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

Dashed Hopes: Netflix’s Roman Empire: The Mad Emperor

About a year ago, Francis and I watched the second season of Netflx’s ancient historical docudrama, Roman Empire (reviewed here on Concerning History). On the whole, we were disappointed. Production value was low, and its narrative of Julius Caesar’s rise to power was both sensationalized and oddly understated. Still, I’m never one to forego anything set in the ancient world; I get so little of it these days, and beggars can’t be choosers. In my previous review, I even expressed some hope; I didn’t mind the show’s many flaws if, as I hoped might be the case, it could serve as a platform for telling the stories of lesser known figures from Roman imperial politics. When I saw that Roman Empire’s third season was upon us, then, I dutifully powered up the computer and settled in to watch.... Read More

My Editor Wrote This Headline

Concerning History is a self-edited blog. Our staff, insofar as you can call us that, is comprised of 6 twenty-somethings with a mix of undergraduate and graduate education. None of us are professional editors. While that does mean our content is sometimes a little less than polished, I would still take this arrangement over the […]... Read More

Democracy’s Tragedy: Mike Rapport’s 1848: Year of Revolution

In preparation for our historical anniversaries post last April, Heather and I obtained two books concerning Europe’s 1848 revolutions for further research. The first, reviewed last October, proved to be an interesting analysis of those uprisings’ effects on American culture and politics in the middle of the nineteenth century. The second, which I was able to finish just before the end of 2018, was more along the lines of what we had initially looked for: an accessible, general history of the revolutions of 1848 and their impact on nineteenth-century Europe. Indeed, Mike Rapport’s 1848 not only provides an elegant guide to Europe’s tumultuous mid-century conflicts, but eloquently argues for their continued relevance in the evolution of European state formation.... Read More
Age of Eisenhower

The Middle Way: William Hitchcock’s Age of Eisenhower

As a student at Gettysburg College and Columbia University, I encountered Dwight Eisenhower time and again at two of the institutions with which he was most closely associated. But given my role this year at the Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College, I felt it was finally time to sit down with a biography and read […]... Read More

Wars of the Poppies: Politics and Remembrance

For the first time in a few years, I didn’t wear a poppy for Remembrance Day. The choice may seem odd given the significance of this year’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. But over the past few years, I’ve felt increasingly conflicted about wearing the symbol, which I feel has a political […]... Read More
Distant Revolutions

Ripples of Republicanism: Timothy Roberts’s Distant Revolutions

It is unwise, as the saying goes, to judge a book by its cover. More specifically, I have increasingly found that the titles and jacket descriptions of history books can be highly misleading as to the nature of the information, and arguments, within. Such was the case with Timothy Roberts’s Distant Revolutions. Heather and I recently acquired this book in an effort to learn more about its titular upheavals after mentioning it in our 2018 historical anniversaries post (found here). I expected a refreshing dose of perspective to American ideas of our own exceptionalism; instead, I found a fascinating history of connections that crossed the Atlantic and bridged the upheavals of 1848 with that of 1861.... Read More

Echoes in the Ivory Tower: The Second World Youth Congress and the Conflicts of Academia and Society

As the 2018-2019 academic year kicks off, I can’t help but think back to my May research trip to Vassar College. All last year, I had a tenuous relationship at best with my thesis work on the World Youth Congress Movement (1936-1939), confident of the project’s potential but confounded by how to assert the significance […]... Read More
And Now, Youth Ilma

Modern Youth, Remarkable Woman: The Life and Times of Viola Ilma

In the last two years, we’ve seen incredible political action undertaken by students and other young people. From the #Resistance to the #NoMore movement, Millennials have found themselves called into action to defend their future against the forces of reaction. Their work is not without precedent; America has a deep but often forgotten tradition of […]... Read More