A Baker's Dozen: Thirteen Unusual Americans

A Baker's Dozen: Thirteen Unusual Americans

A Baker's Dozen: Thirteen Unusual Americans

A Baker's Dozen: Thirteen Unusual Americans

Excerpt

The proper place to begin is with a series of caveats. Let the reader understand clearly at the outset that the personages who appear herein are the kind usually relegated to footnotes, those whose lives are ordinarily tucked away in library crannies to be exhumed now and then only by the curious. It is difficult to claim that any of them had any major influence on the course of historical events (though, with a twist of direction here and there, some might have) nor is it the aim of the book to prove that any of them did. Neither is this book an attempt to refurbish lost reputations. For the most part, the judgment of history on those who appear here has proved fairly accurate; neither debunking nor glorifying is necessary or intended.

What is offered is simply a collection of sketches of people-- a few mavericks, a few eccentrics, a few villains, a few heroes, and a few others who elude easy classification. Some of them are admittedly unimportant; some are simply obscure. Some were notorious in their times; some who were once well-known have been lost in the shuffling of records that occurs when each generation rewrites history. One common factor binds them together. All of them, in one fashion or another, are intrinsically interesting persons.

History is in one sense no more than a record of people. The dull need no biographers, and the famous, important and influential will never lack them, for the demands of the public and the private compulsions of researchers traditionally channel the energy of readers and writers into the study of the great and near-great. A generation ago it was an old joke that every Northern scholar looked forward to his old age so that he could begin his multivolumed biography of Lincoln and . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.