Tag: History

Reading Knoxville: This Shaky Earth

Book by Ramon DeGennaro, Reviewed by Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



“Poetry enables us to know what it ‘feels like’ to be alive in the world,” wrote Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren in Understanding Poetry. “What does it ‘feel like,’ for instance, to be in love, to hate somebody, to be conscience stricken, to watch a sunset or stand by a death-bed, to be willing to die for a cause or live in a passionate devotion to some chosen ideal?” Linda Parsons Marion, in This Shaky Earth, takes the reader on a powerful emotional journey from memories of childhood to reflections of being a grandmother through poems whose feelings pulse from every page. Read more →

Reading Knoxville: How the Stock Market Works

Book by Ramon DeGennaro, Reviewed by Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



“We’ll learn what stocks actually are and how they are traded. We’ll learn about the risks you’ll take if you invest in stocks, and why you might find buying them attractive despite those risks.” Ramon DeGennaro, a Professor in Banking and Finance at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, explains the reality and the myths of the stock market in his illuminating course, How the Stock Market Works. Published by The Great Courses, this series of 24 lectures can help both students and parents become much more conversant with the language of money and finance and the advantages and disadvantages of buying stocks. Read more →

Reading Knoxville: A Lesson Before Dying

Book by Ernest J. Gaines, Reviewed by Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



“I don’t want them to kill a hog,” she said. “I want a man to go that chair, on his own two feet.” Miss Emma’s godson, Jefferson, has been sentenced to die in the electric chair for his unwitting involvement in a liquor store robbery that left three people dead, including the white storeowner. By arguing for life imprisonment instead of the electric chair, the defense attorney tried to convince the jury that Jefferson, a young black man, wasn’t even a man: “Do you see a man sitting here?…Do you see a modicum of intelligence? Do you see anyone here who could plan a murder, a robbery?…What justice would there be to take this life?…Why, I would just as soon put a hog in the electric chair?” Ernest Gaines’ powerful novel A Lesson Before Dying (purchase the book on Amazon here), set in the 1948 South, portrays the struggle to help Jefferson die like a man. Read more →

Reading Knoxville: Turning Points In Modern History

Book by Vejas Gabriel, Reviewed by Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



“This course shows how the decisive turning points of the last 500 years have, in fact, combined to create the modern world as it is today, shaping the condition of modernity as we know it and live it now,” states Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius in the Introduction to his lively and informative series of video lectures Turning Points in Modern History. These videos are produced by The Great Courses (www.thegreatcourses.com), a company that specializes in courses taught by distinguished professors. “A turning point marks a decisive moment that shapes later developments” with an emphasis on modernity: “a mindset that stresses novelty and breaks with the past.” In discussing his twenty-four turning points, Professor Liulevicius narrates a breathtaking survey of transformations that have defined our modern world. Read more →