I find it funny that the first impulse after turning in my dissertation is to (are you ready for this?) to do more!

I am so not done.

When I first went to Bristol to begin work on the dissertation my initial thinking was (more…)

Sing it Mr. Disney, “It’s a small world after all.”

Chance encounter in an elevator, me wearing my “University of Bristol” badge, had a gentleman with family in tow to ask “Do you know Richard Sheldon?” This was Steve Hindle, the W. M. Keck Foundation Director of Research at the Huntington Library in Los Angeles.

“Yes,” I replied. “Of course. He’s my supervisor.” (more…)

This upcoming first weekend in March, I will be found in Las Vegas, Nevada. No, not gambling, but delivering the following abbreviated, fifteen-minute presentation to numerous British scholars at the PCCBS conference (Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies). I know, Las Vegas is no where near the Pacific… hey, but I didn’t organize this event! Nonetheless, this 2,300 word presentation comes from a 23,000 word chapter. Talk about your editing. Hope it’s coherent, and (more…)

Machiavelli’s The Prince has been outsold since its publication (1532) by only one other book: the Bible. The popularity of this “how to” manual for governments, CEOs, and mid-level bureaucrats and managers striving to claw their way to the top is undisputed. Problem is: most erudition on Machiavelli and his writings ends up in (more…)

History has a horrible problem. As Joyce Appleby put it, “there ARE the records of the past and there IS the interpretation of those records. The gap between them is the source of concern.”[1] First of all there are the records themselves. If you’re a historian then you are always aware that there are never enough of them. Records, quite frankly, (more…)

David Ramsay, the eighteenth-century American historian, popped up in my dissertation the other day. Ramsay, attributed by historiographers to the “Whig School of History,” is best known for his books on the American Revolution. To my surprise, Ramsay had much to say about the central figure in my dissertation, Admiral John Byng. In his 1779 book (more…)

This past semester, I tasked students with creating a podcast based on their historical research. Students were to choose just one family from the University of Virginia’s digital archive, Valley of the Shadow. Recently, someone asked me, “How’d it go?” and this simple question prodded me to (more…)


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