Currently I am an assistant professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where I am teaching medieval and military history. I have recently finished my doctorate in medieval history at the University of Rochester, studying under Dr. Richard W. Kaeuper, specializing in social, military, and crusading history in the High and Late Middle Ages. I am currently teaching HI302, The History of the Military Art Since 1900, and HI370, Ancient and Medieval Warfare.
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 project is titled “Beyond the Medieval Military Revolution: Robert Ufford, Earl of Suffolk, and the Wars of England, 1298-1369.” The project reconstructs the life and career of the Earl of Suffolk, in the process testing various components of the Medieval Military Revolution, as advanced by various scholars on the subject, against military, social, cultural, and economic data.
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, medieval martial arts, and hiking with my wife. I also enjoy reading (naturally), and when I have again the space (and time), I look forward playing my collection of Avalon Hill and GMT strategy games.