Category Archives: History

Are There No Great Movies about the American Revolution?


I have been watching the AMC series, “Turn: Washington’s Spies,” of late. This series is based on a fine book, Alexander Rose’s Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring (2006), which is both informative and exciting to read. This … Continue reading

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Sacred Space, Chosen-ness, and Perspectives on the American Past


In his classic book, The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion (1959), Mircea Eliade suggested that humanity has always sought to designate physical locations as either sacred—to be held reverent and exceptional, to be approached with respect and awe—or … Continue reading

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Cassini Arrives at Saturn: Happy Anniversary!


Representing the international character of many NASA planetary missions since Voyager, Cassini-Huygens, a joint effort of NASA, the European Space Agency, and Italian Space Agency, has also proved to be an incredible success. It seems appropriate to recall this mission … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency”


A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency. By Glenn Greenwald. New York: Crown Publishers, 2007. Reporter Glenn Greenwald’s thesis is straightforward: George W. Bush approached every issue he faced as one on which the … Continue reading

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The Assassinations of Joseph Smith Jr. and Hyrum Smith


June 27th marks the anniversary of the 1844 assassinations of Joseph Smith Jr., the Mormon founding prophet, and his brother Hyrum Smith at the Carthage Jail in Hancock County, Illinois. It is usually a day of remembrance for those claiming … Continue reading

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Anti-War and Anti-German Sentiment in Illinois in World War I


When the United States entered World War I in April 1917 the overall population of Illinois firmly supported the American war effort; however, there were persistent anti‑war and pro‑German sentiments expressed by some in the state. The state had a … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Nauvoo Polygamy: ‘but we called it celestial marriage'”


Nauvoo Polygamy: “but we called it celestial marriage.” By George D. Smith. Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2008. Introduction, photographs, appendices, footnotes, bibliography, index. ix + 705 pp. ISBN: 978-1-56085-201-8. Hardcover with dustjacket. $39.95. Plural marriage, or polygamy, among … Continue reading

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Celebrity Activism in Sports and Society


It is almost a truism in modern America that celebrities engage in various causes aimed at overcoming various challenges plaguing society. Much of this is accepted and even celebrated. As often as not, it is the result of a unique … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Rumsfeld’s Wars: The Arrogance of Power”


Rumsfeld’s Wars: The Arrogance of Power. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2008. By Dale R. Herspring. This is an important book, but a difficult one to get through. This is the case not because of turgid writing or poor analysis, … Continue reading

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Summer Reading: Indispensable Books on the History of the Space Shuttle


When NASA began work on what became the Space Shuttle at the end of the Apollo program, few recognized how important a part of American life it would become over the next thirty-plus years. While not vast, the literature on … Continue reading

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