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url 2020-07-08 08:47
Important Dates and Events in January - DataFlair

Learn Important dates & events in January. It covers Global and National Events. These are must to know if you are appearing in exams lile IAS, UPSC etc.

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url 2020-07-01 15:53
Podcast #188 is up!
Horace Greeley: Print, Politics, and the Failure of American Nationhood - James M. Lundberg

My latest podcast is up on the New Books Network website! In it, I interview Jake Lundberg about his biography of the American newspaper editor and presidential candidate Horace Greeley. Enjoy!

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text 2020-06-23 15:18
Just in case Twitter ever deletes it.

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review 2020-06-03 12:31
The Last Refuge of the Knights Templar
The Last Refuge of the Knights Templar - William F. Mann

by William F. Mann

 

This was totally different from what I expected. I have a historical interest in the Knights Templar, who were disbanded and mostly executed in 1309. I didn't know that the Freemasons had adopted the name for their own organisation, although I've seen other modern groups do the same.

 

This story is set in American Civil War times and centered on a historical figure called Albert Pike, who was a general in the Confederate army and a Freemason.

 

The writing was reasonably good, apart from some of the dialogue, but this just isn't an area of interest for me. I feel the book is mis-titled, though I should have read the description more closely. The first few lines supported the impression that it would actually be about the Knights Templar from the title.

 

If someone wants to read about Civil War Confederacy and Freemasonry of the time, this should appeal. The connections to the Templars are certainly pure fiction though.

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review 2020-05-02 22:35
The role of the military in America's history
For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States from 1607 to 2012 - William B. Feis,Peter Maslowski,Allan R. Millett
I had read the first edition of Allan Millett and Peter Maslowski's book back when I was in college. While I can't remember what my impression was of it back then, I proceeded through the next three decades of my life without feeling the need to revisit it. Recently, however, I had cause to revisit it, and I'm glad I did.
 
Now in a third edition, Millett and Maslowski have been joined as co-authors by William Feis, a specialist in the Civil War era. For the most part, little changed beyond additional coverage of American military history up to 2014 and the elimination of the very useful bibliography from the first edition (supposedly it was moved online, but the link provided in the book is dead). Yet rereading it I came to appreciate just how excellent of a job they did in covering the military over the centuries of the nation's existence. It's especially impressive considering their scope: while most military histories are happy to confine themselves to accounts of campaigns and commanders, the authors have provided an extraordinarily well-rounded account that addresses policymaking, military-civil relations, and the development of military theory. In this respect their book is not just a military history in terms of an account of America's wars, but of the role of the military throughout the nation's history.
 
By the time I reached the end of the book, I had a newfound appreciation for the authors' achievement. While not without its flaws — leaving out the bibliography proved a mistake, while the two chapters on the Vietnam War are overdue to be consolidated into a single one — it is an impressive book that remains the single best work for anyone interested in learning about America's military and how it shaped the country it built and defended.
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