In no particular order, here are some stories and articles that caught my eye this past week.
Robin Fleming on post-Roman Britain, “The best thing the Romans did for Britain was leave, historian claims.”
Michel Baran, “The Mongol Empire in World History: The State of Research.”
More “crusades controversy” fall out, Ross Douthat, “In Defense of Islam.”
Another, “Obama Crusade remarks spark firestorm of debate.”
David Perry, “The Jews and the Crusades (New York Times): We are not perfect.”
The much-discussed article by Graeme Wood, “What ISIS Really Wants.”
A counterpoint to the above, “America’s Most Prominent Muslim Says the Atlantic is Doing PR for ISIS.”
And another counterpoint, “Why ISIS Isn’t Medieval.”
Instability in the Iraqi government. “Sunnis may exit Iraq parliament after sheik’s slaying.”
French ultra-nationalist party gaining ground, “The National Front’s Post-Charlie Hebdo Moment.”
Veterans and civilians, Matt Richtel, “Please Don’t Thank Me For My Service.”
Long article on General Khalifa Haftar, “Liyba’s New Strongman. The Unravelling.”
Paul Staniland, “Every Insurgency is Different.”
Minsk 2 and its problems, “The woeful strategic and military aftermath of the Minsk 2 agreement between Ukraine and Russia.”
Joel Achenbach, “Why Do So Many Reasonable People Doubt Science?”
I haven’t done a “random news” post in a while, so here’s a round up some items that have caught my eye in the last few days. Some are links originally posted by friends on Facebook, others are more random.
First–I grew up reading H. E. Marshall’s An Island Story and An Empire Story, and was pleasantly surprised to run across this version she did of Guy of Warwick (I gave a paper on aspects of the story over the weekend, so I have the tale very much on the brain). Great fun, and worth reading. See the TEAMS edition of the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick for more information on the tale itself and a good edition of the text by a leading scholar on the subject.
In more serious vein, apparently the chap responsible for concocting the story about WMDs in Iraq is coming out and “telling all.” Or just did, the other night, on national British TV. Sort-of boggles the mind, really, but on the other hand I guess this kind of…crap…has been going on for ages. Not much else to say, really.
Random historical news: Renaissance painter Caravaggio was murdered by the Knights of St. John, according to a new study by Professor Vincenzo Pacelli of the University of Naples. Not everyone is buying the theory, but it’s pretty intriguing, and rests on some suggestive evidence. A couple weeks ago, Michael White posted a rumination the origins of Parliament in The Guardian. Rather a nifty summary, and I appreciated especially the way he emphasized how easily English political institutions could have developed differently. Oh, and did you know that Handel wrote an opera on Richard the Lionheart? Performed in 1727; apparently it has to be seen to be believed, and it WAS seen–front and center in the London Handel Festival. I don’t think I’ll be rushing to get the DVD any time soon…
Continue reading Random news you can use: Iraqi WMDs, Caravaggio, American Digger, Edward II…
A short post for a busy day…
I should have known this before, I suppose, but I just saw yesterday that Robert Citino, the great scholar of the Wehrmacht, has a blog, to which I would earnestly direct your attention. He writes with the same energy that he has at conferences. Two notices from Steve Muhlberger’s blog: one on a real “casting call” for “full metal jousting.” No joke. And a second is a call for critiques of Historian on the Edge’s post “The Unbearable Weight of Being a Historian.” Worth reading, and I might do a post on this myself in the near future.
Next, a link from Medievalists.net to an old article about medical practices in the crusader states.
And finally, two stories from the Small Wars Journal: one about recent Army worries regarding “toxic leadership” (read their definition of what a toxic leader is–not just confined to the Army, imho), and one by Mark Kukis on why a complete U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would be the best thing for all concerned.
Ok, back to work…