Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Spared from the office party / The Pease River massacre / A century of trust / Frank Gehry's tribute to Eisenhower / What bees need in the apiary

This week: Spared from the office party / The Pease River massacre / A century of trust / Frank Gehry’s tribute to Eisenhower / What bees need in the apiary

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

1. Winters of Discontent
By Matt Hanson | The Baffler | December 2020
“On John Steinbeck’s bleak America”

2. These women dread office holiday parties. They’re glad to be off the hook this year.
By Sydney Page | The Lily :: The Washington Post | December 2020
“‘I definitely am not missing the forced interaction, the small talk, the sizing up’”

3. ‘The Earth and its oceans are finite. We need to show mutual restraint’
By David Attenborough | The Guardian | December 2020
“At 94, what has the world’s most-travelled naturalist learned? He talks garden birds in lockdown, the eerie silence of Chernobyl — and tackling the climate crisis”

4. How to Rename a Street
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | June 2020
“Choose the street carefully. Roadways with few or no addresses, like highways, are the easiest to rename.”

5. What Happened at Pease River Wasn’t a Battle. It Was a Massacre
By W.K. Stratton | Texas Monthly | December 2020
“How a Texas Ranger’s personal mythology came to be accepted as popular history”

6. The 10 most important things I’ve learned about trust over my 100 years
By George P. Shultz | The Washington Post | December 2020
“When trust was in the room, whatever room that was — the family room, the schoolroom, the locker room, the office room, the government room or the military room — good things happened. When trust was not in the room, good things did not happen. Everything else is details.”

7. What if the Great American Novelist Doesn’t Write Novels?
By Mark Binelli | The New York Times Magazine | December 2020
“Frederick Wiseman’s documentary films offer an unparalleled, panoramic vision of society. His 45th feature, ‘City Hall,’ is on PBS this month — and he’s eager to get back to work.”

8. Frank Gehry sees end to ‘bombastic’ monuments as Eisenhower tribute unveiled
By David Smith | The Guardian | September 2020
“The memorial, in a four-acre park near the US Capitol in Washington, [was dedicated] at a time when racial unrest has prompted the removal of numerous statues of Confederate soldiers who fought to uphold slavery and debate over those commemorating former presidents such as Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and even Abraham Lincoln.”

9. Aromatherapy in the Apiary Is What Bees Need
By Matt Kaplan | The New York Times | September 2020
“Honeybees were better at pollinating crops after scent training.”

10. Did a Revolution in Latin American Publishing Make One Hundred Years of Solitude the Success It Is Today?
By Álvaro Santana-Acuña | LitHub | September 2020
“For decades, low print runs weakened the circulation of literature in the region and beyond. In Mexico and Argentina, which published more titles than the rest of Latin American countries combined, the print run of most literary books was under five thousand copies. In Spain, it was three thousand.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Reading faster / Biden’s foreign policy challenges / Remembering a slave’s death in a pandemic / The rise of freebirthing / The fall of Rome and the fall of America

This week: Reading faster / Biden’s foreign policy challenges / Remembering a slave’s death in a pandemic / The rise of freebirthing / The fall of Rome and the fall of America

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

1. What’s next for America’s favorite news podcast
By Kerry Flynn | CNN Business | December 2020
“[W]ith an incoming president who ran on restoring normalcy to a chaotic White House, what remains to be decided is whether listeners will still flock to ‘The Daily’ for deep dives and explanations of the news.”

2. How to Read Faster
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | March 2020
“You tend to read faster by reading more.”

3. Biden faces a changed world and no end of foreign policy challenges from China to Iran
By Karen DeYoung | The Washington Post | December 2020
“Biden faces competing priorities, congressional hurdles and wary, if welcoming, allies. In some cases, such as with North Korea and Venezuela, the most daunting obstacle to foreign policy success is the one that has bedeviled several presidents before him. There are no good options.”

4. How to Talk to Yourself
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | April 2020
“Research suggests that people with low self-esteem who try to force positive self-talk can end up feeling worse.”

5. A Brief Appreciation of the Incest Gnocchi Scene in The Godfather: Part III
By Roxana Hadadi | Vulture :: New York Magazine | December 2020
“In the kitchen of Vincent’s club, though, Mary stops being his ‘little cousin’ and asserts herself as the executor of her own desires. She is a young woman discovering her sexuality, and I’m sorry, who wouldn’t fall for a man who makes his own pasta?”
Also see, from Vulture: In Conversation: Francis Ford Coppola

6. Cicely was young, Black and enslaved – her death during an epidemic in 1714 has lessons that resonate in today’s pandemic
By Nicole S. Maskiell | The Conversation | December 2020
“Throughout the United States, as COVID-19 affects frontline workers and communities of color far more than other demographic groups … I believe it’s important to look back at how a few marginalized and oppressed people who served on the front lines of prior epidemics have been treated and remembered. ”

7. ‘Women feel they have no option but to give birth alone’: the rise of freebirthing
By Hannah Summers | The Guardian | December 2020
“As Covid infections rose, hospital felt like an increasingly dangerous place to have a baby. But is laboring without midwives or doctors the answer?”

8. The Social Life of Forests
By Ferris Jabr | The New York Times Magazine | December 2020
“Trees appear to communicate and cooperate through subterranean networks of fungi. What are they sharing with one another?”

9. America Is Eerily Retracing Rome’s Steps to a Fall. Will It Turn Around Before It’s Too Late?
By Tim Elliott | Politico Magazine | November 2020
“Two thousand years ago, the famous Republic had a chance to reject a dangerous populist. It failed, and the rest is history.”

10. The Amazon has seen our future
The New York Times | October 2020
“We’ve been talking about ‘saving the rainforest’ for decades, but trees are still burning, oil is still spilling, and dams are still being built. Today, the people of the Amazon are living through the most extreme versions of our planet’s most urgent problems.”

Latin America in the Civil War Era: A working bibliography and research memo

This evolving list is the first of many steps of an intellectual process to comprehend the scope of relevant literature in this field. It is a very broad initial attempt to identify important books, essays, articles, memoirs, archival collections and other primary and secondary sources.

 

The U.S. Civil War sent economic, political and social shockwaves around the world. My great objective is to understand how they were felt primarily throughout Latin America, specifically throughout the republican and imperial governments, the intelligentsia, the diplomatic circles, the street-level multiracial societies, and the military commands.

I intend to illustrate these histories through biography whenever possible and through narrative history in general. I may be fashionably late to the transnational party, but I definitely intend to earn my place among its best scholars.

This evolving list is the first of many steps of an intellectual process to comprehend the scope of relevant literature in this field. It is a very broad initial attempt to identify important books, essays, articles, memoirs, archival collections and other primary and secondary sources.

A second, sharpened, edited version of this bibliography will follow in the coming months. The third step will be an annotated bibliography. That will then lead to a comprehensive review essay analyzing the evolution of the literature, the conversations and the debates. The essay will also identify potential avenues of future research and the challenges of traveling down those avenues. That essay will, in part, guide my future scholarly ambitions and plans.

I have a very long and very beautiful intellectual journey ahead of me. I certainly welcome corrections, comments and suggestions as this self-introductory process continues. You may reach me at this address: remembrance_@hotmail.com.

WORKING BIBLIOGRAPHY (by region)

MEXICO

Aldis, Owen F. “Louis Napoleon and the Southern Confederacy,” North American Review 129 (October 1879): 342-362.

Bacha-Garza, Roseann, Christopher L. Miller and Russell K. Skowronek. The Civil War on the Rio Grande, 1846-1876. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2019.

Barker, Nancy N. “Monarchy in Mexico: Harebrained Scheme or Well-Considered Prospect?” The Journal of Modern History 48, no. 1 (March 1976): 51-68.

Brettle, Adrian Robert. “The Fortunes of War: Confederate Expansionist Ambitions During the American Civil War.” PhD diss. University of Virginia, 2014.

Callahan, James Morton. Evolution of Seward’s Mexican Policy. West Virginia University Studies in American History ser. 1, Diplomatic History, nos. 4, 5, and 6. Morgantown, W.Va.: West Virginia University, 1909.

Downs, Gregory P. “The Mexicanization of American Politics: The United States’ Transnational Path from Civil War to Stabilization.” American Historical Review 117 (April 2012): 408.

Frazier, Robert W. “Latin American Projects to Aid Mexico during the French Intervention,” The Hispanic American Historical Review 28 (August 1948): 370-386.

Gonzalez-Quiroga, Miguel Angel. “Conflict and Cooperation in the Making of Texas-Mexico Border Society, 1840-1880” in Bridging National Borders in North America: Transnational and Comparative Histories, 33-58, edited by Benjamin H. Johnson and Andrew R. Graybill. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2010.

Hanna, A.J. “The Role of Matthew Fontaine Maury in the Mexican Empire,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 55 (April 1947): 105-125.

Hanna, Kathryn Abbey. “The Roles of the South in the French Intervention in Mexico,” The Journal of Southern History 20, no. 1 (February 1954): 3-21.

—. Napoleon III and Mexico: American Triumph over Monarchy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1971.

Hardy, William E. “South of the Border: Ulysses S. Grant and the French Intervention.” Civil War History 54, no. 1 (March 2008): 63-86.

Hart, John Mason. Empire and Revolution: The Americans in Mexico since the Civil War. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

Irby, James. Backdoor at Bagdad: The Civil War on the Rio Grande. El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1977.

McAllen, M.M. Maximilian and Carlotta, Europe’s Last Empire in Mexico. San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 2014.

Martin, Percy F. Maximilian in Mexico: The Story of the French Intervention (1861-1867). New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1914.

Miller, Robert Ryal. “Matia Romero: Mexican Minister to the United States during the Juarez-Maximilian Era,” The Hispanic American Historical Review 45 (May 1964): 230.

—. “Arms across the Border: United States Aid to Juarez during the French Intervention in Mexico,” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, n.s, 63, no. 6 (1973): 1-68.

Mora-Torres, Juan. The Making of the Mexican Border: The State, Capitalism, and Society and Nuevo Leon, 1848-1910. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001.

Ridley, Jasper. Maximilian and Juarez. London: Constable, 2001.

Rister, Carl Coke. “Carlota: A Confederate Colony in Mexico,” The Journal of Southern History 11 (February 1945): 33-50.

Rolle, Andrew F. The Lost Cause: The Confederate Exodus to Mexico. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1965.

Schoonover, Thomas. Dollars Over Dominion: The Triumph of Liberalism in Mexican-United States Relations, 1861-1867. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1978.

—., ed., Mexican Lobby: Matias Romero in Washington 1861-1867. Lexington, Ky: University of Kentucky Press, 1986.

Truett, Samuel. Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Tyler, Ronnie C. Santiago Vidaurri and the Southern Confederacy. Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1973.

Wahlstrom, Todd W. The Southern Exodus to Mexico: Migration across the Borderlands after the American Civil War. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.

GENERAL SOUTH AMERICA

Ferris, Nathan L. “The Relations of the United States with South America during the Civil War,” The Hispanic American Historical Review 21 (February 1941): 51-78.

Fitz, Caitlin A. “The Hemispheric Dimensions of Early U.S. Nationalism: The War of 1812, Its Aftermath, and Spanish American Independence,” The Journal of American History 102 (September 2015): 356–379.

—. Our Sister Republics: The United States in an Age of Revolutions. New York: Norton, 2016.

Gobat, Michel. “The Invention of Latin America: The Transnational History of Anti-Imperialism, Democracy, and Race,” American Historical Review 118 (December 2013): 1345-1375.

Kelly, Patrick J. “The Cat’s-Paw: Confederate Ambitions in Latin America” in American Civil Wars: The United States, Latin America, Europe and the Crisis of the 1860s. Edited by Don H. Doyle. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017.

May, Robert E.. Manifest Destiny’s Underworld: Filibustering in Antebellum America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

—. Slavery, Race and Conquest in the Tropics: Lincoln, Douglass and the Future of Latin America. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Sanders, James E. The Vanguard of the Atlantic World: Creating Modernity, Nation, and Democracy in Nineteenth Century Latin America. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2014.

Scott, Rebecca, et. al. The Abolition of Slavery and the Aftermath of Emancipation in Brazil. Durham: Duke University Press, 1988.

Tenorio-Trillo, Mauricio. Latin America: The Allure and Power of an Idea. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017.

CHILE

Burr, Robert N. By Reason or Force: Chile and the Balancing of Power in South America, 1830-1905. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967.

PERU

Blanchard, Peter. Slavery and Abolition in Early Republican Peru. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources Books, 1992.

“Emancipation Declared in Peru,” Anti-Slavery Reporter, July 2, 1855, 157.

GENERAL SPANISH CARIBBEAN

González-Quintero, Nicolás. “Empire, Slavery, and Exile in the 19th Century Spanish Caribbean.” PhD diss. University of Texas at Austin, 2020.

May, Robert E. The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire, 1854-1861. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1973.

Rugemer, Edward Bartlett. The Problem of Emancipation: The Caribbean Roots of the American Civil War. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008.

Schmidt-Nowara, Christopher. Empire and Antislavery: Spain, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, 1833-1870. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999.

—. “From Aggression to Crisis: The Spanish Empire in the 1860s” in American Civil Wars: The United States, Latin America, Europe and the Crisis of the 1860s. Edited by Don H. Doyle. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017.

CUBA

Chaffin, Tom. Fatal Glory: Narciso López and the First Clandestine U.S. War Against Cuba. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1996.

Corwin, Arthur. Spain and the Abolition of Slavery in Cuba, 1817-1886. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967.

Scott, Rebecca. Slave Emancipation in Cuba: The Transition to Free Labor, 1860-1899. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985.

—. Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba After Slavery. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005.

GENERAL U.S. CIVIL WAR

Barnes, James J., and Patience P. Barnes. The American Civil War Through British Eyes: Dispatches from British Diplomats. Kent, OH: Kent University Press, 2005.

Beckert, Sven. “Emancipation and Empire: Reconstructing the Worldwide Web of Cotton Production in the Age of the American Civil War,” American Historical Review 109 (December 2004): 1405-1438.

Bonner, Robert E. “The Salt Water Civil War: Thalassological Approaches, Ocean-Centered Opportunities,” The Journal of the Civil War Era 6, no. 2 (June 2016): 243-267.

Bowen, Wayne S. Spain and the American Civil War. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2011.

Crook, David Paul. The North, the South, and the Powers, 1861-1865. New York: Wiley, 1974.

—. Diplomacy during the Civil War. New York: Wiley, 1975.

Davis, Jefferson. The Papers of Jefferson Davis. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1971 to present.

Davis, William C. “Confederate Exiles.” American History Illustrated 5, no. 3 (June 1970): 30-43.

Doyle, Don H. The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War. New York: Basic Books, 2015.

Egerton, Douglas R. “Rethinking Atlantic Historiography in a Postcolonial Era: The Civil War in a Global Perspective,” The Journal of the Civil War Era 1, no. 1 (March 2011): 79-95.

Eichhorn, Niels. “North Atlantic Trade in the Mid-Nineteenth Century: A Case for Peace during the American Civil War,” Civil War History 1, no. 2 (June 2015): 138-172.

Faust, Drew Gilpin. Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War. Durham: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

Ferris, Norman B. Desperate Diplomacy: William H. Seward’s Foreign Policy, 1861. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1976.

Fleche, Andre. Revolution of 1861: The American Civil War in the Age of Nationalist Conflict. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

Foreman, Amanda. A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War. New York: Random House, 2010.

Grant, U.S. The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant. Edited by John Y. Simon. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1967-1991.

—. The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant. New York: C.L. Webster, 1886.

Grimsley, Mark, and Brooks D. Simpson, eds. The Collapse of the Confederacy. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001.

Hahn, Steven. “What Sort of World Did the Civil War Make?” in The World the Civil War Made. Edited by Gregory P. Downs and Kate Masur. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015.

Hubbard, Charles M. The Burden of Confederate Diplomacy. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1998.

Hunt, Jeffrey William. The Last Battle of the Civil War: Palmetto Ranch. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002.

Jones, Howard. Union in Peril: The Crisis Over British Intervention in the Civil War. Lincoln, NE: Bison Books, 1997.

–. Abraham Lincoln and a New Birth of Freedom: The Union and Slavery in the Diplomacy of the Civil War. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.

–. Blue and Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016.

Kelly, Patrick J. “The North American Crisis of the 1860s,” The Journal of the Civil War Era 2, no. 3 (September 2012): 337-368.

—. “1848 and the Transnational Turn in Civil War History,” The Journal of the Civil War Era 4, no. 3 (September 2014): 431-443.

Kerby, Robert L. Kirby Smith’s Confederacy: The Trans-Mississippi South, 1863-1865. New York: Columbia University Press, 1972.

Lincoln, Abraham. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Edited by Roy P. Basler. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1953-1955.

Lonn, Ella. Foreigners in the Confederacy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

McDaniel, W. Caleb, and Bethany L. Johnson. “New Approaches to Internationalizing the History of the Civil War Era: An Introduction,” The Journal of the Civil War Era 2, no. 2 (June 2012): 145-150.

McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Mahin, Dean P. One War at a Time: The International Dimensions of the U.S. Civil War. Washington, D.C.: Brassey’s, 1999.

May, Robert E., ed. The Union, the Confederacy, and the Atlantic Rim. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 1995.

Owsley, Frank Lawrence. King Cotton Diplomacy: Foreign Relations of the Confederate States of America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959.

Prior, David M. et. al. “Teaching the Civil War in Global Context: A Discussion,” The Journal of the Civil War Era 5, no. 1 (March 2015): 126-153.

Robinson, Michael. “William Henry Seward and the Onset of the Secession Crisis,” Civil War History 59, no. 1 (March 2013): 32-66.

Sexton, Jay. “The Civil War and U.S. World Power” in American Civil Wars: The United States, Latin America, Europe and the Crisis of the 1860s. Edited by Doyle. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017.

Stokes, Donald. The Grand Design: Strategy and the U.S. Civil War. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Townsend, Stephen A. The Yankee Invasion of Texas. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2006.

Tucker, Phillip Thomas. The Final Fury: Palmito Ranch, The Last Battle of the Civil War. Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 2001.

Tyrner-Tyrnauer, A.R. Lincoln and the Emperors. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1962.

U.S. War Department. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.

Zimmerman, Andrew. “From the Second American Revolution to the First International and Back Again: Marxism, the Popular Front, and the American Civil War” in The World the Civil War Made. Edited by Downs and Kate Masur. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015.

GENERAL WORKS

Baptist, Edward E. The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. New York: Basic Books, 2014.

Bayly, C.A. The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2004: 165-166.

Beckert, Sven, “Merchants and Manufacturers in the Antebellum North” in Ruling America: A History of Wealth and Power in a Democracy. Edited by Steve Fraser and Gary Gerstle. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005.

—. Empire of Cotton: A Global History. New York: Knopf, 2014.

Bender, Thomas, ed. Rethinking American History in a Global Age. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

—. A Nation Among Nations: America’s Place in World History. New York: Hill and Wang, 2006.

Bensel, Richard Franklin. Yankee Leviathan: The Origins of Central State Authority in America, 1859-1877. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Geyer, Michael, and Charles Bright. “Global Violence and Nationalizing Wars in Eurasia and America: The Geo Politics of War in the Mid-Nineteenth Century,” Comparative Studies in History and Society, 38, no. 4, (October 1996): 619-657.

Grandin, Greg. “The Liberal Tradition in the Americas: Rights, Sovereignty, and the Origins of Multilateralism,” American Historical Review 117 (February 2012): 68-91.

Greene, Jack P., and Philip D. Morgan, eds. Atlantic History: A Critical Reappraisal. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Guterl, Matthew. American Mediterranean: Southern Slaveholders in the Age of Emancipation. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008.

Hamalainen, Pekka. The Comanche Empire. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.

Johnson, Walter. Soul By Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.

—. River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013.

Karp, Matthew. This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016.

LaFeber, Walter. The New Empire: An Interpretation of American Expansion, 1860-1898. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1963.

Perkins, Dexter. The Monroe Doctrine, 1826-1867. Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1965.

Roediger, David R. The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class. New York: Verso Books, 2007.

Rothman, Adam, “The Slave Power in the United States, 1783-1865” in Ruling America: A History of Wealth and Power in a Democracy. Edited by Steve Fraser and Gary Gerstle. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005.

Sexton, Jay. The Monroe Doctrine: Empire and Nation in Nineteenth-Century America. New York: Hill & Wang, 2012.

Whitaker, Arthur P. “The Origins of the Western Hemisphere Idea,” Proceedings of the American Philosophy Society 98 (October 15, 1954): 323.

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Hating the monoliths / Maradona’s darker legacy / How to press flowers / The missing in Mexico / Shakespeare’s heroines

This week: Hating the monoliths / Maradona’s darker legacy / How to press flowers / The missing in Mexico / Shakespeare’s heroines

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

1. Tributes to Diego Maradona show how easily violence against women is ignored
By Joan Smith | The Guardian | November 2020
“Too often we’re in denial about the fact that heroes — such as Maradona and Sean Connery — might also be abusers”

2. The Can-Do Power
By Samantha Power | Foreign Affairs | January / February 2021
“The Biden administration should … pursue foreign policy initiatives that can quickly highlight the return of American expertise and competence.”

3. Yo-Yo Ma and the Meaning of Life
By David Marchese | Talk :: The New York Times Magazine | November 2020
“It’s all the connections we make in life. Once you’re connected, you feel responsibility. And ‘connected’ means that it’s a circular loop. I know you, but you have to know me, too. There’s an energy circle that goes back and forth.”

4. How to Press Flowers
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | August 2020
“Each bit of plant material should be spread out carefully and sandwiched between layers of nonglossy blotting paper and sheets of cardboard.”

5. The search for the disappeared points to Mexico’s darkest secrets
By Mary Beth Sheridan | The Washington Post | December 2020
“More than 79,000 people have disappeared in Mexico, most of them since 2006. It’s the worst crisis of the disappeared in Latin America since the Cold War. … And Mexico’s numbers keep rising. Last year saw a record. Mexicans are uncovering two clandestine graves a day, on average.”

6. Witty women
By Rhodri Lewis | Times Literary Supplement | December 2020
“Shakespeare’s languages and the origin of his comic heroines”

7. The Monoliths Are Stupid and I Hate Them
By Sarah Jones | Intelligencer :: New York Magazine | December 2020
“They feel like the last authentic objects in the world. Next to them the monoliths can only be props, a brief and frantic distraction. Escape lies just beyond them, in open land and an unblemished sky.”

8. The history of First Ladies’ hairstyles, untangled
By Matthew Sweet | 1843 :: The Economist | November 2020
“Haircuts in the White House are never just cosmetic. There’s a political message in every strand”

9. 2020 Has Been Miserable. Is Extreme Masculinity to Blame?
By Peter Glick | Politico Magazine | November 2020
“Whether it’s the refusal to wear a mask during a pandemic or the win-at-all-costs approach to elections, 2020 has been a banner year for a particularly toxic masculinity”

10. Can mosquitoes spread the coronavirus?
Viral Questions :: Associated Press | August 2020
“No. While mosquitoes can spread some diseases, most notably malaria, experts say COVID-19 is not among them.”

It’s only the beginning of the intellectual journey

I don’t consider myself particularly wise or much of a role model, but I thought I had a few guiding principles that might be useful, if only because history, journalism and fiction are my passions too.

I was reviewing old emails the other day, and I came across a letter I wrote to a young college student who asked for my advice. He was considering joining his college newspaper. He also hoped to pursue an academic career as a historian and maybe dabble in writing historical fiction. He was worried he couldn’t do it all.

Now, I don’t consider myself particularly wise or much of a role model, but I thought I had a few guiding principles that might be useful, if only because history, journalism and fiction are my passions too.

Here’s shortened and edited version of what I said.

******

Thank you for reaching out. It sounds like you’re taking the right perspective and asking the right questions. My overall advice is this: Stick with journalism and see where it takes you. Does this mean you can’t be a historian? No. It will make you a better historian and academic writer. Does this mean you can’t be a fiction writer? Absolutely not. It will make you a clear thinker and writer.

I was always shy, but I realized early in life that I enjoyed expressing myself through the written word. When I was in my teens or early twenties, I read about Theodore Roosevelt and the many different passions he pursued throughout his life, and I decided I would be someone like that. I decided that my life would focus on three overall passions. I decided that I wanted to be remembered as a journalist, as a historian and as a historical novelist.

I started writing in college newspapers at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi (The Foghorn) and at the University of Texas at Austin (The Daily Texan). I wrote book reviews, reviewed theater performances and movies, and contributed op-ed pieces. I was already deeply interested in history, and I convinced the editors at the Texan to let me write an occasional column on history. Ironically, I wasn’t interested in straight reporting and was too shy to speak to strangers, so I never became a reporter. I worked as a proofreader — what they call a copy editor — and as a page designer.

After college, I eventually got a job at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. No matter how accomplished you may be, always swallow your pride and start at the bottom — I started as a news assistant and junior copy editor — and work your way up. I did this even in college. Step by step. Prove yourself to your colleagues and to yourself. Learn everything you can from everyone — they all know something you don’t.

Figure out how each job and experience can help you move on to the next job and take on the challenge. The college newspaper jobs helped me get the Caller-Times job. The Caller-Times job led to a similar job at the San Antonio Express-News. That editing and writing experience was invaluable in graduate school at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and at the University of Texas at San Antonio. After several years in academics, as you know, I’m now an editor at Texas Public Radio. …

I had always been interested in current events and foreign affairs. I always saw journalism and history as two halves of the same heart, the two ends of the same spectrum of civilization. I had an old-fashioned idea that all smart people — writers, scientists, athletes, anyone — should all spend at least a year working in some capacity at a newspaper. It’s a great place to learn how to write clearly and succinctly. Experience the constant flow of information all around you and through you. Understand the value of journalism in a democracy. I equated journalism to public service or military service — an enriching challenge that benefits everyone. That’s what motivated me to enter journalism and become an editor. I feel it is noble work, just as noble as being a teacher. You are really making a difference as a journalist. I wish more people would participate in the industry. I wish it was better funded.

Working in a newspaper taught me to pay close attention to details and maintain a consistent sense of what’s important and what isn’t. It strengthened my capacity to deal with all kinds of different people and personalities and deepened my sympathy for the less fortunate, those without a voice, those who need help. You can’t be afraid of a newsroom’s chaos, and you have to have faith that you can bring a semblance of order to it all. Always view problems and setbacks as opportunities. Always.

You’ve got your foot in the door at the student newspaper. Stay with it. Work for free. Work for the experience. Work at one job, then at another, then another. Build up a body of experience and a body of work. Work in different departments. Figure what you don’t like doing and what you really like to do. Write book reviews. Learn about the newspaper’s website. If you want to work at a professional newspaper or radio station, bring them a wide variety of examples of the work you’ve done in college. That will take time but it’s doable and worth every second of effort. Talk to journalism professors and to the leaders of the college newspaper or radio station. When you have time, see if professional newspapers/news web sites need help from a smart college journalist. That’s great experience too.

The great advantage of staying with journalism is this: The field has space for and needs all kinds of different, smart people to illustrate and explain the world for everyone else. Also, don’t assume that once you enter journalism you will be a journalist forever. Learn about science, literature, law, history, engineering, politics and other subjects. Let journalism be the foundation upon which you build a life filled with different experiences, different expertise and different ambitions. Becoming an effective journalist — editor, reporter, whatever — is only the beginning of your intellectual journey.

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Learning from the losers / Spend the holidays with some generals at war / Our love affair with bookstores / A critical look at Barack Obama / Presidential sex scandals

This week: Learning from the losers / Spend the holidays with some generals at war / Our love affair with bookstores / A critical look at Barack Obama / Presidential sex scandals

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

1. What Trump Showed Us About America
Politico Magazine | November 2020
“A disruptive presidency is coming to a close. Here’s what 35 thinkers say it revealed — not about the man, but about the rest of us.”

2. Generals at War: The television series.
National Geographic | 2010
“[The] series takes a fresh approach to the great battles of World War Two, examining them through the decisions, dilemmas and disasters of the generals on both sides.”
Watch the episodes: El Alamein | Stalingrad | Kursk | Singapore | The Bulge | Midway

3. The Etiquette of Defeat: What Donald Trump Can Learn From History’s Biggest Losers
By Daniel Mendelsohn | Vanity Fair | November 2020
“From ancient Macedonia to recent Emmy Awards, history offers good and bad examples of how to handle not winning.”

4. How to Suture a Wound
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | August 2020
“A medical-grade suture kit is the most hygienic option, of course, but sometimes you have to improvise.”

5. A Literary History of the Writerly Love Affair with Bookstores
By Jorge Carrion | Lit Hub | November 2020
“Good bookshops are questions without answers. They are places that provoke you intellectually, encode riddles, surprise and offer challenges, hypnotize with that melody — or cacophony — which creates light and shadows, shelves, stairs, front-covers, doors opening, umbrellas closing, head movements indicating hello or goodbye, people on the move.”

6. Blackjack with Matthew McConaughey
By Simon Willis | 1843 :: The Economist | November 2020
“The smooth-talking Hollywood actor reveals his hand”

7. Barack Obama Doesn’t Have the Answers
By Osita Nwanevu | The New Republic | November 2020
“The former president seems unable to reckon with the failures of his presidency and diagnose the Republican Party’s incurable nihilism.”
— Also see from Politico: Could Obama Have Been Great?

8. A Look At Grand Army Plaza’s $8.9 Million Restoration Design
By Jen Cheng | Gothamist | November 2020
“The arch, which was dedicated in 1892, is the main focus of the restoration work.”

9. A Presidential Affair: The Secret, Salacious Sex Scandals of U.S. Presidents
By Joyzel Acevedo | Rummaging Through the Attic :: Jezebel | October 2020
“[P]olitical figures and their sex lives were frequent topics of discussion in the press throughout most of the 19th century. But things shifted in the early 1900s, with the establishment of the National Press Club.”

10. Can I get the coronavirus twice?
Viral Questions :: Associated Press | September 2020
“It seems possible, though how often it happens isn’t known.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The enduring strength of hurricanes / Recovering 1980s fashion for ‘The Crown’ / Make a wildflower bomb / The glory of sleep retreats / Picking the right hand sanitizer

This week: The enduring strength of hurricanes / Recovering 1980s fashion for ‘The Crown’ / Make a wildflower bomb / The glory of sleep retreats / Picking the right hand sanitizer

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

1. Hurricanes stay stronger longer after landfall than in past
By Seth Borenstein | Associated Press | November 2020
“The new study looked at 71 Atlantic hurricanes with landfalls since 1967. It found that in the 1960s, hurricanes declined two-thirds in wind strength within 17 hours of landfall. But now it generally takes 33 hours for storms to weaken that same degree.”

2. Can America restore the rule of law without prosecuting Trump?
By Jonathan Mahler | The New York Times Magazine | November 2020
“Donald Trump’s potential criminal liability is the key to understanding his presidency. When he leaves office, it will present the country with a historic dilemma.”

3. ‘Charles is very stylish’: how The Crown‘s costume designer brought 1980s to life
By Hannah Marriott | The Guardian | November 2020
“Season 4’s wardrobe includes Diana’s Cinderella dress and Thatcher’s power shoulders”

4. How to Make a Wildflower Bomb
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | March 2020
“Before you go launching wildflower seed projectiles, start with a solid recipe.”

5. The Texas governor who refused to concede after losing a bitter election
By Gillian Brockell | The Washington Post | November 2020
“The incumbent refused to concede. He had lost reelection, by a lot, but he claimed it was only because of election fraud. He appealed his case to the courts and called on militias to defend him. … This is a story about a Texas governor who barricaded himself in the governor’s office and refused to give up control.”

6. Farewell to Jim Cooke, the Greatest Art Director Alive
By Angelica Alzona | Jezebel | November 2020
“If you’ve ever enjoyed the art on any of our websites in their various iterations over the past decade, you have one man to thank: creative director, illustrator, designer, and art team father-of-four Jim Cooke.”

7. ‘Storm Tracker’ Maps Shows How Hurricanes Spread Invasive Species
By Theresa Machemer | Smithsonian Magazine | October 2020
“The U.S. Geological Survey launched the program in 2018 after hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate scrambled coastal ecosystems”

8. Need more ZZZ’s? Sleep retreats are a (glorious) thing
By Stephanie Vermillion | OZY | January 2020
“While the effects of sleep deprivation are ugly, the retreat destinations where you can address it are anything but.”

9. Married sex is like making risotto: always nice, but often you can’t be arsed
By Romesh Ranganathan | The Guardian | October 2020
“I know other couples who have just accepted that sex is now too much effort, and have given up altogether. And while I believe that acceptance will bring them nothing but happiness, I do worry about what not having sex means for our relationship.”

10. What should I look for in a hand sanitizer?
Viral Questions :: Associated Press | September 2020
“Pick one that contains mostly alcohol, and has few other ingredients.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The future of the space station / Protect yourself from conspiracy theories / Decline of local news poses a new problem / A private tutor’s secret life / The adventures of fighting fires

This week: The future of the space station / Protect yourself from conspiracy theories / Decline of local news poses a new problem / A private tutor’s secret life / The adventures of fighting fires

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

1. What happens when NASA retires the International Space Station?
By Andrea Leinfelder | Houston Chronicle | October 2020
“The space station is authorized for human habitation through 2024, and Congress is expected to extend that to 2030. NASA believes the orbiting lab will survive at least another 10 years, and there’s precedent for long-lasting space hardware”

2. Ancient tectonic plate discovered beneath Canada, geologists claim
By Michael Irving | New Atlas | Ocotober 2020
“The face of the Earth has changed drastically over its life, with plates shifting and sinking. Now, geologists at the University of Houston claim to have found the remains of an ancient tectonic plate beneath Canada that was pushed under the surface tens of millions of years ago.”

3. Conspiracy theories: Why some people are susceptible and how to protect yourself
By Angela Haupt | The Washington Post | October 2020
“Conspiracy theories such as these swirl around us like noxious germs, targeting the mind instead of the body. And in the same way that our immune system can leave us more vulnerable to pathogens, our emotional state can make us more open to false — and potentially harmful — beliefs.”

4. How to Talk to Someone With Alzheimer’s
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | December 2019
“Approach someone with Alzheimer’s from the front. If the person doesn’t recognize you, say your name.”

5. The decline of local newsrooms could make it harder for us to detect the next disease outbreak
By Lauren Harris | Columbia Journalism Review | October 2020
“Here’s the irony: our society is better positioned to recognize the value of monitoring local journalism for viral warning signs—but the local news ecosystem is more beleaguered than ever.”

6. ‘One By Willie’
Texas Monthly | September 2020
“But this series isn’t just about the songs. It’s about what music really means to us — the ways it can change us, take care of us, and connect us all.”

7. First-class flights, chauffeurs and bribery: the secret life of a private tutor
By Emma Irving | 1843 :: The Economist | October 2020
“Tutoring has become a weapon in the global arms race in education. There’s no limit to what some parents will pay”

8. 3,000-Year-Old Orbs Provide a Glimpse of Ancient Sport
By Christopher Intagliata | Scientific American | October 2020
“Researchers say three ancient leather balls, dug up from the tombs of horsemen in northwestern China, are the oldest such specimens from Europe or Asia.”

9. ‘I got the bug’: a pioneering wildfire fighter on the thrills and threats of the job
By Gabrielle Canon | The Guardian | September 2020
“Sara Sweeney, the first woman to lead her unit, once couldn’t imagine fighting fires. Now she doesn’t want to stop”

10. What Just Happened in Peru? Understanding Vizcarra’s Sudden Impeachment
By Alonso Gurmendi Dunkelberg | Americas Quarterly | November 2020
“Expect more populism ahead in one of the world’s hardest-hit countries by COVID-19.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Teaching during the pandemic / The NYC subway map reimagined / !!!!!!!!! / Remembering Lolita the orca / Inventor of Rubik’s Cube still at play

This week: Teaching during the pandemic / The NYC subway map reimagined / !!!!!!!!! / Remembering Lolita the orca / Inventor of Rubik’s Cube still at play

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

1. In-person classes, Internet snafus, melancholy hallways: This is what teaching in a pandemic is like
By Nikkina McKnight | The Lily :: The Washington Post | October 2020
“Read one teacher’s 30-day diary, plus responses from readers around the world”

2. New York’s Digital Subway Map Comes Alive
By Christopher Bonanos | Curbed :: New York Magazine | October 2020
“In this dire year for New York City and its transit system, this digital launch is a rare moment of things looking up.”

3. Rogue Rocky Planet Found Adrift in the Milky Way
By Nola Taylor Redd | Scientific American | October 2020
“The diminutive world and others like it could help astronomers probe the mysteries of planet formation”

4. How to Spot a Counterfeit Watch
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | December 2019
“On the watch’s face, inspect the magnifying lens over the date, which is often not as strong on counterfeits.”

5. How the ‘right stuff’ to be an astronaut has changed over the years
By Jay Bennett | NatGeo | October 2020
“The first humans flew into space nearly 60 years ago from the deserts of southern Kazakhstan and the Atlantic shores of Florida. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about what it takes to leave the planet.”

6. Countering the tyranny of the clock
The Economist | October 2020
“How flexible working is changing workers’ relationship with time”

7. Read This Article!!!
By Julie Beck | The Atlantic | June 2018
“How many exclamation points do you need to seem genuinely enthusiastic?”

8. Native Americans honor Lolita the orca 50 years after capture: ‘She was taken’
By Cara McKenna | The Guardian | September 2020
“The southern resident orca, whom the Washington state-based nation calls Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut, was taken from waters off Penn Cove in Lummi territory when she was four years old.”

9. He Invented the Rubik’s Cube. He’s Still Learning From It.
By Alexandra Alter | The New York Times | September 2020
“Erno Rubik, who devised one of the world’s most popular and enduring puzzles, opens up about his creation in his new book, ‘Cubed.'”

10. Is it safe to drink from a water fountain during the pandemic?
Viral Questions :: Associated Press | August 2020
“There’s no evidence you can get COVID-19 from the water itself. But since the virus may linger on surfaces, experts say to avoid fountains if you can or to limit any direct contact when using them.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: What happens if Trump doesn’t go? / COVID-19 and the English language / The history of ‘cuck’ / The loneliness of Prince / Coronavirus and secondhand smoke

This week: What happens if Trump doesn’t go? / COVID-19 and the English language / The history of ‘cuck’ / The loneliness of Prince / Coronavirus and secondhand smoke

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

1. What Will You Do if Trump Doesn’t Leave?
By David Brooks | The New York Times | September 2020
“Playing out the nightmare scenario.”

2. How COVID-19 is changing the English language
By Roger J. Kreuz | The Conversation | September 2020
“A perennial issue for lexicographers is deciding whether or not a term has enough staying power to be enshrined in the dictionary. The COVID-19 pandemic has produced its fair share of new terms that are blends of other words, and many of these are on the editors’ watch list.”

3. The Long, Violent Literary History of Calling Someone a ‘Cuck’
By Eliott Grover | Inside Hook | October 2020
“From the Trojan War to Shakespeare, the oft-ridiculed archetype has always had much darker implications”

4. How to Build a Moat
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | October 2019
“Don’t expect your moat to stop swimmers not wearing armor.”

5. What We Talk About When We Talk About Magical Realism
By Fernando Sdrigotti | LA Review of Books | October 2020
“If anything, magical realism — in its juggling of exoticism and legibility, a combo that Edward Said would have called Orientalist when occurring in other elsewheres — is a practical marketing ploy, a reduction by means not of absurdity but of obfuscation — a crude simplification through fuzziness.”

6. Prince Was One of the Loneliest Souls I’ve Ever Met
By Neal Karlen | LitHub | October 2020
“After knowing him in forever-alternating cycles of greater, lesser, and sometimes not-at-all friendship over the final 31 years of his life, until our final peculiar phone conversation three weeks before he died: His greatest—and perhaps only—fear was dying alone.”

7. ‘This is really a government which doesn’t seem to be able to control the situation’ — Iraq
The Intelligence :: The Economist | October 2020
“A pilgrimage that is sure to become a COVID-19 hotspot is a sign of how much the country’s government is losing legitimacy to its clergymen and tribal leaders.”

8. How ‘Goodfellas’ and the Gangster Class of 1990 Changed Hollywood
By Jason Bailey | The New York Times | September 2020
“That autumn, The Godfather Part III was hotly anticipated. Instead, the Scorsese movie and other crime tales raised the stakes for filmmakers to come.”

9. As an anxious internet nerd, my relationships are thriving during lockdown
By Laurie Penny | The Guardian | September 2020
“Since lockdown began, I’ve moved three times, lost jobs and been separated from my family – but my online community hasn’t changed”

10. Can you get the coronavirus from secondhand smoke?
Viral Questions :: Associated Press | August 2020
“Secondhand smoke isn’t believed to directly spread the virus, experts say, but infected smokers may blow droplets carrying the virus when they exhale.”