Monday, July 18, 2011

more pictures and maps!

Every time I read a history book, from those written for pre-readers to those written by the great historians of our times, I always want more pictures. More pictures and more maps. I want to see how people and places looked, how artists drew things before photography. I want to see what the land looked like then, and how it looks now. I went to Plimouth Plantation one time, and the museum there had a great installation. The time of year was winter--Thanksgiving had just passed--and the exhibition was about how the image of the "First Thanksgiving" had morphed through time. An artist had rendered what it probably looked like at Plimouth, accompanied by reconstructions of the foods served, and surrounded by artifacts of the time. Then the change was chronicled--from very romanticized Victorian depictions, with handsome Indians and lovely Pilgrim maidens to covers for The Saturday Evening Post by Norman Rockwell. There were photos of historical interpreters, photos from typical "American Thanksgivings," just everything you could imagine. It made such an impression on me. I realized how very visual I am, and how powerful images are in creating opinions and memories. Just think how great it would have been to have YouTube clips of Jefferson at the Revolutionary Congress, arguing with John Adams.

I hope I will have the opportunity to have plenty of illustrations in this book--I even want to include a CD of music of the time, especially those pieces composed for Ellsworth or the U.S. Zouave Cadets. Well---I can dream-------

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