Thinking about the American Present via the European Past

It’s been about three weeks since last I blogged here at The Pietist Schoolman. Anything been happening? If you didn’t know, I spent most of January in Britain, Belgium, France, and Germany, where my friend Sam Mulberry and I were leading a travel course on the history of World War I. I’m sure I’ll have more to share … More Thinking about the American Present via the European Past

When There’s Too Much Historical Evidence

Over the weekend I continued my Anxious Bench series on the challenges of writing biographies by reflecting on the problem of historical evidence. While the biographer whose book I’m currently reading seems to have enough evidence to narrate his subject’s entire life on a weekly (sometimes daily or even hourly) basis, I know that he actually is deploying … More When There’s Too Much Historical Evidence

Soviets and Sassenachs: My Two Favorite Historical TV Series

Time to show my hand and reveal of my favorite examples of historical moviemaking. Well, TV series-making, but then that’s just another form of the motion picture. After spending two Anxious Bench posts developing a set of four criteria for evaluating that kind of storytelling, today I applied them to two cable TV shows: the feminist time-traveling drama Outlander (Starz!) … More Soviets and Sassenachs: My Two Favorite Historical TV Series

What Makes for the Best Historical Movies? (part 2)

Today at The Anxious Bench you’ll find part two of my series on how we might evaluate historical movies like Free State of Jones, which has inspired rave reviews from some historians and criticism from others. If you missed the first part, go back to read what I meant that historical movies and TV series must strive to be both … More What Makes for the Best Historical Movies? (part 2)

The Somme at 100

As I write this post, the sun is setting over the River Somme in northern France. One hundred years ago today, in the middle of World War I, nightfall hid the grisly sight of nearly 20,000 dead British and Commonwealth soldiers. One of them was a twenty-year old officer named John Sherwin Engall, who had written to his parents … More The Somme at 100

British Christians Debate “Brexit”

In 1975 Great Britain held a referendum on its 1973 admission to what was then still the European Economic Community. By a two-to-one margin, British voters ratified their country’s new role in Europe. In nine days, they will revisit that decision with another referendum, one that could well end with Britain negotiating a withdrawal from the European … More British Christians Debate “Brexit”