Moment in Time
Inspiration comes in so many ways. Not long ago we talked about the first books to interest us in history. My first was a volume on the signers of the Declaration of Independence. But the more I thought about it, the more I realize that it was a progression of books that caught my interest, drew me to writing about relationships and romance and, finally, prompted me to do something besides think about it. In my last post I wrote about books that were character based – that drew me to romance. My thanks to
One of the obscure books that drew me to social history rather than political is Christopher Morley’s essay The History of an Autumn. Of course it is possible that Morley is as obscure as his work. He was one of the founders of the Saturday Review of Literature, a judge for the Book Of the Month Club, edited two editions of Roget Thesaurus and wrote both fiction and non-fiction including, Kitty Foyle, a novel that was turned into a much better known movie. (I wonder what kind of money an option was worth in those days?)
History of an Autumn is a picture of the world sliding towards war. Hitler had already begun his march to conquer was slowed by the signing of the Munich Agreement with Britian’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1938. We now call it appeasement, but some actually hoped it would mean peace.
The opening quote of Morley’s book is what hooked me: a reporter for the NY Times asked people in
There are so many other times when man has tried to ignore the inevitable. The French Revolution comes to mind. Also, the attitude of some towards desegregation. Can you think of other examples? Or any books that, like Morely’s, address a moment of time that most historians ignore?
Let’s keep them all before 1950 so this is a historical discussion and not a political one.
Here is one of my favorite Morley quotes: "Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity."