November 2013

Holiday Rerun: The Other First Thanksgiving

November 28, 2013

Unless you live in the American Southwest, the grade school version of American history* typically leaps from Columbus and 1492 straight to 1620, when the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts. There is a vague awareness that the Spanish and the French were “out there” doing something, but the story focuses on the development of the thirteen […]

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On War, Part 2

November 26, 2013

After last Friday’s post about the Pritzker Military Library’s symposium, On War, I got a challenging e-mail from a reader, asking me for the titles of definitive histories for World War I, World War II and Vietnam.* My first response was “danged if I know.” My second response was doubt that there is a definitive […]

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On War: An Opinionated Report

November 23, 2013

Last week My Own True Love and I attended On War: Exploring 20th Century Conflict, a military history seminar at Chicago’s Pritzker Military Library. I promised to report back. The short version? Wow! Four wars, four sessions. (1) I came away with pages of notes and two major takeaways: • I know nothing about the […]

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Woodrow Wilson

November 19, 2013

Recently I’ve been working on a piece on Woodrow Wilson.* I plunged into the piece with two facts** and a general impression of stiff-spined moral rectitude. I soon discovered that Wilson, like all of us, was a man of contradictions. A respected scholar who could not read until he was eleven. A college president who […]

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History on Display: Pritzker Military Library

November 15, 2013

My Own True Love and I are spending the day at a military history symposium at the Pritzker Military Library. In the morning, Tim O’Brien (author of The Things They Carried) and Karl Malantes (author of Matterhorn) are going to discuss literature, war, politics and the art of writing.* In the afternoon, major historians and […]

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The Great Silence

November 11, 2013

Whether you know it as Armistice Day, Poppy Day, Remembrance Day or Veterans’ Day, November 11 is a time to honor those who died in war and thank those who served. The day of remembrance has its roots in the end of World War I. The war ended on November 11, 1918. When the word […]

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1913: The Year in Review

November 9, 2013

What with one thing and another, I’ve been hanging out in 1913 a lot over the last six weeks. It was one of those years when the world seemed poised to change. A lot of -isms hovered in the air: progressivism, modernism, nationalism, feminism,* and, unfortunately, racism. Here are some of the highlights: The Armory […]

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On Paper

November 5, 2013

Self-confessed bibliophiliac Nicholas Basbanes is the author of several volumes on book collecting and book mania. In On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand Year History, he moves beyond the world of books to consider the material from which they are made. On Paper is not another history of the discovery and spread of the […]

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Déjà vu All Over Again: Closing the Border

November 1, 2013

Concerns that immigrants flooding across the border threaten the nation’s basic institutions. Construction of armed posts to defend the border. Passage of new, more restrictive immigration laws. Sound familiar? Welcome to Mexico in 1830. The story began when Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821. At first the newly independent country welcomed settlers from the […]

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