Popular Culture

Road Trip Through History: Memphis and Music

November 24, 2015

Two days in Memphis. Two visits to iconic recording studios.* Two very different experiences. Just to remind anyone who doesn’t have the history of rock music in their heads: Sun Records, which bills itself as the place where rock and roll was born, was the label that launched Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, […]

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Mercy Street (aka A Moment of Blatant Self-Promotion)

October 23, 2015

Just so you know, this is what I spent the last ten weeks doing: It’s the companion volume to a new PBS historical drama about nurses in the Civil War. The PBS series uses a real Civil War hospital as the setting for a fictionalized (and quite gorgeous) drama. (Check out some of promotional pieces […]

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Was Prof. Bhaer A 48-er?

September 25, 2015

Unlike most of the women I know who grew up reading Little Women, I was never indignant that Jo March married Professor Bhaer instead of the adolescent golden boy, Laurie.  That kiss in the rain under the umbrella defined romance for me.   I was always firmly on Team Professor.  And now I think I know […]

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From The Archives: Squeeze This!

July 28, 2015

I know it’s hard to believe, but even history bloggers sometimes think about something other than history.  We knit, canoe, wrestle bears, feed people, drink whiskey, and play with the cat.* Whenever we get the chance, My Own True Love and I pull on our dancing shoes and two-step and waltz to a Cajun band. […]

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Are You Listening to History?

July 17, 2015

Over the last three years I’ve become a fan of podcasts. They’re great to listen to when I’m doing things that require my hands and eyes but only a small part of my brain: chopping vegetables, washing dishes, reconciling bank statements, sorting through the pile of mystery papers on the floor next to my desk. […]

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If you can’t go to Waterloo….

June 12, 2015

  Let Waterloo come to you. You may have heard–June 18th is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.  Hundreds of thousands of history buffs, nerds, geeks and buggs* will gather in Belgium to watch 5000 enthusiasts and 300 bewildered horses reenact the battle.  My guess is that plenty of them are already there, […]

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History on Display–From Senegal to Seeger: Stories of the American Banjo

June 5, 2015

Recently My Own True Love and I had the chance to see Michael Miles’ most recent one-man musical documentary, From Senegal to Seeger: Stories of the American Banjo. It was a last-minute addition to a long-planned small-scale road trip.  It turned out to be one of the highlights. We both love the banjo. We’d seen […]

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February 11, 2015

If you dismiss history told in comic book graphic form* as the non-fiction equivalent of Classic Comics, you’re missing out. At its best, graphic non-fiction uses visual elements to tell stories in new and powerful ways.** In her graphic memoir, Fatherland: A Family History, Serbian-Canadian artist Nina Bunjevac tells the blood-soaked history of the former […]

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History on Display: En Guerre

October 31, 2014

I’ve spent most of this week in a small carrel in Regenstein library, head down and fingers flying as I try to push my way through a mini-proposal for a book I’d like to write.* It’s not my favorite way to work. Instead of getting up at the end of a stint to make a […]

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History On Display: Amazing Grace, the Musical

October 18, 2014

Earlier this week, My Own True Love and I took a chance on the “pre-Broadway world premier” of a musical by a new composer/playwright based on the historical story of John Newton (1725-1807), the slave trader turned Anglican minister and abolitionist who wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace”.  At a minimum, we knew there would be […]

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