(Auto)Biography

I am a PhD candidate  in medieval history at the University of Rochester, studying under Dr. Richard W. Kaeuper. I will be defending my dissertation (see below) in the spring of 2014. Currently I am also an assistant professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where I am teaching medieval and military history.

My primary interests have always resided in military history, from as early as high school. Primarily the Thirty Years War, the Protestant Reformation, and the English Civil War, followed by the American Civil War. At some point I also developed an interest in the ETO of the Second World War, and the Desert War, in which I have done some archival research. Early enthusiasms ran heavily to the drums-and-trumpets myth-making around Patton and Rommel, which has given my more mature studies a somber tone, and served to give focus to my research on the German Wehrmacht in general.

Military history is something I have studied almost since I can remember. On the other hand,  I’ve been asked more than once where the medieval history came from. The answer has always proved elusive. Perhaps playing with castle Legos and watching Robin Hood, Ivanhoe, and Knights of the Round Table as a kid actually did have long-term effects?  In any case, I’d have to give Michael Decker (now at University of South Florida) a lot of credit, as his High Middle Ages course was the first I took at Rice University, where I earned my BA in 2005. Professor Dr. Eva Haverkamp (now at the Ludwigs-Maximilians Universität in Munich), who was my adviser at Rice, receives the rest of the credit, and has been responsible for ensuring that my specialization in medieval Germany has continued.

I stumbled on to my dissertation topic rather by accident; one of my friends had left a volume of the Patent Rolls lying around (as you do), and I randomly opened up to an entry of pardons to a long list of men of Great Yarmouth for waging war against their southern neighbors in Suffolk.  This pardon was in recognition of their good service to the king; a bit of research revealed a lot of these pardons, mostly for military service.  The wheels began to turn, and the dissertation developed from there, though it has come a long way since then.

The dissertation is titled “Beyond the Medieval Military Revolution: Robert Ufford, Earl of Suffolk, and the Wars of England, 1314-1369.”  The project tests various components of the Medieval Military Revolution, as advanced by various scholars on the subject, against the military, social, and economic data in Norfolk and Suffolk. These counties were treated as a unit for administrative purposes, and enjoyed a rather tight-knit but diverse military community of knights, squires, mariners, and archers, who were also entrepreneurial in seeking out patronage outside their home counties.  Given the diversity of the economy and land tenure in the region, Norfolk and Suffolk “enjoyed” intense participation in the crown’s wars during the fourteenth century.  The plan of chapters is as follows: Chapter 1, ‘Victoriarum gloriam’; The Crown’s War and the Fourteenth-Century Military Revolution;  Chapter 2, The Nobles’ War: Robert Ufford and the Captains of East Anglia;  Chapter 3, The Retinue’s War: Military Service and the Organizational aspects of Revolution;  Chapter 4, ‘Res audita perit, litera scripta manet’: Martial Culture and Historical Memory.

I have a enjoyed an excellent working relationship with my adviser and my other mentors at the university, among them Celia Applegate (now at Vanderbilt University), who directed my minor field in modern Germany, and David Walsh, who directed my other minor field in Art History and Monasticism. I am a member of a number of professional organizations, the most prominent being De Re Militari (the Society for Medieval Military History), the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East, and the Society for Military History.  In 2010, I was fortunate enough to attend the Summer Seminar in Military History at West Point in the summer of 2010, where I received intensive (and fun) training in the Academy’s methodologies, teaching strategies, and material in the full chronological range of military history; this has proven extraordinarily useful for my current job.

Hobbies outside of historical study are Shotokan karate, classical and acoustic guitar, drawing, movies, hitting the gym, and medieval martial arts. I also enjoy reading, and when I have the space (and time) I will look forward to working on military miniatures again, and playing my collection of Avalon Hill and GMT strategy games.

Comments
  1. It’s a joy to have discovered your blog. I’m promptly adding you to my blog list. Keep up the great work.

  2. Thanks so much for those kind words! Likewise–I really enjoy your blog as well. Welcome back from deployment!

  3. Sir Gawain says:

    Great blog. Military history deserves rigour and this site hits the spot.

  4. Thank you! I do what I can, as I can. Your blog is a joy to read!

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