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Checking All the Boxes: TNT’s The Alienist

The end of March saw the end of the TNT miniseries event, The Alienist. We had our eyes on the show from its first aired commercial, and tuned in with great interest for ten weeks to see its enigmatic story unfold. Though the show was certainly eye candy for anyone interested in nineteenth-century America, and its story proved just as intriguing as promised, The Alienist as a period piece never proved more than simply competent for our tastes.... Read More
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Making History, Marking History: The Great Anniversaries of 2018

To mark the first anniversary of Concerning History, we’re taking a look at some of the major historical moments being commemorated this year and providing some recommendations for further reading. There are plenty of other events out there worth marking, however, so if you have one you think we should have included, we invite you to scroll down to the comments and share it with us.... Read More
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Not God’s Country: Netflix’s Godless and the New American Western

Has there ever been a subject that captured America’s imagination like the Wild West? What American triumph more glorious than the Winning of the West? What more iconic (and retroactively troubling) childhood memory than playing cowboys and indians? What films more seminal to the American film tradition than those staring John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Roy […]... Read More
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Solid, yet Predictable: Dee Rees’s Mudbound

A couple months ago, a trailer for a Great Depression/Second World War period drama debuting on Netflix caught our eye, and Mudbound was duly put on our list to watch. Despite a (fortunately) aborted idea to watch it on New Years Eve with Bryan’s parents, we did eventually get around to watching this frank portrayal of Southern racism and poverty in the wake of the Second World War. Though we enjoyed its coverage of less-trod historical themes, we were kept from really loving Mudbound by its thoroughly predictable story.... Read More
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Looking Back: A 2017 Historical Retrospective

With 2017 behind us, the staff of Concerning History took some time to speculate what the events of this year might mean to people in the future. As the job of the historian is to consider the past, this task is naturally beyond our expertise and abilities. Nonetheless, we think that a preliminary consideration would be worthwhile for what it says about the experience of living through this year. Throughout our conversation, we’ll be guided by the following question: What will future historians talk about when they talk about 2017?... Read More
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A Nervous World: Present Day Reflections from Austrian History

In my previous post, I took a moment to reflect broadly on the Austro-Hungarian Empire, an anachronism in its own time and an Empire very much lost to history, its legacy splintered across central and eastern Europe. As I explained then, imperial Austria’s history is of special interest to me for these very reasons which […]... Read More
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Fascist Americas: It Can’t Happen in the High Castle

By some coincidence, I found myself immersed in two stories of alternate history this fall. Both imagined the hypothetical scenario of American democracy being hijacked by mid-twentieth-century fascism. The first was It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, a 1935 satirical novel in which the author asserts that it very much could happen here in […]... Read More