Weekend Reading: Dean Acheson on that Triangulating Bastard Grover Cleveland
More on the Kaiping Mines: Hoisted from Ten Years Ago

Ten Years and Four Days Ago at Grasping Reality: July 26, 2007

Worth Remembering:

  • Iraq Coverage Right-Wing Slime Machine Watch (Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps?) http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/07/iraq-coverage-r.html: "Fighting in a war does not take you into Red Badge of Courage territory... looking into the abyss by fighting in the war allows the abyss to look into him.... The person I know of who has put it best is science-fiction/fantasy writer David Drake, a good chunk of whose work is best classified as horror and is really about his experiences as an interrogator in the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the 'Blackhorse', when it went through the Cambodian market town of Snuol..."
  • Tyler Cowen Quotes Tim Blanning on a Coach and Four http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/07/tyler-cowen-quo.html: "London-to-Manchester by land in 1750 was like London-to-Sidney by air today in lots of ways. Tyler Cowen sends us to Tim Blanning.... 'Four or six draught animals were needed to pull a coach and they had to be changed every 6 to 12 miles, depending on the condition of the roads.  In England it was calculated that one horse was needed for every mile of a journey on a well-maintained turnpike road.  So, for the 185 miles from Manchester to London, 185 horses had to be kept stabled and fed to deal with the seventeen changes required by the stagecoaches which traveled the route.  Those horses in turn required an army of coachmen, postillions, guards, grooms, ostlers and stable-boys to keep them running.  As a coach could carry no more than ten passengers, fares were correspondingly high and out of reach of the mass of the population.  A journey from Augsburg to Innsbruck by stagecoach, although little more than 60 miles as the crow flies, would have cost an unskilled laborer more than a month's wages just for the fare.' That is from new and excellent The Pursuit of Glory, Europe 1648-1815, by historian Tim Blanning.  The best parts of this book -- which are very good indeed -- are the early sections on the economic history of transportation..."

  • More on the Kaiping Mines: Jonathan Spence's Asides, and Albert Feuerwerker's Review of Ellsworth Carlson http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/07/more-on-the-kai.html: "China specialists see and can almost touch an alternative history in which late-nineteenth century China managed to match the political and economic achievements of Meiji Japan..."

The List: