August 2013

Jane Austen’s England

August 30, 2013

Even if you’ve never read Jane Austen’s novels you probably have a clear image of what life was like for her characters thanks to excellent adaptations for film and television.  Women wore white muslin dresses. Gentlemen wore precisely tied cravats and really tight pants.  Red-coats wore, well, red-coats. People went to dances, visited great houses, […]

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From The Ruins of Empire–Revisited

August 27, 2013

If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ve probably figured out that I like books that look at familiar history from another point of view. (For example, here, and here, and here.)  Pankaj Mishra’s From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia,  is an excellent example.* Misra begins with the statement that […]

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If You Love Jane Austen…

August 23, 2013

Allow me to introduce Emily Eden–aristocratic spinster, political hostess, accomplished painter, and talented novelist. I first discovered Emily Eden through her connection to India. Her brother George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland, was appointed Governor-General of India in 1835. Emily accompanied him to India and served as his Burra Lady Sahib (the rough equivalent of […]

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The Love of Maps

August 20, 2013

I will tell you with no apology (and only a slight wiggle of nerdy embarrassment) that I love maps. I suppose it is theoretically possible to love history and not love maps. I just can’t imagine how that would work.* After all, history happens in both time and space. A quick look at the right […]

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History, Myth, and the Gettysburg Address

August 16, 2013

Recently I’ve been working on a piece about the Gettysburg Address.* As always, I’ve done more research than required,** wandered down some interesting by-ways that were not relevant to the project, and had my preconceptions about the topic turned upside down and shaken. As always, My Own True Love has convinced me to remove some […]

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Shin-Kickers From History: William Wilberforce and the Abolition of the British Slave Trade

August 13, 2013

Unlike many other shin-kickers from history, William Wilberforce was a card-carrying member of the privileged classes–wealthy, educated, male, white. Born in 1759 to a wealthy merchant family in the Yorkshire port of Hull, Wilberforce spent his teen years and early adult life in what he later described as “utter idleness and dissipation”. While a student […]

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Macaulay’s Education Minute

August 10, 2013

I often check in with My Own True Love when I’m unsure about a blog topic.* When I asked him what he knows about Thomas Babington Macaulay he said “He sounds very distinguished.” I explained that Macaulay is best known as the most important writer of Whig history,** but that I think his real importance […]

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Pontiac’s War

August 6, 2013

Two hundred and fifty years ago, the French and Indian Wars in North America came to an end. The Treaty of Paris redefined British, French, and Spanish colonial territories. France ceded Canada and the French territories east of the Mississippi to Britain and the Louisiana territory west of the Mississippi to Spain. Spain relinquished Florida […]

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