Tag: history

The Pause

Life sometimes needs a pause button. I’ve been in Williamsburg, Virginia, since Wednesday. My main reason for being here is to show students some of the most significant sites related to the history of the nation, a task that’s hardly a task for me—it’s a joy to do so. Yet I’ve had some free time just to stroll and not feel rushed about anything. On Thursday afternoon, I walked from the Visitors’ Center to the home of John D. Rockefeller… Read more »

Lewis: The Importance of History

Why is it important to study history? In an essay entitled “Learning in War-Time,” C. S. Lewis provides this insight: We need intimate knowledge of the past. Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, to remind us that the basic assumptions have been quite different in different periods and that much which seems certain to the uneducated is merely temporary fashion. People… Read more »

Lewis: The Christian View of History

I teach a historiography course each year. In it, I cover not only the basics of the history of history writing and how to research and document sources, but also the philosophy of history. As a Christian, I see history as an ongoing story of the relationship of man to God and man to man. There was a beginning, there was a key moment in the “plot,” so to speak, when God came to earth in the form of man,… Read more »

Lewis on Education: Go to the Sources

Not all of C. S. Lewis’s writings are explicitly Christian, yet he brings a clarity to any subject that is drawn from his Christian convictions. One of his favorite subjects, naturally, was education, since he spent a lifetime teaching and tutoring students at Oxford and Cambridge. I find this particular Lewis commentary in an essay titled “On the Reading of Old Books,” to ring true. See if you agree. I have found as a tutor in English Literature that if… Read more »

Lewis: The Learned Life Is a Duty

For me, as a university professor, this quote from C. S. Lewis is one I would think of framing and putting on my office wall. Please don’t skip over any of it; each sentence is truly weighty, if you stop and ponder as you should. I’m particularly drawn to phrases about “good philosophy” answering “bad philosophy,” our need for an “intimate knowledge of the past” (well, I am a history professor, you know), those trendy ideas that Lewis terms “temporary… Read more »

Book Review: 1861

I read a lot. I mean, a whole lot. That’s what historians do. Sometimes, the books pile up on me and I have a hard time staying up with them. My resolve to get through the ones I already have before buying another one always weakens when I stumble across one that seems to stand out, particularly when it might be a candidate for a text in one of my upper-level courses. That’s how I came to purchase and read… Read more »

Want to Find a Good Book?

My website is more than just a blog, although the blog is where I devote most of my attention on a daily basis. For instance, you can find at the top and on the right sidebar a link to “Recommended Reading.” I’ve taken the time to provide annotations on what I believe are some of the best books available on American history, world history, public policy, and education. I have another category called “general,” which includes the best overtly Christian… Read more »