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)
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
I’m going to push back my usual Saturday links wrap until tomorrow. It’s proven impossible to ignore what happened in Britain this week, even though I’m not sure I actually have a lot of help to offer people wondering just what Brexit is or why it matters. I can’t explain just why the European Union has … More Scattered Thoughts on 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”
For national anthem buffs like me, it doesn’t get much more exciting than this! Yes, earlier today the British parliament took a step towards England adopting its own national anthem, as opposed to using “God Save the Queen.” The sponsor of the bill, a Labour MP named Toby Perkins, noted the tension between British and national identity … More A New English National Anthem?
It’s December 1st, time to share our annual round-up of historical works that have cracked various “Best Books of 2015” lists, for any reader who might be looking for gifts for the history buff in their life. (Key: G = The Guardian; NYT = New York Times; PW = Publishers Weekly; WP = Washington Post; Philip Ball, Invisible: … More The Top Histories of 2015?
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
“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
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
Offered as a daydream, as by one who trusts rather than knows that the grading will get done and this impossibly busy academic year will reach its end… John Turner, Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet (Harvard UP, 2012) A big part of my summer reading is simply playing catch up, and I’ve already got a head start on that … More Is It Too Early For a Summer Reading List?