Preview: “Smithsonian Civil War”

17 10 2013

Smithsonian Books sent me a copy of this beautiful, coffee table (without legs) book, Smithsonian Civil War: Inside the National Collection. This is an old fashioned “picture book,” the kind that has hooked thousands of kids on the Civil War (or baseball, or whatever) over the years. Mine was The American Heritage Golden Book of the Civil War. As the title implies, the eye candy inside is from the Smithsonian’s Civil War collection, which has been acquired primarily via donation over the years. Photographs are grouped thematically and are accompanied with descriptive narrative often including the artifact’s journey to the collection. My copy has a slightly oily fragrance, likely a result of the process used to produce the full color images, but I imagine that will dissipate over time. I have a soft spot for books like this, as I can think back on long hours spent in libraries and on living room floors staring at those pictures. Do kids still do that? I like to think so.



3 responses

17 10 2013
Theodore. P. Savas

The answer to your question, based upon my experience, is no. Kids don’t hang out in libraries and spend hours on the floor in a corner as we used to do.

Obviously this is a generalization, but I know this is generally true across the country.

On a related (I think) subject, kids do not have “hobbies” like we used to years ago. Stamp and coin collecting, book collecting–whatever. This, too, is a huge negative for the younger generation.

The requirements of looking up books in a library with a card catalog system, seeking out the shelving (Dewey Decimal System), ordering a book and having to wait a week to get it, etc. All of this, just like collecting stamps and coins, requires skills we need to succeed later in life (patience, dedication, follow-through, thinking skills, comparative analysis, valuations, organizational skills, etc.). Many of these are lost today on young people who are used to instant gratification when they want it (TV, Internet, Facebook, etc.).

Just ask the average employer who hires younger people.

Ted “You kids get the hell off my lawn” Savas


17 10 2013
Harry Smeltzer

Well, on the plus side, this book DOES come in a Kindle version!!!


28 10 2013
Preview: Hopkins, “Robert E. Lee in War and Peace” | Bull Runnings

[…] with the picture-book theme started with the Smithsonian Collection book we have Robert E. Lee in War and Peace: The Photographic History of a Confederate and American […]


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