Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Looking Back

A few weeks ago, someone asked me just how much I read. I couldn't answer. I probably read 25-30 books last year, but I honestly can't say for certain. So my plan is to write a paragraph or two about everything I read this year and see just how far I get. I already posted one review, and here's the second.

I'm shamefully ignorant of Missouri and St. Louis history. I know quite a bit about US and world history, but Missouri & St. Louis? Little, if any. This is not something I'm proud of. St. Louis has a long and distinguished history as French and Spanish traders settled a small outpost just below the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

Which led me to A History of Missouri: 1673 to 1820 by William E. Parrish. It's the first in a series regarding the region's history. I found this to be fairly interesting, especially in the early settlement period, where names such as the Chouteau, Christy, and Rosati frequently came up.

I'm not going to call this a particularly engrossing book, however. Parrish's writing style is very dry and factual. There's not a lot of side stories or deep looks into the characters of the early settlers of the region, but that's not the purpose of the book or the series. As a survey of Missouri history, it was very informative and a quick 200 pages, which made it nice to read as I recovered from the flu last week.

I'll probably pick up the next book in the series sometime this spring, but I have plenty to occupy my time between now and then.


Gregg said...

Like you, I feel pretty much in the dark about St. Louis History. I did take an honors college course on Missouri History, though I don't think it stuck!

Anyhow, two St. Louis History books I have on my shelf, but haven't read, yet are "Catfish and Crystal" by Ernest Kirschten (out of print) and "Henry Shaw - His Life and Legacie" by William Barnaby Faherty, S.J.

I also ran into an interesting book of St. Louis stories in the main City Library downtown called "Under the Arch: St. Louis Stories" by Paul Thief, and another book, "George Caleb Bingham: Missouri's Famed Painter and Forgotten Politician (Missouri Heritage Readers)" by Paul Nagel.

These last two are still on my Amazon wish list - I haven't actually purchased them, or read them yet.

BTW, It seems we have at least some similar interests judging from the software books you have listed, and until I stumbled on your blog, I didn't realize Rush was releasing a CD of their last tour. This is welcome news!

Brian said...

Thanks for the comment, Gregg. I'll definitely look for the books you suggested. I have another one from the library about the Chouteau brothers I'm hoping to start soon.

Dina said...

My source for St Louis History has been pretyy this website: http://www.stlouistimeportal.org

This website was created by Scott K. Williams, Florissant, Missouri.

Brian said...

Thanks Dina, (and thank you for the comments) - I'll definitely check the website out.