First Bull Run on Another Blog

22 07 2010

Mike Noirot has a post up about First Bull Run at his Civil War Battles and Battlefields blog.  He also includes links to his photos of the battlefield, and to his summary of the battle (I have a few quibbles – for instance, I think he mixes up which Confederate brigades belonged to Beauregard’s army and which belonged to Johnston’s) but it’s worth a look.





Presidents Gotta Eat, Too!

14 07 2010

I received a note from Suzanne Evans, who maintains the blog The History Chef.  Some pretty cool stuff that so far seems to focus on eating habits and favorite recipes of the POTUS through the years.  From the site:

Hi there! My name is Suzy Evans and I live in Southern California with my husband and our four young kids. I received my Ph.D. in history from UC Berkeley in 2008 and began this blog last year while writing a cookbook about the presidents’ favorite foods. My goal is to help parents and kids learn how to cook together, learn about history together, and hopefully help them create many great memories and meals together. Welcome!

Check it out.





On Firing Generals

1 07 2010

I stayed away from the whole McChrystal flap – I tend to think comparisons of modern to historical events are nothing more than parlor tricks: you can construct them to make whatever point you choose.  (For example, was Lincoln’s condemnation of living off of the sweat of another’s brow an indictment of the welfare state or of capitalism – or just of slavery?)  But I think fellow blogger Dmitri has a good commentary here.  The notebooks to which he refers were discussed here (the first of four parts).





How Will Historic Sites Be Interpreted?

30 06 2010

A wonderful, thought-provoking post by John Hennessy at Fredericksburg Remembered.  Static, on site interpretative devices like the battlefield wayside exhibit will likely be replaced by wireless digital media in the not too distant future.  And consumers will also likely have a number of sources from which to choose.  While it’s true that such services will not be cheap to produce, I’m not sure that means all of them will be commercial ventures.  I suspect there are a number of folks out there who might be motivated to develop these programs by the same forces that compel them to share their research free of charge in the forms of websites and blogs.  Giving it away is still a great way to stick it to the man.

Those guys at Fredericksburg always provide great food for thought.





Live Blogging from Gettysburg

26 06 2010

Gettysburg battlefield stomper and photographer extraordinaire Will Dupuis intends to blog live from the Gettysburg Battlefield during the upcoming anniversary battle walks.  This should be interesting and visually impressive.  Check it out here (sorry, I had the wrong link in there before).

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While You’re Waiting…

21 06 2010

Wow – no new posts here for a full week.  Sorry about that, but I’ve been very, very busy.  Hopefully I’ll get back to posting soon.  I have some new developments on the writing front, but it’s too early yet to talk about them.  In the meantime, check out these video blogs by friend and Civil War Times editor Dana Shoaf.  I don’t know how often we’ll be seeing new ones, but if you bookmark the page or add it to your feed reader you can stay up-to-date.





Bull Run on Blog Divided

8 06 2010

Blog Divided has a bit up on First Bull Run today.  Check it out.

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Fredericksburg Remembered

5 06 2010

The good folks at Mysteries and Conundrums have started a new blog, Fredericksburg Remembered.  From the About page:

This blog, Fredericksburg Remembered, focuses on stories, ideas, memory, and the challenges of bringing them before the public.

Fredericksburg Remembered is a collective effort to illuminate and discuss in a public way the challenges, adventures, and occasional triumphs involved in bringing the story of the Fredericksburg region’s vivid history to both a local and national audience. We’ll offer something of a behind-the-scenes look at exhibits and programs in development and some of the issues we wrestle with as we take them from idea to reality.  (We’re focusing here on the really interesting part of our jobs; we’ll spare you the mundane.)  We want to engage you the public in something of a conversation about what we do and how we do it, stimulating along the way from you what we hope will be some useful, illuminating commentary and feedback.

Fredericksburg is blessed with an uncommon abundance of historic resources and sites–from battlefields to the boyhood home of Washington to the plasterwork of Kenmore to the newly expanded Fredericksburg Area Museum to no fewer than four sites owned by Preservation Virginia. Some call it “the most historic city in America” (sounds like a good topic for a blog post and discussion). Bringing that story and these sites to the public is an intensely interesting and challenging undertaking–one that compels some of us to long hours of toil punctuated by triumph when we touch a chord or change the world just a little bit.

We, like the society around us, struggle with distinguishing memory from history, and we constantly hunt for the right balance between narrative and interpretation, objects or sites and ideas, and “good history” and the expectations of the “heritage tourism” industry. Little does the public realize how powerful they are in shaping what we do; if you don’t show up at a program, then you can be sure you’ll never see that program repeated again. The public historian who talks only to himself is doomed to a very short career.

Like our sister site, Mysteries and Conundrums, our purpose here is to share the best and most interesting of what we do. The blog is the domain of no single organization, nor will it be confined solely to the Civil War.  Rather staff at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP, the Fredericksburg Area Museum, and hopefully the George Washington Foundation and others to help lead the conversation.  And if you have a thought, reaction, or insight, we hope you will share it.  As is the case with all we do, our hope is to use local examples and case studies to illuminate larger ideas of memory and public history.

The NPS staff who contribute to Mysteries and Conundrums have been cranking out consistently top-notch stuff, some of the best the Civil War blogosphere has to offer.  I’m confident that Fredericksburg Remembered will be of similar quality, if the first series of posts on Fredericksburg’s Disputed Auction Block is any indication.

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Really, Really Good Stuff

21 04 2010

I know I already told you here about the addition to my blogroll of Mysteries and Conundrums, a site maintained by the staff at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.  But it bears repeating because those dudes are putting up way cool bits.  I don’t know if they can keep this up, but I sure hope so; and I’d love to see some of the other park staffs follow their lead.  Check it out!

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New on the Blogroll – Fredericksburg and Spotyslvania NMP

30 03 2010

New to the blogroll is Mysteries and Conundrums, brought to us by the staff at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP.  From the About page:

Every week the park staff has conversations (sometimes rigorous) about a new photograph, a new source, or a new idea about the historic landscape on and around the four Civil War battlefields within the park–Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House.  A few of these discussions lead to new understandings or insights.  We will, by virtue of this blog, take some of those conversations and explorations public.  Our purpose is, in part, to share with the public some of the work that makes our jobs so very interesting.  At the same time, we know there are many people out there with lots of knowledge, sources, and additional information that will add to a better understanding of the landscape and resources we manage and interpret.  This blog is an open invitation for you to join in and add to an exploratory process that, we hope, will enhance preservation of the battlefields in and around Fredericksburg.

Much of the material posted here will be provided by the park’s cultural resource managers, Eric Mink and Noel Harrison, though other members of the staff (Greg Mertz, Frank O’Reilly, Donald Pfanz, and John Hennessy) will also chime in occasionally. Comments are welcome.

Bear in mind that while we don’t expect controversy (beyond the historical kind) to be an element of this blog, we are duty bound to point out that all expressions here are unofficial and are not intended to represent the views of the management of the National Park Service.  We are simply trying to engage viewers in what we think are some pretty interesting conversations and debates about matters of history and landscape.

 Welcome aboard!  Hat tip to Craig Swain.

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