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Notes from the Labyrinth
Unobtainium and Dragons' Bones
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20th-Nov-2016 06:11 am - UBC: Thomsen, Ghost Towns
writing: glass cat
Ghost Towns: Lost Cities of the Old WestGhost Towns: Lost Cities of the Old West by Clint Thomsen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


This is a well-designed and attractive little book, with fascinating subject-matter, breath-taking photographs (Bannack, Montana, and Rhyolite, Nevada, are especially stunning), and terrible text. It reads like a Freshman Composition paper, and not a very good one, with sweeping overgeneralizations, no understanding of what constitutes meaningful evidence, and a raging case of thesaurusitis, like saying that Deadwood, South Dakota, is "brusquely named" or (reprehensibly) my favorite, that Calico, California, was founded "the year after Bodie's population climaxed" (38). There are other problems, like the mysterious absence of Native Americans from his presentation of the American frontier, but you won't be surprised when you reach them.

So, photographs five stars, and if--as I did--you find the book for cheap, worth it. Text, one star.



View all my reviews
writing: glass cat
Slotkin, Richard. Regeneration through Violence. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press-University Press of New England, 1973.

Chapter 2: Cannibals and Christians: European vs. American Indian Culture
In Europe all men were under authority; in America all men dreamed they had the power to become authority.Collapse )
writing: glass cat
Slotkin, Richard. Regeneration through Violence. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press-University Press of New England, 1973.

Chapter 1: Myth and Literature in a New World
myths reach out of the past to cripple, incapacitate, or strike down the livingCollapse )
11th-Nov-2016 07:38 am - The Richard Slotkin Reading Club
cm: sr-damsel1
So here's the deal. I have managed to find all three books of Richard Slotkin's trilogy about the mythology of the frontier in America, Regeneration through Violence, The Fatal Environment, and Gunfighter Nation. These are fat books, an easy 600 pages a piece, and they are academically dense in their language, the sort of books where if you assigned one for a class, you'd space the response assignments out over the whole semester because nobody can just sit down and read the damn thing cover to cover. Your brain would fall out.

Since I want to read these books, what I'm going to do is treat them kind of as if I were reading them for a class: read a chapter, write a commentary, read something else, then come back, read another chapter, write another commentary. The Richard Slotkin Reading Club, membership 1.

I will tag and label these posts (which I am writing essentially for myself) so that they can be avoided by the sensible. But you're certainly free to read them if you want to.
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