Of Assassins and Aliens, or, The Mundane Present

History might be understood as a story of humans trying to survive, explain the world around them, and escape from the monotony of it all. From storytelling to athletics to art, we humans have been livening things up for thousands of years. Are the legions of teens tuning into their favorite YouTubers every week all that much different from the crowds filling the Athenian agora to listen to a traveling Homeric poet? Indeed, for some (including yours truly), history itself can serve as an escape, providing tales of times so much more interesting than the times one lives in. For me, this phenomenon has added a second, flipped, meaning to the old adage that “The past is like a foreign country.” Sure, they do things differently there, but I also couldn’t imagine those things happening here, either. Recently, however, I realized that this mindset forms the very foundation of one of the most popular video game series of the last two decades: Assassins’ Creed.... Read More
These Truths

Comprehensive Yet Digestible: Jill Lepore’s These Truths

Lepore, Jill. These Truths: A History of the United States. Audiobook. Recorded Books, 2018.  I must confess that I did not actually “read” These Truths, or at least not in the conventional sense. Instead, I opted to listen to the audiobook version, read by the distinguished Jill Lepore herself. And so it was that I […]... Read More