We're heading to Texas this weekend for some birthday celebrations with my wife's family. For a change I'm not running around at the last minute trying to identify a book to read, because I already have the perfect one ready to go: Gordon Wood's volume in the Oxford History of the United States series.
It all came together in a funny way, too. Yesterday I opened up my lecture on the Federalist era to revise it with some information I learned from James Roger Sharp's book on the election of 1800. To my surprise, I saw several changes to it that I had made when I first read Wood's book eight years ago. At the time I had to DNF the book for reasons lost to time, and I never completed the revisions to my materials.
At that moment I experienced an epiphany: now was the perfect time to re-read Wood's book to it's conclusion!
For me it's as though the planets are aligning in a once-in-a-lifetime conjunction. I'm just about to cover that portion of the period in my U.S. history class, so my interest in the era is at a peak, Add to that the generous amount of time I will have this weekend to read, and I should have no problem getting through a sizeable chunk of the book over the course of my trip. Plus, with early U.S. history looking like a regular part of my teaching schedule from now on, I want to develop my notes on the period, and there is no time to do so like the present. Best of all, having already read a good portion of the book, I know it's going to be a great read and an excellent way of passing the time while we're soaring over the Sonoran Desert. Now I can't wait for our trip to start!