Tag: Civil War

135 Years of ‘Huckleberry Finn’

“Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and a body ain’t got no business doing wrong when he ain’t ignorant and knows better.” – Goodreads 

Image Via Time

Mark Twain (real name Samuel Langhorne Clemens), was born on Nov. 30th in the small town of Florida, MO as the sixth child to John Marshall and Jane Lampton Clemens. When Samuel was twelve, his father died of pneumonia, and Samuel was forced to leave school to become a printer’s apprentice.

Samuel found his enjoyment of writing when he began working for Orion’s newspaper as a printer and editorial assistant. By the time he was seventeen, Samuel had left Orion’s newspaper to work for a printer in St. Louis. There he became a river pilot, which is where he adopted his pseudonym, Mark Twain, a term used by river pilots to mean “that is safe to navigate”(CMG World Wide).



Due to the lull in river trade during the Civil War in 1861, “Clemens began working as a newspaper reporter for several newspapers all over the United States”, according to CMG World Wide. Seven years later, Samuel married a woman named Olivia Langdon, and the two had four children, one of whom died in infancy, and two more in their twenties. Clara, their only surviving child, lived to be 88 years of age, with one daughter. Unfortunately, Clara’s daughter died young without having any children of her own, leaving no living descendants of Samuel Clemens.

Image Via Medium

Twain’s legacy survives, however, through his books, like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Huck Finn, as it’s often called, has been taught in schools as one of the most famous works of literature. Below is a book summary:

“A nineteenth-century boy from a Mississippi River town recounts his adventures as he travels down the river with a runaway slave, encountering a family involved in a feud, two scoundrels pretending to be royalty, and Tom Sawyer’s aunt who mistakes him for Tom.” – Goodreads



Although it is the most famous, Huck Finn, is also very controversial. It turns up in the news more often than you think for being banned or restored in the school systems. On its anniversary, I encourage you to dive in and obtain a little bit of Mark Twain’s legacy.

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Featured Image Via National Post
Civil War battle

Ta-Nehisi Coates Promises These 5 Civil War Books Will Make You Smarter

Ta-Nehisi Coates continues his war against anti-smart people. He is, after all, a MacArthur ‘Genius’—they don’t like being called that. Having written National Book Award-winner Between the World and Me and groundbreaking essay ‘The Case for Reparations,’ Coates is now providing the public with a reading list to help them become less stupid re: the American Civil War.


Coates’ area of expertise lies in the history of discrimination against people of color in the United States. The swell of ignorance surrounding watershed moments in civil rights (namely the Civil War) has forced Coates to hand readers his well of knowledge. His thesis is to make people less stupid about this topic. Not smart. Not yet. Just less stupid.


Here are my favorite books on the Civil War that Ta-Nehisi Coates wants you to read (and his comments), but check out the full list on The Atlantic!


Grant by Ron Chernow


Ron Chernow 'Grant'

Image Via Amazon


Another classic in the Ron Chernow oeuvre. Again, eminently readable but thick with import. It does not shy away from Grant’s personal flaws, but shows him to be a man constantly struggling to live up to his own standard of personal and moral courage. It corrects nearly a half-century of stupidity inflicted upon America by the Dunning school of historians, which preferred a portrait of Grant as a bumbling, corrupt butcher of men. Finally, it reframes the Civil War away from the overrated Virginia campaigns and shows us that when the West was won, so was the war. Grant hits like a Mack truck of knowledge. Stupid doesn’t stand a chance.


The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass


Frederick Douglass


The final of three autobiographies written by the famed abolitionist, and my personal favorite. Epic and sweeping in scope. The chapter depicting the bounty of food on which the enslavers feasted while the enslaved nearly starved is just devastating.


The others are Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson, Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee by Elizabeth Pryor, and Out of the House of Bondage by Thavolia Glymph. If you’ve read any of these, according to Coates, you are less stupid than some of the most important people working in the U.S. government.


Pick up Coates’ most recent book, We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, here!


Feature Image Via ThingLink

union soldiers with cannon

Librarian Stumbles Upon Live Civil War Ammo

Seasoned librarian Abby Noland has likely seen many improbable things over the course of her career, but we can probably assume that a live Civil War-era artillery shell was never one of them. 


The Massachusetts librarian was embarking on her first day of work at the Gleason Public Library when she found a bin at the bottom of her closet. Inside the bin were several rusting shells and a note informing her that an expert had surmised that the shells could, theoretically, explode any minute. 


artillery shells civil war

Image courtesy of The Boston Globe


Nolan quickly called the police, who called the state bomb squad, who decided it was probably best to detonate the artillery at a sand dune near the local Public Works building. The library later discovered that the shells had been donated in 1916, only to lie forgotten for more than 100 years. 


Next time you have a rough first day at work, remember Abby Noland. 


Featured image courtesy of All That Is Interesting.

Feature image is of David Benioff and DB Weiss posing at a Game of Thrones premiere.

New HBO Series From ‘Game of Thrones’ Showrunners Is Already Catching Heat

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, showrunners of “Game of Thrones,” have a new HBO series in development called “Confederate,” and it’s already drawing criticism. In the series, the South successfully seceded from the North during the Civil War, and slavery has become a modern institution.


Like “Game of Thrones,” the series will follow a wide array of characters such as politicians, slave hunters, abolitionists, and journalists. The president of HBO programming, Casey Bloys, has this to say about the series:


As the brilliant ‘Game of Thrones’ winds down to its final season, we are thrilled to be able to continue our relationship with Dan and David, knowing that any subject they take on will result in a unique and ambitious series. Their intelligent, wry and visually stunning approach to storytelling has a way of engaging an audience and taking them on an unforgettable journey.


Ambitious, indeed. But the series hasn’t gone over so well on social media. It’s been called everything from “disgusting” to “cringeworthy.”


Benioff spoke to Vulture about the series and had this to say regarding the controversy:


But this points out — we haven’t written any scripts yet. We don’t have an outline yet. We don’t even have character names. So, everything is brand-new and nothing’s been written. I guess that’s what was a little bit surprising about some of the outrage. It’s just a little premature. You know, we might f*** it up. But we haven’t yet.


Daenerys standing in front of a fire-breathing dragon.

Weiss and Benioff can only deal with one flame war at a time, via Quartz


The series hasn’t been written yet, but the pitch is enough to spark outrage on the internet. The backlash spread like wildfire, but not the kind they’re used to.


Picture of wildfire from Game of Thrones blowing up a building.

Last fire pun, I promise, via Game of Thrones Wiki


Featured image courtesy of Vanity Fair