I finished reading Volume 1 of Nevins on the Civil War yesterday morning. I’m going to go on to Shelby Foote instead of diving into the Brothers Karamazov; I am just not mentally prepared for the Russians right now. After The Vegetarian, I think I need time to scab over.
Nevins has some drawbacks, but this particular edition’s from 1971, so I can forgive a few quibbles and inconsistencies. With both him and Foote, I am struck by the overwhelming sausage-fest-ness. It’s as if women didn’t matter unless they were married to a great man. I feel sorry for Mary Todd, she really had a hard time of it. That marriage can’t have been less than OMG stressful once Lincoln was elected. Even if you were built to handle stress, that would have been Too Damn Much. The real wonder is that she bore with it as well as she did.
I find myself reading and wondering what the other half of the population was doing, thinking, feeling, during the events described. The number’s probably three-quarters if you count the enslaved–I had never realized before how much even people in the North wanted to wriggle away from the the fact of enslavement. Current events are, of course, just another unfolding of that horrid legacy, and there are still asshats trying to deny it ever happened, and trying to deny that racism is still institutionalized in America.
*shakes head* You can tell what I think of that.
It’s turned cloudy and damp after a couple too-warm days, and I’m grateful. Revisions on Cormorant Run continue apace, with new scenes and expanded passages. Considering the speed with which that book tore itself out of my head, and the fury and havoc it wreaked on its way out, I’m pleased to find it doesn’t completely suck. It’s lean and tight, yes, and needs the brushstrokes filled in, but all in all, it holds up reasonably well in revision.
Sometimes, that’s all one can ask for.
Over and out.