Blog Profile / The Edge of the American West


URL :http://edgeofthewest.wordpress.com
Filed Under:History / US History
Posts on Regator:488
Posts / Week:1.9
Archived Since:April 9, 2010

Blog Post Archive

Excerpting memory.

If you’re interested, Slate just posted an excerpt from a chapter — on Appomattox and memory — from Battle Lines, the graphic history of the Civil War I’ve written with Jonathan Fetter-Vorm.

“We are all Americans.”

Perhaps my favorite story of the Civil War comes from Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox, which took place 150 years ago today. Here’s an excerpt, below the fold, from a piece I wrote last year about that episode. A patient historian could have traced the long arc of the Civil War by waiting out […]

What does Paul Campos know that the Public Policy Institute of California does not?

Paul Campos writes in the New York Times about what he claims is the “real reason” for higher college tuition in the USA: far from being caused by funding cuts, the astonishing rise in college tuition correlates closely with a huge increase in public subsidies for higher education.… a major factor driving increasing costs is […]

Definitely, finally, actually, not mistakably off the gold standard

Forthcoming in September, from Basic Books As readers of this blog know, Franklin Roosevelt declared he had taken the US off the gold standard on March 6, 1933, as the first substantial act of his presidency. But scholars have not been so quick to accept this date or, with firmness, any other. When Roosevelt first […]

Keeping a finger on gold

Forthcoming in September, from Basic Books On this day in 1933, it was the first Friday of Franklin Roosevelt’s administration, and the new president met reporters to talk to them about ending the bank holiday with which he had begun his term. The Federal Reserve Banks would open on Saturday so that member banks of […]

Lived long and prospered.

Leonard Nimoy’s Spock made the most powerful case for the value of emotional intelligence that I’ve ever seen. I’m also pretty sure that the Roanoke episode of “In Search Of…” made me the historian I am today. And, more important still, his life offscreen suggested that personal decency can far outstrip fame. RIP to a […]

A life well lived!

Nothing brings me more joy than Edgar Allan Poe’s obituary.

The bug.

I don’t know enough to know for sure, but this looks like potentially big news. Relatedly, I don’t remember where I was when the Challenger blew up, but I do have a flashbulb memory from when I learned that Magic Johnson had HIV.

Gordon Wood v. Gordon Wood

Possibly the right response to Gordon Wood’s “History in Context” in The Weekly Standard – a “get off my lawn essay,” as one historian says – is parody. After all Wood does begin the essay by saying his mentor Bernard Bailyn is woefully under-appreciated, and then proceeds to mention that Bailyn has two Pulitzers.1 What […]

“Poignant and heartbreaking.”

No, not my lovemaking, Battle Lines. Or so says Publishers Weekly. The full review, if you want to read it but fear of links, is below the fold. In 15 harrowing chapters, Fetter-Vorm (Trinity) and Ari Kelman’s (A Misplaced Massacre) graphic take on the Civil War brings home the shattering costs of America’s epochal conflict […]

A small sample.

My friend Phillip Barron has put together a flip book of sample pages from Battle Lines. If you’re interested, you can check it out here.

Does Samuel L. Jackson Say the Right Thing?

I recently re-watched Do the Right Thing and found the ending a little shocking. No, not the violent part – which has, sadly, only become more familiar in the quarter century since 1989 – but the actual last scene. The morning after the movie’s climax, the camera shifts up and away from the street while […]

What we do.

Julie Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members captures the absurdity of the present moment in the hallowed halls of academe: the beleaguered state of the humanities; the way a shrinking pie has left even tenured scholars, already an insecure subset of the species, more fragile than usual; the fraught relationship between faculty and their administrative paymasters. In […]

Tempus sic conterere

I write to record a position on a subject already treated in more specialist fora. I refer, of course, to a matter routinely, if implicitly, raised by the auditors of curricula, every time they ask for samples of a syllabus: if they request more than one, what do they say they want? Syllabi? Or syllabuses?1 […]

For the record, I drew it. Jonathan is responsible for the juvenile text.

Battle Lines has its first review. From Kirkus (2/15/15): A graphic rendering of epic destruction and intimate despair, as the authors make Civil War scholarship come alive for readers young and old.The artistry of Fetter-Vorm (Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb, 2013) powerfully captures the devastation that the war wreaked on the […]

Perils of the digital archive

For my new book, I spent long hours trawling through the many, many reels of the microfilmed diaries of Henry Morgenthau, Jr. We didn’t have them at my university, so I had to order a few at a time from Interlibrary Loan, wait, and then seize upon them and go through them before they were […]

How many historians…

…does it take to create a spamnado? Earlier today, what seems like the entire profession received an automated e-mail from some organization whose servers are hosted by Cal Tech. The original message was spam of some sort, I’m guessing, though I didn’t pay any attention to it, so I can’t say for sure. What came […]

it’s a small world

California’s measles outbreak has now reached more than 70 cases. 1 Populations especially at risk are those born after 1957 and vaccinated between 1963-1967 or not vaccinated. People born before 1957 would have been exposed to measles naturally and are ok; those not exposed to the virus in the wild will be vulnerable. People vaccinated […]

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