From out of the shadows

Hiya Bookies! You see the date on this blog, but this introduction is being written on May 23. Yeah, I know, three weeks. Ridiculous. Life intrudes.

*** Building on three weeks ago(!) thoughts on treasure hunting, a man prowling through an antique store dug up what might be the original formula for Dr. Pepper. A ledger filled with formulas stuff from the Waco, Texas drug store where Dr. Pepper was invented and first sold, is expected to bring between $50-75k at auction. Neat stuff.

But what struck me about this story is that the guy paid $200 for the ledger and expected to sell it for up to five times that much on ebay. First, who pays $200 for an old ledger and expects to make $1000 on it? There’s something fishy here, because I’ve been doing this a long time and antique ledger books filled with columns of debits and credits are not exactly in hot demand. Now, it did say ‘Castle’s Formulas’ on the front, so perhaps there is a market for such a book, but to pay $200 for it on the front end you would either have to know exactly what you were buying, or to be a damned fool. I suspect this buyer knew precisely what he was getting when he bought it and all of this ‘gosh aren’t I lucky stuff?’ is a smokescreen to get publicity.

Or maybe that’s just me being cynical because it hasn’t stopped raining here in West Tennessee for days now. Dank weather, dank mood. Bring on the sunshine!

Dr. Pepper doesn’t sound so tasty in its original form

*** A rich vein for future historians, me included, comes as the Czech Republic publishes a cache on heretofore unpublished records of the German occupation of Prague and the Prague Uprising in 1945. If they are translated into English this is something your friendly neighborhood bookseller would love to see.

New Records from behind the Old Iron Curtain

*** There are some moments when you realize just how cosmopolitan was the effort in defeating the Axis during World War II. Today’s obituary is one such moment. In Jack Good’s long resume are such diverse experiences as helping break Germany’s Enigma code and helping Stanley Kubrick dilm 2001: A Space Odyssey. We will miss such men, even if we don’t know it.

So long to another good man

*** World War II was the first war in which one of the combatants, Germany, made the conscious decision to embed photographers with combat units. The PK, or Propaganda Korps, are the reason we have so many amazing photos from the German side of the war. But the German obsession with photography didn’t stop with the PK, the individual German hauled his Leica around too. The Wehrmacht, the German Armed Forces, had regulations about what you could and could not photograph. Of course, like soldiers the world over, the Germans were no more likely to follow regulations than any other, and so we have private photos the soldiers took about parts of the war the high command would rather not have been memorialized. And now Spiegel has selected the most illustrative of these in book form.

Ordinary Germans looking at World War II

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