What We’re Reading: September 24, 2009 Edition

Ken Burns National Park Service DocumentarIn this week’s What We’re Reading we bring you an assortment of news and reviews. In the news, Cologne is rebuilding its city archives after the devastating collapse earlier this year. Then, read about a new web site that allows users to “access information about projects funded by NEH since 1980,” the ATF transferring an Alexander Hamilton document to the National Archives, and readers being sought for the U.S. Department of Education’s International Programs. In reviews, James McPherson takes a look at a number of Abraham Lincoln biographies, Donald Worster critiques Ken Burns’ new documentary on the National Park Service, and the Humanities E-Book site receives some positive comments.

News

  • Cologne to build new city archives
    The Medieval News blog shares the news that “[h]alf a year after the dramatic collapse of its city archive building, Cologne’s documents are to be given a new home.” AHA Today first mentioned the Cologne collapse in a What We’re Reading post this past March.
  • Where is NEH Money Going? New Web Site Has Answers
    “Do you want to know who is getting $30,000 to work on a cultural history of Russian food? It is Darra J. Goldstein of Williams College.”
  • ATF to Transfer 200-Year-Old Hamilton Document to National Archives
    Today, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is transferring a document of Alexander Hamilton’s that is “is one of the opening salvos in the events which led to the Whiskey Rebellion” to the National Archives.
  • Panel Readers Needed for U.S. Department of Education International Programs
    The International Education Programs Service (IEPS) in the U.S. Department of Education administers a variety of international programs. They are seeking readers to participate in panel reviews of applicants (usually no longer than one or two weeks), and are provided with modest compensation. Most reviews are conducted electronically, so travel is not necessary. You are interested in being a reader visit this page for more information.

Reviews

  • Lincoln Off His Pedestal
    Former AHA President James McPherson reviews some of the latest Abraham Lincoln biographies in the New York Review of Books.  McPherson writes about why Lincoln remains an iconic figure in American memory, and appreciates the biographies for humanizing the 16th president. "Together these books offer a three-dimensional, flesh-and-blood Lincoln who comes down off his marble pedestal to join the rest of us frail humans who have known success and failure, satisfaction and frustration, joy and anger, life and death, just as he did. And because we encounter him as a human being, not an icon, we appreciate his extraordinary achievements even more."
  • John Muir and the National Parks
    Donald Worster, Hall Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of Kansas, reviews Ken Burns’ new documentary: “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”
  • Reviews in History: Humanities-e Books
    Our friends at Humanities E-Book receive warm praise from Review in History, which describes their site as “one of the best – if not the best – electronically accessible sites in the humanities.”

Contributors: David Darlington, Elisabeth Grant, Arnita A. Jones, and Robert B. Townsend

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