Lands and Peoples: Formative Years

During formative years, life events shape our destiny.  In 1952, my mother gave me seven volumes of The Grolier Society, ‘Lands and Peoples.’  Volume I is pictured above along with an additional Volume I purchased later.

These volumes plus ‘Book of Knowledge’ encyclopedias my mother also acquired as a gift to me opened the world in colored photographs and text for me to see.  I became enriched through these books, so much so that I went into history, government, and anthropology during my college coursework and teaching.

Other influences, of course, had their sway on me:  university courses at UT-Austin with Ginascol, Morgan, and Bullock; my work under Covey at Howard Payne; and Coach Warren at Brownwood High School who taught me Texas history and was the first lecturer (other than pastors and priests) I ever studied under.

As a tip of craft for college students studying history, world civilization, government, I recommend looking at these volumes (if you can find them), but I also recommend that students use the Google image resource along with the text.  Peruse the images about the period you study.  Look at the photographs and paintings depicting an event or the archeaology of the Romans or Indus Valley–any topic under study.  Use the Google feature to get an image that will enliven the person or event, much like The Grolier Society, ‘Lands and Peoples’ formed my lineament of life thereafter.

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Literature of my early college days

img_3221I have been rereading my English literature textbook from Howard Payne College in the early 1960s.  Mr. Robnett was my professor and he taught me Shakespeare as well.

I implored my students in my career to save their textbooks and refer to them as they went out into the world, or prophetically for myself as well as them, “You can read them in your old age.”  I thought I would read my books again and, so, here I am.

From Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Ulysses,” I made a note in the the 1960s to study and now in 2018, I read these lines again,

We are not now that strength which in the old days

Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Tennyson wrote those lines in 1842, one hundred years before my birth in 1942, during World War II.

I hope my history and world civilization students kept some of their textbooks and on a rainy day read the lines of whatever interests them and kindly remember me as their teacher of history whose definition of the field was, “History is philosophy with examples.”  For I remember my students…and our books.

Steve Bannon: ‘we’re going to war in the South China Sea … no doubt’

For my ex-students, please remember our lessons on “us versus them”, the scale of nationalism (soft patriotism to excessive nationalism), and the application of logic and reason to external events.

For Steve Bannon or anyone of his ilk, putting world affairs in terms of “going to war” over Islam versus Christianity or a knee-jerk reaction to the South China Sea is unequivocally dangerous to our lives, society, and world peace.  World events do not circulate around Bannon’s or Trump’s assessment of Christianity versus Islam ad nauseam.  

The world is exceedingly more complex than their constructions.

The issue of jobs and crumbling infrastructure and education for developing skills in our time are the issues to confront, not the fantasies of Bannon’s extremism and Trump’s self-absorption.

Please, students, go back over our lessons.  Go back over the dangers of excessive nationalism and the always present need of reason and the middle way to live in our times.

Read the article linked below.  And, think.  Think hard.  Then, fight against their delusions.

Only months ago Donald Trump’s chief strategist predicted military involvement in east Asia and the Middle East in Breitbart radio shows

Source: Steve Bannon: ‘we’re going to war in the South China Sea … no doubt’