The Enlightenment is one of my favorite periods in history, as writers and thinkers like Voltaire pushed back hard against the orthodox boundaries that had shackled human minds for centuries. That didn’t start or end with the Enlightenment of course, but it certainly reached its apogee then, in my uninformed opinion. While reading Dennis Rasmussen’s new book, The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship that Shaped Modern Thought (Princeton University Press, 2017) I came across the title of this book about the Scottish Enlightenment. The Scottish Enlightenment would have been better chosen as a title for this book, by the way. The existing title is a little too hyperbolic, as many reviewers have pointed out. Why does nearly every non-fiction book published these days by a commercial press have a subtitle that makes such ludicrous claims? You’ve seen them: The Flatulent Toad: How One Peasant’s Quest for Flavored Ice Cream Led to the Invention of Pepto-Bismol, The Atomic Bomb, and Everything Else You Could Possibly Imagine. Enough already. Title aside, this book covers 200 years of history and makes a very compelling case for the importance of Scots and their descendants in nearly every major undertaking of modern society, from education to technology to law, government, and religion. I’m not totally convinced by a long shot, but it’s a thought-provoking book with an endlessly fascinating cast of characters, from John Knox to David Hume, Adam Smith, Thomas Telford, and Walter Scott, to Andrew Jackson and Andrew Carnegie, all of whom you’re left wanting to know more about through further reading and exploration. Luckily for us there’s a wealth of riches to choose from: Nicholas Phillipson’s recent biography Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life (Yale, 2012); Ernest Mossner’s The Life of David Hume (Clarendon, 2001), Julian Glover’s Man of Iron: Thomas Telford and the Building of Britain (Bloomsbury, 2017) and John Prebble’s highly partisan but classic Fire and Sword trilogy about the Highland Scots: Culloden (1961), The Highland Clearances (1963), and Glencoe (1966). More books to buy!
This week is Part 2 of Stan’s interview with real-life Homicide detective Sgt. Hiram “Pete” Rivera with the Savannah Police Department. They talk about what real homicide detectives do out on the street, in the Box, what Hollywood gets right and wrong about its portrayals of homicide detectives, and the hardest part of the job. Enjoy.
This week Stan talks to a real-life Homicide detective, Sgt. Hiram “Pete” Rivera with the Savannah Police Department, about what real homicide detectives do out on the street, in the box, and what Hollywood gets right and wrong about the job. This is part one of a two-part episode. Enjoy.
Stan previews the upcoming National Championship game between Georgia and Alabama and relives the glory glory that was the 1980 championship team. Go Dogs.
This week Stan tells the story of the tragedy of the largest man-made explosion in the pre-atomic age that happened 100 years ago this week, shares random thoughts about the college football playoffs, and remembers Cornelia Walker Bailey.