An Indigenous Peoples History of the United States

Meaningfully Discomforting: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne. An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. Audiobook. Tantor Media, 2014. Last summer, Supreme Court-watchers, indigenous rights activists, and other interested parties were shocked to learn that the United States Supreme Court re-ordered an oral hearing session in the pending landmark Carpenter v. Murphy (now Sharp v. Murphy) case. The implications of […]... Read More
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A Terrible Beauty: Patrick Radden Keefe’s Say Nothing

When I think of the Troubles, I remember the summer I spent abroad in Ireland. I think about visiting Belfast, where we went forth from the world-class Titanic Museum to explore streets filled with murals, flags, and “peace walls” still dividing Catholics and Protestants. I think of the walking tour we took in Derry, the […]... Read More
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Give Me More! Max Adams’ The Viking Wars

From first cracking open In the Land of Giants (hopefully coming soon to a Concerning History book club near you), I have been enthralled with what I’ve come to call Max Adams’ Dark Ages Trilogy. Now at last I’ve come to what, for many, is the main event: the cataclysmic clash of cultures—Roman Christian Anglo-Saxon, Irish Christian Celtic and Brythonic, and Pagan Scandinavian—that define the ninth and tenth centuries and the British Isles themselves to this day. Eagerly anticipating Adams’ historical treatment of such oft-tread ground, I dove right in. While I was mostly satisfied by the end, however, as with most endings, I was left wanting just a little bit more.... Read More
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Anatomy of Battle: The Siege of Minas Tirith

Hobbit Day has come again, and with it, Bryan and Francis’ now-traditional post discussing some element of intersection between history and that beloved fantasy realm of Middle Earth. This week, in what may become a long-running series here at Concerning History, Bryan and Francis dissect the climactic siege of Minas Tirith and Battle of the Pelennor Fields from The Return of the King, showcasing multiple elements of historical inspiration, or at least historical echoes, for the biggest battle described in detail Tolkien’s legendarium. Please forgive the longer-than-usual post; they’re both incurable nerds...... Read More
Sixteen Ways

Historical Fantasy: A “New” Genre in K.J. Parker’s Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City

The school year’s done and I, as an overworked teacher, have a stack of books to tackle this summer. A few of them fall into a category of fiction I have recently discovered called “historical fantasy.” Essentially, these are books set in a quasi-Earth world that is very recognizable as a historical time and place in human history, but also fantastically different. Good examples of such books are Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale (which I recommend) or A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (haven’t read, but hearsay makes it seem like a good fit).... Read More
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Judging the Past: The Historian as Ethicist

As I was reading Alexander Watson’s Ring of Steel for an upcoming Concerning History Book Club post, I was struck by how easily perspective can be lost when dealing with subjects that we find morally unacceptable. Ring of Steel offers a different portrait of the war than most English-language accounts. Early on, Watson argues that […]... Read More
knightfall

Sweet Revenge: History’s Knightfall, Season 2

Last year, I was pleasantly surprised by History Channel’s newest scripted history content, Knightfall, and its decision to steer into the motifs of a grail quest that we know, somehow, will lead to the fall of Knights Templar in the early fourteenth century. A little over a year later, its second season premiered to much fanfare, centered almost entirely around the fact that the always wonderful Mark Hamil would be joining the cast as a crotchety old Templar veteran tasked with training the Temple’s new initiates (sound slightly like a recent Star Wars movie, anyone?). Eager to hear more of the mysteries of the Holy Grail and see how, exactly, the tragic flaws of main character Landry de Luson lead to his order’s destruction, I dutifully tuned in.... Read More
King in the North

A Hoard of Knowledge: Max Adams’ King in the North

I was first introduced to the writings of Max Adams through In the Land of Giants, which Kevin and I will hopefully get around to hosting a book club discussion on one of these days. Enchanted by Adams’ compelling prose, especially as it described the elusive world of early medieval Britain, I decided to look up his other works and start from the beginning. That beginning was The King in the North: The Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria, and Adams did not disappoint with his study of this great Christian martyr and Anglo-Saxon warrior king.... Read More
The Pacific

Captivating, but Repetitive: HBO’s The Pacific

I realize that I am long overdue on this one. I’ve always meant to get around to watching HBO’s follow-up to their acclaimed miniseries Band of Brothers, but The Pacific inexplicably kept slipping down further on my watch list. Finally, this past winter, my brother sent me his DVDs of the series, and I no longer had any excuse to wait. As a huge fan of Band of Brothers (despite some of its odd interpretive choices), I was eager to dive into a similar telling of a different theater of the Second World War. As Heather and I made it through the miniseries’ ten episodes, however, I found myself both satisfied and left wanting.... Read More