history

Anna Geisslinger/hungercreek.com

The Meriwethers are not just singers and musicians, they are historians, in a sense. 

Their music tells the story of the Corps of Discovery led by Lewis and Clark, sent to explore the lands of the Louisiana Purchase more than 200 years ago. 

Francis Sinclair/Public Domain

You have to admit, it took courage for our ancestors to get in rickety boats and travel across vast expanses of ocean to find lands new to them. 

It took luck, too... and ocean currents and a number of other factors. 

Archaeologist Scott Fitzpatrick at the University of Oregon studies the history of colonization in the Pacific and in the Caribbean.  And his studies take in weather patterns and other forces that may have forced choices on ancient explorers. 

NASA/Public Domain

Recent history shows how trends in human behavior produce similar movements in different places far apart. 

Example: the UK vote on "Brexit" and the American presidential election.  But that's to be expected in a modern, connected world, right? 

So how do we explain some of the human revolutions of antiquity?  Michael Scott takes on that project in his book Ancient Worlds: A Global History of Antiquity, showing how societal changes happened even among humans scattered far and wide. 

White House Photo Office/Wikimedia

Conservative giant William F. Buckley called his TV show "Firing Line" when it debuted in 1966. 

But despite the title, it was not a free-fire zone for people to yell at one another.  Debate and disagree, yes... but not like today's shouting matches on cable news channels. 

Buckley's show and his other work in media made him the prototype pundit, and that role allowed him to present his ideas to a broader audience.  Over time, they became mainstream. 

M.I.T. professor Heather Hendershot reconstructs the journey of conservatism from outcast to inner circle in her book Open to Debate

A samurai master from Japan from two centuries ago would probably appreciate the work coming out of Dragonfly Forge in Coquille. 

Michael Bell and son Gabriel turn out swords the old way, combining centuries-old practices with modern technology. 

Their work is highly regarded, and carries a high price. 

Rogue Valley Flying Club

You don't have to be "Sully" to fly a plane.  You don't even have to be a professional. 

Amateur pilots in the Rogue Valley have banded together to create the Rogue Valley Flying Club, offering benefits to members that include planes to rent. 

Wikimedia

It's hard to believe it was less than a century ago that women first gained the right to vote across the United States. 

And pay stubs and other indicators show that women have still not completely caught up to men.  That does not mean they have been devoid of influence, though. 

Sue Armitage reaches back in time for the stories of Shaping the Public Good: Women Making History in the Pacific Northwest, just out from Oregon State University Press.

Public Domain/Wikimedia

Unless your family is rich or famous or both, you will not be reading about ancestors in history books. 

But every family has a story to tell, and oral historians Daniel Alrick and Julie Kanta help them get told. 

They record interviews with people about their lives and families, a process that started with Julie's college capstone project a couple of years back. 

It's become a business, Living Legacy

Dorothea Lange shot some of the most memorable photographs in 20th-century America. 

But they were still photographs.  Now Lange is the subject of a documentary film called "Grab a Hunk of Lightning," a story in moving pictures about her work in still pictures. 

It's a labor of love, directed by Dyanna Taylor, who is Lange's granddaughter. 

Wikimedia

For generations of Americans, it's pleasant to be able to talk about Vietnam without the word "war" behind it. 

That war cost 58,000 American lives and tore the social fabric of the country. 

Now historian Christopher Goscha presents Vietnam: A New History

The book teaches a great deal about a country with a rich history and many different ethnic groups and languages. 

Wikimedia

There are entire libraries of books written about the American Civil War. 

But Pulitzer Prize winning historian Steven Hahn ranges far afield in time and space for his latest book, A Nation Without Borders: The United States and Its World in an Age of Civil Wars, 1830-1910. 

The book details the wrenching shift from an agricultural nation with legal slavery to an industrial power taking a prominent place on the world stage. 

Oregon DOT

The story of Oregon from before statehood is a story of migration: people moving in, historic residents being forced out, other people being shut out. 

Scholars, historians, and just folks will discuss migration this week at the Oregon Migrations Symposium in Eugene. 

Eliza Canty-Jones edits the Oregon Historical Quarterly; Bob Bussel is a professor at the University of Oregon. 

Wikimedia

Shaun Usher has built a fascinating career reading other peoples' mail. 

Best of all, he's not about to be arrested for it, since he compiles letters from people no longer alive. 

Usher visited a couple of years ago with the first Letters of Note; he's back with a second volume. 

Highlights include letters written by J.K. Rowling, Che Guevara, and Marge Simpson.  Marge Simpson? 

Library of Congress

We give our presidents some slack when it comes to war. 

Americans revere the presidents who oversaw major conflicts, especially Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

You'll have to excuse Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith if they do not join in the reverence.  They are the co-authors of The Spoils of War: Greed, Power, and the Conflicts That Made Our Greatest Presidents

The book argues that presidents support waging war for selfish reasons. 

Wikimedia

The world can seem like a troubled place right now. 

And Michael Meade not only acknowledges that feeling, but knows of times in the past when the world seemed troubled. 

Meade is a scholar of mythology, anthropology, and sociology, and he visits Southern Oregon University tonight (October 21st).  He says the adversity in the world can trigger a time of renewal. 

Wikimedia

"Attica" is one of those names that seems familiar to many Americans, even people who know nothing of the story attached to the name. 

Heather Ann Thompson, a historian who researches mass incarceration, fills in the story of the 1971 uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York, in her book Blood in the Water

Prisoners took over Attica to protest the conditions, and prison bosses were negotiating with them.  But then the state mounted an assault on its prison, and 39 people died.  A major crackdown followed. 

emmacampion.com

One benefit of writing historical fiction: you already know what happens to the major characters, even if they're in the background of the book. 

So Candace Robb knows which pretender dethroned which king, but she can create and flesh out characters off to the side.  And people have to read her books to find out what happens to them. 

Her latest novel is The Service of the Dead, set in England at the turn of the 15th century. 

National Archives

Nearly 80 years and counting.  Amelia Earhart made as much news by vanishing as she did by flying planes when few women did so. 

Now an expedition is getting ready to follow Earhart's trail as the 80th anniversary approaches in July 2017. 

The Archaeological Legacy Institute based in Eugene plans to send a film crew to document the search for Earhart's plane. 

FDR Library

For 12 years, Franklin and Eleanor were the power couple in the White House.  At least to the public. 

Within the White House, Marguerite "Missy" LeHand was the right hand of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, functioning as a de facto chief of staff and more. 

In Kathryn Smith's book The Gatekeeper, the author works to give LeHand a full and fair assessment aimed only at her life, not as a supporting character in another's biography. 

Tayoalukoandfriends.com

You only have to hear Paul Robeson sing "Ol' Man River" once to have it stamped on your brain forever.

There's simply nothing like it, and nothing like the talent-filled and turbulent life of the late actor and singer. 

Tayo Aluko created a one-man stage play, "Call Mr. Robeson," which he has performed on several continents and brings to Ashland this week (September 8-11). 

Pages