June 2011

And Speaking of the Siege of Mafeking…

June 28, 2011

…as I believe we were just the other day, I was recently introduced to a vision of the siege that is very different from Lord Baden-Powell’s casually stiff upper lip. Sol T. Plaatje was a twenty-three-year-old African court interpreter for the Resident Magistrate when the Boers besieged Mafeking, and its African older sister, the adjacent […]

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History on Display: The Horse

June 23, 2011

Now and then you stumble across history when you least expect it. Yesterday my friend Nancy and I visited Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.   Sometimes you visit a museum because there’s an exhibit you want to see.  Other times you visit a museum because you want to hang out, talk, laugh a little .  […]

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Word With a Past: Maffick

June 21, 2011

The Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) started badly from the British point of view.  British troops, supposedly the best trained and best equipped in the world, suffered a series of humiliating defeats at the hands of Boer farmers.  (Anyone else hear echoes of another colonial war that pitted farmers against British regulars?) The only bright spot […]

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A Public Service Anouncement for Readers

June 18, 2011

I’m assuming you all are readers.  Why else would you join me in the odd corners of history  a couple of times a week? As readers, I think you might enjoy  Shelf Awareness for Readers, a new book review e-zine put out by the Independent Booksellers Association.  (Of course, I could be biased.  I’m one […]

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Walking Hallowed Ground

June 17, 2011

In response to my recent post on the American Civil War, Karen Eliot talked about her experiences visiting Gettysburg. Her comments left me thinking about what makes battlefield visits such a powerful experience.  I’ve certainly walked my share of Civil War battlefields: Gettysburg, Antietam, Pea Ridge, and my hometown battlefield of Wilson’s Creek. (Not to […]

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Cowboys and Indians: North African Style

June 12, 2011

Unlikely though it seems, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the French Foreign Legion over the last week. I bet most of you have a few stock images of the Foreign Legion in your heads: men fleeing from their past into the desert and anonymity, absinthe, burning sands and blazing sun, those funny […]

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A Word With a Past: Kidnap

June 7, 2011

In the mid-seventeenth century, the British colonies in North America and the Caribbean were suffering from a labor shortage. The colonies had originally attracted Britain’s surplus population: dreamers, fortune-hunters, religious nuts, younger sons, prisoners of war, political failures, vagrants, criminals, the homeless, and the desperate.  Some came with a small financial stake.  Many came as […]

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If You Only Read One Book on Islamic History…

June 2, 2011

I’ve been studying Islamic history for a long time now.  (Stops to count on her fingers. Thirty years??  Really??  Counts again. Dang. ) Last year I discovered the best general book on Islamic history I’ve ever read:  Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes by Tanim Ansary.  I underlined as I read.  […]

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This is a test. This is only a test.

June 1, 2011

I’m trying to fix the problem with my e-mail titles. Many thanks to my hardy band of subscribers for 1) pointing out my wordpress problems and 2)putting up with my struggles with to fix them. Keep your fingers crossed.

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