Archives: history

Wilhelmine, Frederick, and Anna Amalia: Despite a cruel father, some beautiful music from the kids

December 4, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: history, journalism.

The year 1740 was a red-letter year for the Hohenzollern kids. It was the year their father, King Frederick William I of Prussia, died. His death, far from provoking mourning, was an occasion of unremitting rejoicing among his many children, especially Wilhelmine, Frederick, and Anna Amalia. The king was a vicious and cruel, almost beyond • Read More »

The talented Hohenzollern kids, anti-Napoleon intelligence, and the return of the Devil’s Dictionary: newsletter, December 3, 2021

December 3, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, history, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,290) on Friday, December 3, 2021. About 15 years ago, the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, (yes, the same burb of the swing song that begins, “Pardon me, boys, is this the . . .”), went on a tree-cutting binge. Years before, the city had planted • Read More »

Anne Bronte, humility, Benjamin Spock, and reader reaction: newsletter, November 26, 2021

November 26, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, history, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,290) on Friday, November 26, 2021. Thanksgiving Day, I think, is the best of all holidays. It can be religious or secular or a lot of both. It comes close to the end of the year but not so close that we are making “best • Read More »

George III, under-rated and unfairly maligned: so says his biographer

November 23, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: history, journalism.

From the Declaration of Independence to the musical Hamilton, George III has been kicked around for the last two and a half centuries. Now he has a new defender: historian Andrew Roberts, biographer of Winston Churchill and Napoleon and author of the recently published The Last King of America: The Misunderstood Reign of George III. Roberts • Read More »

Bernard Cornwell, James Whitcomb Riley, and eulogy virtues: newsletter, November 19, 2021

November 19, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, history, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,290) on Friday, November 19, 2021. The idea of individual freedom lies at the heart of America, and it was the main motivation for those devoted to “The Cause” that became the war for independence from Great Britain. It wasn’t about taxes or representation. It • Read More »

Vietnam Voices volume 3 is now available

November 19, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, journalism.

Vietnam Voices, the project of the Blount County Public Library with which I am associated, now has its third volume of interviews in both print and ebook form. Vietnam Voices: Stories of Tennesseans Who Served in Vietnam, 1965-1975 (volume 3) is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook formats and on Barnes and Noble in • Read More »

Susanna Centlivre, literary football, country music, and reader reaction: newsletter, November 12, 2021

November 12, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,290) on Friday, November 12, 2021. Growing up in Nashville in the 1950s and 1960s, we were certainly aware of country music and the Grand Ole Opry, but our focus as teenagers was on rock ’n roll. None of the people I knew realized just • Read More »

Mastering the heroic couplet, more on Baroque composers, and Frederick Taylor Gates: newsletter, October 29, 2021

October 30, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,290) on Friday, October 29, 2021. Fifty. 50 percent.  Is that a lot or a little? Whenever I encounter a number or statistic, I am reminded of what I read years ago in a book on graphics by Edward Tufte, a guru of graphic presentation • Read More »

Baroque composers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Eleanor Roosevelt, and yet another bandsaw box: newsletter, Oct. 15, 2021

October 16, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, Voting, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,290) on Friday, October 15, 2021. If you grew up in the American South in the 1950s and 1960s and paid attention to the news (here, guilty on all counts), you would have heard the name of Fannie Lou Hamer, a Mississippi woman who upset • Read More »

Meeting St. Louis, the spy and the dirty diaper, banned books, and bandsaw boxes: newsletter, October 8, 2021

October 9, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,272) on Friday, October 8, 2021. Audiobooks—are they really “books”? If you listen to an audiobook, does that count as reading one? Those questions came to mind as I read an email this week from a good friend and newsletter reader. She was responding to • Read More »

Music, courage, treachery, and the spark for modern genealogy research: newsletter, August 27, 2021

August 29, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,290) on Friday, August 27, 2021. One of the great mysteries of our lives—one that in some sense I hope we do not “solve” is the effect that music has on our intellect, our emotions, and our general well-being. No one that I know of • Read More »

The soldier poet, the woman who helped make the Revolutionary War, and ideas for writers: newsletter, August 6, 2021

August 8, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,313) on Friday, August 6, 2021. Writers are often asked where they get their ideas on what to write about. Fiction writers probably field this question more than non-fiction writers, but the question seems to be universally on the minds of readers. Many writers like • Read More »

The second generation of American leaders: Clay, Calhoun, and Webster

August 2, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, journalism, writers, writing.

Here is something odd and overlooked about the history of the American republic. The second generation of leaders―with one notable exception―is completely devoid of any close relatives, mainly sons, of the people we consider the Founding Fathers. None of the relatives of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, or almost any others that • Read More »

The generation after independence, the Irish, and the memories of Midnight Cowboy: newsletter, July 30, 2021

August 2, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,301) on Friday, July 30, 2021. July could rightly be called Independence Month. Not only do Americans and the French celebrate their nations’ birthdays during this time, but the Irish, too, have reason to celebrate ―although few of them do. It was on July 21, • Read More »

Celebrating the French – for their revolution and ours: newsletter, July 23, 2021

July 24, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,302) on Friday, July 23, 2021. Americans, possibly because they are exhausted from their own July the Fourth celebrations, pay relatively little attention to Bastille Day, July 14. They should give it more recognition than they do if for no other reason than to honor • Read More »

Edward Gibbon: giving voice to the Enlightenment view of history (part 1)

July 22, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, journalism, writers, writing.

As a 27-year-old with scholarly ambitions and wondering what to do with his life, Edward Gibbon visited Rome on his grand tour of Europe and was struck by what he saw. The magnificent ruins seared an image and an idea into his brain. Rome had once been the most powerful political entity on earth. Now • Read More »

The ‘Specials’ at Gettysburg, more from Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, and a little learning wherever we can: newsletter, July 16, 2021

July 18, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, Civil War, history, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,303) on Friday, July 16, 2021.   This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,313) on Friday, July 16, 2021. More and more, the sentiment showing in mainstream news outlets is that online learning during our year of Covid was a bust • Read More »