Weekend Reading

This week: the milk carton; bombs, bombs, and more bombs; Civil War baseball and commemoration; Pericles on democracy; Founding Fathers on the Lord’s Prayer; the Book of Mormon; and the passing of a famous historian.

What might Pericles — the most famous leader of the ancient democracy of Athens — say about democracy in America today? Philosopher Paul Woodruff takes a guess…

• How events in the 14th century help to explain patterns of anti-Semitic violence in Weimar and Nazi Germany.

• Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson on the Lord’s Prayer.

Saint-Gaudens, The Robert Gould Shaw Memorial
Saint-Gaudens, The Robert Gould Shaw Memorial – National Park Service

• A fascinating conversation between two non-Mormon historians about how they approach the Book of Mormon. (H/T Christopher Jones)

• Vandalism aimed at the famous Shaw Memorial in Boston (celebrating the African-American regiment featured in the film Glory) inspired historian Kevin Levin to reflect on how we commemorate the Civil War: “…we would do well to remember that monuments are never static sites. They are, by definition, selective representations of the past, and they are influenced by those individuals and organizations responsible for their construction and dedication.”

• The Smithsonian shared images of baseball as it was played during the Civil War.

• Some more sports history: reconnecting the Olympics to religious history and remembering the six foot-tall mother of two who was the unlikely, undisputed star of the last Summer Olympics to be held in London.

• Plus what that city looked like in 1920, thanks to a rare travel film. (And check out the present-day aerial footage of that city for a startling contrast.)

• The history of the milk carton sheds some light on how Americans experienced urbanization and technological innovation from the late 19th century to the middle of the 20th.

• Watch the people of Warsaw, Poland collectively take a moment of silence last Wednesday, in honor of the city’s doomed 1944 uprising against German occupation (which the Wehrmacht eventually crushed while the Red Army sat and watched).

• The Minnesota Historical Society asked historian Anton Treuer to comment on the use of “Indian” vs. “Native American.”

• Thanks to an Air Force officer from Minnesota, we’ll soon have a database recording every single bomb dropped by the United States since World War I.

• John Keegan, widely regarded as the world’s leading military historian, died on Thursday. Our own Chris Gehrz wrote this appreciation, which stressed Keegan’s desire to understand how ordinary soldiers experienced battle.

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