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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Historical Reading List for Grown-Ups

The historical songs on Freedom in a Box are the result of many years of obsessively reading biographies and other histories, visiting museums and historical sites, searching the web for new info, watching PBS, and walking around New York and other cities reading signs and talking to people who also love the past as much as I do. Below is a brief list of some books I'd recommend if you'd like to find out more about the characters we sing about on the album. See also the posts titled "Historical Places to Visit" and "Websites We Like."
- Ulysses S. Dee

Books (organized by song):

"Henry Box Brown"
Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown - Henry Box Brown

"Teddy Days"
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt - Edmund Morris
Theodore Rex - Edmund Morris
Empire - Gore Vidal

"Aaron Burr"
Burr - Gore Vidal
Founding Brothers - Joseph Ellis

"Underground Railroad"
John Brown, Abolitionist - David S. Reynolds

Mr. Catton's trilogy about the Army of the Potomac introduced me to Baldy and I'd recommend reading the whole thing if you, like Baldy, enjoy stories of "battles and bullets and gettin' shot." What sets his books apart, though, is his re-creation of the daily life of soldiers: the food they ate, the songs they sang, the horrible clothes shoes they wore, all of it.
Mr. Lincoln's Army - Bruce Catton
Glory Road - Bruce Catton
A Stillness at Appomattox - Bruce Catton