Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Trailer Park Tuesday: Liberty's Torch by Elizabeth Mitchell

Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.

Elizabeth Mitchell's history of the Statue of Liberty shines a beacon light from its place near the top of my To-Be-Read pile, and this witty, quick-moving trailer will give you a good idea why I'm really looking forward to reading the book.  Liberty's Torch is subtitled "The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty" and, as Mitchell tells it, what an adventure it was!  For years, the 305-foot-tall statue has been built upon as much myth and half-truths as it is copper, steel and iron.  For instance, everyone thinks La Liberte was a gift from France.  "This implies that the French government gave it to us directly," Mitchell says in the video.  "In fact, the French government only contributed a tiny portion of the money.  The rest of the expense had to be covered through funds raised by its sculptor--an energetic Frenchman named Frederic Auguste Bartholdi."  My favorite little-known fact about the Statue of Liberty, however, is this gem which Mitchell reveals in the trailer: "None other than Thomas Edison came up with the idea of installing a giant phonographic disc inside the statue.  It would allow her to deliver recorded speeches.  He thought people would be able to hear them all the way up in the northern part of Manhattan."  Can you imagine the monumental cacophony this would cause in today's city which is already blanketed by noise pollution?  Not only that, but I'd imagine that in today's world, those speeches would be sponsored by corporations, Infinite Jest style: "Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...with the aid of RespirAir Nasal Strips."  Thank goodness Mr. Edison decided to stick with light bulbs.

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