Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thomas P. Slaughter

Thomas P. Slaughter, Professor of History at the University of Rochester, is the author, most recently, of The Beautiful Soul of John Woolman, Apostle of Abolition (Hill & Wang, September 2008).

Last week I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
Do you really want to know that this morning I have read chapter drafts from two doctoral dissertations, a book manuscript for a New York publishing house, a manuscript submitted to a journal of environmental history, and my email? I also started on the New York Times during breakfast, and found that yet again I have not won a MacArthur genius award, but that no one whose work I despise won one either.

Now, I’m going to write; I’m working on a book called Independence: The Beginnings of the United States, which looks at the American Revolution from a global perspective on the eighteenth century and in light of Just War theory. When I get home this afternoon, I will dive into the snail mail; after that there will be the Algebra II text that my son is wrestling with and a draft journal entry that my daughter will be writing for her English class. The first is a challenge; the second will be gripping. Tonight, I will pick up where I left off last night in the Library of America volume Zuckerman Bound, which collects Phillip Roth’s trilogy from the 1980s. I finished The Ghost Writer and am now reading Zuckerman Unbound.

I also have the September issue of Lapham’s Quarterly on the nightstand; this one is about “Ways of Learning” and I am fascinated by the journal’s concept, organization, quirky choices, and brilliant strokes. I want to finish Elizabeth Kolbert’s article in the July 7th and 14th New Yorker, which is on the Danish Island of Sams, where residents have achieved zero carbon emissions and produce more energy from renewable resources than they use.

I used to read the New York Review of Books, but it bores me so I go to sleep a little earlier instead.
Read more about The Beautiful Soul of John Woolman, Apostle of Abolition at the publisher's website.

Thomas P. Slaughter's other publications include The Whiskey Rebellion and Exploring Lewis and Clark.

--Marshal Zeringue