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Seriously, Read a Book!

Thoughts on books, often interpreted through the high-brow prism of cartoon (read: Archer) references. Wait! I had something for this...

Currently reading

The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Notetaking
Mike Rohde
The Antidote
Oliver Burkeman
The Kind Worth Killing
Peter Swanson
Data Points: Visualization That Means Something
Nathan Yau
James Buchanan
Jean H. Baker, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century

The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century - Scott  Miller

The late 19th century was a bumping time for much of America. With the pesky Gold versus Silver standard thing out of the way (think of the troubles it would cause if the Fed started buying up Bitcoins), McKinley was able to swagger into office amid a boom in American production and exports. Railroads are crisscrossing the nation, we’re fighting over a whole bunch of islands and coming to the conclusion that we’d pretty much be doing the entire world a disservice if we refused to get at least a little bit of an imperial groove on. Oh and also terrorism.


My Cop-Out:

I really enjoyed this book- I think depicting parallel lives is a great way to illustrate the goings-ons and social movements of an era. Alas, I find summarizing history a daunting task, and I highly recommend Jeffrey Keeten’s review for a witty Cliff’s Notes version/review of this book.


Tidbits of interest:


Shockingly (note my sarcasm), some people made out better than others in this thriving economy. Turns out income inequality is not something invented in the 20th century. In other news, OSHA wasn’t really a thing, and children’s little hands made them particularly useful candidates for 80-hour work weeks. The plight of the working class was seized upon by a cast of characters, including the poster girl Emma Goldman, to stir up an American anarchist movement. I mean, who wouldn’t want to blow themselves up for this face?


Our assassin, Leon Czolgosz, has got to be one of the most annoying humans out there. No one liked him. He lazed around his father’s farm, claiming to be too sick to work and incurring the wrath of his stepmother who correctly diagnosed him with a bad case of malingering. Had it been invented, he definitely would have been playing XBox all day. The anarchists didn’t even like him. Smooth was not his middle name. “Hey, do you guys have any secret meetings going on?” Seriously, he just sucks so much.


Ida McKinley has been officially nominated (by me) for the least likable FLOTUS award. Pulling McKinley from meetings to help her pick out a dress - really? Mckinley was seriously whipped.