Monthly Archives: July 2011

“Volunteer County of the Volunteer State”

Check out this editorial on Unionist volunteers from Campbell County, TN.  Campbell Co. is just down the road from yours truly, and like the rest of East Tennessee, it was an anti-secession stronghold during the Civil War.  The editorial links the mountaineers’ patriotism with that of their Revolutionary ancestors, a comparison made by prominent Unionists in the 1800′s.

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Filed under American Revolution, Appalachian History, Civil War, History and Memory, Tennessee History

Was the Emancipation Proclamation a moderate measure or a radical one?

My answer to the above question is “yes.”  Obama recently used Lincoln’s proclamation as an example of effective compromise.  I think he might have overstated the case, since Lincoln acted pretty dramatically within the bounds of what he thought he could realistically do.  I explain this position in a post over at the Lincoln Institute blog.  Read it and feel free to disagree vehemently.

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Filed under Abraham Lincoln, Civil War, History on the Web

Release Ye Olde Kraken

My favorite historical subject is, of course, America’s fight for independence, so I generally root for movies about the Revolutionary War.

Since I’ve been obsessed with dinosaurs, whales, giant squid, and other particularly large and fearsome creatures from the time I was a wee lad, I also generally root for movies about sea monsters.

I’ve yet to make up my mind about movies that combine the two.

Brian Helgeland has been hired to write “Here There Be Monsters,” a movie about Revolutionary War naval hero John Paul Jones — except with sea monsters, individuals close to the project confirmed.

Producers of the Warner Bros./Legendary project are in talks with Robert Zemeckis to direct.

“Here There Be Monsters” is based on an concept by Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull.

Tull is producing along with Legendary’s Jon Jashni and Mandeville’s Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman.

Helgeland, who won the Academy Award for 1997′s “L.A. Confidential,” also wrote the 2003 “Mystic River,” the 2010 “Green Zone” and 2010′s “Robin Hood.”

Zemeckis directed a string of 1980s hits, including “Romancing the Stone,” “Back to the Future” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” as well as 1994′s “Forrest Gump.”

This is one of those occasions when I can sympathize with the Apostle Paul, torn as he was between his two natures.  The mature, academic part of me that went to grad school is really, really nervous.  The behemoth-loving part of me that squeals with delight when I watch the Kraken sequences from Clash of the Titans is thinking this could be one of the Best. Things. Ever.

Don’t settle for the 2010 remake, by the way.  The only true Clash of the Titans is the 1981 Clash of the Titans.

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Filed under American Revolution, History and Memory

The Atlantic slave trade

Ruining everybody’s fun for five hundred years.

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Filed under History and Memory

Want to own a home with a Lincoln connection?

If you do, then head down to King George, VA tomorrow.  They’ll be auctioning off a farm where Booth and Herold came calling.

And if you need some extra funds to help close the deal, try looking behind your wall paneling.  You never know what might be back there.

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Filed under Abraham Lincoln, Civil War

He thought his life was done

…until Past in the Present gave him the hope he needed to carry on.

A spammer left this in response to the post about the Oneida Indians movie:

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My friend, you’re quite welcome.  It’s long been my hope that my blog would allow readers who were at the end of their rope to meet strategies that are productive.  I’m glad I was able to prolong your life and avert any negative impact your career might have suffered in the absence of strategies to any relevant difficulties, the lack of which is indeed a crucial case.  I will endeavor to continue playing with a lot of stuff kindly and exhibiting my good expertise, and to do these things in a precious manner.  I hope you enjoy relishing the future which, in my small way, I’ve helped make possible.

Granted, I have no idea what this has to do with a movie about Oneida Indians in the Revolutionary War, but still.  As the Talmud says, “And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.”  That’s what I’m doing here, folks.  Saving the world, one spammer at a time.

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Filed under History on the Web

Thomas DiLorenzo takes issue with somebody. . .but who, exactly?

That’s the question I ponder at a new piece I’ve written for the Abraham Lincoln Institute blog.  See what you think, and feel free to add your comments over at that site.

I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to pitch in over at the Institute blog, both as a contributor and editor.  Let me take this opportunity to ask that you make it one of your regular online stops if you’re a history blog reader, and to add it to your blogroll if you’re a history blog writer.  In the near future we’ll be posting some interviews with Lincoln scholars and other material of interest, so check it out.

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Filed under Abraham Lincoln, Historiography, History and Memory, History on the Web

Browsing won’t be the same

Borders bookstores are not long for this world.  I’m very sad to see it happen.

Shelf for shelf, the Borders store near West Town Mall in Knoxville, TN has the finest history selection of any general bookstore I’ve ever visited. I think every major historical time period, place, and subject is covered there, from Mesopotamia to the War on Terror. Along with releases from the big commercial publishers, I can always find an excellent assortment of titles from academic and independent presses.  The Civil War books alone take up an entire section of ceiling-to-floor shelves and spill over to part of another bookcase.

On a number of occasions I’ve spent two hours or more there; in fact, my family used to drop me off at Borders and then come back to pick me up after shopping all over half of the city.  Whenever I want to kill a lot of time in Knoxville in blissful contentment or do some seriously hedonistic splurging, there’s never been any question about where I’ll go to do it.  But I suppose now there will be.

As much I like the selection and prices I can get from online book retailers, there’s no substitute for being able to scan the shelves. I’m a physical book person.  I don’t own a Kindle or any other type of e-reader, and I never will.  When I browse for books I want the same things I want when I read them.  I want to pick them up and feel their heft, and I want to appreciate the grain and color of the paper.  Above all, I want to riffle through the pages and savor that smell.

There are plenty of other big bookstores, of course.  In fact, West Knoxville has three others of comparable size within a mile or two of the very one I’m discussing.  And these days it’s not very fashionable to lament the downfall of an enormous franchise anyway, so I guess this post would probably be more politically correct if I mourned the loss of some small, independent bookshop.  But that Borders was my store, and being a history buff and book lover won’t be the same once it’s closed.

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Nothing says cultural legitimacy like pro wrestling

The folks at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum are either really creative or really desperate:

Springfield’s favorite son, whose skill as a wrestler has been recognized by induction into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Hall of Outstanding Americans, may never have donned sequins or worn his stovepipe hat into the squared circle, but the museum that bears his name is promoting itself with a pro wrestling ticket giveaway.

“We’re always looking for ways to tie in popular culture and Abraham Lincoln,” said Dave Blanchette, spokesman for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

A pro wrestling connection isn’t the only non-traditional promotion the non-traditional ALPM has employed in its efforts to attract people who aren’t regular museum-goers. Springfield’s 6-year-old museum and other presidential museums are always looking for ways to increase attendance by drawing new customers.

The ALPM is giving away one pair of tickets each day starting Monday through July 30 to the  WWE Presents RAW World Tour show July 31 at the Prairie Capital Convention Center.

Um.  Okay.

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Filed under Abraham Lincoln, Museums and Historic Sites

That’s how they roll in the Old Dominion

Virginia will debut its 18-wheel rolling Civil War exhibit at the Bull Run sesquicentennial.  It’s a “high-tech immersive experience” that will “convey the bewildering sense of chaos experienced by soldiers.”  That’s the plan, anyway.  I’m more skeptical of that sort of thing than I used to be.

Maybe they should’ve bought a normal 18-wheeler, piled people into the back, and then driven the thing over an embankment.  I guarantee that’ll convey a bewildering sense of chaos.

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Filed under Civil War