Amerikan Rambler: Are Historians Too Hard on Hollywood History?

From March 2012: “Historians criticizing Hollywood is almost as old as Hollywood itself.”

While I understand historians’ desire, indeed duty, to make sure that filmmakers respect the integrity of a historical subject, my question is: should we be surprised when a movie — even a documentary — chooses drama or narrative flow over being true to the historical record? I think not.

via Are Historians Too Hard on Hollywood History? — Amerikan Rambler: Everybody Has a Story

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Emilia Clarke as 007 / Honoring Confederate veterans / Trump and Roy Cohn / Tanning addictions / Celebrating the film ‘Heat’

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This week: Emilia Clarke as 007 / Honoring Confederate veterans / Trump and Roy Cohn / Tanning addictions / Celebrating the film ‘Heat’

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. How many Americans have died in U.S. wars?
By Megan Crigger and Laura Santhanam | PBS NewsHour | May 24
“This Memorial Day, we decided to take a close look at the number of American service members who lost their lives during wartime in an effort to put their sacrifices into a broader perspective.”

2. ‘17,000 islands of imagination’: discovering Indonesian literature
By Louise Doughty | The Guardian | May 28
“Indonesia is home to hundreds of different ethnicities speaking as many languages, and, along with Hindus, Christians and Buddhists, has a majority Muslim population that is the largest in the world. But, as yet, little of its literature has been translated into English.”

3. Forgetting Why We Remember
By David W. Blight | The New York Times | May 29
“The Lost Cause tradition thrived in Confederate Memorial Day rhetoric; the Southern dead were honored as the true ‘patriots,’ defenders of their homeland, sovereign rights, a natural racial order and a ’cause’ that had been overwhelmed by ‘numbers and resources’ but never defeated on battlefields.”

4. LBJ’s Ad Men: Here’s How Clinton Can Beat Trump
By Robert Mann and Zack Stanton | Politico | May 29
“We talked to two of the geniuses behind the greatest ad campaign in political history. Here’s what they’d do in 2016.”

5. Yes, You Can Become Addicted to Tanning
By Esther Hsieh | Scientific American | November 2014
“UV light may trigger the same reward pathway in the brain as drugs such as heroin”

6. Latin America’s Fatal Gun Addiction
By Robert Muggah | Foreign Affairs | May 27
“Thanks to legal sales and illicit trafficking, the region’s criminal organizations, street gangs, private security firms, and vigilantes have access to a steady supply of weapons. In turn, Latin American countries and cities are the world’s most exposed to gun-related violence. The regional homicide rate hovers above 28 per 100,000 people, compared to a global average of closer to seven per 100,000.”

7. Emilia Clarke reveals her wishes to become the first female James Bond
By James Ingham | The Daily Star | May 29
The Game of Thrones star said, “I would love to play Jane Bond. My ultimate leading man would be Leonardo DiCaprio. No doubt about it.”

8. ‘He Brutalized For You’
By Michael Kruse | Politico | April 8
“How Joseph McCarthy henchman Roy Cohn became Donald Trump’s mentor.”

9. Why Heat Is Still an Action Masterpiece 20 Years Later
By Matt Patches | Esquire | September 2015
“Michael Mann was at an anniversary screening to reveal what makes the De Niro-Pacino heist movie a classic.”

10. Nixon and Pelé: No Meeting of the Minds
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | June 2014
“Nixon kept his encounter with Pelé brief, perhaps because, by his political calculus, there were so few votes in soccer, and he was also busy trying to cope with a fast-escalating Watergate scandal.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Jeb Bush’s failure / Bloomberg’s hinted candidacy / Obama and Cuba / The accomplishments of novelists Eco, Lee, and Spiotta

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This week: Jeb Bush’s failure / Bloomberg’s hinted candidacy / Obama and Cuba / The accomplishments of novelists Eco, Lee, and Spiotta

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. Inside Jeb Bush’s $150 Million Failure
By Eli Stokols | Politico Magazine | Feb. 20
“His closest aides failed to predict Trump and never changed course, guiding a flawed candidate into a corner he couldn’t escape.”

2. Harper Lee, Author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ Dies at 89
By William Grimes | The New York Times | Feb. 19
“Lee, like her alter ego Scout, was a tough little tomboy who enjoyed beating up the local boys, climbing trees and rolling in the dirt.”

3. Michael Bloomberg Hints at Reasons for Candidacy, but Doesn’t Announce It
By Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns | First Draft :: The New York Times | Feb. 18
“The most pressing problems in the country, he said, were ‘wage stagnation at home, American retreat around the world’ and a ‘corrupt gridlock and two-party system that answers to lobbyists and special interests instead of the American people.’ ”

4. Obama to Cuba: A gamble to end the embargo
By Ted Piccone | Order from Chaos :: The Brookings Institution | Feb. 18
“It is a big prize for the Castros, but in exchange for what? Why now? What can we expect to see happen on the island before and after he visits? How will the visit impact the relationship?”

5. An Interview with Dr. William Blair, Founding Editor of the Journal of the Civil War Era
Muster :: The Journal of the Civil War Era | Feb. 15
“You were the editor of Civil War History for ten years before founding and editing The Journal of the Civil War Era. Did you have a vision for JCWE that differed from CWH?”

6. The Nation He Built
By Michael Grunwald | Politico Magazine | January/February 2016
“Over the past seven years, Americans have heard an awful lot about Barack Obama and his presidency, but the actual substance of his domestic policies and their impact on the country remain poorly understood.”

7. The Quietly Subversive Fictions of Dana Spiotta
By Susan Burton | The New York Times Magazine | Feb. 19
“Over the course of her career, the author has created a new kind of great American novel.”

8. Umberto Eco, Italian novelist and intellectual, dies aged 84
By Kevin Rawlinson | The Guardian | Feb. 20
“The revered literary critic, author and essayist — most famous for 1980 novel The Name of the Rose — had been suffering from cancer.”

9. Why I love… Winona Ryder
By Bim Adewunmi | The Guardian | Feb. 20
“It’s very difficult to look away when she’s on screen. She looks like a woodland creature, a startled deer — plus, she can act”

10. Historical Lessons for a President Forced to Deal With a Hostile Congress
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | November 2014
“The Democratic nominee of 2016, whoever she or he is, might want President Obama to adopt the [Gerald] Ford veto strategy. … It would give the party’s nominee the opportunity to argue that in 2017, only a Democratic president can hold back the excesses of a Republican-controlled House and Senate.”

Kate Stone’s Civil War: The entire special series

Read Kate Stone’s amazing stories as she defiantly faces Union soldiers, escapes across a Louisiana swamp, falls in love with Texas, and watches the Civil War rip her country and her family apart.

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From May 2012 to November 2015, a special series from Stillness of Heart shared excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

She defiantly faced Union soldiers, escaped across a Louisiana swamp, fell in love with Texas, and watched the Civil War rip her country and her family apart.

The entire series of excerpts is collected here.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

From 1861
May 15: Death in defense of the South
June 5: The stir and mob of angry life
June 18: Whipped unmercifully
July 1: They thought me so ugly
July 4: The blood of her children
July 26: Gallantly fought and won
Aug 24: The fevers
Sept. 27: The war inches closer
Oct. 19: Gladden our hearts
Nov. 27: The noble, gentle heart
Dec. 22: Rainy days

From 1862
Jan. 6: Sad Christmas
Jan. 8: Happy birthday
Jan. 16: They close in and kill
Feb. 1: The little creature
Feb. 20: Victory will be ours
March 1: A perfect love of a lieutenant
May 9: Burn our cities
May 22: Fashion is an obsolete word
May 23: The sleep that knows no waking
June 6: Trembling hearts
June 20-30: Capable of any horror
July 5: The fire of battle
Aug. 5: Beyond my strength
Sept. 23: Tragedy after tragedy
Oct. 1: His sins against the South
Nov. 7: A lady’s favors
Dec. 3: She was heartbroken

From 1863
Jan. 1: Preparing to run
March 2: Hoodoo woman
March 11: It made us tremble
March 22: The pistol pointed at my head
April 10: Tears on my cheek
April 15: A horrid flight
April 21: The greatest villian
April 26: Flaming cheeks and flashing eyes
April 27: The glory of the family
May 2: His father’s sins
May 3: Baffled beasts of prey
May 22: Useless to resist
May 23: Southern hearts
June 3: Like mad demons
June 15: On the road for Texas
July 7: The dark corner
July 12: The dirtiest people
July 16: Scowling, revengeful faces
July 26: Despondent and chicken-hearted
July 29: Makes us tremble for Texas
Aug. 3: Lose our scalps
Aug. 10: Conquer or die
Aug. 16: My pen is powerless
Aug. 30: They call us all renegades
Sept. 1: It makes us shiver
Sept. 14: Years of grinding toil
Sept. 20: Destroyed by the Yankees
Oct. 2: Two distressed damsels
Oct. 8: This is too disgraceful
Oct. 29: The heart of a boy
Nov. 1: Credulous mortals
Nov. 7: A fear of bad news
Nov. 13: Pride must have a fall
Nov. 15: So little to eat
Dec. 10: Nobly and fearlessly
Dec. 12: Alone in a strange land
Dec. 19: A charming little woman
Dec. 24: A sad 1863 ends

From 1864
Jan. 4: A noted flirt
Jan. 7: Trouble and distress
Jan. 13: The first desideratum
March 8: The mournful whistle
March 20: The petted darling
April 15: A besom of destruction
May 5: The easy conquest of Texas
May 7: To every young lady
May 18: To kill and destroy
May 25: Our best fancy yellow organdies
May 29: That land of desolation
June 1: The breath of flowers
June 14: Strangers in a strange land
June 19: Those terrible battles
June 26: Callous to suffering and death
Aug. 23: We enjoy our ease
Sept. 2: Lazy and languid
Sept. 5: One grand holocaust
Sept. 10: Too disgraceful if true
Sept. 27: The flower-wreathed scepter
Oct. 15: Fairy castles in the air

From 1865
Jan. 29: Kindly bestow them
Feb. 1: Our soldiers were powerless
Feb. 12: One of life’s greatest trials
Feb. 13: Peace blessed peace
Feb. 15: My escorts were disgusted
Feb. 21: Our only hope for peace
March 3: The most enjoyable life
March 9: Full of life and fun
March 24: Eager for a fight
March 30: Its spring decoration
April 1: Out of time
April 7: A blow on my heart
April 16: He would do anything
April 23: God spare us
May 7: Lounged and gossiped
May 9: We fear it cannot last
May 15: We will be slaves
May 17: Restless and wretched
May 20: A fever of apprehension
May 21: A piece of amusement
May 27: Only sadness and tears
May 31: The grand crash
June 12: Words are powerless
June 25: Civilization commences again
July 2: He deserves killing
July 13: It is unavoidable
July 18: A man-flirt is detestable
Aug. 14: No disorder
Aug. 26: Astonish the natives
Sept. 3: Our pleasant Tyler life
Sept. 11: The very poorest people
Sept. 21: A state of insubordination
Oct. 10: The bitterness of defeat
Nov. 16: At home again
Nov. 17: How many idle hours

Epilogue, from 1867 and 1868
I was young again

2014 in review

Thank you for making 2014 the best year ever. Read the year-end WordPress graphical roundup.

Thank you so much for making 2014 Stillness of Heart‘s best year ever.

Here's an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Podcast recommendations

A close friend recently asked to me to recommend some interesting podcasts. For regular readers of this blog, nothing on this list will surprise you.

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A close friend recently asked to me to recommend some interesting podcasts. Here is my list. It’s not comprehensive, and the categories are quite general. For regular readers of this blog, nothing on this list will surprise you.

Thankfully, most podcasts cover several subjects, and so they’re hard to classify as one thing. Generally, I like news programs, lectures to intelligent crowds (but not recorded classroom lectures), or one-on-one conversations. I mostly avoid call-in shows — I like to keep the public out of the equation whenever possible — but I make exceptions for exceptional programs.

As of Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, the iTunes library tells me I have 2,311 podcast episodes. It calculates that it will take me 66 days, nine hours, 23 minutes, and 46 seconds to listen to all of them.

NEWS
DocArchive — BBC World Service
Global News — BBC World Service
Newshour — BBC World Service
Best of Today — BBC Radio 4
Podcast of Week — CSPAN
New Yorker: Out Loud — The New Yorker
New Yorker: Comment — The New Yorker
Story of the Day — NPR
World Story of the Day — NPR
Hourly News Summary (central to my hourly existence in this life) — NPR
The World — PRI
The Takeaway — PRI and WNYC
TribCast — The Texas Tribune
Washington Week — PBS
PBS News Hour — PBS

NEWS :: DOCUMENTARIES
Documentary of the Week — BBC Radio 4
Outlook — BBC World Service
American RadioWorks — American Public Media
Longform Podcast
ProPublica Podcasts
DecodeDC
Radio 3 Essay — BBC Radio 3
The National Press Club podcast
Weekends on All Things Considered — NPR

NEWS :: FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The Economist podcast
Inside CFR Events — Council on Foreign Relations
Brookings Event podcast — The Brookings Institute
Prime Minister’s Questions — The Guardian
The Stream — Al Jazeera English
Worldview — WBEZ

NEWS :: SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY
Marketplace Tech Report — American Public Media
New Tech City — WNYC
Quirks and Quarks — CBC
Science Weekly — The Guardian
Stardate podcasts — McDonald Observatory
Science Times — The New York Times
Environment podcast — NPR
Nature podcast — Nature

FILM / TV
Front Row Daily — BBC Radio 4
The Treatment with Elvis Mitchell — KCRW
Kevin Pollack’s Chat Show
The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith — CBC

MUSIC
Legacy Podcasts: Rock — Legacy Recordings
Legacy Podcasts: Sarah McLachlan — Legacy Recordings
Other Directions — Steven Lee Moya
Soundcheck — WYNC
The Blues File — WXPN
Classical Performance — WGBH
25 Years of Chill Out Music — Roebeck
50 Great Voices — NPR
From the Top — NPR
Jazz Profiles — NPR
Chillsky
Properly Chilled
Escuela de Rumberos Salsa podcast

BOOKS
Book Review Podcast — The New York Times
Q and A — CSPAN
After Words — CSPAN
The Guardian Books Podcast
Writers and Company — CBC
Bookworm — KCRW
The New York Review of Books podcast
Between the Lines — WABE
Unfictional — KCRW
New Yorker: Fiction — The New Yorker
Selected Shorts — PRI
World Book Club — BBC World Service

GENERAL ARTS / LIFE
The Brian Lehrer Show — WNYC
The Leonard Lopate Show — WNYC
TED Talks — TED
The Best of YouTube
Arts and Ideas — BBC Radio 4
Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon podcasts
Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin — WNYC
The Current — CBC Radio
Ideas — CBC Radio
The Forum — KQED
Fresh Air (as long as Terry Gross isn’t on) — NPR
RadioWest — PRI
Studio 360 — PRI and WYNC
To the Best of Our Knowledge — PRI
WGBH Forum
Radio Times — WHYY

HISTORY
Conversations with History — UC Berkeley
Free Library podcast — Free Library of Philadelphia
American History TV — CSPAN
Great Lives — BBC Radio 4
15 Minute History — University of Texas at Austin
BackStory — University of Virginia
The History of Byzantium — Robin Pierson
Walter Cronkite’s History Lessons — NPR
History: Days of Infamy, Daily Life
The Journal of American History Podcast
Lectures in History — CSPAN
Lincoln and the Civil War
Witness — BBC World Service
Los Angeles Public Library Podcast
Miller Center Forums — The University of Virginia Miller Center
New Books in History
Pritzker Military Library Podcasts
Virginia Historical Society Podcasts
We the People Stories — National Constitution Center

Looking Back: Shadows of war

Today in 1925, Andrew Aguirre was born in Vinton, Texas. The Marine served during World War II and the Korean War, facing challenges he never imagined.

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Today in 1925, Andrew Aguirre was born in Vinton, Texas. The Marine served during World War II and the Korean War, facing challenges he never imagined.

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The Looking Back series
During my time as a contributing editor to the magnificent Voces Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin, I came across some amazing stories. The project, which I celebrated in 2011, collects the stories of Latino veterans and civilians who saw and felt the effects of war, from World War II to Vietnam. This occasional series will highlight a few of these fascinating lives.

Andrew Aguirre, born on Jan. 4, 1925, joined the Marine Corps in 1944, delivered supplies to Marine units on Pacific islands, and helped move out the dead. He joined U.S. forces in China in November 1945, and was discharged in 1946.

Military life, he recalled, gave him a new lease on life and professional ambition.

But by 1950, he was back in uniform, this time in Korea. As he faced down battle-hardened North Korean soldiers, Aguirre had no idea what he was about to experience. Read his dramatic profile here.

Visit the Voces website. Like them on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter.

Happy New Year

May 2014 be one of the best years of our lives.

Happy New Year, my old and new friends. I wish you all well. May 2014 be one of the best years of our lives.

Write me and tell me more about yourselves.

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats prepared a 2013 annual report for Stillness of Heart.

The WordPress.com stats prepared a 2013 annual report for Stillness of Heart.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

2012 in review

It’s been my best year ever. Thank you all for your interest.

WordPress.com prepared a 2012 annual report for Stillness of Heart.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 13 years to get that many views.

It’s been my best year ever. Thank you all for your interest. Click here to see the complete report.