This is not a review. I have the DuBois/American Prophet review & interview to give yet another polish; the Buckell Collection to tackle; the Dossouye piece to un-spoiler; completion of the long delayed attempt to get the Tiptree bio out of Fragment and into Coherent; a two-parter about CCI 2008 involving data crunching; the Max Brooks comic adaptation; the South Dakota Forgotten Lives piece to nudge out of bullet points; and of course the new Cthulhu movie to warn you away from.*** I would like to get all of these things down sometime between now and the end of the year so that next year I can launch the Thing that had to be delayed due to the sort of scheduling problems common to anyone on the planet with not enough time in the day.
This entry is a way to bring Ward's book to your attention without having to make the effort of reviewing it. It's better this way!
Andrew Ward's new book, which much like the Blum book on DuBois was devoured within 16 hours of arrival at BGF Central,is called The Slaves' War. I have mentioned his work in passing most recently somewhere in the Golli series. He's the author of the most excellent Dark Midnight When I Rise, about the Fisk singers, and of Our Bones Are Scattered, which examines an incident during the 1857 revolt in India and the jaw-dropping brutal retribution by the British. (I have not yet read run River Run Red.) Though on one hand he's in the school of There's No Such Thing As A Detail That Can't Be Included No Really I Can Get That In I'm Sure, on the other I love that sort of approach, and he pulls it off in a way that is compelling. For all the data that he front-loads into his works, never does he forget that humanity and storytelling are the foundation, even when dealing with the dusty, forgotten factoids of history.
Anywho, the new one came out two months ago. For the related book tour he gathered a gospel singer and some griots, introduced them, then sat down while they did the reading. When they were done he got back up to handle the q&a.
That. Is. BRILLIANT. Even better? It was filmed!
Because of the way the C-SPAN family of websites handles the bulk of its videos, I can't embed or directly link. So to see this reading done at a museum in Seattle, follow these instructions:
For some reason, on my system anyway, the video only works with Real One player. So if you don't have it go download the free version.
During the q/a there is a brief, fascinating bit with him talking about how he handled the use of "nigger" in the new book. One thing I like about the book is that he talks about why the WPA slave narratives cannot be fully trusted, valuable resource though they may be, which is something not generally talked about and frankly never occured to me until a graduate student broke it all down for me many many years ago, resulting in a rewiring of my brain/wider awareness & evolution as far as this type of material is concerned. Still grateful for that talk, let me tell you. Interesting tidbit about that? He was from Ghana.
*** That's probably going to be first because movies are easier.
Update! The new Largo is the old Coronet, a.k.a. the place where we locals get to see Eddie Izzard workshop new material for dirt cheap, if a bit late at night, and also occasionally do improv with the Groundlings. I haven't been there since the changeover, but I can't imagine they've done anything to the space to hurt it. It's a good space to see a spoken show, with great sight lines and sound.
I should probably round up all Izzard posts in their own category, now that I think about it. There's a lot of housekeeping that needs to be done around here. Don't think I mentioned going to see him at the Kodak? Like attending the Ricky Jay thing, that also came about as a result of a Last Minute Miracle.
All I said to the everythingisdeadlyseriousallthetime - hereby shortened to Politico - was this:
"'Let the Sun Shine In' was, perhaps, not the best of choices to close Al Gore'sspeech, huh?"
And then I got yelled at for setting him off.
Okay, truthfully I got yelled at for getting everyone else to agree with me and giggling about the Truth of it. When Politico (the only person in the room *not* giggling over the Truth of this observation) got progressively more upset over our Inability To Take Anything Seriously - direct quote !!! you can't laugh at global warming !!! - sent the room into hysterics, somehow the whole thing became My Fault.
He'll be fine. He's sitting in the back room on time out with the cat and a giant glass of one of my special rum & lambic cocktails.
Only now does it hit me that I should have registered this as a house party, but the whole thing came about by accident about 1.5 hours before Speech time.
For reasons unclear to me C-SPAN doesn't have the entire roll call up, just the ending. As the sort of person who finds the technicals of this sort of thing interesting, would happily watch a few hours of the entire roll call. Kinda enjoy the ritual, which is why I mostly disapprove of them cutting it off early. Let New York go last. Is that so hard?
As soon as/if C-SPAN gets around to uploading the entire roll call, I'll swap out. I <heart>
C-SPAN because it is pure & uncluttered with annoying talking heads, and when I got rid of cable years ago I missed it terribly. Yay high-speed! And when passing the time waiting for the high-speed outlets to upload, yay Jim Lehrer!
Love the part where American Samoa does it in Samoan. To borrow a fave phrase from The Departed, 'greetings to the territories'!
For those whose hobbies don't include understanding why California passed, explainer.