The unspeakable Turk" and Turkish-French-Russian foreign relations as Russia became a world power. France saw Turkey and Poland as the best safeguards to the rise in Russian power. Mrs. Collyer tells about how Catherine plagiarized freely the work of Montesquieu in his "Esprit des Lois", and in her heavy correspondence with Grimm, Voltaire, Diderot and others she explores the forefront of French thought when the court at Versailles suppressed innovation. "The Mills of God" by Egerton Castle. "Some Recollections of Yesterday" unearths a letter by Charles Dickens when he was 25 years old. Also about George Cruikshank, who had taken up teetotalism, and Wilkie Collins and Frances Anne Kemble. "Records of an All-round Man" by Mrs. Andrew Crosse about William White Cooper. There is no one that Mrs. Crosse doesn't know! Half calf and marble boards, very faint rubbing,  very good.  (8266) $35.00. Literature

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Monday, September 17, 2012

The Soviets Put On Some Good Parades!

Celebrating the October Revolution

Red banners in parade past Lenin’s Tomb on Red Square

[NOTE: This blog is an updated version of one that appeared Nov. 7, 2011.]

          Every year on November 7th, the Soviets put on a massive celebration honoring the Great October RevolutionWhen the Soviets changed their calendars to match those of the western world, the date of the October Revolution in 1917 fell on Nov. 7th.
            In the two years we lived in Moscow, watching this huge Bolshevik celebration was something to behold.  The Soviets prepared for this for days in advance, because it involved many thousands of Soviet soldiers, sailors, airmen, as well as still more thousands of civilians.  For us military and naval attachés, it was also an opportunity to see whatever the Soviet Union wanted to show off in their latest weaponry. 
            We were invited to come in uniform and sit in reserved seats, right below the tribune where General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev and all the Politburo and all the Soviet generals and admirals stood to review the parade.
            However, in the years I was there, we were directed to show American disapproval with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, so we did not accept the invitation to sit in the stands just beneath all the Soviet leaders.
            Instead, we  showed up heavily wrapped in warm civilian clothing, in the crowd with hundreds of thousands of Russians. 
            [Isn’t it strange that twenty years later America would invade Afghanistan?]
            This day was a day to observe Russians celebrating the birth of their Communist State, to watch the marching troops, and hopefully, to discover a new missile or other weapon the Soviets were producing.  It was a tremendous celebration, even though it could be pretty chilly.  Millions of Russians would drink quite a lot of vodka before the day was over.
            For American and allied military attachés in the Embassy, after several hours of standing in frigid weather watching the parade, we’d show up at the home of one of us for plates of steaming hot American chili, Danish or Czech beer, and Swedish Glögg (a lethal concoction of akvavit, red wine, port, cinnamon and other spices).
            Watching an event in Red Square is one of life’s exciting experiences, I think, because your mind can take you back to grainy black-and-white images of Marshal Stalin standing atop that tribune, as the Red Army troops, the same ones who had defeated the Nazis at Stalingrad and many other battles, marched in review.  On one end of the square is St. Basil’s Cathedral, and all along another side are the onion domes of churches inside the Kremlin. 
Red Square parade, 1941

            As we were walking from our Embassy toward the parade, my 20-year-old son Mark was with me.  He had been studying at the University of Maryland in Munich, but he was in Moscow on holiday.  He spotted an older Russian woman on a stepladder, trying to hang a Soviet flag on the street. Mark saw that she was having trouble doing it, so he gallantly took her place on the ladder and hung it up.  It’s a good thing that had not happened during the days of Senator McCarthy!
            Mark later got a job as a security clerk at the construction site for the new American embassy in Moscow.  He had to check the identification badges of Soviet workmen coming to work on the site.  It did wonders for his ability to speak Russian!

            American  Army Marching in Red Square: What a fascinating experience it was in 2010 to see pictures of an American Army unit marching in Red Square, to help the Russians celebrate the Allied victory over Germany May 9th, 1945. (America, Great Britain and France celebrated on May 8th, but the actual German surrender happened after midnight Moscow time, hence May 9th.)
U.S. Army helps Russians Commemorate Victory over Germany May 9th, 2010