Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Another listing exercise

The Atlantic Monthly has compiled a list, with input from various historians, intellectuals, etc., of the 100 most influential Americans. Lincoln beat Washington for #1, as he usually does in surveys of the best president (and The Monk would STILL reverse the ranking). The worst omission after a cursory glance is F.W. Woolworth -- he was Sam Walton before Walton was born. Somehow Daniel Webster is not on the list either.

The list is actually fairly good -- Hamilton is #5, MLK is #8, John Marshall is #7. The worst rankings are high marks for some frauds (Rachel Carson #39, Margaret Mead on the list at #81). Other dubious marks go to Jackie Robinson at #35 while Thurgood Marshall -- the single most important person in the Civil Rights era -- is only at #84; Harriet Beecher Stowe at #40 while Lewis and Clark are at #70 (evidently this is a top 101 list, or 102 thanks to the Wright Bros. at #23). Overall, the list got the big picture basically right (see its top 25), but mucked up the latter details.

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