Stories 11/2/18

News To Me

These stories may not interest you much, but they were all News To Me.

Vox has a Q&A with Marion Nestle, author of Unsavory Truth, a book about how the food industry has influenced much of the research that deals with which foods are deemed healthy and which are not. It’s really frustrating how much misinformation is out there because of this type of thing.

The New York Times has an opinion piece about how the Sears catalog helped (intentionally or not) combat Jim Crow segregation in the early 1900s. I need to remember this when I get to this period in teaching US History.

Another New York Times piece (Sorry, I have an educator subscription.) by Eric Foner provides a nice, concise history of birthright citizenship. The only thing I would add is that there was no such thing as “illegal immigration” until Congress started passing laws limiting the number and types of immigrants into the country around the turn of the century. The National Origins Act in 1924 set quotas on how many immigrants could come in to the US from various countries each year.

A chimp at the Houston Zoo broke one of the glass panes in their enclosure on Monday. I was at the zoo with my family the day before. I’m not sure how I would have responded if we had been in there when it broke, but I’m pretty sure my kids would never have agreed to go see the chimp exhibit again.

What I’m Reading

I found a copy of Hamilton by Ron Chernow at the book store for $5.00. This is the nice thing about enjoying history books. You can often find really good history books in the bargain section of the bookstore. They just won’t be new. The book is good so far, but there are times that it is a little TMI. I appreciate the amount of research Chernow must have put into this work, but I really don’t need quite so much detail. I’m about 180 pages in, and the American Revolution is just wrapping up. No wonder it is 700+ pages long (not including the index).

The other book I’m reading now (this one in electronic form) is White Trash by Nancy Isenberg. The name of the book turned me off for a while, but I’m really glad I finally decided to read it. Evaluating American history as a struggle of social classes, it is a really very different narrative than you typically get in a history book. I’m about half way through, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.