Grimms Etc:

Home to a Vrykolakas, Fairy Tales, Historic Fact & Fiction, Copper Artifacts

Blog

2nd Edition Mystic Fire & the Emancipation Proclamation

Posted by bebowreinhard on August 15, 2017 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

The 2nd edition of Mystic Fire is now available. I will admit to some bad feelings while going through first edition to fix errors. I didn’t expect to find so many! In my defense, this was the fastest I ever pulled a novel together. I graduated college in 2006, but actually started work on this novel before I started college. But in 2003, shortly after I’d done some work on it, my laptop was stolen. I didn’t have a backup of the new material and only had a print copy of the previous work. Then I started my master’s in history, and I’m really glad that the novel didn’t emerge until after that. I learned so much about Lincoln that I just knew I had to share it.


It was probably 2008 before I returned to the novel. Because I planned to go to the 2009 Bonanza convention, I wanted to have this novel ready in time, so it only went through four edits before my publisher got it. The amount of editing she did was minimal. She kept telling me not to make it too long, so I went through this 2nd edition with every intention to making it as long as it needed to be. What I ended up doing was a lot of clean-up, clarification and error-fixing -- but it didn’t need to be any longer.


When I initially ran my ideas past David Dortort on this novel in 2005, in order to get the book contracted, he was delighted to learn I knew so much about the Civil War. He was considered a foremost authority on the Civil War in Hollywood during his Bonanza days, and completely agreed with the storyline and my analysis of Lincoln in 1862. He was only sad that my master’s interfered with my completion of the book for so long. But in hindsight, this book would not have emerged with these insights without that degree.


Rather than attempt to make Lincoln look bad, the novel shows what he was like. I never really understood why he would issue an Emancipation Proclamation that didn’t free any slaves except those in the rebellion states, and learned that while he didn’t free the slaves, they began to free themselves. Lincoln instigated their new desires at freedom with his proclamation.


In this 2nd edit, I attempted to fix some readers’ concerns as well as editing errors. For the most part, if some readers didn’t finish, it was because of Margaret’s pregnancy storyline. I tried to soften that a bit, but to be honest, I couldn’t delete it because Adam needed a huge reason to go wandering off in the night, where he’s later kidnapped. I also read it with close eye for why readers had a hard to following the events that happened. Except for the Civil War/slavery storyline, everything else is pretty straightforward, and shouldn’t be difficult, but I did make some basic changes that might help.


As for how confusing Tobias and Sadie are, that’s deliberate. You never really know what their game is, as Adam and Ben are twisted and turned in every way imaginable. It’s deliberate because there was never a more confusing period in our history than the Civil War period. It was impossible to tell who was on whose side, a lot of the time. And here, having slaves be against Lincoln served two purposes: without giving away the plot, Sadie and Tobias are against each other in wondering how to stop Lincoln from sending blacks to other countries, and two, the slavers are alternately from the north, or the south, because of the hidden scheme that Tobias doesn’t completely, in his heart, support.


You see, in 1862 Lincoln didn’t know what to do with the slaves that he wanted to free. Sure, the Emancipation Proclamation only freed them in rebellion states, but Lincoln began to see them freeing themselves and running away, more and more. And Lincoln anticipated a problem with so many freed slaves that he bought into a plan to send them to plantations in Hayti (Haiti) or even back home to Africa, to a place created just for them—Liberia.


So Lincoln is a character in this book, and while the dialog I give him is fiction, the events that are being shown are real. (Get a print copy if you want to see the footnotes.) I also added the historical figures of Mark Twain and General George McClellan. They are voices of the period that would be hard to demonstrate otherwise.


While in Felling of the Sons, all four Cartwrights worked together against a single adversary (when they weren’t recovery from their injuries), I wanted to do something different in Mystic Fire. I wanted the book to reflect the series after Season 2, when more and more the episodes focused on a single Cartwright. Here, each Cartwright has a separate and unique storyline, and it necessitates following each of them at various times throughout the book. Hoss and Hop Sing work together when a mysterious ghostly woman shows up seeking help to keep her husband from murdering her. Joe loses Ben in a prairie fire – Sadie and her children save him by pulling him into the mine shaft where they’re hiding. And Adam gets abducted by the slavers with Tobias; because they plan to make him “walk out of here” once they get him far enough away, and because Tobias tells him things about Lincoln Adam doesn’t believe, Adam pretends to be a muley slave to stay with Tobias. He tells a story to Tobias about why he thought he could pull this off. This is the second criticism readers have had of the book, but I think all Cartwright fans can agree that Adam is darker skinned than the rest of his family. Ben, too, goes back with Sadie to meet with Lincoln and represent big silver interests, but unlike Adam, not as a slave. He at times, though, has to pretend he’s as slave owner, especially as they get closer to New Orleans.


Another element is the return of Marie’s cousin Darcy, the instigator of the plan that needs Ben, or any Cartwright, to come to New Orleans. He figured that Nevada Territory, with its Comstock Lode, would interest Lincoln enough to meet with a Cartwright in New Orleans, and that was their goal—getting Lincoln to New Orleans. Eventually in real life, Lincoln does push Nevada through statehood early, in late 1864, because he wants the silver taxed for the war effort.


As you can see, then, this is a very complicated book, but it’s so filled with action and fun and fact that you shouldn’t mind at all. It simply asks that you accept the research I put into it as valid (because it is), and the Cartwrights’ reactions as real as they are thrust into probably the most unusual situations a Cartwright has ever faced.

 The new cover is on the Kindle but I'm waiting for final approval before publishing the paperback.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074T5XVJC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502826903&sr=8-1&keywords=mystic+fire+bonanza

The Grimms Introduction

Posted by bebowreinhard on November 26, 2016 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (0)

I wrote the following as an introduction in one of the Grimms American Macabre edits, when it was known as Modern Grimms Fairy Tales. See what you think about what you'll find in these pages.

 

 

INTRODUCTION/PREFACE

 

The original Grimms Fairy Tales, according to W. H. Auden in 1944, should be ranked next to the Bible in importance. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm compiled these fairy tales as early as 1823, and Jacob, in searching for a publisher, declared that the intent was to preserve sacred narrative traditions. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD, claimed that the original Grimms wrote down the voices of their era, but shaped in a certain fashion, leaving out the criticisms of the prelates, the mayors, landlords and the Church. They were even further cleaned up by the Grimms themselves as they realized their market was less for adults and more for children. The purity of the tales was more important than the message, and even today reflect the purity with which we attempted to raise our children, sanitize them from the reality and protect them from knowledge of potential harm in the world.

     Most of the familiarity with the Grimms Tales is of these cleaned up versions, what one might call Disney-ized. And in today's world, we know how anti-political that is. So you can find today two different versions of original Grimm's tales, but the cleaned-up versions for children lose both impact and interest. And with their villain-ized animals, they lack a certain relevance in today's pro-environmental climate.

     So in presenting Grimm's Modern Fairy tales, the hope is the offer children a more modern look at what a fairy tale can do for them in real life, and that is to demonstrate manners of living and attitude that might help them to cope in ways that even radical TV and cinema still miss. These tales will talk to children of all ages in issues that will mean something to them as they struggle to understand the world around them today.

     Regardless of which political party is in current charge of our lives, there is a continuing need to recognize, in all of us, the potential to live better and more fully with nature, rather than usurping it for greed.

     You won't see this collection cleaned up, for what most young adults and pubescents need, even in these modern times, are stories that educate them on what they are most curious about, the consequence of sexual explorations. You'll find several of those included here, not graphic, but with a certain sensibility that is not shameful. You'll find both light-hearted drama and blood-curdling darkness; in other words, all levels of experience lie between these pages. The beauty is that not all stories are meant to be understood at all ages, but one can return to them again and again and take out a different perspective each time.

     Grimm's Modern Fairy Tales is a collection of short stories meant for the teen and young adult market but created to be a stimulating, mythological, symbolic read for all ages. This collection is meant to pick up where parents left off. Many children have to learn about their growing awareness of sexuality from their peers; from everyone and everywhere, it seems, than from their parents. As a parent of three grown children, I am fully aware of the importance of these conversations, I lacked the authority to know how to get my children to listen.

      Children, it seems, do not want to learn certain things from their parents because it means they have to see parents "that way." To present them with a book like this means that we freely acknowledge that parents cannot do it all for their kids. No message is more important today. No job is more important than parenting, and no job is given us with less training. So there are all kinds of parents vs children stories, only a few of which deal with sex.

     The entertainment value of the human and nature lessons here is of utmost importance, because no one wants to read for entertainment and feel the preacher's breath. There are talking animals, ghosts, and families in disarray, dreams that aren't dreams, and tales of revenge. There are happy endings that don't always seem happy, sad endings that are satisfying, and twisted endings that will leave them with shivers and images for some time to come. Whether the tale is about girls, or boys, or both, they will be enjoyed equally by all because of the insights into the complexity of human nature that are depicted.

      Nor does this collection skirt political issues. Estes claimed that three tales Bluebeard, Thumbelina and the Princess and the Pea, had been so powerful as to have been used to keep up the skirmishes of war. Here in the modern tales we instead look for paths of keeping up the peace and honoring the environment, and find blatant ways to ridicule those who find war a first resort rather than last.

     We also don't abuse animals or nature, the way the original Grimm's tales did. Quite often the animals provided the sad part of their happy endings. Humans could also communicate with animals in a number of their stories, but that communication wasn't necessarily beneficial. Here, if there's a conflict between humans and animals, the animals will win, sometimes allowing humans access to their special knowledge, as symbolic of what happens when humankind believes it can conquer nature.

      Disney adapted a few of the original Grimm's Tales, making fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White American icons, even though these were based on German stories written for the peasants. But often in the adaptation the original message is lost. The golden haired beauty, for instance, is not beautiful in face but in soul. The beauty who is far better than the rest means that her nature and not her face is beautiful, but in the visual telling of the tale, we recognize only the physical beauty. Even Shrek distorted the message by going to the other extreme; by preferring their ogre appearance, they don't understand that it is not the appearance but how you feel inside that counts.

      A number of these modern stories could be adapted without the internal and symbolic message lost; for animation, such as Heart of Ahmalia, Golfer and the Tree, The Three Sisters, Wisdom of the Three, and The Cave Bird. Classy horror films could be made from Traveling Salvation Show, Unleashing the Wolves, Path of the Moon, Someone Else's Shoes or Blessed Are the Bloody. Others could be told as oral stories to young kids for bedtime, such as the Lousy Flea and King Fluffy the Great. Several, though with a sexual theme, should not make any parent hesitate allowing even their pre-teen to have access, especially in today's world. At first, some stories, like Babe In the Woods, may seem controversial but the message that is embedded is of utmost importance for our children, and the health of the world in general.

     The original Grimm's were written for the peasants of the old world to help them escape and dream of riches and empowerment. These modern tales are created for escape back into the world of nature; a reversal, you might say, but also to empower them to make their own choices in life, learning ways to take control of their lives. Filled with bawdy humor, blood-curdling drama and table-turning pranks, this series will help anyone living in today's modern world to relate to their environment just a little bit more. Some of the stories are not modern, it's true, but even in relating tales of moments past we can see bits of our future, and that's what these tales are all about.

     Violence is an important part of the tale, today as well as in the past. We often disdain violence without recognizing its benefit -- that we are to sit up and pay attention to the seriousness of the message. No violence should ever be gratuitous, without a message. Only in this manner today do we see real damage done to fragile psyches. Once we learn this, our tale-telling in Hollywood and elsewhere will take on new meaning.

     Happy endings? That all depends on what you call happy. The purpose of this book is to get us all to sit up and take notice of the world around us, of nature, of love, of what is really meant by the pursuit of happiness. And if we look at happy endings as being the attainment of something we want, we really won't recognize a happy ending when we see it. Look beyond the ending in these stories for the happy ending because that's where it will lie -- in your imagination, where your mind travels beyond the story's end. No reading is worth any value if it takes you nowhere beyond its pages. This is where people today are losing the delight in reading. The original Grimm's tales, before the clean-up, also had a number of tales without happy endings to instead confront us with harsher realities of life. When the package is not neatly wrapped with a happy bow, we have to do a little more thinking on our own, but the end result is so much more satisfying.

      Can children read these stories? For the most part, these are young adult and adult tales. This is the way the book is marketed. However, if a precocious child were to get their hands on this book, they would not be traumatized by it any more than any magic or sorcery book, because the sexual language is well cloaked by symbolism. Only if the child is already familiar with the terms will they understand these certain stories. No lock and key will be needed here.

      So dive in, and expect magic. Because that's what the world is all about today, as it was back in the original Grimms day.

 

GENEOLOGY

My grandmother, Elizabeth Grimm Bebow, lived in the house on the cover of this book, and the photo shows as it stands today. (I don't know how the bra got in the tree, honest, but how appropriate, so I left it in.) Whether she was actually related to Jacob and Wilhelm is still open to speculation. Here are my efforts to trace these roots so far:

 

      The distinguished surname Grimm can be traced back to Brandenburg, a region that eventually expanded to incorporate the Rhineland, Westphalia, Hannover, parts of Saxony, Pomerania, Silesia, and Hessen. The Germanic Semnonen tribe lived here, then the Slavic tribe of the Heveler, who held this territory until the arrival of the Christian Saxons.

 

     The name Grimm became noted for its many branches within the region, each house acquiring a status and influence which was envied by the princes of the region. In their later history the name became a power unto themselves and were elevated to the ranks of nobility as they grew into this most influential family.

 

     The family name grew to the same dimensions as the population explosion in the 16th century. They established branches in Bohemia, Basel, Bavaria, Austria and Solothurn, Switzerland. Their special interests were political, military and religious. Notables were the Count Grimm von Bentheim and the Bohemian Knights of 1859. Jacob (1785-1863) and his brother Wilhelm Grimm(1786-1859), born in Hessen, were the founders of folklore as well as historians of the German language. Their dictionary and collection of fairy tales are world famous. Hermann Grimm (1828-1901), son of Wilhelm, became known as an art and literature historian, whose works were translated into several languages.

 

      Prussia became a haven for political and religious refugees, including Salzburg Protestants and the French Huegonauts.

 

      Andreas Grimm came to Philadelphia in 1736. Heinrich Grimm, with his wife Barbara Mohler, came to either Carolina or Pennsylvania in 1772. August Grimm, 41, came to Winterhill, Massachusetts, in 1778. Joseph Grimm came to Texas in 1846. Hans Grimm (1875-1959) from Lower Saxony, was a nationalist writer in the twenties.

 

     Grandmother was, unfortunately, not too anxious to talk about her family history, and I was not yet writing this book when she died so there was an opportunity missed. I do know that her parents' names were Hans Jacob (H.J.) Grimm and Wiebeva Elsabea Dorothea (Dora) (Kolpein). The town of Grimms (where this house was located) in Wisconsin was not named after our Hans Jacob Grimms but after a different H.J. Grimms, or so the story goes (certain relation claim this but without source of this knowledge). They referred to Grimms as the village.

 

     I welcome anyone's input on the family tree of Grimms. How fun it would be to establish this connection! And if it turns out we are not related, the name is still valid, as are the tales.

 

     And finally thanks to all who read, for remaining young at heart.

 

 

 

The Personality of Copper

Posted by bebowreinhard on November 8, 2016 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (0)

I had to give up on my pre-contact copper artifact newsletter because I lost the time. Time just disappeared and I looked for it, but you know how it is with time. If you abuse it, it becomes very shy. So I have to make do without time, and focus more intensely where I can on what I can.

What happens is that I have so much research that I don’t have time to work with. Little by little I’m taking time from others to get things done. Currently, I’m working with an archaeologist to get an article crafted on the CAMD that’s good enough to be read. For a writer like me, that shouldn’t be hard. For a non-professional, however, I’m tearing out my hair.

I took on this copper artifact master database (CAMD) back when time was still my friend, and I actually had it licking my cheek. As an offshoot of my “career” as a museum curator at the Oconto Copper Burial Museum, it felt like a natural project to try and bring more attention to the vast pre-contact copper industry that started in this country, and in the Americas, as much as 10,000 years ago.

Over the course of the next six years, after resigning in 2010 (December), I created my own newsletter as an offspring of the CCHA newsletter (membership newsletter for the museum) and continued to investigate where copper artifacts had been found. I’d always been interested in the idea that all these early tribes were involved in long-distance trade and felt this research was one way to prove it—long distance as throughout the Americas, but no farther.

I picked up a lot of odd jobs along the way, but usually temporary or part-time, so I could keep working. I also am a fiction novelist—which some will tell you suits this copper work as well! “You probably shouldn’t try to analyze the material,” I’ve been told.

Okay, so maybe I am out in left field. But honestly, sometimes it takes imagination to understand how people focused themselves back then.

Anyway—speaking of focus—recently I’ve found a number of errors in the database, thanks to the assistance of Archeologist Constance Arzigian at UW-La Crosse. She’s been great, working so hard to get me to understand what I’m doing that I’m starting to think it’s a waste of her time. But we’ll see what comes out of the effort. And the errors affected something I’d posted here, so I thought I’d better explain about the personality of copper artifacts.

It really all has to do with interpretation. In compiling the CAMD, I’ve found so many different interpretations of what things are that are coded in the many databases I’ve been accessing. So one of the main things I’m trying to do (maybe poorly), is updating Wittry’s 1953 typology by using the artifacts in the CAMD; I’ve learned that it would be helpful if I knew what I was seeing, first.

For instance, I’ve just had to redo the bead section of the updated Wittry because I thought rolled and tubular were different, and rolled meant round. But it doesn’t. I got confused trying to assign codes to them with this thinking. Fortunately this new article helped me to straighten that out, and I know now that round means wider than it is long.

So not only do I deal with museum and private collector databases that don’t always make sense, but I deal with reference sources that don’t always agree. Did I bite off more than I could chew? Yeah, I’d say so.

I know that I have to try harder to find duplicates. Right now the collection stands at over 60,000, including those with no locations (hey, those count). And trying to figure out what’s really what type is impossible without descriptions and photos. I can only do what I can do with the little time I drag out screaming from under the bed.

For those who wonder how to use the CAMD, all you have to do is request a location where you want to know where was found. All the data from that location found in the 300+ sources will be delivered to you. If the data is incomplete, all you then have to do is go to that source and ask for more information. AND all future material found at that location will be delivered to you at no extra cost! Pretty cool, eh?

Cost for data is 10 cents a line. Data includes where found, what found, description, photo and where accessioned, along with how many and what cultural group is associated, if there is one. I do NOT share donors or site names unless you work for an accredited museum.

What a deal! Ask for a sample line in your favorite location today!

I had to get a job because doing all this collecting was costing money. And I work on these articles where no pay is involved because it’s helping me to catch things I should have caught earlier. When you order yours, I will giving it another combing to make sure all the kinks are out.

If for some reason this article doesn’t end up getting published, I will share it here.

 

A CAMPAIGN COMPARISON: Bobby Kennedy: a memoir

Posted by bebowreinhard on June 29, 2016 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Jack Newfield’s memoir of Bobby Kennedy is an intensely personal look inside the man before he decided to run for president; Newfield started following Bobby as a journalist in the autumn of 1966, and then covered that campaign through June 5, 1968. Apparently Newfield started out disliking him, noting that he’d picketed the Kennedy administration in 1963 at the Justice Department over the treatment of blacks to date. At that time Newfield was protesting black oppression, and saw Bobby come out. When someone yelled, “we haven’t seen too many Negroes coming out of there,” Bobby’s only response was that they did not hire by the color of the skin, only by their ability. Bobby was booed for this. Two years later, Newfield found himself following Bobby as a journalist reporter.

So Newfield fills this book with intimate moments showing what Bobby was really like. He was a human being, and certainly flawed. He was not only complex, but contradictory. Newfield claimed he was a man at war with himself, especially in these early years after his brother was killed. This book made me understand Bobby more, and identify with him as a human being.

This is also a book that, in reading it today, shows how little politics has changed since then. I’ll share some of those comparisons here in this summary of a book I highly recommend; it sells pretty cheaply used at Amazon.

Bobby is portrayed as a passionate, sensitive introvert, not naturally inclined to the political process but drawn to the nobleness of it. He could be moody, and he daydreamed. According to Newfield (54), he was “a nature sensualist. Clouds and rain depressed him. Sun, wind and the sea elated him. Mountains, rapids and animals exhilarated him.”

His belief about the nobleness of the political process can be summed up in his own words (55): “…but we can lessen the number of suffering children, and if you do not do this, then who will do this? I’d like to feel that I’d done something to lessen that suffering.”

In today’s world so many people think all politicians are only crooked, no longer working to lessen anyone’s suffering. But we have to believe that desire is still there in the people who want to run our country, or all hope is gone. Are we nothing more than dollar signs walking around?

Newfield (56) called this time between 1965 and 1968 “the most concentrated and violent change in American life since the 1930s.” This book demonstrates that change as a reflection of the Vietnam War, just as our politics evolving today continue to reflect Bush’s invasion of Iraq and growing terrorism that has resulted.

What’s interesting about the 1968 political campaign year is that Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) became one of the first to decide not to seek re-election, which happened previously in 1884 with Cleveland. In Johnson’s time, television was to the people what the internet is today, certainly a mover and driver of more information than people ever had access to before. They were showing Vietnam battles on nightly news, and that was unprecedented. I think there were some World War II scenes shown in movie houses, but nothing like this before. It’s really not surprising that there would be an outgrowth of war protests with those kinds of visions. “Television, and the media in general, are now more powerful in determining politics than heredity is,” noted the author (57).

People get upset over the idea of a “Clinton” dynasty, as some were over a “Bush” dynasty, but that’s nothing new in American politics—the Adams, the Roosevelts, and here potentially the Kennedys. If one is suited to the task, with experience and education, the last name shouldn’t be factor.

One of the criticisms of Hillary Clinton has been that she changes her mind. But a trait of a good leader is the ability to reassess. Bobby Kennedy did so on Vietnam and in his Vietnam speeches between 1965 and 1968 he would often apologize for the role he and his brother played on getting them involved. George McGovern’s break with Johnson in 1965 had a big impact on him (130). He later said that if McGovern had run in ’68, he would not have. The author also quoted a columnist here who believed Bobby stayed quiet all through 1965 to avoid a fight with President Johnson. Later the author said he made his first aniti-war statement in 1965, but became more vocal in '66, when the Senate too had begun to turn against the war (134).

Immediately Bobby faced a backlash of criticism from many, including those who had been friends with John Kennedy. “The general impression was that Kennedy got the worst of the political exchange because of the subtleties of his own position, and the potency of the simplistic anti-Communist rhetoric of his opponents” (135). Sometimes the development of the strength of convictions takes time, and in-depth analysis of the mood and pitch of the country’s people; a true leader can change with the times and the will of the people.

But the backlash meant that Bobby stopped talking about the war for the remainder of 1966 (136), even as his opinions grew. Newfield gives readers the impression that Bobby was not the natural politician that his brother had been. But he wanted to be president because there were so many people to help, and he didn’t know how else to help. His passion made people begin to rally around him. He felt real.

He was back at it in 1967, and this time, he did not give up. Here’s from his last speech in 1968: “Do we have that authority (to kill) tens and tens of thousands of people because we say we have a commitment to the South Vietnamese people? But have they been consulted—in Hue, in Ben Tre, in other towns that have been destroyed? Do we have that authority? ... What we have been doing is not the answer, it is not suitable, and it is immoral, and intolerable to continue it.”

Bobby was afraid to run up against Johnson. They never got along and for a while, Johnson’s politics were favorable; also, his brother had chosen him (though Bobby told him not to) (202). No love was lost between them during JFK’s presidency; Bobby was often treated (and acted) like second-in-command. For these reasons he was late to declare himself an anti-war president, and was considered a coward for a while. Eugene McCarthy got in before him and gained a lot of support from the college crowd. Johnson at first—following the JFK assassination—received as high as 80% approval, and 69% of his bills in 1965 were passed, a record number (189).

Politics at this time revolved around poverty, racism, bureaucracy, foreign policies and war. How little things change, sometimes, no matter how hard we try. But in 1967 the revolution began, and it wasn’t started by Bobby or the Beatles. It appears it started with the anti-draft movement (195), probably related to the news reports showing what went on in war. By early 1967 the Democrats were looking to replace LBJ. One movement was to draft Bobby, but he wasn’t ready (19 . In June of that year, he was clearly in turmoil over his inability to challenge Johnson. At that time he used glowing praise for the president that he later regretted (203-204).

He finally began to travel the country in mid-January of 1968, making anti-war speeches, and his closest friends felt that meant he was running. He openly admitted to disliking McCarthy, calling him pompous, petty and venal. He couldn’t endorse him. “Gene just isn’t a nice person” (211-213).

Yet it was the Tet offensive beginning January 31, 1968 (234) that got Bobby into the race and not LBJ’s decision not to run again, as I had thought. With McCarthy already running he was receiving a lot of support from the campuses and the Jewish communities. A number of Bobby’s closest advisers jumped up to encourage him, but his brother Teddy remained uncertain (235).

Finally on March 16th he made his candidacy official : “I do not run for the Presidency merely to oppose any man, but to propose new policies … I made it clear to Senator McCarthy … that my candidacy would not be in opposition to his, but in harmony … my desire is not to divide the strength of those forces seeking a change, but to increase it” (257).

He worked hard to gain the trust of the college crowd, who saw McCarthy as the man with courage. At first Bobby's audience was made of those who hated hippies and happy that Bobby was running against Johnson. He talked up the college revolution scene, saying that we need to attack life with all our youthful vigor (262-263).

By the end of March, “Kennedy Besieged … there was almost a riot at the airport, the crowds were out of control, and there as a brief fistfight between a Kennedy enthusiast and a McCarthy heckler.” There seems to be a distinction here—enthusiast versus heckler? It’s a perspective issue, same as today. Or it really was a McCarthy fan sending jeering words at a Kennedy fan. “I want to find jobs for all our people,” said Bobby into a bullhorn. I want to find jobs for the black people of Watts, and the white people of eastern Kentucky. I want a reconciliation of blacks and whites in the United States” (273-274).

Reconciliation? You see, blacks and whites didn’t always not get along. They don’t all not get along today. See the movie Free State of Jones playing now and you’ll see what I mean. The more we live with each other, the more we can. That’s why desegregation was so important in the 1960s, but still, we see so many places today where a white hasn’t seen a black, except on TV.

Bobby was devastated by the death of Martin Luther King, and was tempted to withdraw. Shades of Dallas had to have run through his head. But he knew he had to speak out. “But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land" (281).

And later: “For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is a slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter” (283).

How far have we come, really? Shouldn’t we be ashamed that many of these words can still be said today? Where is the hope of the 60’s?

Kennedy began winning heavily with the black population, to the point of Ethel saying, “don’t you wish everyone was black?” (299) When Kennedy didn’t do as well as expected, Newfield intimated a double standard: “If Kennedy had the relationship that McCarthy has with Shana Alexander and Mary McGrory, it would be a scandal. But Gene can get away with it because no one accuses him of buying off the press. So he gets a free ride.”

If Kennedy was like Sanders early in the race, he became like Hillary later. Bobby appealed to the blacks, as Hillary does, and both are accused of duplicitous methods. Was Bobby using his brother’s name? Newfield believed the opposite was true (303). By invoking their mistakes and how wrong the war was, and ramping up on Civil Rights, Bobby was making a name for himself. Hillary, too, puts herself squarely with the liberals and women’s and black rights, and the need for more gun regulation.

A man heckled Bobby at one of his stops, and the police arrested him. Bobby said to let him go, but they wouldn’t. So Bobby promised to get him out of jail as soon as he was elected. That kind of peaceful rhetoric seems missing now, where this kind of heckling has been encouraged.

Bobby also pursued gun control legislation, and he tested the ground against rifles and hunters in Oregon, known for being very volatile state over the issue. He lost Oregon, but he loved to challenge his audiences, not cater to them (307). This was before the California vote, and if he didn’t get that, he wasn’t sure he could keep going.

His speech in Oregon is worth noting: “Nobody is going to take your guns away. All we’re talking about is that a person who’s insane, or is seven years old, or is mentally defective, or has a criminal record, should be kept from purchasing a gun by money order.”

After Johnson announced he wasn’t running, Bobby took on Hubert Humphrey with the same vigor of being pro-war that Johnson was. “If the Vice President is nominated to oppose Richard Nixon (and Nixon was pretty much running in the primary unopposed), there will be no candidate who has opposed the course of escalation of the war in Vietnam” (313).

In Oregon, McCarthy had scored heavily against Bobby, but Bobby didn’t counterattack, fearing to appear ruthless, and not wanting to alienate McCarthy’s college voters. He wanted people to see him as running against Humphrey. McCarthy, on the other hand, went after Bobby’s previous pro-war record with his brother. But Newfield noted that Bobby was on record as being anti-war even before McCarthy (315).

Bobby finally agreed to debate McCarthy before the California primary, and of course they each won it, depending on who you listened to. But when his staff asked why Bobby blew the closing remarks so badly, he said, “You won’t believe it, but I was daydreaming. I thought the program was over and I was trying to decide … where to take Ethel for dinner” (321-322).

The last time the author talked with Bobby, it was about Bob Dylan. Bobby had just heard the song “Blowing in the Wind” and was very struck by it. He decided he wanted to meet Dylan. As they talked and Newfield wondered how Bobby could win the activist students, Bobby turned to brood out the window again (324).

Toward the end of California campaigning, those in Bobby’s camp decided that Bobby and McCarthy were alike on so many issues, and the focus still needed to be against Humphrey. Yet on June 4th McCarthy claimed that Martin Luther King had endorsed him; that Bobby once had his phones tapped (330). Some feared Bobby wouldn’t take New York later. Others feared this country was going to kill another Kennedy, “and then we won’t have a country” (327).

We all know what happened. He was killed, just after winning California. We can hope and pray that never happens in this country again, even as the death toll from guns rises. Newfield ends the book without mentioning the killer's name, and just asking "Why?"

As you think about the campaign in 2016, let Bobby’s last words stay with you:

I ask you to recognize the hard and difficult road ahead to a better America –and I ask you tomorrow to vote for yourselves. The people must decide this election—and this must decide so that no leader in America has any doubt of what they want. For your sake, and for the sake of your children, vote for yourself tomorrow (327).

I don’t want to share the author’s final words because, quite frankly, I don’t want to believe them.

 

 

Why Copper Data is for ??

Posted by bebowreinhard on December 8, 2015 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (2)

hERE'S THE DEAL:  The copper database, any part of it, will be made available FREE to anyone who's contributed. I will determine on a case by case basis how much of it they can have for free.  For instance, some of the material is confidential, and cannot be had by any collector.  Any representative of a museum can fill out a form and will get access to that material.  There may be some collectors I trust, so they can always ask.  But that's going to be the general rule.

Anyone who has NOT contributed to the database but just wants data will need to pay for it. I will also assess this on a case by case basis, but it'll probably be pretty close to what I said before - 10 cents a line. I never expected to et rich off this data. But I do need some way to make back all my expenses in gathering.

I hope this makes sense.  Contact me with questions

PLEASE DISREGARD THE ARTICLE BELOW.

The database on copper artifacts I’ve been gathering for nearly five years now, and the work I’ve done on copper before that, since 2008, has pretty much engulfed my life. I need to explain this so people understand why I am charging for the databases that I’ve compiled.


I ran the Oconto Archaic Copper Museum for three years, from 2008-2010, and ran it willingly, for the most part, even though I only got paid for giving tours those first two years, and only on weekends. There were times I gave tours while I was there doing work during the week, but that didn’t count. I had an employee, too, who wanted most of the hours. So I made very little for the time invested. I didn’t complain, because I felt I was doing something that was valid and important. I felt that we (the committee) were doing something to get copper research on the right track—make it important again. It seemed to me while I was doing this work that no one really cared about this first metal industry in the country, and I could tell there was a lot to it, long before I began the CAMD.


While I was curator there, I got interested in Hamilton’s collection in Madison, asked for and received the printed database of copper artifacts, and reordered them so that we could see them by where they were found, not by what they looked like. I began to realize how much of this information was being buried, making copper research nearly impossible to access.


I had to leave that job because in 2010 I was the only tour guide; they didn’t pay anyone anymore. To be honest, I was forced out, because I wanted to make necessary changes that the committee was against. These changes would have satisfied professionals, but our amateur town group wanted things to stay just as they were. And that, I felt, was a shame.


I started a job search because by this time I needed the money, but because of my resume, lots of temp jobs and this curator position where I pretty much answered only to myself and left under “dubious circumstances,” and my age, this was a difficult process. In the meantime, I needed to keep the research going. I honestly felt that someone else was going to get interested in what I was doing and offer either to jump on board and help, or finance it. Neither has happened. I have financed this collection gathering process all on my own.

Because I’m a published author, I claim all my expenses, expecting to sell my future work, too. If I don’t sell my work, I might be considered a hobbyist and could be charged back taxes. I queried one publisher on this work and they suggested I self-publish. I got to thinking about it. If I were to try and put over 50,000 copper artifacts into one resource manual, the cost could be astronomical, and who needs all that data? That’s when I hit on the idea of publishing sections of it as tables and offering those for sale on my website instead.


To be clear, I’m never going to get rich doing this. I don’t know if anyone is going to want any of this data. Some might call me unprofessional and not trust what I’ve gathered. But here’s the thing. I have gathered it, for what it’s worth. Sure, there might be mistakes. But what I’ve gathered is still preferable to leaving all these things buried in the various and many different collections in the Americas, isn’t it?  Anyone can buy any small amount of information and check it out for themselves, if they want. I fully believe this work will be validated.


So who would use this CAMD and how? I’ve been using it to track the trade network, and have found out amazing things. I’ve been showing my research in the Archaic Copper Newsletter, now being renamed in its 6th year.  I'm working on articles but because I'm in the wrong profession, I have a hard time getting them published.  But anyone who has a theory, perhaps as part of graduate work, could take any portion of this they desire to explore their theories. These professionals would receive my full support, as I have further data that I won’t be releasing unless by request, such as site location and donor name. I also won’t share photos online, because I’ll need permission to do so. Some people might take these databases and contact the sources themselves for the photos, as they’ll see I’ve done the rest of this legwork for them.


Some might be amateur "metal detectorists" who have developed their own unique interest and ideas about their pieces that they want to know more about.


These databases are not going to be expensive. You can get 1001 lines of data for $50. Imagine how much it cost me to pull that information together. You can’t. I can’t.


Please don’t begrudge me the need to make money off my work. Don’t we all want to do that?

 

Why Bonanza Novels are Studied in College

Posted by bebowreinhard on April 16, 2015 at 8:50 PM Comments comments (2)

I haven’t been able to get my huge nonfiction book published—I write history that is human and very real, and at times the truth that’s uncovered can be uncomfortable. But we cannot learn from history without application of human attitude that created the history to begin with.

I think this is being sensed even in my fiction novels.

University of Maryland at Baltimore was the first college to make Felling of the Sons required reading. The professor told me she was a major Bonanza fan and for the reasons that I am—those very real people we never hear about in real history stories. This TV series used a lot of true history that the Cartwrights became involved in. 

She hosted me at one of their class sessions to discuss this novel, and one of the students showed skepticism with the material. “But cowboys and Indians were never friends in real life, right?”

I was very happy to set them straight on this. I spent 20 years researching and writing the war experiences of a great-uncle between 1862 and 1884, and I can tell you that there were more friendships between cowboys and cavalry and Indians than anyone has led us to believe. I told them what Henry told as his family legacy: “We didn’t try hard to catch the Indians, we could see they were good people.”

This huge Henry nonfiction would make great campus reading because I strive to tell the history that falls between two opposing sides; this is where the truth is found. But that book, for perhaps its more controversial stance of what really happened, has not yet found a publisher.

Much of what I learned with Henry came in later years and can be found more completely revealed in Mystic Fire, which has yet to be chosen as campus reading; I hope it will be, because it is perfectly designed for that kind of study, with more dedicated footnotes.

Being chosen by the University of Maryland was the biggest honor I could have imagined for a Bonanza novel, even one dedicated to truth and history as mine are. But it had begun to feel a bit like a fluke, until my publisher told me that a college in the UK had recently made a major purchase of Felling of the Sons. The location doesn’t surprise me. England, and Germany especially, boast of having a lot of Bonanza fans—they are enamored of American western history and its native Indians in particular. The cowboy culture in America (including Mexico) is quite distinct. Henry himself was a German soldier with an affinity for the Indian culture, but that doesn’t quite explain why he would have called the Indians good people. Certainly his direct experience with them could have altered that perception.  So what he said was based on what he observed.

But what is it about Felling of the Sons in particular that would have encouraged these colleges to have students read it? Is it just because of the American history that is included, with characters that they are already familiar with?

There are elements of American western history that were very well researched for this novel, including cattle driving, the Paiute culture, timbering and silver mining. Any one of these elements by itself could teach students about life in 1860 in the West. For instance, I go into some detail about the Paiute war that happened that year and the repercussions. There is also a good deal of information about the gold strike in Coloma, California on Sutter’s land, because the “villain” was someone Ben knew in his early days with Sutter.

One could also study what a real “bad guy” was like – not a stereotypical one- dimensional character, but someone who had a real life before things went wrong. It’s a study of how a man refuses to take responsibility and blames others. We all know people like that. It’s also a study of two fathers and the opposing ways they raised their sons. I call it a psychological historical novel, not a western.

I was told once by a fellow member of Western Writers of America that I should have changed the title of the book because most people won’t “get it.” But the title’s intelligence is indicative of what is found inside. All three of the sons face being “cut down” by the villain, creating an atmosphere of pain and survival that is so important in western history. Here Ben finds all three of his sons’ lives are at risk. One of the most important things about the Bonanza TV series in its time, and today, is the fact that Ben showed us how to love all our children equally. What does Ben do when his sons are all out there and he can only choose to go after one of them? That is a question for the ages. I don’t know if even the book provided that answer. Maybe you can tell me.

When I write, I take the time to craft a very dimensional book because I want people to want to read it more than once. But this is also a fiction novel that is not in the least intimidated by the subjective questioning that can happen on a college campus. I welcome its inclusion in the study of American history everywhere, and ask that Mystic Fire also be considered, as a way to look at what Lincoln was really like in 1862.

 

 

 

WISDOM FOR LIVING: Staying Employed

Posted by bebowreinhard on November 22, 2013 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (2)

I’m 60 years old and I’ve ruined my life. I’m posting this not so you will feel sorry for me, but so that you can avoid the mistakes I’ve made.

First, know your strengths and weaknesses. While there’s something so noble in pursuing a writing career, there’s also so much about the process that stands in your way, and you need to have something extra special to batter down those walls. The best way to know if you have what it takes is to receive encouragement from others. I got that encouragement in high school, and I have lived on that encouragement ever since. I never got it anywhere else. There was a time when my writing seemed like it was taking off—in the late 1990s to early 2000s. Then the self-publishing market took hold, and writing ventures have not been the same since. I languish between the two, unable to crack one and unwilling to do the other.

Learn what you’re good at that’s marketable, and hone yourself in the workplace.

Second, don’t quit a job at the slightest discouragement. I’ve always been a perfectionist, fearful of criticism. I catch on to jobs quickly but bore easily. Developing relationships has never come easily to me. So at the slightest discouragement on the job, I would rationale a reason to quit. A lot of times I used the “it’s too far to drive to take that crap,” but many times I quit hoping they would beg me to stay. They never called my bluff. I was never valued as I had hoped I was.

It’s never a good idea to gamble your employment history away.  The longer the resume, the worse you look.

Third, going back to college is a serious move, and needs every consideration. Yet I made this mistake not once, but twice. I didn’t learn enough about historical research in my undergraduate degree and as a result, I couldn’t get the Henry book done the way I wanted. I went for a master’s with no further goal than to finish that book. I could have taken Public History courses to qualify for museum work, but never did. And no, the Henry book is still not published.

And my history writing has not paid off as I’d hoped outside the book, either. I have recently been told that my journalistic style is too “populist.” But I’ve been told by popular magazines that my popular style is too scholarly. I’ve been told by trade publishers to send Henry to university publishers, who tell me to send it to trade publishers.

Never go to college to be a writer. Make sure you have a back-up plan.

Because of college, I took a lot of temp jobs, jobs that were easy to quit, which reinforced that quitting wasn’t hard—there was always something else out there.

There isn’t anything out there anymore. Not when you reach a certain age and the economy is going through uncertain times. Not when you still live so far out of town that you’re not willing to take just any assistant manager at McDonalds job. Even the temp agencies that I counted on for so long have dropped me, because they know I keep looking for something better.

So don’t be like me. Find the good in the job you have now. Move closer to it if you can. Don’t let yourself get old with nothing to look forward to, and never ever forget that while you want others to value you, you can’t put your own value over what you’d like to accomplish in life. You’re not special. There are a million people waiting to take your place.

Don’t be like me. Don’t take your future for granted. Your future, as you might want to envision it, doesn’t exist.

 

A WRITER'S ENTRY INTO THE WORLD OF SONG LYRIC COPYRIGHT

Posted by bebowreinhard on November 9, 2013 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I entered the world of usage of song lyrics in a novel as a babe in the musical woods. Could they object to a line or two? Or even a whole stanza? I couldn’t imagine why, and in fact really didn’t give it a thought.

As a historical writer who put together a huge nonfiction book complete with quotes and photos, many of which need permission or at least complete footnoting, I’m not sure why this would escape my attention. Songs are still an artist’s creation, even if the artist doesn’t always retain their own copyright.

That’s right. I don’t have to ask John Lennon’s widow for right to quote a few of his lyrics in my book. I had to ask Sony/ATV Music, who owns the Michael Jackson estate. My publisher, Arline Chase of Write Words, Inc., told me of an author who talked to John Denver personally, who said he’d be honored to have her refer to his song, and so she did, only to find out he didn’t own the rights.

I find this process to be quite arbitrary. For one thing, I am not playing a song without permission on a radio station, and making money. Do DJs who play at weddings have to get permission for every song they play? Why not? They’re making money. I’m going to ask next chance I get, unless someone here knows the answer and can fill me in. I am merely quoting a few lines of lyrics, by far not the whole song. What is the problem?

The problem is someone wants money. And it’s often not the person who created the piece at all. We’re not paying for the literary endeavor, but yes, in a round-about way we are, because they had to sell their rights and did so, we might expect, willingly for some monetary need.

But these creative artists aren’t getting anything off of my work, which includes a clever reference to theirs. They might make money off my reference if it gains them another fan through that reference, if they retained the money made from sale of the actual recording. Instead, the lyrics you find online are owned by someone who paid to own them, not the one who wrote them.

Odd business, music.

I don’t know all the details to why the Beatles would have sold their copyrights to Michael Jackson in the first place. Were they not making enough money from the songs anymore? And I’m just talking about the use of a few lyrics, not the whole song. You can find complete lyrics online to just about any song you want. That enables you to sing the song out loud, and you can do that karaoke without paying a fee, as long as you don’t make money doing it. Or don’t get caught making any money on it.

Why would I begrudge these copyright owners a use fee for these lyrics? Few writers, unless they’re of the Stephen King category (and I bet even he wouldn’t attempt to write this kind of book) can afford to pay any exorbitant licensing fees. Even with my nonfiction, I have not paid for the rights to the photos that demand them because I don’t yet have a publishing contract. I want the publisher to decide if they want to include those photos that have to be purchased before I do that.

So my first stop is to find out how much a few lines of lyrics will cost me, and then let the publisher decide if they think they are that worth being used in the book. I figured this should be my first step, because it might be hard to find a publisher if I haven’t done this research. They might be leery of any book that relies on music lyrics to help tell its tale.

I have purchased rights in the past. I paid $200 for a map I’ve yet to use in anything. I got free single use of a book cover, also gone unused. I also became the only authorized Bonanza novelist by gaining permission to publish two novels direct from creator and producer of the series, David Dortort—permission that some people to this day believe I never got. I didn’t pay anything up front, but Bonanza Ventures gets 20% of my net royalties—only 10% until I decided to use the official licensed map on the cover.

A major goal for this new novel is getting the rights to the Beatles song, “In My Life.” With an online search and a phone call, I learned that Sony/ATV held the rights. I found an email and they responded promptly with a form to return with the contextual pages of the book where the lyrics would appear.

The form wanted me to name the publisher.

It would appear that this is a job most publishers undertake, but undaunted, I told them I didn’t have one but might have to re-do the work if the cost was prohibitive. While waiting for a response, I went through a movie script I’d written and noted that I was using lines from other movies. So in this draft, I removed them, thinking it could be stopping the script from getting noticed. I thought the same could be true for this novel.

Sony/ATV responded later that day, though I wasn’t sure they would. They said it would cost me $300. That’s not bad, I reasoned. Until I saw the next part. For 500 copies. I thought maybe they missed a couple of zeroes. Okay, so this means they think I’m going to self-publish. And while 60 cents a copy doesn’t seem so bad, really, it can add up to a lot if you want to hit the best-seller list, especially if the author is expected to pay this up front, and then doesn’t sell as many copies as she hoped.

In my major nonfiction, I got a publisher and then set out to get all the rights to the photos, before the publisher asked me to because he didn’t even read the book before accepting it. In that process I found there were some photos I could do without, many that could be replaced with something that was free, and then the ones I needed to pay for I got the prices so that the publisher could decide if they were worth buying. But I cancelled the contract from lack of work on his part, because I felt he didn’t have a clue what to do with all these photos and maps.

I wrote back to Sony/ATV asking for a third option, because the only options they gave was either to pay the amount or remove the lyrics. I told them I just wanted an idea of cost, and that I will keep this form and have a publisher decide if I need the lyrics. Then I went through the book and removed whatever lines weren’t needed to tell the story. “Yeah yeah sigh.” Well, there’s at least one potential lyric problem I solved.

Often just mentioning the song by name, which is legal, is enough.

My other option is just to make up some songs, and make them so good that people think they’re real. But to a historian who’s trying to create a book with a real feel for these time periods, that would leave me (and probably readers) unsatisfied.

I have other licensing queries out there, and will update this article as those responses come in. The nice thing is that with lyrics, as with photos, you can say that all attempts were made to find out about licensing, and if they don’t ever respond, you can go ahead and use the lyrics.

But keep a paper trail, just in case.

The good thing about working with Sony/ATV is how prompt and reliable they are. She also told me that they approve the context use of the lyrics in my novel, but I still have to pay the licensing fee. At least now I know, and will be careful not to be frivolous with lyrics in a novel that depends a lot on how music changes from the 40s to the 60s. But something will be lost in the transition, and that’s too bad.

 

Attitude in History Part II

Posted by bebowreinhard on October 20, 2013 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (1)


More interesting reactions to my historical research. Ethnology Journal recently rejected my Red Bird article because, though well written, it read more as a journalistic approach than a scholarly one. I suppose it didn’t matter to them how many sources I used, and I used all I could find. The tone of the article, instead, was meant to show why the real history of the Red Bird War of 1827 has not yet been revealed. And that is still considered revisionist, right? Like I should just go out there and join those who are trying to show why everything we know about history is wrong, and how real history is being hidden. I’m another conspiracy theory nut, right?

Wrong. There’s a difference between finding a nugget of information that has never before been shared—a true nugget; and theorizing that we’re being lied to and finding ways to put things together to prove it. There’s a big difference. But perhaps there is something wrong with how I’m doing it. So I did get a master’s in history to become a better researcher and I did want to be a writer not for scholars but for the masses. That’s all true enough, and perhaps that’s what they’re talking about in this kind of rejection.

Being a historian for the masses suits me just fine—except there are no good magazine markets for pieces like Red Bird. I have no ‘niche.’ So my long 30-page-with-photo-and-footnote articles need to be reduced, resized and rethought.

But it has to be done, and I also have to find a way to do presentations to audiences in a way that will not only get them to come, but will also get them to think.

For instance, recently a college professor in Maryland chose Felling of the Sons to be required fiction reading in a class on Americana. She wanted them to discuss the history used in fiction. I had the pleasure of Skyping with the class with friend and fellow Bonanza fan Isabel Piana, and together we fielded questions about how realistic this history was.

My favorite was the question about whether cowboys and Indians really could have been friends in the Old West. I used this theme because it’s a popular one on the TV series, at least during its first six years. The idea that these young people in a college class still believed in John Wayne westerns made me realize that as historians we have not come as far as I’d hoped by this time. Are teachers still teaching that Indians were bad and the rest of us were good?

I was able to respond to this by using Uncle Henry’s experience and comment about the Indian wars. And if it was true back then, then the real truth of those years is still being hidden from view, except from discerning scholars like David Dortort, who knew and reflected on the reality in Bonanza. I was able to pick up on this, believed all along that patriotic garble was just that, and when my grandfather told me about Henry, I realized that his story needed to be told.

But Henry’s story is yet in limbo, and the reason could be that today’s America still isn’t ready for this truth –and this was demonstrated by college kids believing that Bonanza remains just popular fiction.

It’s not just fiction. And it’s my job now as a historian to show how and where the truth lies. Just how I’ll do that remains to be seen.

 

 

Attitude in History

Posted by bebowreinhard on August 26, 2013 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)

People might wonder why, since getting a master’s in history, I don’t get any nonfiction historical material published. I wonder that, too, but less after receiving my most recent rejection.

People buy into their myths. I get that. They don’t like having myths blown. Okay. Whistle blowers have never been popular in history. Right.

So why do I continue to insist on revealing the truth that emerges in these primary documents I study? Not so much “truth” as in “Lincoln died on this day” but truth as in “is it possible this is what people were thinking at the time they did this?”

Attitude. It’s an elusive thing to find, or is it? I don’t think so. Because what I reveal is a compilation of information that, put together, reveals what has never been looked at that way before. Using real facts and saying “because this and this go together, this must be why this happened. “ This is what my work reveals. And attitude gets at what can rarely be found in simple facts of the day. It indicates potential. When attitude is revealed inside the framework of an event, it most often clarifies that event and answers any remaining questions that otherwise leave us scratching our collective heads.

Does that mean I make everything up? Not at all. But I do look for more than one side to the issue. That’s something Henry taught me to do. By being army, but saying that they didn’t try hard to catch the Indians, I looked for evidence of what he meant. And that led me to look for attitude. To look for the commonality of humanity in events that explains more than the events themselves.

Perhaps my reporting of history is part psychology and part philosophy, and that’s what makes it unpopular. I should have gotten the hint when, during final committee approval of my thesis at Eau Claire, my thesis advisor quit. He didn’t understand why my thesis had to uncover attitude. “Just the facts, ma’am.” Oddly, we got through a year of my thesis before he realized what I was doing.

But how could my thesis NOT have been about attitude? I never made a pretense about wanting to find out why Henry said that about not trying hard to catch the Indians because they were good people. The remark is even more intriguing in knowing that he was infantry and never chased them himself. I never made any pretense about the thesis. But his attitude added another semester to my schooling.

I don’t think we can ever understand history without an understanding of why people did what they did. Here are my most thoroughly researched examples:

  1. The first sawmill in Wisconsin. My research got this site on the National Historic Register, but I’ve yet to get an article published. The idea that J.P. Arndt applied business principles to Menominee land and acquired proof of the Menominee environmental attitude doesn’t seem to appeal to historical journals. And he’s not the hometown favorite, either, so the local sources prefer not to talk much about his accomplishments, which were many. The Menominees refuse to believe this was other than a land grab, but Arndt’s attitude was to do everything properly, and that included getting Indian permission to lease the land for timbering.
  2. The real reason Custer died. I’m not saying I can prove the U.S. government and army deliberately set out to be defeated at the Little Bighorn—that can likely never be proven and is best suited for movies like National Treasure—but when you consider that attitude potential with all the facts of the day, there are no lingering questions about Custer’s death. The secret meeting is the biggest factor, combined with numbers of Indians against selling the Black Hills and new information that research on Henry provides.
  3. Why Red Bird was arrested/surrendered. The real story involved rape and abduction of Indian women, but at the time, the Winnebagoes didn’t want the truth to get out. Now it can, but no one wants to believe our government could have covered something like that up to get the Winnebagoes to sign away their land. They eventually moved back to Wisconsin but are the only tribe in the state without a designated reservation.

Of course there are more stories like this – history is filled with them. But will I work on more if I can’t get anywhere with these? I’m probably better off writing fiction.

The Journal of Military History rejected the Custer article and you can imagine why. How dare I intimate that the government and army would do such a thing? Their reasons for rejection make no sense, saying my research was sloppy. It was anything but, and their comments prove it. I try to claim that the “secret” meeting was actually secret? But everyone knows that, and since they know what it’s about now, it’s hardly astounding for me to use it to prove collusion. The point, however, that they refuse to see is that it was “secret” at the time for a reason. No notes were kept at the meeting so that we cannot know the truth about it, even if historians think they do. What they know are the rumors that people guessed at later, rumors claimed as fact today. That’s sloppy.

But that is the kind of history thinking that still exists. The fact that the meeting was secret back then is the point, but that’s the point they don’t want to acknowledge.

I see attitude in history as a very real thing, as real as any date or name. I think learning about attitude has more ability to tell us why something happened than anything else. I also think I might happen to be alone in my thinking. But I know and acknowledge attitude as a potential to add to our understanding of history, and do not refer to what can never be truly known as “fact.” That’s where we can into trouble.

I’m not going to resort to the continued myth-building that historians should have given up by now. Lincoln was human, not some sort of war god. That’s not what the future of history should be. And that’s not going to help us learn to stop repeating those same mistakes. History does not have to repeat itself.

Wisconsin is a green state not because of its Republican governor but because of the numerous tribes in the state, including the Menominees. The Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) Nation belongs here in Wisconsin. These things are evident in the history I’ve uncovered. But this is history that few people are going to hear if this country’s attitude remains one of myth-building.

That time is over.

But what will happen to the pride of this country if we lose all the myths developed since the Revolutionary War? I think we’ll become more human and more willing to accept our differences. Personally I would love to see the Indians use that money for the Black Hills to buy it back, because I don’t see any way it can be just given to them, even if we understand how it was taken. And would it be so bad to give some of Wisconsin’s “green attitude” to the presence of our native Indians? As for Arndt, give him the place in Green Bay and Wisconsin history that he deserves. Let’s rewrite lumbering in Wisconsin.

I will continue to seek markets for these three articles before I will research another. Writing historical review takes an awful lot of time. I hate to see any of these go to waste.