Stanley at Shiloh

September 30, 2007

The cover of today’s New York Times Book Review features a wonderful book review of Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa’s Greatest Explorer by Tim Jeal. The reviewer is Paul Theroux, one of my favorite travel writers.

Under the heading of I Didn’t Know That comes the fact, revealed in the review, that the man who famously “found” Dr. David Livingstone (but never uttered “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”) fought in the battle of Shiloh. Theroux writes:

“. . . (Stanley) joined the Confederate Army, in a local regiment, the Dixie Grays, in 1861. He fought at the battle of Shiloh, was captured by a Union patrol, clapped into prison at Camp Douglas and given the choice of fighting for the North or rotting. He changed sides, marched under a Union flag, then deserted and sailed to Wales. . . .”

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Florida sinks–Tennessee rises

September 30, 2007

The Wall Street Journal has an article that describes how retirees now prefer other states, including Tennessee, over the Sunshine State. The same qualities that attract tourists–controlled growth, pretty towns, parks and bike trails–will lure these out-of-staters who come to town with money to spend.


Lawrenceburg’s Fred Thompson

September 30, 2007

The Boston Globe has a nice piece today on Fred Thompson’s formative years in Lawrenceburg. Seems that his path toward the presidency began inauspiciously with his girlfriend becoming a teenage mother, which resulted in Thompson marrying into a family and becoming influenced by his wife’s grandfather, a Republican attorney known to his family as “Pap.” Writer Michael Kranish describes how the older man shaped Thompson: “The Lindsey household became an intellectual and political feast for Thompson. Pap engaged Thompson in conversations about the nation’s state of affairs, with Pap defending the positions of the Eisenhower administration. One day, Pap gave Thompson a book: ‘The Story of My Life,’ by Clarence Darrow.”

Can you imagine a Republican in our time handing out a book about evolution’s biggest foe?

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