|View single post by ashbel|
|Posted: Sat Feb 9th, 2008 08:16 pm||
You make 9.
I had all the Landmark books including the one on Gettysburg. Great books.
When I was 8 or 9 I was reading the Landmark book on the Sioux indians and the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Another great story. After I finished the book I was telling my mother about the "Sigh ox" indians. She kept saying "the who?" You know, the "Sigh ox." "The who?" "Oh, you mean the Sioux!" We still laugh about that one.
One of the things I like about studying the Civil War is that there are such great stories. The other is that it is truly the pivotal event in American History. You cannot understand the rest if you do not understand the prelude to the war, the war itself and what happened afterword. I feel sorry for the high school and college students of today who only receive a cursory mention of the war in their classes because it is not "politically correct."
Anyway I have mentioned this a few times around my children and their friends which of course has become amusing to them. So my daughter has created this little game with one of her friends to see if any subject they bring up can be related to the Civil War. Sometimes it becomes a bit of a reach but I usually think of something that relates. My all time favorite is when my daughter's friend was studying the opera. "Ok, tell me something about the Civil War that relates to the opera."
Here is where the fantastic story comes in. One of the all time most bizarre and fascinating characters of opera was a man by the name of Lorenzo da Ponte. He was born in Italy. He became a priest, was expelled because he had an affair and fled to Austria. There he met a man by the name of Mozart. Da Ponte wrote the lyrics on Mozart's most famous operas including Mariage de Figaro and Don Giovanni. Then he was run out of Austria for having another affair with the Emperor's wife. He moved to London and became a playwright. Then moved to New York where he wound up teaching at NYU and was the founder of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
And the Civil War connection with da Ponte? Here is where it becomes interesting. When Dan Sickles was a young man he was sent off to live with a man of great learning by his father George. That man was none other than Lorenzo da Ponte. The formative years of Dan's young life were spent in the da Ponte household. Perhaps this explains some of Dan's unusual behavior.
A great story. Not a bad connection with the Civil War and the opera either.