Blogging on Steemit

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This picture accompanied a story I wrote on Steemit, Anhelo: Ode to Color

 

It has been so long since I posted here, on WordPress.  My attentions have been elsewhere, on Steemit.  This is a platform I highly recommend, but with a few caveats.  Don’t expect to get rich quickly, or get rich at all.  You may make money.  Maybe a lot of money, but if that is your prime motivation, disappointment is likely to be the outcome.

I’ve been posting on Steemit for ten months.  It is a rather absorbing enterprise.  One of the chief advantages, for a writer, is that there is no boundary.  Whatever catches your interest may be material for a blog.

Over the last months I have written stories.  I’ve written on Chinese art, ants, land use in India, the Guinea worm, cryptocurrency…whatever subject caught my interest.  All these blogs had one thing in common–I worked hard on them.  I didn’t cheat the reader.  Sometimes the ‘payout’ was paltry.  That has not been my standard for success.  My standard, every writer’s standard has to be, I think, did I give my all?  Did I shortchange the reader?

If you do join Steemit, I recommend checking out some of the communities that may coincide with your interests.  There are a few science-oriented communities, creative writing communities, communities dedicated to blogs in different languages.  Take your time looking around.  Dip your toe in one place or another.  Soon you’ll find several that match your inclinations.

So, I’m recommending to everyone who likes to write: check out Steemit.  After a few months, if you produce good material, you’ll start to attract attention.  You’ll get feedback.  You’ll have an audience.

And, there is always the chance that you will actually make some money.

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Bismark: A Life Book Review


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Otto von Bismark  July 1890

 

In Bismark: A Life, Jonathan Steinberg suggests that the modern German state had its origins in the imagination of Prince Otto von Bismark. However, Steinberg builds his case with such apparent animus toward the subject that the value of this book is somewhat undermined.  Steinberg implicitly lays at Bismark’s door responsibility for WWI (by creating the German Empire and buttressing autocracy), WWII (by reinforcing the Junker class and doubling down on militarism), and genocide of the Jewish people (by fueling antisemitism).

Steinberg’s approach is comprehensive. He traces Bismark’s rise to power and attempts to lay bare the state-builder’s multiple motivations. In support of his analysis, Steinberg provides extended excerpts from Bismark’s correspondence and from other first-person accounts. The portrait of Bismark that emerges is more demonic than Machiavellian.

Bismark, by Steinberg’s account, was a hypochondriacal, reactionary, anti-Semite, an ingrate with an unbridled thirst for power. Despite Steinberg’s compilation of evidence, the reader is left with doubts about the integrity of this author’s presentation. His loathing for Bismark is so manifest that we feel bias must inevitably influence judgment.

However, because Steinberg’s book is well resourced, it has much to offer. I was interested, for example, to learn how Germany reacted to the revolutions of 1848. Also interesting was the tension between the papacy and secular heads of Europe. Most fascinating was Bismark’s effort to weaken a rival, France, by aligning himself with Russia. I wondered, as I read, if there was a corollary with present times–with Donald Trump’s expressed criticism of NATO and his avowed admiration for Russia.

I recommend this book, but with reservations.  For a complete view of Bismark, it would be a good idea to read a second biography.  Many questions, in my mind, remained at the book’s end.  Chief among these was, what was Bismark really like?

A. G. Moore     June 2017

 

 

 

 

The Irish Brigade: Book Review

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Brigadier General Robert Nugent poses with the Irish Brigade in Washington, D.C.   1865

 

“The Irish Brigade”, by Steven J. Wright, is a slim volume that packs an emotional wallop far out of proportion to its size. In a mere sixty pages, the book offers vivid photos and moving descriptions of the Irish who fought in the United States Civil War. There is no shortage of heroism or honor on display in this book. But just as these traits are heralded, so is the tragedy of war driven home.

Most of the people featured in the book did not survive the War. This is a startling reality. Letters to family from fallen soldiers highlight the toll war took on millions from both the North and the South. Although some Irish did join the Confederate effort, overwhelmingly, these men fought with the Union army.

Though sourcing in this book is necessarily selective, because of its size, the material cited is very affecting. A wealth of first-person accounts captures the experience of war.

I found the book in a local library. It is listed for sale in most places as a collectible or rare book. The book would be of particular interest to Civil War buffs or to those who would like to learn about Irish-American history.  I highly recommend Steven J. Wright’s “The Irish Brigade”.

A. G. Moore  June, 2017