Friday, July 8, 2016

Know Your Library Newsletter - July 2016


July 2016. written for the Taos Public Library by Joanne Forman



      Even Native Americans, “Indians” (Columbus was lost)—are thought to have entered north America and what is now the United States via a land bridge from Siberia to Alaska. Whether that is so or not, what is true is that every other American is either an immigrant or the descendant of immigrants. What could be a more apropos topic for July, when we celebrate the independence of our nation from a powerful empire.

     Yet, one of the constant threads of American history is the fear of, the despising of, the looking down upon, those whose ancestors arrived five minutes after ours. What’s going on here?

     As always (we keep saying it because it’s true!) your Taos Public Library has some 161 books on immigrants and immigration to help you understand this background, this history. Check things out for yourself!

THOMAS PAINE AND THE FIGHT FOR LIBERTY by Samuel Crompton (jBPai) is in the childrens’ room, but even teens and grownups will enjoy this short succinct biography. After the United States came into being, Paine went back to England and wrote THE RIGHTS OF MAN, which got him into very hot water with the government of the day. Common men to have rights? What a radical idea!!

       He went on to France to their Revolution in 1789, wrote “THE AGE OF REASON”—and was almost guillotined. Rescued, he returned to the USA and died in New York City.

      The words of Paine are collected in a book with a thorough and interesting introduction by the major (and nowadays too much neglected) American novelist John Dos Passos in THE ESSENTIAL TOM PAINE. (320.51Pai.) this includes not only the major works, but many occasional pieces; Paine was nothing if not prolific.

     The above two books are quite short; a longer biography is
THOMAS PAINE AND THE PROMISE OF AMERICA by Harvey J. Kaye. This is thorough not only on Paine’s life and work, but his continued influence on American life, thought, and politics. It may not be immediately evident, but it’s there!

Next month: HIROSHIMA. Joanne Forman, author and composer of PIKADON, a radio docudrama, will give a talk—with some of her music, performed by singer/harpist Julie Hawley and flutist Tina Hahn, at noon on Saturday August 6 in the Taos Public Library meeting room. Free, of course.

Joanne Forman also writes a newsletter for the Talpa Community Library!