Monday, May 20, 2013

Mini-Reviews: Final Class Reads of Freshman Year

Doing Oral History by Donald A. Ritchie (2003)
read for The History Sleuth
This is a little bit outdated in terms of the technology discussed, but otherwise it's an excellent introduction to the ins and outs of planning, completing, and using oral history projects. Occasionally some of the information repeated in the Q&A format, but this was overall very concise, readable, and helpful - a fantastic resource.

Midnight at the Barrelhouse: The Johnny Otis Story by George Lipsitz (2010)
read for The History Sleuth
I'm not that interested in the history of 20th century music, so at times I was a bit bored by this. While there's a great deal of good information contained in the book, outlining Otis's contributions to black music and history, its presentation was almost hagiographical. I was a little annoyed by Lipsitz's value judgments on music and way of portraying Otis in a better light than basically all the other musicians mentioned.

Retelling U.S. Religious History ed. by Thomas A. Tweed (1997)
read for American Religion on the Margins
I tend to enjoy revisionist histories because, if nothing else, they allow one to reconsider history and examine it from new and interesting angles. The essays collected in this volume were hit-and-miss with me. The first half of the book seemed like it would have been better if the authors had gone straight ahead to rewriting history books rather than writing about rewriting them, while I found the essays in the second half much more fascinating, thought-provoking, and worthwhile.

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