That Was The Month That Was: History

Yesterday I cleared out some intriguing education-related links I didn’t get a chance to blog about during my three weeks teaching in Europe. Today: history!

• It’s both hard and easy to believe that the last president of the American Historical Association not to be a research university professor held office during World War II

Douthat, Bad Religion• Laurie Maffly-Kipp, president of the American Society of Church History, on “The Burden of Church History” — and why that field should survive.

• I think I flagged just about every post that Tracy McKenzie published in January: his response to Ross Douthat’s Bad Religion, which continued into a post on John Winthrop’s famous “City upon a Hill” sermon; a discussion of “Manifest Destiny” as an illustration of his interest in “moral reflection”; and his take on Barack Obama’s 2nd Inaugural.

• Francis Beckwith on the not-that-hidden history of changing evangelical views on abortion in the 20th century.

• The largest cities at sixteen different points in human history

• Sara Schwebel on historical interpretation in children’s fiction

• One of my (admittedly strangest) favorite memories from early adolescence is watching a recording of the TV miniseries Inside the Third Reich with my dad. All of which came to mind twice last month: once visiting the Nazi Party Rally Grounds at Nuremberg, and then when Past Imperfect ran Gilbert King’s profile of Albert Speer (played by Rutger Hauer — Rutger Hauer! — in ITTR, with Gwyneth Paltrow’s mom as Mrs. Speer, Bilbo Baggins as Josef Goebbels, and Claudius as Hitler).

• My favorite writer at Past Imperfect is Mike Dash, who shone again telling the story of the Lykov family, a group of Russian Old Believers who lived in a remote part of Siberia, cut off from civilization until they encountered a team of Soviet geologists in 1978.

The Red Army in Berlin, May 1945
The Red Army in Berlin, May 1945 – Bundesarchiv

• Eight years later, in another part of the USSR, a reactor at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine exploded. Did it bring about the fall of the Soviet state? The last Soviet leader thinks so…

• I’m in the middle of reading Anne Applebaum’s justly acclaimed history of Eastern Europe as it came under Soviet domination after World War II. I haven’t got far enough to see how she treats the role of religion in that process, but John Turner has written a couple of helpful summaries that make me eager to read on.

• I’ve only seen three entries in the 7 Up series of documentary films, checking in with a group of British children every seven years of their lives, from the 1960s to the present day. The release of 56 Up prompted Rebecca Mead to look back on the series, and its longtime director, Michael Apted.

• One day, Chris… one day, you too will fulfill your dream of teaching American history through the prism of baseball history.

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