FROM SEATTLE TO KURDISTAN

“I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.”
~ Stephen Jay Gould.

Most Rastî readers are familiar with Gordon Taylor, who writes the blog The Pasha and the Gypsy.

Now Gordon has been featured in The Seattle Times:

Back when I rode the bus to work every day, what got to me — what began to drive me a little crazy — was the repetition.

I knew every stop. Every light. All the rhythms of the traffic and the passengers, which seemed to bog us in delays at the same junctions every day.

I would wonder: How does the driver stand it?

I never asked. I should have, because now I know the driver might have said something like: “You think about something else. Like Kurdistan.”

Gordon Taylor, 66, has been driving a Metro bus for 29 years.

[ . . . ]

Not many of his riders know it, but Taylor often wanders off to Kurdistan, a remote region in northern Iraq and southern Turkey, even as he is merging his 60-footer articulated bus onto the freeway.

He’s not a professional historian. But from the seat of that bus he just published an article about mid-1800s missionaries in the twice-yearly Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies.

“I’m the only one in there who isn’t a Ph.D.,” he laughs.

He also wrote a 354-page historical biography, called “Fever & Thirst: An American Doctor Among the Tribes of Kurdistan, 1835-1844.”

Now out in paperback, it turns out the book — which “nobody bought,” Taylor sighs — attracted the attention of one of the senior advisers to the Coalition Provisional Authority, the U.S. transitional government after the invasion of Iraq.

For more on “The First American to Fail in Iraq”, check Gordon’s piece over at the History News Network.

Now, what I like best about The Seattle Times piece on Gordon Taylor is that it proves you don’t have to be a professorial wind-bag to write good history. And you probably don’t have to be a professorial wind-bag to write well on other subjects, either.

Go, Gordon; you go, boyfriend!

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