Books I’ve Known And Loved

Little Books of Joy
Little Books of Joy

Are you a rule breaker? I wonder why we like to think of ourselves that way. Don’t know, but The 1865 Customs of Service for Officers and The Customs of Service for Non-commisioned Officers and Soldiers are two extremely fun books about rules and regulations. Seems sort of dull, right? Nope, not at all. Augie, as I like to call him, wrote these little gems in the 1860’s and he was a professional soldier so he knew what he was talking about.

Here’s the fun part as a writer: There’s page after page of the way things should be done, but we all know how difficult keeping track of the “shoulds”  is. Aside from the very handy descriptions of company, regiment and corps duties, battle tactics and strategy and organizational leadership techniques there’s the advice to captains and sergeants:



A great many stories about men could be taken from these very pages and when I get done with my Tenafly Road series I just may do that.

10 responses to “Books I’ve Known And Loved”

  1. Interesting…. I thought it was just me who read this sort of thing. Reading those two pages put me in mind of a gem of a little handbook written in the 1890’s and handed out to English pottery workers who were being treated to a day-trip to the seaside. The book must have been 50 pages long and covered everything from expected behavior on the train, outlawed vulgarisms while strolling the prom, acceptable dress code…. on and on. By the end of the book I felt like I was one of the crowd and had spent the day dodging all the fussy rules along with the rest of the potters. But more than anything books like these serve as instant time machines… free of much of the revisionism associated with period novels and, especially, movies of today.
    I haven’t forgotten your book by the way, its on my list and I look forward to journeying with your characters through the old magnificent West. Knowing how thorough you are, and now catching a glimpse of your research methods, I am sure it will ring true as an accurate account of the times.


    • Sometimes I wish there were a few rules still left at the seaside 🙂

      I love time traveling. Writing gives me a good excuse. Do you feel that history influences your sculptures at all? You’re pics lately have been beautiful.


      • Strangely enough, although I am thoroughly fascinated by history, when it comes to sculpture I try to focus on styles and subjects that I have never seen carved before. While I greatly admire classical sculpture I see no point in replicating it. Besides, with the tools available to the modern day sculptor it’s possible to do things with stone that would have been unimaginable even a few decades ago, and it’s this constant exploration of possibilities that motivates me. As Rodin put it – for a sculptor to feel relevant he must be ‘of his time’.
        Thanks… I’m happy you enjoy the photos!
        Keep up the good work… your blog gives me pause for thought.


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