A Fertile Mind

I might be reading A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War (buy from IndieBound by following link) by Amanda Foreman because it's interesting. Or I might be reading it because the author got her doctorate in eighteenth-century English history from Oxford. Or because she's a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Or perhaps because she's Visiting Senior Research Fellow in History at Queen Mary College at the University of London. Or maybe because her dad wrote the screenplays to the classic films The Bridge on the River Kwai, High Noon, and The Guns of Navarone.

But those are not the reasons I'm reading A World on Fire.

I'd picked up the book at the public library several times during previous visits. The mighty tome (1008 pages, three and a half pounds) looked very interesting to me, but I never took it home. I told myself what was probably the truth at the time, that I simply wouldn't be serious about finishing a book of that scope and depth at this wild n' crazy point in my life. The last time I hit the library I handled the book again, and finally took it home.

Why? Because the author has interested me in herself.

She's all those things listed above. And she has five kids. Yeah, that brought me on board. Don't know how she got 'em, don't know what she does with 'em. But I know it can be done and ought to be done (at least by more people than currently do it). Ought at least to be a desirable thing. You just have to choose how you're going to live your life. If both spouses want to be astronauts, the several kids thing probably isn't going to happen. So just do something else that's awesome. Like writing ground-breaking popular histories. Have your cake and eat it too.

"This woman gave up on all her "professional"
aspirations in order to become a mom."


  1. Hurrah for lots of babies.

    How does this Indiebound thing work. Can you order from them online? Or only in the bookstores. Apparently the closest independent bookstore is 50 mi away form me :(

    1. Wow. Sad face. I don't think you can order from the online.


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