Fearghal McGarry, “The Rising: Ireland, Easter 1916” (Oxford UP, 2010)
Sometimes when you win you lose. That’s called a Pyrrhic victory. But sometimes when you lose you win. We don’t have a name for that (at least as far as I know). But we might call it an “Easter Rising victory” after the Irish Republican revolt of 1916. The Republicans... Read More
Jeffrey Reznick, “John Galsworthy and the Disabled Soldiers of the Great War” (Manchester UP, 2009)
You may not know who John Galsworthy is, but you probably know his work. Who hasn’t seen some production of The Forsyte Saga? Galsworthy was one of the most popular and famous British writers of the early 20th century (the Edwardian Era). He left an enormous body of work, for... Read More
Greg Castillo, “Cold War on the Home Front: The Soft Power of Midcentury Design” (Minnesota UP, 2009)
If you grew up in the 1960s or 1970s in suburbia, you probably lived in a smallish ranch house that looked like this. That house probably had an “ultra modern” kitchen that probably looked like this. I grew up in such a house and it had such a kitchen. In... Read More
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, they said, was chaos. The problem is that human history... Read More
Andrew Donson, “Youth in the Fatherless Land: War Pedagogy, Nationalism, and Authority in Germany, 1914-1918” (Harvard UP, 2010)
I was a little kid during the Vietnam War. It was on the news all the time, and besides my uncle was fighting there. I followed it closely, or as closely as a little kid can. I never thought for a moment that “we” could lose. “We” were a great... Read More