Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I have had a subscription to American Heritage for years. Sometimes it's kind of annoying (too many articles about wars, few or no women writers), and the number of issues seems to shrink each year. The latest issue is the Summer one, and there are two interesting articles in it (link above).
The first is a history of baseball ("Play Ball!" by Harry Katz) that traces its origins back to 1787 and the publication of A Pretty Little Pocket Book (a reprint of a British book), which has a poem and an engraving about base-ball. That's way before Abner Doubleday, isn't it?
The second is an article about Herbert Hoover, "The Wrong Man at the Wrong Time" by William E. Leuchtenburg, which covers his presidency and defeat by Franklin Roosevelt. The parallels between the severity of that financial crisis and the current one are pretty chilling. I grew up in Cleveland, and I knew from asking my mother and grandmother something about the great depression. What I didn't realize was that in 1932, the year my mother was born, the unemployment rate in Cleveland was 50%. In Toledo, it was 80%. It's difficult to imagine, isn't it? So things still aren't as bad as they might be.