Articles by

Dave

States and Nations

By December 13, 2008


I just finished The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (Penguin, 2006), an 800-page tome by Niall Ferguson, the Lawrence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution. [Tisch and Hoover, an interesting pair of sponsors.] Ferguson recounts the violent first half of the 20th century with reference to nations (in the classical sense of “peoples” or, more modernly, ethnic groups) rather than states, but doesn’t leave much hope for improvement as we move through the first half of the 21st century.  I’ll throw out a lifeline [hint: religion] in the closing paragraph.

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Facing East

By November 15, 2008


I just finished Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America (Harvard Univ. Press, 2001) by Daniel Richter, a history professor at the University of Pennsylvania.  This fine book (a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer in history) tells early American history from an entirely different perspective, that of Native Americans looking east as scattered groups of Europeans make visits, then trade, then settle, fight, and spread along the Atlantic seaboard and beyond.  More than just being good history, Facing East also helps the LDS reader appreciate the religious and cultural lens through which early Mormons, like other early Americans, viewed North American Indians. Below are comments on some of the more interesting examples of this I found in the book.

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Getting Hooked

By November 6, 2008


Michael CrichtonMichael Crichton passed away this week.  As a measure of the stature he has attained in popular culture, the news penetrated the roar of a presidential election to make a headline or two in just about every media source.  One that caught my eye is “Michael Crichton got my son hooked on reading.”  Yup, I remember reading The Terminal Man as a kid and thinking it was sort of different — it was science fiction, but without ray guns or spaceships.  But science fiction is an easy hook compared with history.  This being a history blog, the question we need to ask is: When did you get hooked on history?  What was the first history book that made you sheepishly approach the reference desk at the local library and say, “Did this guy write any other books?”

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A Thin Line Between Good and Evil

By September 26, 2008


Dave B. has been a longtime blogger at Mormon Inquiry and a regular commenter here at Juvenile Instructor. Once upon a time he earned a master’s degree in economic history, but he comes by his knowledge of and interest in Mormon history the old-fashioned way, by reading books. We’re happy to have him as a JI guest blogger for a few weeks.

Last week I heard Ron Walker conduct a Q&A about Massacre at Mountain Meadows with a small group in Southern California. He made a couple of comments in passing that are worth discussing. When asked for one thing that could be learned from the whole episode, he said that in his view the men who brought to pass the massacre were not evil men, but that there is often not much separating goodness from evil in individuals. He said that he has gained a greater appreciation for the simple virtues like kindness, patience, and gentleness and their effect of keeping us on the right side of that narrow divide.

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Series

Recent Comments

wvs on Book Review: Harvard S.: “Thanks Matt. The possible filtering through Middlemiss and the material that didn’t make the cut are factors. Nevertheless a vitally important volume. Thanks to Signature…”


Gary Bergera on Book Review: Harvard S.: “J, That's a great question. From my reading of the diaries, I think (but could easily be wrong) that Middlemiss becomes an increasing presence…”


J. Stapley on Book Review: Harvard S.: “Thanks Matt. My biggest questions around this document is the voice of Middlemiss. My hunch is that she is writing in McKay's voice more…”


Terry H on Book Review: Harvard S.: “Great review Matt. Thanks for this. I'll be looking for it. It appears a Kindle is available on the 29th of January.…”


Saskia on Sister Saints: Pain, Feminism,: “I find it frustrating beyond measure that we still see women's history (or women's anything, actually) as something different, something not-male and thus not universal,…”


Saskia on Sister Saints: Sources and: “To continue on Joey's point, this book comes at a really good time (also a dizzying time, with all the changes). I have done a…”

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