THE FAILURE OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS: Jefferson, Marshall, and the Rise of Presidential Democracy.
NEW copy, hardcover with dust jacket.
(Cambridge: Harvard University Press: 2005). Documents,
extensive notes, index, 384 pages.
From Publishers Weekly: "Focusing on the electoral crisis of
1801, Yale constitutional scholar Ackerman advances a bold new
interpretation of early American history. The election is noted for the
electoral tie between two Republicans, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr.
Jefferson won, of course, but Ackerman's focus is less on the tie than
on the sound Republican thrashing of Federalist John Adams. The fracas,
he says, revealed a serious flaw in the framework for presidential
elections: it couldn't easily accommodate party politics, which the
framers had abhorred. The tempestuous jockeying of 1801, the author
says, 'marks the birth-agony of the plebiscitarian presidency' -- that is,
having soundly defeated the Federalists, a president claimed for the
first time that the people had given him a mandate for broad change.
In sketching the consequences of Jefferson's ascendance, Ackerman also
rereads the history of the Supreme Court, suggesting that scholars have
erred in abstracting the famed Marbury v. Madison decision from the
larger political context, i.e., Federalist Chief Justice John Marshall
used judicial review to try to limit Jefferson's mandate. Ackerman
innovatively recasts the histories of parties, constitutional
interpretation and presidential politics. This is not an easy
read -- indeed, it's quite dense at times, and the argument is complex --
but the payoff is worth it. Rarely has a study of American history been
THE SUN, THE RAIN, AND THE APPLE SEED: A Novel of Johnny Appleseed's Life.
NEW copy, hardcover with dust jacket. (FICTION: ages 10 to 14).
(Houghton Mifflin Company). Bibliography, afterword. 208 pages
~~~ From Publishers WeeklyDurrant's
(The Beaded Moccasins:
The Story of Mary Campbell) well-crafted
fictional account of Johnny Appleseed's life reads
like an adventure tale. "One for doubt under the hoe,
/ One to sprout, and one to grow." Johnny's father
might have been a drunk ("Nathaniel Chapman's very
soul stank of applejack") and an army deserter, but
with this homily he plants a seed of inspiration in
his son, who lights out for the wilderness to start
apple orchards for pioneers. As he crisscrosses the
Midwest, "Johnny Appleseed's" fervor about his
mission and his ascetic lifestyle (he owns only the
clothes upon his back, a saucepan that doubles as a
hat and cornmeal, and his seeds and a Bible given to
him as gifts) quickly makes him the stuff of legend.
"You're all the talk of the Ohio, upstream and down,"
says a settler near Cincinnati. Though his mystical
religious beliefs (he considered himself betrothed
to a pair of stars he called "spirit-wives") make
some folks nervous, they're won over by his
sincerity and bravery (during the War of 1812, he
ran for three days and nights to warn settlers of
impending native attacks). Durrant weaves history
and politics into her chronicle of Appleseed's
colorful life, along with generous helpings of
suspense, including a run-in with bears when Johnny
inadvertently tries to share their hollow log.
Lively, homespun descriptions ("Whenever he tried
to reason it out, his brain would get as muddled as
a corn-and-cranberry pudding") and an informative
afterword round out
Steven Kellogg (illustrated by author),
JOHNNY APPLESEED: A Tall Tale.
NEW copy, hardcover with dust jacket. (FICTION: ages 10 to 14).
(Harper Collins). Bibliography, afterword. 208 pages
~~~ From Publishers Weekly: Johnny
Appleseed (his real last name was Chapman) is
reintroduced in this succinct rendition of the life
of a beloved American folk hero, from his birth
in Massachusetts in 1774 to his death in Indiana in
1845. Kellogg chronicles Johnny's travels throughout
the land, his legendary scattering of appleseeds
(originally culled from the orchards he frequented as
a child) and his storytelling of Bible and adventure
stories to the children and adults he meets along the
way, which were embroidered as they were passed
along by word-of-mouth). Kellogg's illustrations
illuminate a man that all schoolchildren
know, in a polished blend of fact and fiction. All
JOHNNY APPLESEED: The Man, the Myth, the American Story.
NEW copy, hardcover with dust jacket. (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2011).
Illustrations, notes, bibliography, index, 336 pages.
~~~ This portrait of Johnny Appleseed restores the flesh-and-blood man beneath the many myths. It captures the boldness of an iconic American life and the sadness of his last years, as the frontier marched past him, ever westward. And it shows how death liberated the legend and made of Johnny a barometer of the nation’s feelings about its own heroic past and the supposed Eden it once had been. It is a book that does for America’s inner frontier what Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage did for its western one. No American folk hero—not Davy Crockett, not even Daniel Boone—is better known than Johnny Appleseed, and none has become more trapped in his own legends. The fact is, John Chapman—the historical Johnny Appleseed—might well be the best-known figure from our national past about whom most people know almost nothing real at all. One early historian called Chapman “the oddest character in all our history,” and not without cause. Chapman was an animal whisperer, a vegetarian in a raw country where it was far easier to kill game than grow a crop, a pacifist in a place ruled by gun, knife, and fist. Some settlers considered Chapman a New World saint. Others thought he had been kicked in the head by a horse. And yet he was welcomed almost everywhere, and stories about him floated from cabin to cabin, village to village, just as he did. As eccentric as he was, John Chapman was also very much a man of his times.
Brigham, David R.,
PUBLIC CULTURE IN THE EARLY REPUBLIC:
Peale's Museum and its Audience.
NEW copy. Hardcover with dust jacket. (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995).
40 illustrations distributed throughout text, notes, appendices, bibliography,
index, 218 pages. 8" x 10".
~~~ When Charles Willson Peale redesigned his personal painting
gallery in 1786 to include a “repository for Natural Curiosities,” one of America’s first museums of
art & science was born. Tracing the development of Peale’s Philadelphia Museum as an educational
institution, as a business, & as a form of entertainment, Brigham shows how this “world in miniature”
helped define the terms of participation in early national cultural institutions. Examines the museum’s
place in early American cultural life from the perspective of patrons & donors & by analyzing Peale’s
promotional efforts toward specific segments of the population, and its goal of establishing a
universally educated public.
~~~ "His examination of both its projected and historical
audience makes an important and exciting critical move." (Chandos Michael Brown,
College of William & Mary).
~~~ OUT OF PRINT.
~~~~ SCARCE ~~~~
Cole, Donald B. & John J. McDonough (eds).
WITNESS TO THE YOUNG REPUBLIC: A YANKEE'S JOURNAL, 1828-1870: BENJAMIN BROWN
University Press of New England, 1990. NEW copy. First Edition. Maps,
genealogies, appendix, notes, index, 675 pages. Previously accessible only in
the original 11-volume journal at the Library of Congress, French's diary is a
splendid example of a 19th-century ``insider's account.'' Witnessing events in
the nation's capital from 1833 to 1870, French was acquainted personally with
every president from John Quincy Adams to Ulysses Grant. As a diarist, French
is superb; his writing style is not only clear and lucid but, with a flair for
the dramatic and the gossipy, entertaining as well. Personal accounts abound of
Jackson, Webster, and Douglas, and French, who observed Lincoln on a regular
basis, was present at the Gettysburg Address and in the room as Lincoln lay
dying; afterwards, he was in charge of the President's funeral arrangements.
The editors have culled about a third of the original 4000 pages, selecting
those passages that best depict the personalities, manners, and events of
French's time. An interesting account of the great men and events of an
important period (Library Journal). Currently in print at $60.