American history is my love.
I found this excerpt in a children’s book Of Courage Undaunted by James Daughtery. One of the women I teach with collects old books and uses them in her classroom. I love to browse her shelves. As e-readers gain in popularity, books become curated items that show your values and your interests.
The Corps of Discovery by James Daugherty
There was nothing you could say that was special about them.
They chawed tobacco and cussed and caterwauled that
they were double jointed, fire-eating, leather-necked, half-horse
half-alligator men who could lick their weight in wildcats.
They were picked almost at random out of the Ohio Valley
of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, or New England stock,
merely a sample fistful of what American democracy turns out,
as you might pick up a handful of leaves and say, These are oak.
Any state in the Union can give you 10,000 such
at any time or ten times ten thousand, if there is a call
to stand together in time of danger,
or hold the line on land, in sea or air,
not without bragging or grousing and a sour kind of humor,
sometimes terribly scared but never
broken by fear, of courage undaunted.
Sweating and rank, coarse, muscular, lanky,
level-eyed, generous minded, free speaking, slangy-
you don’t have to go far in any city or town to find them;
no farther than any street corner
of factory bench, farmyard, filling station, public high school.
As Lincoln said, “God must have loved them or
he would not have made so many.”
I featured some of my favorite American stories. If you are interested in collecting books, Amazon has a primer for you. I like to visit college towns and browse the used book stores, building my collection that way. Do you have an unusual old book? Tell me about it. I’d love to know.