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Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstong became the first man to walk on the Moon when he debarked from the LEM set foot in Mare Tranquillitatis on July 20, 1969.

Cormac McCarthy (1933-) was born in Providence, Rhode Island on July 20, 1933. Read Orrin's review of All the Pretty Horses (1992) (Grade: A+)

Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-) was born on July 20, 1919. In 1953, he and Tenzing Norkay became the first men to climb Mount Everest. Read Orrin's review of Into Thin Air (Jon Krakauer)(Grade: A-)

Thomas S. Kuhn (1922-96) was born on July 18, 1922. Read Orrin's review of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962)(Grade: A)

Hunter S. Thompson (1939) was born in Louisville, KY on July 18, 1937

Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970) was born in Malden, MA on July 17, 1889. Read Orrin's review of The Case of the Baited Hook (1940)(Grade: B+)

The Assault [El Asalto] (1990) (Reinaldo Arenas 1943-90) (translated by Andrew Hurley) Reinaldo Arenas (1943-90) was born in Holguín, Cuba on July 16, 1943.

Rembrandt Harmensz (or Harmenszoon) van Rijn (1606-1669) was born in Leiden, The Netherlands on July 15, 1606.

The Virginian : A Horseman Of The Plains (1902)(Owen Wister 1860-1938) Owen Wister (1860-1938) was born in Philadelphia, PA on July 14, 1860

Christopher McKenzie Priest (1943-) was born in Cheshire, ENG on July 14, 1943. Read Orrin's review of The Prestige (1995) (Grade: A)

July 14 is Bastille Day, comemorating the 1789 storming of the hated French prison wherein seven feeble maniacs were set free. Read Orrin's review of The Old Regime and the French Revolution (1856)(Alexis De Tocqueville 1805-59)(Grade: B+)

The Burden of Memory, the Muse of Forgiveness (1999)(Wole Soyinka 1934-) Mr. Soyinka, who was born on July 13, 1934, at Abeokuta near Ibadan in the British colony of Nigeria.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-62) was born in Concord, MA on July 12, 1817. One of the leaders of the American Transcendentalists movement, his two greatest works are Waldenand Civil Disobedience. He once actually said: Simplify, simplify.

R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) was born in Milton, MA on July 12, 1895. His most memorable creation was the geodesic dome "a system of interlocking triangles that enclosed the maximum volume of space with the minimum of materials."

Marcel Proust (1871-1922) was born in Auteuil, FR on July 10, 1871.

John Calvin (1509-64) was born in Noyon, France, on July 10, 1509. His religious views are presented in The Institutes of the Christian Religion (1536)

James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) was born in Lowell, MA on July 10, 1834. There's a nce selection of his work online at Art Masterpieces

Arthur Robert Ashe Jr. (1943-93) was born in Richmond, VA on July 10, 1943. Read Orrin's reviews of Days of Grace: A Memoir (1993)(Arthur Ashe 1943-1993 and Arnold Rampersad) (Grade: B) and Levels of the Game (1969)(John McPhee 1931-) (Grade: A)

Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936) was born in Chicago, IL on July 10, 1867. Read our review of Mr. Dooley in Peace and in War (1898).

Alec Waugh (1898-1981) was born in Hampstead, ENG on July 8, 1898.

Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige (1906?-1982) was theoretically born in Mobile, AL on July 7, 1906. A Negro League legend, he pitched effectively in the Major Leagues in his late 40's & even in his 50's.

John Paul Jones (1747-92) was born in Arbigland, Kirkbean, Kirkcudbright, Scotland on July 6, 1747. He is best remembered for the immortal line: I have not yet begun to fight!

Nancy Davis Reagan (1923-) was born in New York, NY on July 6, 1923. Our prayers are with her as she nurses the great man down the home stretch.

David Farragut (1801-70) was born near Knoxville, TN on July 5, 1801. He is best remembered for the cry: "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"

Cecil John Rhodes (1853-1902) was born on July 5, 1853. Not everyone gets a country named after them.

Phineas T. Barnum (1810-91), the world's greatest showman, was born in Bethel, CT on July 5, 1810.

In a divine irony, both John Adams (1735-1826) and Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1826. Read Orrin's reviews of American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence (1997)(Pauline Maier) (Grade: B-) and American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson (1996)(Joseph J. Ellis) (Grade: A-)

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought over several days, including July 4th, 1863. Read Orrin's review ofThe Killer Angels (1974)(Michael Shaara 1929-1988) (Grade: A+)

Lionel Trilling (1905-75) was born in New York, NY on July 4, 1905.

Independence Day

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), was born in Salem, MA on July 4, 1804. His Scarlet Letter (1848) is one of the first American classics.

Stephen Foster (1826-1864) was born in Lawrenceville, PA on July 4, 1826.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933), the 30th President of the United States (1923-1929), was born in Plymouth, VT on July 4, 1872. He understood, perhaps better than any other President of this century, that the best thing the government can do is stay out of the way of the citizenry.

John Singleton Copley (1738-1815) the great American portrait painter, was born in Boston, MA on July 3, 1738

M. F. K. Fisher (1908-)  was born in Albion, MI on July 3, 1908.

Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was born in Prague, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary [now in the Czech Republic] on July 3, 1883.  Read Orrin's review of  The Metamorphosis; and other stories  (1915) (Grade: C+)

Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) was born on July 2, 1877, in the town of Calw, Switzerland.  See Orrin's review of  The Journey to the East (1956)   (Grade: C)

Thurgood Marshall   (1908-93) , was born in Baltimore, MD on July 2, 1908.  One of the great legal advocates in US History, his most important case was Brown v. Board of Ed.  He later served a well earned retirement on the Supreme Court.

Richard Petty , the unchallenged King of stockcar racing, was born on July 2, 1937.

James M. Cain (1892-1977) was born in Annapolis, MD on July 1, 1892.  One of the creators of the hard-boiled noir genre, his best works are The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934) (read Orrin's review, Grade: A+)  & Double Indemnity

John Gay (1685-1732) was born in Devon, ENG on June 30, 1685. Read Orrin's review of The Beggar's Opera (1728) (Grade: A)

Antoine de Saint Exupéry (1900-1944) was born in Lyon, France on June 29, 1900. Read Orrin's review of The Little Prince (1943)(Grade: A-)

John Toland (1912-) was born in LaCrosse, WI on June 29, 1912. In addition to his Pulitzer Prize winning The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945, Brothers Judd recommends his novel The Gods of War.