GLASGOW — TO most Americans, Scotland means golf, whisky and — if they go there — steady drizzle. Even to the millions of Americans whose surnames testify to their Scottish or Scotch-Irish ancestry, the idea that Scotland might be about to become an independent country is baffling.
Yet, this week, a referendum could decide just that. With days remaining before the Scottish electorate votes on whether or not to remain in the United Kingdom, the result is too close to call.
So begins historian Niall Ferguson, a Scot, about Scotland and its upcoming independence vote. Ferguson has a position–vote nae–but, he helps set some context for the vote. (Full disclosure: Yes, way back, the Andersons were Scots. Before that they were, I think, Vikings.)
You can find his op-ed here at the New York Times site: Scots Must Vote Nae – NYTimes.com.
This is some encouraging confirmation of what I see at our college, viz., books and libraries aren’t dead yet: Young adults more likely to read than those who are 30 and up, says Pew report – CSMonitor.com.
No Man’s Land could be the most terrifying of places. “Men drowning in shell-holes already filled with decaying flesh,” wrote one scholar. (No Man’s Land by Lucien Jonas, 1927, Library of Congress)
During World War I, No Man’s Land was both an actual and a metaphorical space.
So begins a fascinating article by James Deutsch in The Smithsonian. You can read it here: The Legend of What Actually Lived in the “No Man’s Land” Between World War I’s Trenches | History | Smithsonian.
A new book by Edward E. Baptist–The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism–is making some waves. James Bratt, historian at Calvin College, discusses some of this in his blog post at The Twelve.
The main point Bratt and apparently author Baptist draw regarding slavery is both economic and moral: if “market mechanisms and market solutions are always best,” as at least some have said and still say, then doesn’t that divinize profit and markets and thereby justify slavery–and other things?
(Apropos justifications of slavery, Bratt and Baptist bring to mind the recent film 12 Years a Slave. In the film–based on Solomon Northup’s account of his enslavement–the justification for slavery was religious as well as economic.)
Bratt concludes his post with these discomforting words:
God is not mocked—Lincoln said it in his epochal Second Inaugural, and Martin Luther King, Jr., along with Malcolm X and H. Rap Brown, preached it again in the 1960s. Ta-Nehisi Coates proclaimed it again in The Atlantic this past summer. God is not mocked, and we will not be healed and well, nor genuinely prosper as a nation, until we figure out some way to pay back the debt and the damage that Edward Baptist so powerfully explains in this book. It’s the other half that has to be told.
You can read Bratt’s entire post here: the12 – James Bratt – The Half Has Never Been Told.
A while ago I shared a link to The Invasion of America digital map by Claudio Saunt. Now Marc Parry at the Chronicle of Higher Education has a full story on the Digital History Center and historians Saunt and Stephen Berry. This is the new digital direction of historical research and dissemination: Digital History Center Strives to Connect With the Public – Research – The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Although The Star Spangled Banner wasn’t adopted officially as our National Anthem until 1931, its repeated use in flag-raising and other government ceremonies accorded it an exalted status before that. The song’s 100th anniversary in 1914 was cause for commemoration, including a two reel dramatization from the Edison Film Company called The Birth of the Star Spangled Banner. The copy we present here comes from George Kleine Collection.
So writes Mark Mashon for a Library of Congress post commemorating the bicentennial of the writing of the “Star Spangled Banner.” You can see the film here: The Birth of the Star Spangled Banner (Edison, 1914) | Now See Hear!.
Ben Houston, a son of the Hillsong founders and pastor of Hillsong Los Angeles. By some estimates, 100,000 people are in the assorted Hillsong pews around the world each weekend. Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times
Hillsong Los Angeles, as well as Hillsong New York, which opened four years ago, is an example of a growing phenomenon in global Christianity: big church brands taking on big secular cities. This year, Saddleback Church, the Orange County megachurch led by Rick Warren, opened its own campus in Los Angeles, while several years ago, Willow Creek, the megachurch based in South Barrington, Ill., opened a campus in Chicago.
If you have not heard of Hillsong–or if you have, but didn’t know a lot about it beyond its music–this New York Times article by Michael Paulson is an eye-opener: Megachurch With a Beat Lures a Young Flock – NYTimes.com.