What We’re Reading: April 25, 2013

Today’s What We’re Reading features an oral history project on the Boston Marathon bombing, an annual list of the top 200 jobs in 2013, 17 reasons why living in the past is overrated, and more!

History in Current Affairs

“The Ghost of Gun Control” In this animated Op-Doc, a ghost mourns the failed history of gun control in the United States.

What Essays Affected International Relations? A top five list from Daniel W. Drezner at Foreign Policy.

Abraham Lincoln backed slavery measures, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan says Paul Ryan uses his ideas about Lincoln to create a strategy for the pro-life movement. Politifact checks his account with eight well-known historians.

George W. Bush Is Victim of a Rush to Judgment Stephen F. Knott , author of a new book on Bush, claims that “Many academics branded Bush a failure long before his presidency ended.” All of his examples of “academics” are historians.

Other History in the News

A Moment from the Boston Marathon The New York Times has already begun collecting oral histories from the Boston Marathon bombing.

Jobs Rated 2013: Ranking 200 Jobs from Best to Worst

The Careercast.com website just published its annual list of the top 200 jobs of 2013, and a few of our own ranked fairly high on the list. University Professor (tenure track) sailed in at 14, while Historian ranked 25, Museum Curator was 57, and our friends in Social Media and Community Management made a respectable 39. Historians should be feeling fairly pleased, since this vocation was found to be more desirable than other, often STEM-related jobs such as Astronomer (36), Physician (45), and Nuclear Decontamination Technician (65). In the dead-end, last place on the list? Reporter.

Why We Must Remember Rohwer

Actor George Takei recounts his childhood experience at the Rohwer internment camp in Arkansas, shortly after the bombing at Pearl Harbor.

Against all authority The Economist discusses a new documentary about the history of punk rock in South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe in the 1980s.

Free to All Historian and former AHA president Robert Darnton discusses the “revolutionary message” behind the opening of the Digital Public Library of America, and its place in America’s cultural heritage.

Odds and Ends

How to Assess the Real Payoff of a College Degree

The Chronicle hosts a discussion on whether “return on investment” is the best way to think about why one should go to college.

The Writer’s Technique in Thirteen Theses: Walter Benjamin’s Timeless Advice on Writing

A list of 13 writing tips, supplied by Walter Benjamin.

What’s the Status of an Academic Blog Post?

Last week we linked to a blog post that pondered whether a peer-reviewed article should dismantle an argument offered in an academic blog. The conversation continues at the US Intellectual History Blog. A Nobel Prize for Teaching? The controversial Minerva Project has introduced the Minerva Prize for Advancements in Higher Education, an annual $500,000 prize for teaching to be awarded to a faculty member “whose innovations have led to extraordinary student learning.”

Fun and Off-beat

17 Reasons Why Living in 2013 Is Way Better Than Living in 1668

Buzzfeed offers a satirical reflection on how modern technology has revolutionized daily life for the better.

Wonkblog book club: Ira Katznelson’s “Fear Itself”

Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog is starting a book club, and the first selection is Ira Katznelson’s, Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time. The first 130 pages are “due” on May 10.

Office Hours Are Over Another funny Tumblr spoofing academic life. Fair warning, there is colorful language.

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