Saturday, June 23, 2012

Linkfest with historians, vampire hunters, and more

Links and unlinkable items of interest from the history side:

W. Scott Poole teaches history at the College of Charleston and explains (seriously!) "Why Historians Should Be Vampire Hunters." "These tales of terror illuminate rather than obscure important truths. Slavery did represent a kind of dark magic in which legal fictions transmogrified the bodies of human beings into property."

Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore's take on "Facebook for the dead."

Five excellent commandments for those researching in archives from Philip White at The Historical Society. Most applicable to us genealogists: "Process Your Materials ASAP."

Eric Jay Dolin's Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America has a good publisher, has had some good reviews (mostly five stars on Amazon), and has won some prizes. Writing in the June Indiana Magazine of History (recent issues not on line), David J. Silverman of George Washington University says that Dolin tells a good story but misses a lot, because the book's perspective and information are about a century out of date -- among other things, it neglects the Indian side of the story. I hope to read it and make up my own mind, but in the meantime the "Caution" light is up. If Silverman is right, Dolin would be making a mistake similar to the one genealogists make when they trust the "mug books" version of local history.

W. Scott Poole, "Why Historians Should Be Vampire Hunters," The Huffington Post: Culture, posted 20 June 2012 ( : accessed 22 June 2012).

Jill Lepore, "Books: Obama, the Prequel," The New Yorker, 25 June 2012, p. 72.

Philip White, "Lessons from the Archives," The Historical Society, posted 18 June 2012 ( : accessed 22 June 2012).

Eric Jay Dolin, Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2010). 

David J. Silverman, [Review of Dolin], Indiana Magazine of History, vol. 108, no. 2 (June 2012): 192.

Harold Henderson, "8 suggestions for genealogy writers," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 23 June 2012 ( : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

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