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OWNING THE FUTURE
by Seth Shulman, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1999, 240 pp, US$25.00, ISBN 0 395 84175 5
Lexington, Massachusetts, is now a pleasant middle-class suburb of Boston. If you have ever explored Massachusetts (whose car number plates declare the State "the Spirit of America") on an authentic heritage experience, you will know this town as the site of the "shot heard round the world", where the first musket was fired in anger in the American War of Independence.
What you may have missed, however, is the charming little green in the centre of old Lexington. On one side of the green, small brass plaques tell the story of the warships - one in every generation since the Revolution - that have proudly borne the town's name, and of the brave, sometimes astonishing deeds of their crews. And just across from the green stands another monument of civic pride - the public library.
For Seth Shulman, a US science journalist whose previous work includes The Threat at Home: Confronting the Toxic Legacy of the US Military, libraries are an icon for all that's …