Saturday, June 28, 2008

Corn pone

Corn pone is a type of cornbread made from a thicker dough that is hand shaped and then baked or fried in butter, bacon grease, or lard. In slang it is sometimes used to describe an unsophisticated rural person, kind of like the words "hick" or "redneck." Mark Twain wrote of corn-pone opinions.
Some folks around here might be corn pone, but they enjoy reading and the good deals on books found at the Green Valley  Book Fair which opened today and continues through July 13. Just off I-81 at the Bridgewater/Mt. Crawford exit, it is easy to find. 
If you enjoy American history, let me recommend American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic, by Joseph Ellis for your summer reading. Examining key events and personalities in our nation's most creative era, from the Revolutionary War through the Louisiana Purchase, Ellis traces our gradual change from revolution to an energetic national government and the rise of the two-party system that is so important to contemporary politics. His cast of characters includes George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and the lesser known, but equally fascinating, Alexander McGillivray. The author celebrates their achievements, but provides incisive analysis of their failures such as their inability to end slavery and to foster a just settlement with Native Americans. While parts of American Creation read like a bit more editing would have improved the finished product, I still found Ellis' work compelling and very interesting.
Ellis is also author of Founding Brothers, which won a Pulitzer Prize, and American Sphinx, that explores the complex mind of Thomas Jefferson. You might find a deal on these books at Green Valley. If not, they are available online and in bookstores everywhere.

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