My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
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Introduction:

I greatly enjoyed a recent post by  opher goodwin concerning his favorite heroes.  So, this is a hat-tip to him.  His post made me sit down and think of those I considered my heroes.  Those who have inspired me and affected my life and world view.  So here they are.  They are in no particular order.  I didn’t just come up with a specific number… I just started listing.  I know I’ll slap my forehead soon for forgetting someone.

 

Now this is a list that does not include personal heroes (relatives, teachers, friends, etc... ant that list is long) that others would not know.  I also limited this list to mere mortals.

 

Instead of posting this as a comment... I thought I would just do my own post since this is so long and it stands on it's on.  Again, thanks are extended to OG.

 

Please Note... portions and tidbits of some descriptions are paraphrased from Wikipedia... with added Lynn J. insight.

 

Trolls... please spare me (and my readers) the vitriol concerning the sins of these men/women. (I know this plea won't work... but that little X will.)  Each was flawed as we all are.  Intelligent, thoughtful criticism is fine.

 

The List:

George Washington - Founding Father and the first (and greatest) President of the United States.  Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and largely responsible for winning American independence.  He could have been king but chose liberty for all instead.  He could have served for life as President but was too wise to do so.  He set the example for generations to follow.  He is truly the "father of our country"

 

 

Thomas Jefferson - Founding Father, principle author of the Declaration of Independence, and third President of the United States.  Supported the notion of states’ rights over a strong centralized federal government.  Transacted the Louisiana purchase.  Generations of Americans owe much of our liberty to this man.

 

Alexander Hamilton - Founding Father and Revolutionary commander under Washington.  He was instrumental in the creation of the U.S. Constitution and was coauthor of the Federalist Papers which explained and promoted the U.S. constitution before adoption.  He and I would have disagreed on several aspects of government; but he was instrumental in the founding of the United States of America.

 

Ronald Reagan - 40th President of the United States and one of the best U.S. President of the 20th century.  Won the cold war.  As "the great communicator" he ushered in prosperity that lasted decades beyond his term.  He was my first hero on a national scale after the "malaise" of the Nixon, Ford, and Carter years.

 

 

Winston Churchill - Prime Minister of United Kingdom during WWII and crucial in the defeat of fascism.  His efforts, especially early in the war saved Britain and by extension Europe, and the world from unimaginable socialist, communist, and fascist evil.  If not for Churchill we would likely be speaking German (or at least our masters would).

 

The Apostle Paul - Formerly Saul of Tarus, Paul was a Jew and a Roman citizen which put him in the unique position to bring the gospel to both.  Thus, he is credited with bringing Christ to the Gentiles like no other man could.  Much (about half) of the New Testament is generally credited to Paul.  While I identify personally with the impulsive Apostle Peter; the more scholarly writings of Paul were a huge influence in my acceptance of Christ as God, man, and Messiah.

 

C.S. Lewis - British novelist, professor, and theologian.  He and J.R.R. Tolkein were close friends at Oxford.  Lewis is a prolific author on Christian doctrine and philosophy.  His works include Mere Christianity, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia and many others. He has been called "The Apostle to the Skeptics" due to his late in life conversion to Christianity and his ability to explain his conversion in a logical manner to such skeptics (see Mere Christianity).  Tolkien supposedly had some influence in that conversion.

 

 

J.R.R. Tolkein - British novelist, professor and father of classic "high fantasy" literature.  His works, of course, include The Hobbit, and the Lord of the Ring trilogy.  These books were what primed my interest in reading in general in my early life thus gifting me with the works of many great authors.

 

Ayn Rand - Escaping the brutality of Russian communism in the mid-20s; Ayn Rand was the author of The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged; the latter of which had a profound influence on my world view.  Rand objectively rejected the evils she escaped and embraced American democracy and capitalism as virtuous.  The only thing from her old country she kept was her virulent atheism.  While I cannot say that I fully embraced her philosophy of "Objectivism" which is more Libertarian; what she gets right she really gets right. 

 

Charles Krauthammer - Pulitzer Prize winning author, and the best of all political and social commentators (of which there are several I admire).  A brilliant mind and writer on a wide range of subjects; he has been a tremendous influence on my conservative (and logical) world view.  Here are two examples of general truths Krauthammer helped me to see clearly... 1) "To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil." 2) "Bush Derangement Syndrome: the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush."... this paranoia and irrationality has been proven to be easily transferable in the liberal mind in the years that followed.

 

 

Fanny Crosby - 19th Century missionary, lyricist, and composer.  Blind since birth, she wrote thousands of gospel songs still found in hymnals today. I often look for and find her name in hymnals.  She wrote the very popular hymn "Blessed Assurance", one of my favorites perhaps only surpassed by "Amazing Grace".

 

Jeff Lynn - English songwriter, composer, singer, and record producer.  The lead musician for the rock band, Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) in the 70s and 80s.  He co-founded the Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty.  His original band (ELO) easily became my favorite all time; and his work with other artists (including those in the Traveling Wilburys) has been phenomenal.  Jeff Lynn wrote my favorite song of all time "Mr Blue Skies".

 

Davy Crockett - An American folk-hero, prolific hunter, and politician.  Her personified American self-reliance and the frontier spirit.  He was a member of the House of Representatives from Tennessee for two contentious terms during the Andrew Jackson years.  Voted out of office for a second time, he told the voters, "I told the people of my district that I would serve them as faithfully as I had done; but if not, they might go to hell, and I would go to Texas."  He did and fought in the early Texas Revolution.  He died among the other heroes of the Alamo.

 

 

Will Rogers - Cowboy, movie actor, vaudeville performer, humorist, columnist, comedian, and social commentator.  Will Rogers folksy style imbued him to Americans in the 20s and 30s.  He had a way of poking fun and bringing out the truth in ways that didn't offend.  Two of his many, many famous quotes are "I never met a man I didn't like" and "I am not a member of an organized political party. I am a Democrat." :)  His wit, humor and wisdom survive today and have provided me with many hours of laughter and contemplation.

 

 

Martin Luther King Jr - Baptist minister and civil rights activists; I admire his approach in the advancement of civil rights during the 60s that emphasized nonviolence and civil disobedience.  These I think were heavily influenced by his Christian beliefs.  His speeches are rife with Christian and biblical ideas and references.  He was a great example of how a Christian man is to handle adversity.

 

 

Comments

EXPAT Added Sep 21, 2017 - 3:24pm
Only two cowboys!
TexasLynn Added Sep 21, 2017 - 4:40pm
I'd say three... Reagan, Crockett, and Rogers :)  In my defense, some lived in pre-cowboy days.  It's just a title taking advantage of a bit of artistic license.
opher goodwin Added Sep 21, 2017 - 6:30pm
Lynn - an interesting set. Not my sort of choice but interesting none the less. Thanks for the mention. Appreciated.
Leroy Added Sep 21, 2017 - 8:07pm
That's a great list, Lynn.  Glad to see Ayn Rand made the cut.  If I were to make such a list, I might add Thomas Payne.
wsucram15 Added Sep 21, 2017 - 9:07pm
OMG..that is an outstanding list.  I would only add Thurgood Marshall (too many reasons to list) and James Madsion (father of the constitution and co-author of federalist papers), especially since you have Washington  and Thomas Jefferson on the list.
 
You know another person no one has mentioned- Edward R. Murrow. First real broadcast journalist for mass media. He fought McCarthy and won, using his own words against him.
HE later worked for JFK and was given an honorary knighthood.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Sep 21, 2017 - 9:08pm
Not Waylon Jennings. 
TexasLynn Added Sep 21, 2017 - 10:01pm
Leroy,
Thanks! Ayn Rand easily made the list; and adding Thomas Payne would just be common sense. :)
 
wsucram15,
Also thank you. Ohhh Thurgood Mashall is a good one... I had Presidents and Congressmen but missed a Supreme Court Justice. Madison would also be on the short list. To be honest, I probably chose Hamilton over Madison because he wrote more of the Federalist Papers and thus I'm more familiar with his writing. Edward R Murrow would also have been a great pick being the epitome of what journalism was and should be but never will be again.
 
Thank you both for the comments.

Jeffry Gilbert >> Not Waylon Jennings
To quote myself "I know I’ll slap my forehead soon for forgetting someone." I love Waylon, Willie, and the boys! If I had to pick a country music artist... Waylon and the Man in Black would have a race on their hands. :)
Jeffry Gilbert Added Sep 21, 2017 - 10:25pm
Especially since Waylon had a song with the same title as your article.
TexasLynn Added Sep 21, 2017 - 10:34pm
A great song!
Mark Hunter Added Sep 22, 2017 - 3:15am
A pretty good list!
Dr. Rupert Green Added Sep 22, 2017 - 7:20am
You missed Sally Hemmings. Reagan, in some view, bankrupted the nation. Willberforce, the Abationalist. George Jones and Jim Reaves, and Charlie Pride are my singers.
 
Leroy Added Sep 22, 2017 - 7:53am
One that I should have put on my list is Booker T. Washington for his simple message, "Make yourself useful."   I don't know if he said it exactly that way, but it is a message that your youth could use today.  Yeah, go to the university to learn whatever you want to know, but also learn a useful trade that will earn you a living.   Where I grew up, all of the brick masons followed this model.  They were among the most wealthy and well-respected families in the county.
John Minehan Added Sep 22, 2017 - 9:13am
I studied American History with COL John Barrett, who said the particularly great thing Washington did was not continuing to be a General while being President.  I think that is quite perceptive.  (Of course, Washington is also the only General who became President to serve in uniform AFTER being President, as Washington did during the Naval quasi-war with France in 1797.)   
TexasLynn Added Sep 22, 2017 - 10:28am
John G!  This is the kind of thoughtful criticism I like!  Thank you!  We'll see if we can keep it up.
 
JG >> You do realize that MLK Jr was a socialist that decried the USA's violence against others don't you?
 
I believe he had gravitated towards Democratic Socialism by the end of his life.  We all make mistakes. :)
 
The U.S. (like people) is no exception.  I do not pretend we are perfect… just better than most.
 
And Washington and Jefferson owned slaves, and Rand was a rabid atheist (Krauthammer less so) ... Each was/is flawed as we all are.
 
If human flaws precluded men/women... this would be a very short list with only one name I can think of.
 
I like to think that I am not so shallow as to ignore a man’s accomplishments because of my bias, our differences, or his mistakes.
 
JG >> The nominally socialist USSR defeated the fascist Germans.
 
The USSR was communist.  The Germans were socialist.  They hated each other because they were both vying for the same supporters.  Kinda like today; history repeating itself.
 
The USSR (and the USA) did indeed join the war and play major roles in defeating the NAZI regime.  I think if either had sat out Germany would have won. (A layman's opinion) BUT both joined only after Britain (led by Churchill) held out long enough to make that possible.  Thus, my added phrase "especially early in the war".
 
I will add that the USSR only joined the war effort after Germany (thank God) broke a non-aggression pact.  Had Hitler not made this mistake (and the historic mistake of attacking Russia in winter); it is very possible the Russians would have sat out... only to be attacked once Europe was conquered.
 
JG >> Churchill then stabbed the Soviets in the back...
 
And we quickly entered the cold war; in which the communists throughout the remainder of the century would exterminate tens of millions (surpassing even what Hitler had planned).  Stalin and Hitler were of the same ilk.
 
Churchill opposed that tyranny as did any sane man.
TexasLynn Added Sep 22, 2017 - 10:29am
Mark Hunter >> A pretty good list!
 
Thank you, sir.
TexasLynn Added Sep 22, 2017 - 10:30am
Dr. Green >> You missed Sally Hemmings.
 
While I'm sure she was a fine woman.  Her place in history is more to point out a character flaw in Thomas Jefferson. (See my comments concerning MLK on that subject)
 
Dr. Green >> Reagan, in some view, bankrupted the nation.
 
Again, not perfect... BUT his economic policies did usher in prosperity (for everybody) not seen in decades.
 
Some who would view Reagan in this manner would lose all credibility if they did not immediately condemn many of his successors for their much more excessive deficits... especially number 44.
 
Dr. Green >>  Willberforce, the Abationalist.
 
Absolutely!  He would be a great addition as would abolitionists (many Christian) on both sides of the pond.
 
I could also have added Harriet Beecher Stowe who wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin" in the abolitionist cause.
 
>> George Jones and Jim Reaves, and Charlie Pride are my singers.
 
Amen to all three.  Great country artists. :)
 
Thinking about country artists that would make the list; we're missing the one who I think started it all... Hank Williams!
TexasLynn Added Sep 22, 2017 - 10:30am
Leroy >> One that I should have put on my list is Booker T. Washington for his simple message, "Make yourself useful."  
 
^%&^*%!  As soon as I saw the name Booker T. Washington I knew I had missed someone who definitely should have been on my list!  His message to the black community at the turn of the century was dead on; one of education, self-reliance, and entrepreneurship.  His autobiography, "Up from Slavery", was inspiring.  When it was obvious that blacks were going to have a hard time getting the education they needed to improve their lot, he didn't wait around for the system (and courts) to work it out.  He built the college (the Tuskegee Institute) himself.
 
His message was largely one rejected by subsequent black leaders; much to the detriment of society.
TexasLynn Added Sep 22, 2017 - 10:31am
John Minehan >> I studied American History with COL John Barrett, who said the particularly great thing Washington did was not continuing to be a General while being President.  I think that is quite perceptive.
 
Exactly!  It would take a military man to see that so clearly!  It is something I hadn't thought of before so thank you for the insight.
 
The key to Washington is that he got it.  He knew this Republic was something new; something never tried before in human history. He had the honor, wisdom, and integrity to sacrifice and do everything in his power to make it work.  What he did to get this country off on the right foot paid massive dividends even unto this day.
Dino Manalis Added Sep 22, 2017 - 11:09am
Our Founding Fathers should always be respected and remembered for their greatness!
TexasLynn Added Sep 22, 2017 - 11:24am
Dino,
Amen.  Unfortunately it seems we are losing that respect more and more every day.
Stone-Eater Added Sep 22, 2017 - 2:32pm
Churchill opposed that tyranny as did any sane man.
 
Churchill was en English empirist and racist.
 
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/not-his-finest-hour-the-dark-side-of-winston-churchill-2118317.html
 
The anglophone world has never stopped to be imperialist. The same counts for the French, the Belgians, the Portuguese, the Spaniards. The Germans were too late, too fast not enough sensitive. But then, Hitler knew about the new uprising US who imported all the German brain that made the bomb possible....
 
Only the Anglophones endured up to now. In fact, US Americans are (still) mostly Europeans, and they never lost the hunger for world dominion.
TexasLynn Added Sep 22, 2017 - 2:58pm
Yes... I agree that we anglophones are the worst of all peoples and political systems and cultures in the world... except for all the rest.
 
With apologies to Churchill...
TexasLynn Added Sep 22, 2017 - 4:23pm
John G,
I don't want this to degrade too much further but...
Nazi (plural Nazis)

(historical) A member of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, commonly called the NSDAP or Nazi Party).

As for the rest... I don't see any reason for go back and forth.  We've both adequately explained where we stand.  Enough so for readers, history or God to judge for themselves.
 
Thank you for your comments.
John Minehan Added Sep 22, 2017 - 4:43pm
"The USSR defeated the Germans. They lost over 25 million people doing so. They faced 90% of German military might while Churchill sat on his heels in London."
 
Generally true.
 
On the other hand, British and US Strategic Bombing also had a lesser (but significant) effect.  Not just in terms of the bombing itself, but in the airframes pulled away from CAS/BAI in the Eastern Front for use in an Air Defense role.
 
Were the Nazi's socialists?  No.  The government did not own the means of production. 
 
They were a statist system, but there was neither the fact nor even the pretense (as in communist or socialist states) that anything was being done for the "workers" as opposed to the "state."
John Minehan Added Sep 22, 2017 - 4:51pm
"The USA has been responsible for far more wars and deaths since WW2 than every other country on the planet combined."
 
Wars probably, with little gained by it. 
 
For utter, callous mismanagement, very hard to beat the Great Leap Forward and  the Cultural Revolution in the PRC with a dishonorable mention to the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia.  
TexasLynn Added Sep 22, 2017 - 6:06pm
SG >> He's deleting post now...
 
"As for the rest... I don't see any reason for go back and forth.  We've both adequately explained where we stand.  Enough so for readers, history or God to judge for themselves."
 
Thank you for your comments.
Ari Silverstein Added Sep 23, 2017 - 4:15pm
Because you put Charles Krauthammer on your list, your list is excellent. I'm not sure if you're aware but he hasn't been on Fox News in several weeks. They say he's recovering from minor surgery but I'm very concerned it's more serious. After all, one doesn't need to recover much to be able to sit in a chair and talk.
 
One criticism of your list is all the founding fathers you put on it. In light of the fact they didn't abolish slavery at our country's founding, much of the things they said are bullshit. I mean how can one say "all men are created equal," when some men could be held as slaves?Did you know they also made a law that made it illegal to publicly criticized the president?  If you lived in their time there would be much to be critical of.
Leroy Added Sep 23, 2017 - 8:13pm
Few people realize that Charles Krauthammer is paralyzed from the neck down.  He's an inspiration to anyone who thinks they have had it bad.  I imagine that even a minor surgery could pose difficulties.
TexasLynn Added Sep 23, 2017 - 9:36pm
Ari Silverstein >> Because you put Charles Krauthammer on your list, your list is excellent.
 
I'll take it... thank you.
 
I was not aware of Mr. Krauthammer's absence.  I googled it and could find nothing.  Please link a source if possible.
 
AS >> After all, one doesn't need to recover much to be able to sit in a chair and talk.
 
It takes much more effort for some than others.  Charles Krauthammer has been paralyzed from the neck down since his medical school days. (as Leroy correctly commented on). 
 
What Krauthammer has accomplished under adverse circumstances is nothing short of inspiring.
 
I had some "minor surgery" a few years ago and it knocked me on my posterior.  A week into it I went back to the doctor and complained about my lack of getting around.  He poked and prodded and then took a step back and said "I think I see your problem".  I said "What!?" And he said "You're old... you're not 20 anymore.  You heal slower. Now go home..."
 
>> One criticism of your list is all the founding fathers you put on it. In light of the fact they didn't abolish slavery at our country's founding,
 
A much different time in the whole world.  Had they even tried, the United States would never have existed; and a source of good over the next two centuries would have been missed.
 
Slavery was abolished in England in 1772 to their credit... but was left intact in the rest of the British Empire until 1833.  Why?
 
Today, WE turn a blind eye to the same (slavery) on other continents in other cultures; lest we offend or heaven forbid imply one culture is better than another.  How will our posterity judge us?
 
For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Matthew  7:2)
 
AS >> Did you know they also made a law that made it illegal to publicly criticized the president? 
 
I did not.  Please feel free to further educate me. 
 
But hardly the worst thing they probably did… as you pointed out.
 
AS >> If you lived in their time there would be much to be critical of.
 
I will not pretend that our founding fathers (or any man on this list) was not flawed.  And I will reiterate what I said concerning the criticism of MLK.
 
"If human flaws precluded men/women... this would be a very short list with only one name I can think of."
 
And...
 
"I like to think that I am not so shallow as to ignore a man’s accomplishments because of my bias, our differences, or his mistakes."
 
Thank you for the insight and comments.
Saint George Added Sep 23, 2017 - 10:41pm
Thanks for including Martin Luther King, Jr. on your list.
 
According to his niece, Dr. Alveda King, her uncle, MLK, Jr. — like most literate, educated blacks up until the LBJ Great Society initiative — was a Republican, and voted Republican for most of his life.
 
As has been pointed out before, it was the Democratic Party that was pro-slavery, pro-Jim-Crow, pro-separate-but-equal, and pro-segregation. The "insurgent wing" of the Democratic Party (the "KKK") was headed by a well known Democrat during the Civil War, Nathan Bedford Forrest. Even recently, at least one well known Democratic senator — Robert Byrd of West Virginia — was a high ranking member of the KKK. So blacks generally voted Republican up until the time their party loyalties were bought by LBJ for the price of government dole programs. LBJ was even overheard telling associates on Air Force One  that the Great Society dole programs would keep blacks voting Democratic for the next 200 years (in the quote, however, LBJ used the "n"-word, not "blacks").
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXEwO7lM25g
Alveda King on her uncle, Martin Luther King, Jr.
TexasLynn Added Sep 23, 2017 - 11:29pm
Saint George,
Thanks for the contribution to the conversation.  I was not aware that MLK voted Republican, but it would not have surprised me.  I've seen his niece speak before... she does honor to her uncle.
 
Being from the south, I am well aware of the Democratic Party's history in relation to civil rights.  I only wish more of the nation were more educated on the matter.
 
Being from Texas, I'm also a bit familiar with LBJ.  If ever there was a more rotten, corrupt, scoundrel of a politician... I don't know of him. (Though many from Louisiana have tried). :)
 
As for LBJs prediction concerning the re-subjugation of the blacks; he's wrong.  Sure, he's been right concerning the last fifty years and counting; but as a nation we'll either break that cycle... or we won't survive another fifty.
 
I remember taking a training class up north many, many years ago, and I was the sole southerner in a class full of Yankees.  Somehow a conversation turned to the assignation of JFK and they asked what I thought.  My response was that I thought Oswald was a lone nut... BUT if any of the conspiracy theories were true... then LBJ had him killed.
Saint George Added Sep 24, 2017 - 12:04am
Thanks, Lynn. Concur.
 
Regarding LBJ's statement about blacks and the Great Society Programs, see journalist Ron Kessler's book, "Inside the White House."
Ari Silverstein Added Sep 24, 2017 - 6:27am
TexasLynn Added Sep 24, 2017 - 8:32am
Ari,
Thanks for the prompt follow-up.  I wonder why my google search was so futile?  I searched "Charles Krauthammer surgery" and got nothing on recent events.  "Charles Krauthammer health" does.
 
Ahhh... the Alien and Sedition act!  I embarrassed that I didn't remember that.  I play fantasy football with my old high school history teacher.  I'll let him know of my shame. :)
 
A lot of people think the founding fathers where one big group of happy, huggy, white guys.  There were bitter factions; especially after the country was founded and it was time for the sausage (of government) to be made.
 
Jefferson and Adams were particularly bitter enemies... only to become friends and allies in their later years.  The last of the revolutionaries, they died on the same day (July 4th 1826); with John Adam's last words being (his friend) "Thomas Jefferson still lives".  He was wrong.  Jefferson had died about 5 hours earlier.
 
Again, thanks for the contribution to the discussion.
Morgoth Added Nov 18, 2017 - 9:52pm
Jeff Lynn-I’ve always liked ELO and Traveling Wilburys is one of the great supergroups.  Sadly three of them left us all too soon.
 
C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien-Two of my all time favorite authors.  Sadly, my interest in fantasy and fiction starting slipping away after I turned 40.  My interest has exclusively turned to history in the last 7 years.  
I’ve decided to revisit some of my old favorites after the New Year.  Tolkien will definitely be included.
 
TexasLynn Added Nov 19, 2017 - 11:14am
Thanks for sharing that... It's good to see we share such appreciation for the finer things. :)

>> Jeff Lynn-I’ve always liked ELO and Traveling Wilburys is one of the great supergroups.  Sadly three of them left us all too soon.

Jeff Lynn's ELO just announced a U.S. Tour.  Some fiends and I (21 of us total in our group) just bought tickets for the Houston concert next August!  I'm really looking forward to it (Good Lord willing).

Man... just think of all the great music we missed out on with the loss of the Traveling Wilburys!  Great artists all around.

>> C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien-Two of my all time favorite authors. 

I read Tolkein's Lord of the Rings about once every decade.  I'm not a fast reader so that's a commitment for me.  I re-read C.S. Lewis' religious philosophy books on a fairly regular basis (Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, etc)...  The only other stuff I re-read on a regular basis is classic dystopian, like George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Far, and Brave New World.

>> Sadly, my interest in fantasy and fiction starting slipping away after I turned 40. 

I still read a diverse lot, though with less fiction than I used to.  I will recommend "The Last Unicorn" as a quick, light, really good fantasy novel to wet your appetite. :)

>> My interest has exclusively turned to history in the last 7 years.

I do enjoy history on a regular basis... though often it's more obscure local (Texas, and East Texas) stuff that I read.  Thad Sitton from the University of Texas is really good in this area. (Backwoodsmen is really good).

>> I’ve decided to revisit some of my old favorites after the New Year.  Tolkien will definitely be included.

Enjoy!