The Age of Astonishment: John Morris in the Miracle Century …

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This creative biography tells of an odd guy who lived thru an awesome century — and no longer the present one. During fresh many years medication has produced no miracles to check antibiotics, vaccines, and aseptic surgical treatment, journalist Bill Morris writes. Passenger jets go back and forth just a bit quicker than within the Fifties. Smartphones very much beef up on rotary telephones however rarely represent a revolution.

For Morris, the century of in reality unequalled development started in 1870. Instead of  penning a normal historical past, he writes of his grandfather, born in 1863 and a school professor of no specific be aware, detouring often to recount the good milestones. His oddball take works.

John Morris used to be born on a Virginia plantation right through the Civil War. With its slaves freed at battle’s finish, Morris the  elder discovered paintings as an English professor on the University of Georgia. Like maximum southern public establishments even prior to the Civil War, the college used to be underfinanced and at the back of the days, however Morris’s father made positive his sons—despite the fact that no longer his daughters—won a school schooling as, a couple of hundred miles north, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright brothers, and different innovators have been running their magic, whilst in Europe Pasteur, Koch, and Nobel weren’t precisely slacking off.

Having graduated, John taught for a couple of years, received a regulation stage, and failed at a regulation follow in Birmingham, Alabama. Collecting himself, he spent a 12 months in Germany on the famend University of Berlin the place he took up philology, the find out about of language.

Following his father to the University of Georgia in 1894, John taught for 50-plus years, modestly including to an difficult to understand box and witnessing the failure of Reconstruction and the upward push of Jim Crow. A unprecedented Georgia revolutionary, he recommended Black civil rights, ladies’s rights, and pacifism however used to be no activist, restricting himself to deploring issues.

Southern racial troubles fill a lot of the textual content, however Professor Morris again and again notes occasions in different places. From electrical lighting fixtures to flush bogs to the advent of clinical medication within the nineteenth century to cinema, radio, vehicles, tv, international wars, and the nuclear age within the twentieth, he lived thru all of them. He used to be by no means a vital determine, even at his college, however the writer has carried out a high quality process recounting his grandfather’s profession and home lifestyles as he passively witnessed what could be his grandson’s favourite century. —Mike Oppenheim writes in Lexington, Kentucky.

This e-book overview seemed within the Autumn 2022 factor of Ameican History mag.

The Age of Astonishment: John Morris within the Miracle Century—from the Civil War to the Cold War

By Bill Morris
Pegasus, Cambridge UK, 2022

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