Popular Culture

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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Fatherland

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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A History of New York in 101 Objects

October 7, 2014

New York Times reporter Sam Roberts makes it clear that A History of New York in 101 Objects is not the history of New York City, but his history of New York City, shaped by a 50-year career of reporting on the area. Inspired by A History of the World in 100 Objects, a joint […]

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When Paris Went Dark

September 19, 2014

When Nazi troops marched into Paris in June, 1940, the city surrendered without firing a shot.* In When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944 , historian Ronald C. Rosbottom explores face-to-face interactions between occupiers and occupied, the effect of the Occupation on daily life in Paris, its psychological and emotional […]

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First Known Serial Killer Terrorizes The Slums of London

August 12, 2014

On August 6, 1888, Martha Tabram was stabbed to death in the Whitechapel neighborhood of London–many believe she was the first victim of the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper.* Between August and November, five more women were murdered within a one-mile radius in London’s East End. All were prostitutes and all but one […]

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The Lost Art of Dress

July 29, 2014

I’ve put off reviewing Linda Przybyszewski’s The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish for several months now. In part because life was busy life-ing. In part because I had other things I wanted to write about. But mostly because I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the book. The […]

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The Warrior Queens

May 10, 2014

I’m in the midst of re-reading an old friend–Antonia Fraser’s The Warrior Queens: The Legends and the Lives of the Women Who Have Led Their Nations in War. If I were a more patient sort, I would wait to finish and then write a reasoned post with carefully thought out conclusions. But sometimes you just […]

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