Saturday, March 13, 2010

Back to the Books

After years of working from online sources, I'm going back to books to study the French and Indian War--and back to taking notes on paper too.

It took a couple days before I could calm down enough to read one book for hours.
It's really nice to dig deeply into one topic again.

I'm uncovering tons of amazing stuff I never knew.
For instance, the 5-sided fort is a classic of military design called the Vauban Plan, after the French military engineer who popularized it in the 1600s.

Its advantage is that its sides allow for concentrated fire in any one direction,
while its intersecting angles allow for crossfire.

George Washington, at 22, either didn't know this or didn't have time to build one,
but at the start of the French & Indian War, he constructed his first fort--the ill-fated Fort Necessity-- in a circle.
(Seems likely his troops would have lost to the much more numerous French & their allies anyway.)

History is always bumping up against our lives:
As I was reading this, it struck me that if I were a military type like George Washington,
which I most definitely am not,
the 9/11 attack on the U.S. Pentagon--a fort--
would carry at least as much symbolic weight as the attack on the World Trade Center--a trading post--
(which naturally gets more attention from civilians like me).

The title A Few Acres of Snow comes from Voltaire's description of New France's territory along and around the St. Lawrence.

Pentagon from here.


ArtSparker said...

The circular fort withits advantages for observation has a lot in common with the panopticon prsion model propoosed by Jeremy Bentham (nothing to do with the baldheaded fella on Lost).

The Crow said...

I've visited Ft. Necessity, or the reconstructed fort, anyway. Very plain structure in a depressed clearing - sort of a shallow bowl.

GW learned a lot from this 'campaign,' which served him well in later years during the American Revolution.

Let us know how your research goes, Fresca. History is a fascinating subject.

Margaret said...

Oh, shapes and history! Very interesting how one stream runs into another like that.

Fresca said...

ARTS: Yes, and another similiarity:
both dealing with different kinds of madness.

The more I read about war, the more it boggles my mind that people are willing, even eager, to engage in what is one of the most physically uncomfortable things one can do.

CROW: Now I want to go see Fort Necessity too!
WIth my geography books, I could never afford to go see the places I was writing about, but since these are not so far away, it's conceivable I could.

Yes, it is fascinating. The thing that most strikes me about George Washington is his power of persistence through rain and mud and a diet of corn:
I'd certainly have gone home!

MARGARET: Yep, it's our old friends Shape and Design again.

deanna said...

Great picture of you and the books. I'm happy for you being able to do more study in the "real" world. Online is good, and I'm not leaving it entirely, but I've sure felt relief lately, letting some blog-following and other things go. I'm writing in a Moleskine notebook with a gel pen and lovin' it.

Fresca said...

I have a little Moleskin notebook too! I love it!
And gel pens are from heaven.

iloveyoumauralynch said...

and never fail to make a great gift, especially from kindred spirits who love them as much as their recipient:)!

Fresca said...

Yeah! Gel pens are a perfect cheering gift. : )