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Fact: the Siege of Leningrad

I received some good discussion on my last post. Some took me to task, others were supportive, and still others were non-committal. At issue was the notion of how much of history is an eye-of-the-beholder...
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Narrative? Real Life?

OK, all you postmodernists, you intellectuals who think that there is no such thing as reality, that it is all about the narrative, that each participant in a historical event has a separate and equally...
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High Castle II: Philip K. Dick’s War

Last time out we discussed Philip K. Dick’s great “alternate history” of World War II, The Man in the High Castle. In this award-winning novel, reality has apparently been turned upside down....
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“A Mud Hut in Manchuria”: Why We Fight, Part 2

Last week I wrote about Frank Capra and his incomparable Why We Fight series of wartime propaganda films. From our own perspective, it’s easy to pick apart the details of Capra’s vision. Some of...
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No Doubt: Frank Capra’s “Why We Fight”

Last week I spoke my piece about Edward R. Murrow and his I Can Hear it Now series. Ed’s been dead a long time, but my hunch is that if he were alive, he wouldn’t be doing a lot of hand-wringing...
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Narrative: the Crusade

Last week I urged you all to challenge the “accepted narrative” of World War II, to come up with things you used to believe about the war that no longer hold water. I received some great...
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The Narrative

A crazy question: what do we really KNOW about World War II? A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the annual conference of the Society for Military History (SMH). The site this year was Lisle, Illinois, and...
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Requiem

I’m sitting in LaGuardia Airport at the moment, returning home from a trip to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. I’m proud to have a tie to the Academy: I taught there as a visiting professor...
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Join the SMH

It sounds like a joke, I know: a conference of history professors. Oh yeah…that’s a party. You better hunker down, locals. Lock your doors. Call the police! But I just returned from a conference...
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Happy Anniversar(ies)!

We live in an anniversary culture, one in which the media never stops telling us Why This Day Is Special. I am writing this column on June 7th—did you know this was the day Sony introduced the Betamax...
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Picturing the War: the Sadler Collection

Being a historian of World War II puts you in touch with the most interesting people. It is a rare day that my email does not contain a message from someone I’ve never met before asking me a factual...
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America Goes to War – In Louisiana

In operational terms, America's three great maneuvers of 1941 used an approach would have been familiar to previous generations of U.S. field commanders, especially Union generals in the Civil War.