Sadly it looks like I won’t make my goal of 52 books this year for Cannonball Read. I might still be able to read close to that number (maybe) but I don’t know that I can force out all of the reviews I have let slide. This book, in my opinion, should count for 3 or 4 books though!
As an ex-Political Scientists I’ve read Kennan’s X article in Foreign Affairs several times. The article argues for an approach to the Soviet Union that would contain its expansive tendencies. This later became “containment” and official policy of the United States, a slight distortion as he was arguing primarily for diplomatic containment and not military. Kennan’s ideas and writings were complex and, as John Lewis Gaddis in George F. Kennan: An American Life shows, sometimes contradictory, which tended to lead to Kennan’s own frustration when his ideas were put into policy.
Gaddis succeeds at showing us the full picture of the man through this expansive biography. He had access to all of Kennan’s writing, letters, and diaries and even the family. At times I wished for more discussion of the events of the day, but this is again a biography and not a history.
Although the work isn’t for the casual Cold War era reader, it is worth the effort if you want to know more about Kennan’s development as a public intellectual and his influence on the events of the 20th century. Gaddis has created a biography of which Kennan could be proud.
We have a fab new Help! webinar coming up in September. Come learn about research HUAC!
Help! I’m an Accidental Government Information Librarian presents… Researching the House Un-American Activities Committee
The Government Resources Section of the North Carolina Library Association welcomes you to a series of webinars designed to help us all do better reference work by increasing our familiarity with government information resources, and by discovering the best strategies for navigating them.
The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was one of the most controversial government organizations in American history. Founded in 1938, it would spend nearly four decades seeking out real and alleged subversives before its disbandment in 1975. HUAC’s most famous witnesses would include former communists such as Whitaker Chambers, Hollywood film stars and screenwriters, and even athletes such as Jackie Robinson. The committee’s publications offer an invaluable source of primary materials on such topics as American political culture during the Cold War, the history of American Communism, and civil liberties during a period of external threat. In this webinar out how to trace the history of HUAC through its most famous documents, as well as historical background on the committee and its activities and other relevant federal documents resources.
David Durant is Federal Documents & Social Sciences Librarian at J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University.
We will meet together for Session #19, online on September 19 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. (EDT). Please RSVP for the Session by May 10 at 5:00 pm using this link:
Technical requirements: We will be using collaborative software called Blackboard Collaborate. It requires that you be able to download Java onto your computer, but you do not need any special software. After you RSVP, we will send you a link that you can use to test the software. If you have any questions, please contact Lynda Kellam (firstname.lastname@example.org). You do not need a microphone as a chat system is available in the software, but you do need speakers or headphones.
The session will be recorded and made available after the live session, linked from the NCLA GRS web page (
Lauren Pressley and I always have great conversations about libraries, teaching and librarianship. Back in April we each wrote a series of posts based on a wide-ranging lunch convo. Below are those posts in the correct order. Steve Thomas of Circulating Ideas recently asked us to record a podcast talking about the origin of the posts and a whole host of other things. While you are scheduling classes or answering email, give it a listen. Steve puts a lot of time and effort into his podcasts so we should give him the library love! (You should also check out the podcast with Jessamyn West! Awesome!)
And have a great start to your semesters! Things are kicking in gear here at the “G”. Looking forward to seeing the students again.
Conversation 1: New Wild World of Reference
Conversation 2: New Wild Reference Librarians
Conversation 3: New Wild World of Libraries