Sunday, March 2, 2008

New York Burning

Today, I am reading Jill Lepore's New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan (2005). Actually, I'm reading a single chapter - chapter 5: "Water" - for my Tuesday seminar. Unlike many historians, who write books by smooshing together discrete essays, Lepore writes beautiful narratives. This makes for great reading, but lousy read-one-chapter-in-the-middle.

Anyway, here's page 123:
Horsmanden's role in the investigation can be uncovered, by careful reading and by placing the Journal alongside other evidence, like Horsmanden's letters and the surviving court manuscripts. But Horsmanden himself did his best to bury it. He had every reason to hide.

See? I appreciate suspense that doesn't involve wondering how many clauses the author can string together.

Professor Lepore teaches a course on historical writing, but she was on leave this past fall. I'm going to try to take it next time around.

No comments: