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”

That Was The Week That Was

Here… • The week started peacefully, and oddly, enough with a little piece about North Korea, time zones, imperialism, and Sabbath. • Then I knew that I’d be publishing a guest-post by Devin Manzullo-Thomas providing historical context for Goshen/Eastern Mennonite controversy in the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU). • I didn’t know that Devin’s post would become … More That Was The Week That Was

The Virtues of Historical Fiction

“Historical fiction,” observes editor Kathryn Sutherland, “has always been popular, of course, but it rarely enjoys high critical esteem.” While it has drawn its share of readers ever since the days of Walter Scott, historical fiction often suffers by comparison to more academic engagements with the past. But Sutherland thinks that historical fiction has often done better than … More The Virtues of Historical Fiction

The Magna Carta at 800

Eight centuries ago today King John of England sealed the Great Charter (in Latin, Magna Carta) with his rebellious barons. Often seen as the cornerstone of the British constitution, the Magna Carta has also been a popular touchpoint for American political thinkers going back to the Revolution. Learn more from the British Library, repository of two of … More The Magna Carta at 800