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Between Niche and Broad History Subjects

by Scott Manning June 26, 2013
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I have now read two different historians recently taking different positions on niche and broad-focused histories. In the realm of niche subjects, in  (2012), Jeremy Black points out, [Academics] have sought out hole-in-the-corner subjects that, a critic might imagine, they can invest with meaningless complexities, as defensive walls against penetration by the initiated (16). The […]

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Save Historiography for the Last Year?

by Scott Manning June 14, 2013
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In trying to understand why students dread historiography, I came across several works by Jeremy Black, a prolific military historian. In his recent Historiography: Contesting the Past; Claiming the Future, Black describes the current approach to teaching the subject and why it often fails. The conventional pattern at present is that of a compulsory first-year […]

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Getting Past Memorizing Dates for History

by Scott Manning May 30, 2013
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A friend shared this with me, because I am a historian or something. In history, there is what happened and then there is how cultures interpreted what happened. The former tends to be straightforward, but the latter is murky. In terms of our interpretation, we struggle with the availability of information and popular belief. Again, […]

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Why do Students Dread Historiography?

by Scott Manning April 30, 2013
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Historiography is not a popular topic among students. A Classics undergrad at Temple received a B on her paper, with a comment by the teacher on the lack of secondary sources. The student responded, “I cited all primary sources. Why do I need secondary sources?” At AMU, graduate history students are required to take a […]

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Why You should Care about the War of 1812

by Scott Manning February 3, 2013
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It is a common misperception that only recent wars have been politically controversial. When the House and Senate voted 69% and 77% respectively in favor of the Iraq War Resolution in 2002, this was not the first time Congress was divided on starting a war. In the summer of 1812, the House and Senate voted […]

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Remembering the Gulf War and Schwarzkopf when I was 10

by Scott Manning December 28, 2012
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I was only 10 years old during the Persian Gulf War, but my parents were familiar with the scene. They grew up during the Vietnam era during which my dad even had a brief stint in the Air Force before troop levels began to wind down along with his career in the military. They were […]

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IDF, Twitter, and the Myth of Declarations of War

by Scott Manning November 15, 2012
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There is some hubbub over the tweet by the Israel Defense Force (IDF) yesterday, announcing attacks against targets in Gaza. Some folks dubbed it the “First Twitter war declaration.” The IDF has begun a widespread campaign on terror sites & operatives in the #Gaza Strip, chief among them #Hamas & Islamic Jihad targets. — IDF […]

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A $0.22 Book, a Private Letter, and Vietnam

by Scott Manning November 14, 2012
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I love buying old books about war. While they may be dated, I enjoy seeing how conceptions and mindsets differed over the years. One of my more recent purchases, War: A Historical, Political and Social Study (1978), is a collection of essays, offering a post-Vietnam perspective from a variety of academic fields. While my copy […]

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Clausewitz and Bobby Fischer? Just give me Clausewitz!

by Scott Manning November 2, 2012
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In War: A Historical, Political and Social Study (1978), Jon M. Bridgman attempts to define war. After discussing how some wars are won through battle, he moves onto to victory through the “personalities of the commanders,” which he believes was a view espoused by everyone’s favorite dead, Prussian theorist Carl von Clausewitz (d. 1831). The […]

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Napoleon Killed Loads of Innocent People and this Surprises Some

by Scott Manning October 22, 2012
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The French are shocked, SHOCKED, that Napoleon could be responsible for killing so many innocent people in such a Hitler-esque fashion. French historian Claude Ribbe believes Napoleon was racist, instituted slavery, and was the first man in history that “asked himself rationally the question how to eliminate, in as short a time as possible, and […]

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