Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Off to Sea . . . .

This summer, I hope to spend quite a bit of time with Samuel Eliot Morison (1887-1976), one of our finest American historians. He was a true patriot who chronicled our past without the politically correct agenda that so often plagues the profession today. Although Morison wrote about a wide variety of historical topics surrounding the exploration and founding of America, he seemed to be most at home at sea-- his biographies of great men of the sea like Columbus and John Paul Jones won Morison Pulitzer Prizes and no doubt inspired more than one generation of young scholars.

In 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt (who fancied himself, along with Churchill, an old sea dog) commissioned Morison to write a multi-volume history of American Naval Operations in the War. Obviously, much of Morison's subject matter was at that time yet to be played out. Morison completed the magnificent 15-volume work in

Our course on The Era of the World Wars cycles back around in the Fall. This is one of my favorite classes to teach, and I am so grateful that I am able to do so. I want to spend the summer reading as much of this series as I can. As a slow reader, I don't anticipate getting through all of the volumes, but I am going to give it a good shot. Young historians today don't understand the role of sea power in our founding and colonization and in the subsequent wars to maintain our independence. Hopefully, we can visit this great theme together through our look at the World Wars.

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