Book Source – Recent History (Mine!)

I just recognized an important category of books for me! These are books about the “history” of my lifetime.

Insight: Just because I lived through something, that doesn’t mean I understand it in any depth. Yes, I may have memories, but they are fragmentary and I should be careful of using them as a basis for conclusions. I was a child in the fifties, a teenager and college student in the sixties, etc.

This insight was triggered by reading Hellhound on His Trail by Hampton Sides, about the manhunt for James Earl Ray, who murdered Martin Luther King in 1968. I’ll post a review shortly, with some comments on my (personal) memories of that terrible event.

Here are some reviews in this blog that cover history I “experienced” first hand:

  • “The Eve of Destruction – How 1965 Transformed America” by James Peterson. Blog post dated June 3, 2013. Current commentators treat the sixties as some kind of joke! But serious things happened.
  • The John F Kennedy Presidential Museum and Library, in which I saw the exhibit on the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, an event that scared me half to death. Blog post dated January 1, 2014
  • “War Journal – My Five Years in Iraq” by Richard Engel and “Where Men Win Glory” by Jon Krakauer (posts dated November 15 and November 21, 2013). I’m trying to understand the wars we have been (and are) fighting in the Middle East.

Now that I’ve recognized this need, I will be watching for books that explain the world I lived in, and which (for better or worse) I leave to my children.


2 thoughts on “Book Source – Recent History (Mine!)

  1. I recently read a book about Watergate. Where does that rank among the events of your history? I suppose reading about the fall of communism is reading my history, but it sure seems strange. Maybe I feel like more recent events I don’t need or particularly want to understand in more depth; I have to wonder how long that inclination will last.

    1. My clearest Watergate memory is of August 9, 1974, the day Richard Nixon resigned the Presidency! I worked for the state of Pennsylvania in a six person office in the “city” of York. One of my colleagues, ND, was an immigrant from India, back when India only exported doctors and engineers. (That’s how it seemed.) Ours was a very focused office, we worked conscientiously indeed. But that day, we just gave it up, and gathered around the radio. We tried to explain impeachment and resignation and the succession to the presidency, but I think ND expected armed insurrection and civil disorder. Like most of the country, we were stunned by Nixon’s departure. But we knew that Washington was safe and the government would carry on.

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