What we’re reading, (almost) post-dissertation

Posted: March 19, 2014 in Uncategorized
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(That’s the royal “we,” man, of course.) Life (almost) post-dissertation is actually fairly satisfying. That it coincides with spring break probably doesn’t hurt. At last, I can get back in shape, get caught up on sleep, get caught up on my courses and grading, and actually catch up on reading that I’ve been wanting to do but couldn’t, as I was feverishly writing and revising while shot-gunning 5HourEnergy. But that phase is past, thanks mostly to my wife letting me work in near-isolation while periodically shoving food under my nose.

Moral: kids, don’t let this happen to you.

I’ll do the apparently mandatory “post-dissertation retrospective” later. Right now, I’m actually reading, as opposed to skimming, the following eclectic books:

Norman Housley, The Later Crusades: From Lyons to Alcazar, 1274-1580. Still the classic, though I’ve also read more recent offerings such as his studies on religious war and crusade, and the Ottoman wars.

Rodney Hilton, Bond Men Made Free: Medieval Peasant Movements and the English Rising of 1381. Reject Marxist conclusions all you want (and I do), but we owe the Marxist medievalists a debt for teaching us how to ask questions of the voiceless multitude.

Meister Eckhart: A Modern Translation, trans. Raymond Bernard Blakney. Apparently I’m Meister Eckhart, according to one of those stupid internet quizzes.  Here’s a link to a better edition of his works.

Jim Bradbury, The Medieval Archer. I’ve read the relevant chapters for the dissertation, of course, but it’s nice to get the full scope of the analysis.

Michel Mollat, The Poor in the Middle Ages: An Essay in Social History, trans, Arthur Goldhammer. I’ve had this book for a long time, but haven’t had a chance to actually read it before.

Hew Strachan, European Armies and the Conduct of War. Continuing this from last semester, when it proved very useful in class.

Belton Y. Cooper, Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II. Classic account of American armor in Europe, 1944-5. Arguably the best memoir on the topic.

Laurence Stallings, The Doughboys: The Story of the AEF, 1917-1918. An old study of the American Expeditionary Force, from the 1960s. Stallings, a Marine veteran of the Great War himself and very accomplished writer, does history in the old style, with flair and an eye for detailed narrative and the telling anecdote.

And for good measure, I’m re-reading, or browsing, R. R. Davies’ Domination and Conquest: The Experience of Ireland, Scotland and Wales 1100-1300, which first made me realize that, yes, medieval societies could and did practice their own form of colonialism.

That’s about it for now. I’m also writing about half a dozen smaller pieces, and finishing revisions on my crusades article. So, there’s plenty to keep one busy.  Now as long as we don’t get into a major conflict in the next few months…2014…1914.

Pax vobiscum.

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