P. Bingham and J. Souza, “Death From a Distance and the Birth of a Humane Universe” (BookSurge, 2009)
Long ago, historians more or less gave up on “theories of history.” They determined that human nature was too unpredictable, cultures too various, and developmental patterns too evanescent for any really scientific theory of history to be possible. Human history,… Read More
Patrick Manning, “The African Diaspora: A History Through Culture” (Columbia UP, 2010)
Africans were the first migrants because they were the first people. Some 60,000 years ago they left their homeland and in a relatively short period of time (by geological and evolutionary standards) moved to nearly every habitable place on the… Read More
Ben Kiernan, “Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur” (Yale UP, 2007)
Chimps, our closest relatives, kill each other. But chimps do not engage in anything close to mass slaughter of their own kind. Why is this? There are two possible explanations for the difference. The first is this: chimps are not… Read More
Jared Diamond and James A. Robinson, “Natural Experiments of History” (Harvard UP, 2010)
I remember telling my wife, the mathematician, that historians typically work on one time and place their entire careers. If you begin, say, as a historian of Russia in the 1600s (as I did), you are likely to end as… Read More
Julian E. Zelizer, “Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security From WWII to the War on Terrorism” (Basic Books, 2010)
Historians are by their nature public intellectuals because they are intellectuals who write about, well, the public. Alas, many historians seem to forget the “public” part and concentrate on the “intellectual” part. Our guest today–sponsored by the National History Center Read More
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