To begin this week, check out an article by Stan Katz on faculty productivity, learn about a recent workshop on environmental history, read a review of five new books on the Civil War, and discover a 12th-century murder mystery. Then, listen to an interview with historian Gordon Wood, consider a position as a producer of the Backstory podcast, find inspiration in National History Day, and teach the 4th of July. Finally, check out 4Humanities, Charles Darwin’s digitized library, arctic explorers, new online image galleries from the Freer|Sackler museums, and a new restaurant named after Abraham Lincoln.
In the news this week, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellows for 2011 include three former AHA presidents and a current AHA Council member. Also in the news, George Mason’s Center for History and New Media has been renamed after Roy Rosenzweig. We then link to articles on historians’ thoughts on the federal budget (hearing from Jill Lepore and Richard White), an Australian who studies African American history, a look at what makes a web resource useful to researchers, and history on Twitter.
Historical accuracy is a hot topic when judging both historical films and historical fiction. And so it’s not surprising that “How important is historical accuracy to you in writing historical fiction?” was the first question posted to panelists at session 156, “History and Fiction: Creative Intersections,” from the AHA’s 125th Annual Meeting in Boston, which took place earlier this year.
Today we look back at video from the session, which included these speakers: historian Jane Kamensky, who co-authored the novel Blindspot with Jill Lepore; author Geraldine Brooks, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for her book March (which tells the story of “the character of the absent father…who has gone off to war,” in Little Women); Donald Ostrowski, a historian of medieval Russia and a teacher who uses fiction and film in class; Joan Neuberger, a historian of Soviet film; and Peter Ho Davies, whose most recent book The Welsh Girl, creates a story about a “WWII POW camp built by the British in the remote mountains of northern Wales and Esther.”
The video from this session has been parsed into 8 sections, each 10 to 15 minutes long.
Eric Foner, the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, and a former president of the AHA (for 2000), received the 2011 history Pulitzer Prize for his book, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, which was published in 2010 by W.W. Norton.
The book, which has already been awarded the Bancroft and Lincoln prizes, has been called “the definitive account of this crucial subject” by David Brion Davis. The Library Journal has described it “as the most sensible and sensitive reading of Lincoln’s lifetime involvement with slavery and the most insightful assessment of Lincoln’s—and indeed America’s—imperative to move toward freedom.”
Foner is noted for his many books on 19th-century American history, including Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War; Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution 1863–77; and The Story of American Freedom.
Last week in “What We’re Reading,” we noted a video of a Book TV interview with James McPherson where he discusses his writing and research. This interview is actually one of a series of video interviews from BookTV, all of which focus on writers speaking about writing. Here now is a look at a few other interviews from this series that may be of interest. Also, see the complete collection of Writers on Writing videos online.
Writers on Writing
The Writers on Writing interview series from BookTV “gives viewers an insider’s look” at the writing habits of an assortment of authors and historians.
In the news this week, Senator Ted Kennedy has lost his fight against cancer, local officials will allow Walmart to build next to the Wilderness Battlefield, and a new historic preservation program is available at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Then we link to articles on historians and online identity theft, and best practices dealing with “orphan works.” We’ve collected a variety of book-related links this week, including, a review of Noralee Frankel’s Stripping Gypsy, Humanities E-book celebrating its 10th anniversary, History Today seeking your book reviews, news of sales of books on military history remaining steady, and the Wells Fargo staff’s history book picks.
Recently, the Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and First Lady Laura Bush announced the eighth annual National Book Festival, to be held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on September 27, 2008. Nearly 70 authors will be on hand to talk to audiences, answer questions, and sign books. A preliminary list is available here, and more authors will be added as the event draws near. Bancroft and John H. Dunning prize winner Gordon S. Wood of Brown University will be one of the historians presenting at the “History & Biography” pavilion.
If spring cleaning has you inching your old books and journals ever closer to the trash, stop right there and consider donating them instead.
To aid you in this endeavor, here are a few organizations that accept donations of books and periodicals*:
- Bridge to Asia seeks donations of books mostly for China. They accept donations of used and new academic and scholarly books, journals, monographs, databases and other materials, in English and all other languages, in all academic fields and professional practices.