Saturday 12 January 2013

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Photo, above:   US invades Mexico, 1846.  See: A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico by Amy S. Greenberg in Hour Two.
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
Hour One
Saturday  12 Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom by Marcus Rediker (Nov 8, 2012) The author and Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburgh Marcus Rediker visits Mystic Seaport to discuss his newest publication, The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom. This is the first book in more than twenty years to recount the most famous slave rebellion in American history, and it's told for the first time ever from the slaves' point of view. 

The slave ship Amistad set sail from Havana on July 2, 1839. Within days, the 53 Africans being held captive below deck took control of the ship, setting themselves on a new course: freedom. Unlike previous accounts [more below]
Saturday 12 Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom by Marcus Rediker (Nov 8, 2012)
Saturday 12 Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom by Marcus Rediker (Nov 8, 2012)
Saturday 12 Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom by Marcus Rediker (Nov 8, 2012)
. . . The slave ship Amistad set sail from Havana on July 2, 1839. Within days, the 53 Africans being held captive below deck took control of the ship, setting themselves on a new course: freedom. Unlike previous accounts of this slave rebellion that have focused primarily on the Supreme Court case, Rediker's book returns the slaves to the center of their own story. Utilizing sources unique to this event, the author reconstructs their plight, their courage, their humanity, and their backgrounds not just as captives, but as people. 
Rediker has written, co-written, or edited seven books, and his award-winning book The Slave Ship was called "masterly" by The New York Times Book Review and "searingly brilliant" by The Los Angeles Times.      From Mystic Seaport, Connecticut.
 
Hour Two
Saturday 12 Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  . A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico by Amy S. Greenberg (Nov 6, 2012)   A condensed new study of the Mexican-American war portrays America’s terrible loss of innocence.  Waging war against an unoffending neighbor changed the tenor of American politics in the mid-19th century, created a new crop of military leaders, and aroused a deep anti-government suspicion among American citizens, writes Greenberg (History and Women’s Studies/Penn St. Univ.; Manifest Destiny and American Territorial Expansion: A Brief History with Documents, 2011, etc.). The rebellion of Texas from Mexican rule created a clamor for annexation, taken up first by President John Tyler in advance of congressional approval. The author focuses mainly on five individuals whose destinies [more below]
 
Saturday 12 Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  . A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico by Amy S. Greenberg (Nov 6, 2012)
Saturday 12 Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  . A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico by Amy S. Greenberg (Nov 6, 2012)
Saturday 12 Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico by Amy S. Greenberg (Nov 6, 2012)
. . . The rebellion of Texas from Mexican rule created a clamor for annexation, taken up first by President John Tyler in advance of congressional approval. The author focuses mainly on five individuals whose destinies were intimately tied up in the war with Mexico. Former Speaker of the House Henry Clay was morally opposed to annexation and lost his bid for the presidency in 1844 to James Polk, who used the expansionist frenzy to win political advantage, becoming the key advocate of Texas and California annexation. In the wake of Clay’s eloquent speech in Lexington, Ky., in 1847, denouncing the aggressive war against Mexico, Illinois congressman and fervent Clay admirer Abraham Lincoln distinguished himself in Congress with his own stirring emotional condemnation of the president’s evasive tactics. Two other lesser-known figures appear prominently: Illinois patriot and Lincoln’s Whig Party rival John Hardin represented the typical zealous volunteer to the Mexican conflict, grown quickly disillusioned by the senseless violence, while State Department clerk Nicholas Trist was secretly dispatched to Mexico by Polk to make a treaty advantageous to the U.S.—though Trist harbored great ambivalence.  A well-rendered, muscular history of a war whose ramifications are still being carefully calibrated. Kirkus Review
 
Hour Three
Saturday 12 Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo--and the Sacrifice That Forged a Nation by Jim Donovan (May 15, 2012)  In his page-turning newest, Donavan (Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn—the Last Great Battle of the American West) brings the famed Battle of the Alamo and its dynamic cast of belligerents to life. Readers are introduced to the brusquely self-assured Lieutenant Colonel William Barret Travis, the levelheaded Stephen Fuller Austin, the legendary fighter James Bowie, and the Honorable David Crockett—an "amiable cuss." Drawing on plenty of research and [more below]
Saturday 12 Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  . The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo--and the Sacrifice That Forged a Nation by Jim Donovan (May 15, 2012)
Saturday 12 Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  . The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo--and the Sacrifice That Forged a Nation by Jim Donovan (May 15, 2012)
Saturday 12 Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo--and the Sacrifice That Forged a Nation by Jim Donovan (May 15, 2012)
. . . Drawing on plenty of research and primary sources from both sides of the conflict, Donovan breathlessly recreates the thirteen-day skirmish between the roughly 200 men under Travis, and the nearly 2,000-strong army fighting for the Mexican president, Santa Anna, "The Napoleon of the West." In addition to the action-packed account of the combat, the author situates the struggle within a broader narrative of Texan and American history, explaining how the valiant efforts of the men at the Alamo provided Sam Houston, the mastermind behind Texan independence from Mexico, with enough time to prepare for Santa Anna's attacks. Were it not for the resolve of Travis and his men—summed up in the fabled cry, "Remember the Alamo!"—the Republic of Texas might have never come into existence.  Photos & maps.
Hour Four
Saturday 12 Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  An American Betrayal: Cherokee Patriots and the Trail of Tears by Daniel Blake Smith (Nov 8, 2011) The opening pages of this powerful, haunting book tell of the assassinations of three Cherokee statesmen in Tahlequah, Indian Territory, on June 22, 1839. The victims had been denounced as traitors for defending the treaty by which the Cherokee Nation gave up its ancestral lands and submitted to “removal” to a place later called Oklahoma.
The title and subtitle of the book are laden with bitter irony as is the entire saga of the Trail of Tears. The murdered Cherokee leaders considered themselves patriots, as did the Cherokee assassins. But in truth the real treachery did not occur among the Cherokees. The Trail of Tears was a true American betrayal, the exclusive property of the federal government and its politicians.
The forced emigration of the Cherokees and other tribes of the southeastern states had its source in the simple land greed propelled by George Washington’s declaration in 1789 that Indian lands were fundamentally up for grabs. The president wanted his “red citizens” to be “civilized,” to raise crops and livestock and to [continued below]
 
Saturday 12 Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  An American Betrayal: Cherokee Patriots and the Trail of Tears by Daniel Blake Smith (Nov 8, 2011)
Saturday 12 Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  An American Betrayal: Cherokee Patriots and the Trail of Tears by Daniel Blake Smith (Nov 8, 2011)
Saturday 12 Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   An American Betrayal: Cherokee Patriots and the Trail of Tears by Daniel Blake Smith (Nov 8, 2011)
. . . The president wanted his “red citizens” to be “civilized,” to raise crops and livestock and to abandon their hunting grounds. Beneath this lofty-sounding ambition lay an ugly truth: that Indian lands were coveted by monied white men, both in government and out.
Paradoxically, of all the Indian people affected by the uprooting scheme, the Cherokees were the very model of acculturation. By the 1820s, they had become economically self-sufficient, trading in produce, cotton and livestock throughout the South; they had a written language, their own national newspaper and a constitution based on the U.S. model. (The Cherokees, together with the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole people, having adapted in varying degrees to white American life, were known as the “five civilized tribes.”)
The author writes with clarity of the tangled political climate of the Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren presidencies that implemented the removal treaty, and of the Cherokee leaders and their clashing ideas on the future of their people. These leaders included certain “Treaty Party” members who believed the emigration represented a fresh start in a new place, necessary to save the Cherokees from extinction, and among them were a past member of the National Tribal Council, a former adviser to the primary chief John Ross and the founding editor of the Cherokee Phoenix national newspaper.
These were the three men assassinated at Tahlequah in 1839 by their Cherokee compatriots, the killings creating what the author describes as “a violent coda in the haunting and powerful story of heartbreak and loss, conflict and controversy that is the Trail of Tears.”
Daniel Blake Smith’s depiction of that perfectly named 1836-39 journey from homelands in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, to what is now northeastern Oklahoma, is a narrative masterpiece: movingly written, infinitely sad, memorable throughout. The journey, an average of about 800 miles, was made by river barge, horseback, wagon and afoot, mostly the latter, attended by every species of human misery: suffocating heat, choking dust, fatigue, exposure, filth, disease — cholera, smallpox, dysentery, measles, whooping cough, malaria — and the evils of lurking whiskey peddlers and brutally crooked traders. Of the estimated 4,000 Cherokees who died as a result of the relocation, about 1,600 died on the trail, the others in internment camps and depots en route.
The Trail of Tears was “a devastating commentary not only on white greed and power but also on the increasing racialized world of Jacksonian America,” the author concludes in this splendid re-creation of it and the awful circumstances that made it inevitable.
Dale L. Walker of El Paso is author of many historical books. books@dallasnews.com  Dallas Morning News
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