Now it’s on to the Great War. It’s a move I’ve been contemplating for a while. There will be a book, though I haven’t exactly settled on precisely what form that will take (book form, obviously). Also another, different project: on my town — Dayton, Ohio — in the First World War. Maybe that’s not exactly right. Rather on the United States in the First World War, but with Dayton serving as the United States in microcosm. It’s got it all: heavy industry and high tech (National Cash Register and Dayton Wright — you know, the Wright Brothers?), conscientious objectors, militant interventionists, large German-American, Hungarian-American, and African-American populations, and a cast of memorable characters. In short, Dayton represents Middle America pretty well, with just enough that’s unique about it to make it interesting. That’s not what my next book will be about, but rather my next film. My first film, actually.
More to come, including a bit on why the First World War should matter to Americans.
In the meantime, check out my Facebook page on Dayton in the Great War.
This guy? He’s my grandpa. Not from Dayton, not even from Ohio — from New York City by way of Bridgeport, Connecticut — but I just like the photo. Taken at Camp Dix sometime in 1918.
Paul D. Lockhart on VIDOYEN, AMA on Video.
So this is what I’m doing now, when I should be writing a book. Actually I am writing a book…and I’m still keeping silent about it until all the i’s are dotted and so forth. In the meantime, I’ve been trying my hand at 2-minute video lectures at Vidoyen. They’re actually very challenging, especially the part about the two-minute limit. Back soon!
Historians Get Advice on Writing for the Readers of Today – Research – The Chronicle of Higher Education.
I’m going to address this at greater length, and very soon, but first I wanted to throw this out there. It’s a question that I’ve asked my colleagues again and again. I think it’s a good sign that it was raised at the AHA, of all places, bastion of academic history that it is…and, better yet, nobody laughed or booed. The reception, overall, seems to have been pretty positive.
In my other life, I’m a history prof. Writing is my first love, but I teach too. Actually that pays the bills more than the books do. Anyway, though I don’t write much about my teaching, I’ll make an exception here. Just a few days ago, my employer — Wright State University — just approved something I’ve been thinking about creating for a long time now: a graduate program in military history, broadly defined. We’ve actually had a grad program in history for some time now. I was director of it a while back, while I was writing Drillmaster and Whites of Their Eyes in fact. Not a huge program, offering just the MA, and focused mostly on public history. I thought that, given the intensity of interest in military topics, a redirection of the non-public-history portion of our graduate program might breathe new life into it. We’ll see. Nothin’ to lose, either way.
Still, exciting stuff. I’m in the process of lining up a few friends of mine, mostly authors who have written about war-related topics and have significant popular history creds, to start a lecture series with a broad appeal outside of academia. Best of all (at least I think it’s best of all)–we’re planning a centennial commemoration of WWI that should be very interesting. Not an academic conference. It seems that every history department in Europe and North America is planning some sort of academic conference about WWI between 2014 and 2018. No, not that. Something much bigger. I won’t reveal that just yet, though. And that’s self-serving, too, because (giveaway here, drumroll please, because I’m sure everyone is simply dying to know what I’m going to write about next) my next book is going to be set in WWI.
More details on the next book later.
If you’re interested — out of simple curiosity, or out of professional interest in Wright State — you can follow along on my other blog, Bellum et historia.
War List: Significant Sieges.
It’s not a big piece, really, just a few hundred words on a few sieges that I like, not even my choices (contra the byline) for the most significant sieges. But the comments are great. Especially the one that takes me to task for being anti-Christian and — as if that weren’t enough — “BIG-OTED.” Oh well. I’ll try really hard to reduce my otedness.
A really good presidential address. I was at AHA this past weekend; I wish I had attended this one. Much better lecture than the one I did attend. Anyway, the good thing is what Prof. Cronon says — that historians need to stop talking to themselves and engage the public…for historians to become “storytellers.”
The sad thing is that he actually had to say it.
2013 Annual Meeting: William Cronon’s Presidential Address – YouTube.