Michael Morpurgo’s fictional story “War Horse” has gone from a beloved children's book to successful stage production to bestselling Hollywood movie directed by Steven Spielberg. But who were the real war horses of America?
It was 100 years ago this month that Roald Amundsen, the Norwegian explorer, reached the South Pole. For the first time, two expeditions were making attempts to get there in the same summer season. Amundsen had been a member of an earlier expedition to Antarctica and had led expeditions in the Arctic. Robert F. Scott had led an earlier British expedition to Antarctica, and he was back to make another attempt to reach the pole. Their expeditions and their leadership styles continue to fascinate us.
[Sixty years after publication of Jack Kerouac’s influential novel of the Beat Generation, On the Road has been adapted for film. Produced by Francis Ford Coppola and directed by Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries), the long-awaited film, scheduled to open late this year, stars Sam Riley as Kerouac’s alter ego Sal Paradise, Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty (Neal Cassady) and Kristen Stewart as Marylou (LuAnne Henderson, Cassady’s first wife). Kirsten Dunst plays Camille, the real-life Carolyn Robinson who married Cassady in 1948. The conversation below between Carolyn Cassady and NewsBank’s David Whittaker first appeared in the February 2011 issue of The Readex Report.]
When reading accounts of the tragic conflict between whites and Native Americans, such as Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, one cannot help but wonder why the Indians did not see the whites as a common enemy and band together for their common safety and survival. Unfortunately for them, ancient tribal enmities seemed to erect insurmountable barriers. So it was that in one of the earliest “Indian wars,” the Mohegan and Pequot tribes helped the English colonists defeat the Narragansett and Wampanoag tribes in 1675-76. Arikara and Crow scouts helped Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer find Sitting Bull’s Arapaho, Cheyenne and Lakota village at the Little Bighorn in 1876. Chiricahua scouts helped General George Crook wage war against the Apache in 1882.
However, in this sorrowful history of the decimation of one tribe after another by the advance of white civilization, a heroic figure stands apart. One Native American leader tried to do the seemingly impossible: Tecumseh, the charismatic and influential Shawnee chief who organized a tribal confederacy to oppose the white encroachment on Indian lands. A fierce warrior, powerful orator and cunning diplomat, Tecumseh spent the first decade of the nineteenth century skillfully building his dream confederacy. Then it all fell apart in two hours. In the cold drizzle, overcast skies and pitch darkness of a pre-dawn battle, Tecumseh’s dream was shattered and his confederacy decimated at the Battle of Tippecanoe in Indiana Territory on Nov. 7, 1811—a clash Tecumseh had warned his people to avoid, and a battle that happened without him.
Bobby Jones entered the Roaring Twenties still the teenage prodigy who had first come to the public's attention when he qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship at the age of 14. By the end of the 1920s, Jones was firmly established as a major star. The only golfer considered one of the true icons of the Golden Age of Sports, Bobby Jones stood alongside Babe Ruth, Red Grange, Jack Dempsey and Bill Tilden as giants in the public eye.
As a Readex account executive, I enjoy the opportunity to help bring our digital collections to the attention of students and scholars at some of the smallest four-year colleges. Occasionally, this extends to working collaboratively with librarians and faculty.
Among my accounts is Washington College on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. At this liberal arts institution known for its strong commitment to undergraduate education, I consulted closely with Ruth Shoge, Associate Professor, College Librarian, and Adam Goodheart, Director of the College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, among others, to help bring the acclaimed Archive of Americana collections to their campus.