October 19, 2007

Vade Retro, Amazonas!

I just got an odd email from the devil's website:

Dear Sucker Amazon.com Customer,

We've noticed that customers who have purchased or rated books by Fred Anderson have also purchased The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of North America by Walter R. Borneman. For this reason, you might like to know that The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of North America will be released on October 30, 2007. You can pre-order yours at a savings of $5.10 by following the link below.

[Insert wallet into hoover here.]

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Borneman offers an excellent general-audience version of Fred Anderson's Crucible of War (2000), the definitive academic history of the mid–18th-century French and Indian War and its long-term consequences for America and the world.

Well, if I already own Anderson's book (which I do, along with a couple others - and I love them), why would I want to turn around and buy the, well, dumbed down treatment by Borneman?

I guess Amazon reckons that in reading the email, I'll give most of it the Charlie Brown teacher-speak treatment ("Wha, wha, wha, wha, Book on French & Indian War, wha, wha, wha....") and buy the thing on impulse.

CONVERGENT STREAMS UPDATE: I notice that today happens to be the feast day of Saints Jean de Brébeuf and Isaac Joques, two early missionaries to the Hurons around the Great Lakes who were both brutally martyred by the Iroquois in the 1640's.

Posted by Robert at October 19, 2007 01:40 PM | TrackBack

Start following the Saints Days and you'll soon be following me into the spiritual rabbit hole that is the Liturgy of the Hours . . . and then you'll start poking into the Martyrology and the Breviarum Romanum and Trent and the Summa Theologica and the architecture of Cathedrals and God only knows what else.


A short list might also include . . .

The Rosary, the Scapular, the 40 hours, the Sacred Heart, the Litany of the Saints, the Angelus, the Raccolta, sacramentals, the Rituale Romanum, Guardian angels, the True Cross, the spear of Longinus, Gregorian chant . . .

There's two thousand years of stuff to absorb. There's literally no end to it. There is simply no repository of tradition, history, and belief like it in the world -- and it's all just sitting there. I feel like I've been handed the keys to something like the Smithsonian and told to go poke around for a bit and see if anything interests me.

I'm having to read Jaroslav Pelikan's "Emergence of the Catholic Tradition" just so that I have a blueprint of what the place really looks like inside. The more you learn, the more you realize that there's more to learn.

It's ruined Barnes and Noble for me -- they simply don't have the stuff I'm looking for. For instance, I want the texts of all 21 ecumencial councils. I want the complete works of Irenaeus of Lyons. I want a CD of all the psalms sung in Latin, in plainchant. I want a really definitive, annotated Septuagint with parallel Greek, Latin, and English. When they ask me "did you find what you were looking for" I tell them that their collection of Neo-Thomist philosophers is somewhat light, and there is virtually nothing on why the Orthodox churches reject the eighth council. They look at me as if I'm insane. I tell them that I suspect the books I want do exist, but they are probably in the Bodleian library or in the vaults in the Vatican.

I'm going to need a doctorate or two to make sense of it all. And a spiritual director. And probably will need to become a Deacon, if only to see what the reading list is like.

Posted by: The Colossus at October 19, 2007 03:59 PM

"They look at me as if I'm insane."

Ya think?


Fortunately or not, in the divide between foxes and hedgehogs, I am hopelessly one of the world's foxes. I simply don't think I could dive into the Vatican Candy Shop to such depths as to give up my fiddling about with so many other things.

Oh, my apologies to anybody for whom the expression "brutally martyred" induced a fit of eye-rolling. Like there's any other kind of martyrdom. (Well, maybe in the TEC. "We'd like you to consider these other martyrdom options, even if they make you feel slightly uncomfortable.") My bad for redundantly repeating myself twice.

Posted by: Robbo the LB at October 19, 2007 08:30 PM