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But it was mid-May, and she knew it was quite possible to get a late blast of snow and sleet at that time of year.


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Weather on the island could turn from nice to nasty without any warning. Like her mother, she could sense when a change was coming just by facing the lake and letting the breeze brush against her face. That year, Strang had to scrounge passage on fishing boats and freighters.

This year, he was coming back to the island in style after a very successful mission trip to New York.


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The Niagara was the newest of the palace passenger ships to steam from New York to Michigan, then on to Wisconsin and Chicago before heading back east. It had made its maiden voyage the year before. His pockets bulged with money donated to him by new converts to his Mormon faith. Divine Perfection. I must remember that for my next sermon. At that point, all he could see was a dot.

A series of dots, actually, green and sandy; hardy little souls jutting from the deep blue waters of northern Lake Michigan. The dots had names. They were essential for building dwellings, but he gave them no more than a passing glance. Nor was it based on the fishing boats lining the harbor, where men pulled vast nets of fish onto the shore. Walking on the road that ran along the harbor, James could see his dream becoming a reality in this place. The harbor was deep and very well-protected, a horseshoe-shaped bay with a narrow entrance on the south side. It was an ideal stopping point for steamers that needed to take on cordwood, which was abundant on the island.

Looking inland, he saw vast forests of pine, beech, oak, maples and birches. Dark, primordial areas were swampy and crowded with cedars. The forests gave way to fields that were ideal for farming. The beaches glimmered with unspoiled, fine-grain sand. It was an isolated spot 20 miles away from the Pine River outpost, which was the nearest point on the mainland, which also meant it was 20 miles away from naysayers, doubters, persecutors who disbelieved him.

This was where he would stake his claim for the title of Mormon leader. The island was hardly well-developed. It had a general store, a cooper shop, trading post, a livery, and of course, a tavern. The spirits served in the tavern would have to go, James thought, but it could continue as a gathering place and purveyor of food for the Mormon bachelors who would no doubt follow James to the island.

He promised widows and plain-faced young women that they would find a spouse and happiness here. No one would do without and everyone would prosper if they followed the Mormon rules according to Strang. Following the rituals established by Joseph Smith, Strang had no difficulty recruiting new members. American citizens were hungry for a new religion. They had grown weary of the heavy robes of priests and the somber sermons of the Old World religions. Add to that the revelations and visions given to Smith by the angels, and the Mormon religion was intoxicating to Americans starved for a new belief.

Strang picked up where Smith left off, creating his own tale of visions from angels and brass plates from an angel, buried in Wisconsin and discovered by Strang, that only he could translate.


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It convinced them that they had joined the one true religion, because God spoke directly to his Mormon prophets. As Strang wandered about Beaver island, reminiscing about his progress with the Latter-Day Saints, he accidentally ran into a strong young man who was bent over, emptying bilge water from his boot.

I live here! He watched as the stranger made his way slowly along the road, keenly observing activity around him. Will went back to the boat to check it once more and make sure it was secured for the night. His catch had already been packed in salt. His gill nets were drying on reels in the mild sunshine. He was coated with a faint spray of salt. Even though Strang was short, there was something about him — the top hat, the dress clothes, the intense brown eyes — that made him stand out. Ran into him a while ago. Or he ran into me, truth be told.

Ted and Will engaged in a spirited debate with Roald about the coming summer season. Roald was positive it would be a short, cool summer due to the early and frequent calls of the katydids. All that mattered to him was that summer was coming, and that meant warm weather for fishing. It looked like the lines tying it to the dock were the only things keeping it from sinking. Laurie Lounsbury is a national award-winning journalist and editor who spent most of her writing career covering northern Michigan. I found it fascinating how there were precursor versions of the tale that existed long before the version that we consider the standard text today.

In many of these the tale is shorter and the emphasis is different, but the germ of the tale is still there. Damrosch does an excellent job of presently this material and how it parallels other tales that became literature. Butt, although we have to guess by context or infer from the older variants what the missing pieces are, that does not reduce the impact of this oldest piece of literature. Because of a catastrophe we in the modern world have this great tale of the king of Uruk. What had been lost for thousands of years has been brought back into human ken.

You can learn about those and how they created both this tale and the conditions for its survival by reading this book. Those chapters are great reading also. This is a good thing. I took it along during a work trip during which I worked hour days and no matter how exhausted I was, I could make sense of those little black smudges on the paper. The structure was interesting in that the narrative moved from the events and peoples who discovered the cuneiform tablets and translated them to the life and times of the ancient rulers who created the libraries of tablets and finally to the themes and plotline of the epic itself.

This was a fascinating read and did a great job of making the life and times of the involved parties seem real. If nothing else, I am glad one more person me knows of the work and passion of Hormuzd Rassam, an excavator and scholar who ran afoul of Budge and the British Museum and was slandered and marginalized towards the end of his career. The casual racism of the time was sometimes shocking, but I am glad this book brings the true facts to light as well as investigating the origins and motives for the continued bad press Rassam received even after his death.

The epic, as presented here, was interesting and I appreciated the extended discussions of the similarities in themes and plots with both the Old Testament and other works of the similar time period such as the Odyssey. Overall, an interesting and informative read and well worth my time! Aug 08, Qalandar rated it really liked it. One might be forgiven for thinking that a book that is half-devoted to the archaeological expeditions and discoveries in Mesopotamia in the nineteenth century, and the subsequent attempts of linguists to crack the linguistic "code" that ultimately led to the recovery of the Epic of Gilgamesh, would be dry.

One would be wrong: Damrosch writes with velocity and poise, yet does not sacrifice scholarly heft, weaving in issues of pertaining to colonialism, culture, race, and the arbitrariness of hist One might be forgiven for thinking that a book that is half-devoted to the archaeological expeditions and discoveries in Mesopotamia in the nineteenth century, and the subsequent attempts of linguists to crack the linguistic "code" that ultimately led to the recovery of the Epic of Gilgamesh, would be dry.

One would be wrong: Damrosch writes with velocity and poise, yet does not sacrifice scholarly heft, weaving in issues of pertaining to colonialism, culture, race, and the arbitrariness of history, as he hurtles backward towards ancient Mesopotamia. Along the way, he attempts to set the record straight by shedding new light on the unlikely, and remarkable career of Iraqi archaeologist Hormuzd Rassam, so central to the Western re-discovery of the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian pasts, and so often shunted to the side by his British colleagues, whether as an archaeologist or a diplomat; Damrosch's rescue of Rassam's work from oblivion seems to me as much an ethical act as one of scholarship.

But the book offers other pleasures too: Damrosch has a novelist's gift when it comes to characterization, and vividly sketches nineteenth century scholars like George Smith and Henry Rawlinson to life. But most rewarding of all is Damrosch's evocation of the ancient milieu of the epic, and his account of the functionings of the Assyrian court and bureaucrac; not to mention his engagement with the poem itself, and with its abiding relevance. It is man's fate to die, the poem seems to tell us, and even at such great remove, the uncompromising clarity of that insight unsettles.

Jun 16, Melissa rated it really liked it. Story of the discovery of the "Epic of Gilgamesh" and the various cultural and personality oddities involved. The book is organized something like an archaeological tell - most recent layer first, "digging down" into the earlier layers into the murky origins of the tale. I recommend the book to people with an interest in Mesopotamian culture or as a fascinating example of the ways in which the British imperialist, colonialist, and archaeological projects coincided.

To me the most engaging parts Story of the discovery of the "Epic of Gilgamesh" and the various cultural and personality oddities involved. To me the most engaging parts were the sections on George Smith, the London engraver without a classical education who edged his way into the British Museum and first discovered and translated the parallels with the Biblical Flood story, and on Hormuzd Rassam, born in Mosul modern Iraq near ancient Nineveh, who among many other achievements discovered the Assyrian library where the most complete version of the Gilgamesh story was found, but whose reputation was unfairly besmirched by envious English scholars.

View 1 comment. Jul 28, Baklavahalva rated it really liked it. Damrosch writes insightfully, movingly, and beautifully, no matter whom he's writing about, Hormuzd Rassam, Ashurbanipal, or Gilgamesh himself. It's nice that he has a sense of humor, too. One star less for his last chapter in which Damrosch crammed quite possibly Damrosch writes insightfully, movingly, and beautifully, no matter whom he's writing about, Hormuzd Rassam, Ashurbanipal, or Gilgamesh himself.

One star less for his last chapter in which Damrosch crammed quite possibly for marketing reasons Philip Roth and Saddam Hussein. Jun 08, Todd Stockslager rated it liked it Shelves: history. Good subject, bad idea. Damrosch makes a decision to work in reverse chronological order that flaws his account of the discovery and deciphering of the tablets of the Epic of Gilgamesh, then doesn't follow through because he needs to build on chronological knowledge to bring the Epic to the general readers his book is intended for. So he starts with synopsis of the discovery of some of the tablets, then goes through the deciphering of the tablets, before going back to the discovery in more detail Good subject, bad idea.

So he starts with synopsis of the discovery of some of the tablets, then goes through the deciphering of the tablets, before going back to the discovery in more detail, then works backward to a synopsis of the Epic, before concluding with a prologue which returns to a tacked-on discussion of the cultural impact of the Epic today. Damrosch would have been better served by a straight chronological sequence or some other organizational framework.

Also, in the telling he goes off-topic in his earnestness to resurrect the career of an Iraqi native who was crucial to the 19th-century archaeological finds--a worthy effort to be sure, but then to spend a whole chapter in a thin book on Hormuzd Rassam's subsequent year diplomatic career away from the archaeological field betrays Damrosch's lack of confidence in his core subject material.

Jun 04, Mike Perschon rated it it was amazing Shelves: world-literature , non-fiction. I love this book. I came across it after I'd been teaching Gilgamesh in World Literature for about two years. It didn't change my approach so much as illuminate it in so many ways.

In Defense of Mayonnaise

If you love ancient or nineteenth-ce I love this book. If you love ancient or nineteenth-century history, archaeology, or ancient epics, this book is a must-read. Damrosch does an excellent job of keeping the content engaging and accessible, so this one isn't just for scholars. Would go together very nicely with Stephen Mitchell's version of Gilgamesh as a study of the epic.

Jul 23, Margaret Sankey rated it liked it. Follows the Epic of Gilgamesh in its three distinctive contexts: the 19th century discovery and translation by Imperial British scholars and all their cultural baggage, its writing for inclusion in the royal library of the Assyrian kings and Nineveh and its original composition in the sity-states of Mesopotamia.

Most striking is a reminder of how tied Gilgamesh is as an ancestor of both the Old Testament Noah, the antediluvian world of year lifespans and Homer Achilles and Patrocolus, pro Follows the Epic of Gilgamesh in its three distinctive contexts: the 19th century discovery and translation by Imperial British scholars and all their cultural baggage, its writing for inclusion in the royal library of the Assyrian kings and Nineveh and its original composition in the sity-states of Mesopotamia.

Most striking is a reminder of how tied Gilgamesh is as an ancestor of both the Old Testament Noah, the antediluvian world of year lifespans and Homer Achilles and Patrocolus, propositions from the gods. Bizarrely, ends with an analysis of Saddam Hussein's very bad novel, attempting to incorporate Gilgamesh elements into justification for his rule. Aug 01, Andrea rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , history. Interesting topic and reasonably well written.

Worth reading 😎

Damrosch tells the story backwards starting with the man who first deciphered the lost epic of Gilgamesh, linking him to the men who discovered the cuniform tablets, then to the ruler who collected the tablets in his library. It was a different approach to tell the tale in reverse, but to make sense of it, Damrosch had to fill in a few gaps, so in a few places he had to jump out of sequence and anticipate his next subject. It was a worthwhile effort Interesting topic and reasonably well written. It was a worthwhile effort, but I wonder how a traditional linear narrative would have worked?

Nov 29, secondwomn rated it liked it Shelves: Aug 27, PvOberstein rated it really liked it. Finally doing some justice to the archeological cred of my pseud. Slightly disjointedly, the book leaps between ancient Mesopotamia, Victorian London, and a fair number of times and places in-between. If you want a work about the Epic of Gilgamesh, the history of Assyrian studies, or the 'Oriental Finally doing some justice to the archeological cred of my pseud. If you want a work about the Epic of Gilgamesh, the history of Assyrian studies, or the 'Orientalist' politics of nineteenth-century archeology, this book is an accessible balance of all three.

Damrosch's epic begins in reverse-chronology, telling of the rediscovery of the clay tablet fragments containing the Epic of Gilgamesh in 19th century London, back through the excavation and re-discovery of the fragments in the Ottoman Empire, and then further back to the time of Gilgamesh and the other semi-mythological figures on the 'vanishing point' of history. The book touches on pretty much everything - the linguistic decipherment of the Sumerian languages, the race and class politics of English society, the connections to the Old Testament and The Iliad, the madness of more modern Abyssinian kings.

Damrosch is explicitly writing for a non-academic audience, so the prose is always accessible, and for better or worse the book never gets weighed down in granular and technical details. If that's what you're reading the book for: you're in luck, it does so excellently. My only major critique of the 'core' of the book is that the reverse-narrative - dealing with the re-re-discovery of the tablets in London before the re-discovery in Iraq - strikes me as kind of an odd choice. Damrosch frames it this way so that the story is like an archeological dig - the newest stuff's at the top - but it sometimes makes keeping track of the personalities and historiographies a challenge.

Towards the end of the book Damrosch goes into a fairly-extended comparative analysis about how the Epic influenced Saddam Hussein's political romances and The Great American Novel by Roth. Both comparisons feel a bit forced and over-extended. The connections to Hemingway are just confusing. It's a minor nitpick, but I can't help but wonder if those sections were included just to give the jacket something fluffy to promote. The absolute best parts of the book are when Damrosch brings to life the scenes of life in ancient Sumeria, giving his best guess as to how the lives of Gilgamesh and his fellow Kings of Old lived, how the priests prophesized, how wars were fought and wells dug.

Damrosch touches on many tantalizing subjects - connections to The Iliad and the Old Testament, the foundation of the earliest cities, the invention of symbolic writing - which are beyond the scope of the project, but nevertheless leave the reader myself yearning for more. I'm not a classicist, as much as I sometimes wish I was, but this book was perfect for someone with a middling familiarity with the subjects being discussed. It's not narrowly-focused, which you may find a boon or a bane, but it certainly keeps the book interesting.

Recommended if it sounds like something you're considering reading, but not to someone with no interest in the field. Jul 17, Steve Wiggins rated it really liked it. The story of how the Gilgamesh Epic was written, lost, and refound, is a profoundly human one.

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NASA’s “Rocket Girls” Are No Longer Forgotten History

The cast of characters in this non-fiction account is fascinating. While Assyriology remains an outsider discipline in the academy, the fame of the the Epic of Gilgamesh shows just how much interest there is in the original story. Written with an eye toward keeping the reader entertained as well as informed, The Buried Book goes through the stories of the various towering names—and not a few forgotten o The story of how the Gilgamesh Epic was written, lost, and refound, is a profoundly human one.

Written with an eye toward keeping the reader entertained as well as informed, The Buried Book goes through the stories of the various towering names—and not a few forgotten ones—associated with the archaeological discovery of the Gilgamesh tablets and the fates that befell these explorers, scholars, and adventurers. There's an element of Indiana Jones to this narrative, but the real-life characters played out a drama that led to the establishment of a lost world classic. Damrosch ably tells the story, and having excavated British Museum records about lawsuits and disputes over the materials from ancient Mesopotamia, this makes a fascinating read.

Even for those of us who've studied Mesopotamian literature professionally, it is a very human story of endurance, achievement, jealousy, and privilege. And you'll learn something about Gilgamesh along the way as well. I posted some further thoughts about this book on my blog: Sects and Violence in the Ancient World. Jul 04, Astephens22 rated it it was ok.

How the ancient Greek oracle of Delphi was lost and found

The parts about the beginnings of the discipline of Assyriology and the many early archaeological findings were very interesting, but unfortunately the author ran out of material. Much of the rest of the book felt disjointed, culminating in a detailed summary of a novel by Saddam Hussein.

If you're interested in the history of Western investigation of the ancient middle east and Gilgamesh in particular, then I recommend the book. Just don't be afraid to skim some parts. One of the best nonfiction I read in a long time. Feb 12, Romina rated it liked it. I honestly thought this was going to go deeper into Gilgamesh, which is why I picked it up.

I got a bit lost in between all the details of the characters' lives. The hurricane's unexpected arrival exposed both positive and negative features of the blockading squadron's readiness. The Confederate force's ability to engage in warfare was also tested by the weather. The Chattahoochee 's fate in appears to have been an unfortunate accident. The men involved performed the rescue and salvaging of the ship as well as could be expected given the circumstances.

The gunboat had been plagued by production faults for virtually its entire life and the men were likely victim to an accumulation of human errors that contributed to the faulty pressure gauge reading causing the steamer's destruction. While rain is likely to have been falling at the time of the disaster the worst of the weather was still some hours away and the contribution of the weather at the time of the boiler explosion is unknown. The weather further frustrated Confederate efforts to engage the Union forces; on one occasion in it came close to causing more fatalities and led to the capture of some troops, the loss of all of their boats and provisions, and a forced retreat inland.

Once again, the weather further ensured that no significant military battles would be recorded along this stretch of the Gulf coast during the Civil War. However, the absence of notable battles does not detract from the high importance of the naval blockade in Union efforts to contain the Confederate ability to obtain supplies and goods or the Confederacy's recognition of the need to evade, and frequent success in running, the blockade. Hurricane Amanda is the earliest arriving U. This is a reminder to Gulf Coast residents to the possibility, however small, of a hurricane outside of the main hurricane season.

Tropical Storm Beryl had kt winds at landfall on 28 May when making landfall at Jacksonville Beach, Florida, and is worthy of mention since it approached hurricane strength and a central pressure of hPa Therefore, the risk of a May hurricane is real and not limited to the Gulf Coast.

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Naval forces and the coastal populations of the United States were also fortunate that during the Civil War there were no major hurricanes that made landfall anywhere in the United States. Time series of the first date of a U. The dot for shows the date is the earliest landfalling U. The hurricane caused the deaths of at least 72 people on land and on both land and sea when the deaths on the Soler are added.

This ranks it at number 27 in the deadliest U. This total does not include the 17 deaths on the CSS Chattahoochee since the role of weather is uncertain in the events leading up to the boiler explosion. If the high end of deaths can subsequently be confirmed it would tie at number 21 with the Indianola hurricane of The death toll may have been higher had this storm arrived in peacetime as portions of the coastal population had moved inland because of the Union blockade.

The blockade ended normal peacetime commerce and most adult men were serving in the military. Our results also highlight the well-known gaps in the North Atlantic official tropical cyclone records in the nineteenth century Landsea et al. However, our results indicate that incomplete U.

The eye of Hurricane Amanda passed over the town of Apalachicola and through the Union blockading force in the area. Instead, previous hurricane compilers simply missed a storm that was reported in the press, including the New York Times of 17 June This indicates that population-based estimates of missing tropical cyclones Landsea et al.

Other factors such as a functioning press and the presence of war or civil strife will also increase the likelihood of undercounting tropical cyclones. Previous researchers have also been restricted by their access to data sources, the tendency to accept previous work as being sufficiently complete and accurate, assumptions about the seasonality of tropical cyclones, and the extensive work required to rediscover historical hurricanes and tropical storms. There is also caution needed in interpreting tropical cyclone metrics such as season length Kossin The latest U.

Our results move forward by 13 days the earliest U. Basinwide statistics are also susceptible to a few outlier storms and otherwise incomplete information. Paleo-hurricane reconstructions from northwest Florida can benefit from reconsidering this new storm in the interpretation and calibration of existing modern sediment records e.

Civil War Florida Hurricane. Next Article. Previous Article. Chenoweth x. Search for articles by this author. Mock x. View larger version 56K Fig. View larger version 39K Fig. View larger version K Fig. Image of typeset table. View larger version 68K Fig. November Share this Article Share. Continental U. State of the Climate in times.

A Practical Guide to Wavelet Analysis times. View larger version 56K. View larger version 39K. View larger version K. View larger version 68K. Campbell, R. McFarland and Company , pp. Google Scholar. Fleming, J. Johns Hopkins University Press , pp. Kossin, J. Landsea, C.

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Murnane and K. Liu, Eds. Lane, P. Donnelly, J. Woodruff, and A. Hawkes, : A decadally-resolved paleohurricane record archived in the late Holocene sediments of a Florida sinkhole. Turner, M.