“History, I like to think, is a larger way of looking at life. It is a source of strength, and inspiration. It is about who we are and what we stand for and is essential to our understanding of what our role should be in our time. History, as can’t be said too often, is human. It is about people, and they speak to us across the years.”
McCullough, David. The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017). p. xii
David McCullough, The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For. (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2017).
Defining “The” American Spirit is a challenging proposition given America’s current division. History has been weaponized in support of political positions. Many in the academy have fostered social division to further a political philosophy. With little remnant of a common history remaining we stand at a critical juncture. Is there a common history in which we can rediscover “the” American spirit? If so, can that history heal our present fracture and nurture a promising future? A definition that brings us together, that drives us to our better nature. Few historians have the necessary cache to take on such a challenge. David McCullough is one of only a few historians with enough courage to take on that challenge. He is also one of a few with enough respect for his definition to garner serious consideration.
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One of the greatest rewards of blogging is the people you meet and the stories they tell. Bringing exceptional people and their experiences to life. MB Henry is such a person, and Dan Wescott- On Another Battlefield is such a story. MB and her husband are special people. Please read this story. We must remember Dan Westcott and the other men of the 17th Airborne Division.
Shortly after leading an Austrian Army to a remarkable victory over the Turks at Zenta in 1697, Prince Eugene of Savoy purchased a large plot of land outside Vienna. Eugene plan for the property included palaces and gardens. Johann Lukas Hildebrandt was selected as the project’s lead architect. Setting on a slope, the property rises gently from the front. Plans called for two palaces. The first, smaller palace, was built on the front (or lower part) of the property with a larger palace occupying the upper end. A large garden would stretch between the two palaces. Construction of the Lower Palace began sometime before 1712, and the Upper Palace was completed in 1723. Artists commissioned to work on the project include: painters Marcontonio Chiarini, Francesco Solimena, Carlo Carlone; and sculpture Giovanni Stanetti.
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“It is hard to celebrate the past in an ecumenical way, or even in a fair-minded one, apparently. The trouble with the past is not just that it’s behind us, it’s that it is not even over yet.”
“The Cold War isn’t thawing; it is burning with a deadly heat. Communism isn’t sleeping; it is, as always, plotting, scheming, working, fighting.”
Richard M. Nixon
Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956. (New York, NY: Doubleday, 2012).
Better works of history are crafted. They begin with a question. They are created through exhaustive research, editing, and organization. A better work of history answers the original question, creates new questions considers alternative interpretations, and provides overwhelming evidence in support of their answers. Doing so by creating a readable narrative. Anne Applebaum’s Iron Curtain is a better work of history. Applebaum’s original question: How did the Soviets and their allies transform well-meaning Eastern European social/ aid organizations created, or reconstituted, in the immediate aftermath of World War II into tools of oppression?1 In a chilling but necessary read Iron Curtain provides an answer.
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Heroes’ Square: Statues and memorials tell the history of the Hungarian nation. At the base of the central column are the Seven Chieftains that lead the Magyar people to what is now Hungary. On top column the Archangel Gabriel holds the Hungarian Crown. In front of the central column is a monument to all heroes who fought for the Hungarian nation. Two colonnades form a semi-circle in the background. Statues depicting fourteen national heroes occupy the spaces between columns. Four statues above the colonnades represent (from left to right): Labor & Wealth, War, Peace, and Knowledge & Glory. For a list of the heroes depicted in the colonnades please click the link.
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