Tag: history

  • An American Journey: Gayle Jessup White’s Reclamation

    An American Journey: Gayle Jessup White’s Reclamation

    Gayle Jessup White’s journey is an American journey. An award-winning broadcast journalist and the current Public Relations and Community Engagement Officer at Monticello, White’s life has been marked by the gradual discovery of her roots in the much larger story of the country. It’s a journey she chronicles in her new book Reclamation: Sally Hemings, […]

  • Joy Harjo Reclaims America

    Joy Harjo Reclaims America

    Joy Harjo wants to reclaim America. That’s what I imagine as I read through the wide variety of poems in her most recent book. An American Sunrise plays with form and time, pulling together strands to weave a picture of the land, particularly the land traced by the journey of Harjo’s ancestors, the Muscogee (Mvskoke), […]

  • Leaving Nebraska: Revisiting Willa Cather in the Pandemic

    Leaving Nebraska: Revisiting Willa Cather in the Pandemic

    Willa Cather can make you believe that Nebraska is a little more idyllic than your particular piece of America. Prairie flowers bloom near fields of waving wheat. Sturdy immigrant farmers build sturdy farmhouses and some residents install hammocks on the upper porch to sleep out under the stars on summer evenings. Even the fierce winter […]

  • The Enduring Myth of the Texas Rangers

    The Enduring Myth of the Texas Rangers

    While the Washington football team and the Cleveland baseball team were both undergoing public struggles about the appropriateness of their nicknames, my own favorite baseball team, the Texas Rangers,was called out by several national columnistsfor a similar soul-searching. Theodore Roosevelt, (yes, THAT Teddy Roosevelt) made the case for both sides back before there was even […]

  • Via Dolorosa of the Confederacy

    Via Dolorosa of the Confederacy

    My piece on visiting Appomattox Court House is up on the blog of StreetLight Magazine. Click here.

  • #7–The War Before the War: Heartlands Best Reads of 2019

    #7–The War Before the War: Heartlands Best Reads of 2019

    A second history book makes the list in the #7 spot of our annual countdown of Best Reads. Anthony Delbanco, The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War, focuses on a potent symbol of antebellum America, the fugitive slave, and shows how the unspooling […]

  • #8–These Truths: Heartlands Best Reads of 2019

    #8–These Truths: Heartlands Best Reads of 2019

    Jill LePore’s These Truths: A History of the United States came out in 2018 but I got to it this year and was glad I did. The audacity of a one-volume history covering a 500+ year arc of the American story, especially when that story has become so contested and fragmented, was a thing to behold. […]

  • Who’s Going to Make the Case for America? (I Mean, Along with Jill Lepore)

    Who’s Going to Make the Case for America? (I Mean, Along with Jill Lepore)

    Late in her brief but thought-provoking new book, historian Jill Lepore gets down to why she would write something titled This America: The Case for the Nation: “In American history, liberals have failed, time and again, to defeat illiberalism except by making appeals to national aims and ends…Writing national history creates plenty of problems. But […]

  • Stirring, Terrifying, Inspiring, Troubling—Yeah, That’s America

    Stirring, Terrifying, Inspiring, Troubling—Yeah, That’s America

    The first thing I note about Jill Lepore’s new one-volume history of the United States is how out of style it is. In an age of disintegrating consensus and competing truths, who would dare to attempt a comprehensive narrative of our national story? Fortunately, Jill Lepore would and the result is a book you’ll surely […]

  • Why a Story of Fugitive Slaves May Not Just Be History

    Why a Story of Fugitive Slaves May Not Just Be History

    In light of the current Great Divide, there is no innocent reading of history. We mine every thesis about the Constitutional Convention or the Civil War for evidence of another agenda. History becomes covert commentary on Trump and the Resistance. So when Andrew Delbanco’s wonderful new book on fugitive slaves in antebellum America landed in […]