September 17th, 2008

A Birthday

travelers' tales

Sometimes you strike on a piece of primary source written by someone who is not native to the place he's reporting on.  Something like Tocqueville's Democracy in America or Custine’s La Russie en 1839.

Lovely things, precisely because they don't think normal what the locals do.  And they are, sometimes, capable of quite remarkable insight.  Tocqueville still gets quoted on America, and I ran across Custine because I read about it as a recommendation for understanding modern-day Russia.

However --

They've got a few refinements on top of the usual for primary source.

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