I’ll be down in New Ulm, Minnesota this Thursday evening giving a free lecture as part of the city’s centennial series on World War I. A German-American enclave in the southern part of the state, New Ulm had a difficult experience of the war, with its municipal leadership suspected of sedition by the state. You can learn … More Previewing My Talk on World War I Memorials
Last night marked the conclusion of The Great War, the three-part episode of PBS’ venerable American Experience documentary series focused on World War I. I live-tweeted each night of the miniseries, highlighting interesting facts and quotations from the episodes, but also trying to enrich it by sharing photos from our WWI travel course, suggesting further readings, and linking to newspapers, memoirs, … More How I Live-Tweeted The Great War on PBS
It’s not quite the “forgotten war” that the Korean War is, but World War I is certainly overshadowed in American memory by WWII, the Civil War, Vietnam, and the Revolutionary War. Nevertheless, the United States’ relatively short involvement in “the Great War” intersected with some of the most significant social, cultural, political, and economic shifts in American history. And now … More Go See the WW1 America Exhibit!
I’m eager to crack open Turning Points in the History of American Evangelicalism, edited by Heath Carter and Laura Rominger Porter and featuring a who’s who of American religious historians. Dedicated to Mark Noll, the book “seeks to both honor and build upon his contributions” via Noll’s own concept of “turning points.” I summarized it last year in a … More Was 2016 a Turning Point in the History of Evangelicalism?
How should we rank America’s presidents? C-SPAN asked ninety-one “professional observers of the presidency,” including historians Douglas Brinkley, Edward Crapol, Robert Dallek, Annette Gordon-Reed, Allen Guelzo, David Kennedy, and Walter McDougall. Each participant ranked our previous chief executives in ten equally weighted categories. You can find the full results here, but a few highlights: • The top four remained … More Ranking America’s Presidents
So how can Christians and churches protect themselves from the spiritual dangers that I wrote about earlier this week? You won’t be surprised to learn that I think it’s got to start with looking to the past. But if it’s too self-serving for me to say that, then take it from a non-historian: The inner lives of many have been … More Why Churches Like Mine Need to Recover an Immigrant Memory
Part two of my attempt to curate some of what I read while traveling this month. Yesterday I focused on Christianity; today, articles and blog posts about history and education. • Now that we’re in the year 2017, the floodgates have opened on pieces about the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Among many others writing … More That Was The Month That Was: History and Education
All next month I’ll be teaching an adult Sunday School class at Salem Covenant Church (New Brighton, MN) on a favorite topic of mine: “The Church and the Wars of the 20th Century.” It’ll be offered twice each Sunday, at 9:45am and 11:00am in Salem’s Fellowship Hall. Here’s the summary blurb: This spring will mark … More My New Adult Sunday School Class: “The Church and the Wars of the 20th Century”
The third of the three short meditations I contributed to a Hanging of the Greens service last month. Merry Christmas to you all! It was December 1863, and America’s bloody Civil War had entered its third winter. The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was grieving: two years before, his wife had died in a fire; less … More The Ringing of Bells: A Christmas Meditation
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