Book Review: How the West Won by Rodney Stark

How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity by Rodney Stark is a refreshing look at history. What I found most refreshing is that the book looks at the rise of Christianity as a good thing, even a necessary thing, instead of the calamity it is presented as in much historical writing. What I also found both new and intriguing is the idea that the disunity of the West has been one of the vital factors that contributed to the West achieving modernity where other cultural groups did not and that empires are in and of themselves bad things. Stark takes special care to demonstrate how the rise … More after the Jump…

Moral Relativism and War

If you are of liberal political leanings you will probably not like this piece as I am going to proceed to attempt to demolish several sacred cows of contemporary liberal thought.  I unreservedly admit that I am politically conservative and further admit that I am not trying to be unbiased in his piece.  I am essentially venting my spleen at the half-truths and outright lies I so often find in books that purport to be histories but that are in reality only thinly disguised attacks on historical actors.  I find it typically liberal that such attacks are often made on those that cannot defend themselves, such as historical figures long … More after the Jump…

Similarities Between the 1920’s and Today?

I am currently reading The Origins of the First World War (3rd Edition), during a pause in my reading I started thinking about not the origins of WWI but its results.  To say that the peace of Versailles was flawed is an understatement.  Given the unsettled economic situation of the Euro and the recently announced renunciation of deposit guarantees by the government of Cyprus I started to wonder if there are parallels between then and now despite the lack of a just concluded titanic war on the continent.  I think that the economics are similar, even to the extent of the various crises being self-inflicted wounds. There were many things wrong with the Treaty of Versailles but … More after the Jump…

Book Review: The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World, is one of the best economic histories I have read.  It seeks to be a global history of money and does a good job of it.  It is somewhat tilted towards Europe and Western countries but only because that is where the majority of financial innovation has come from, especially in the last 300-400 years.last 400 years. What I found especially interesting were his explanations of the way sophisticated financial instruments actually work.  It often seems as though investment and investing have a language specifically designed to confuse and confound the layman.  Dr. Ferguson’s explanations of derivatives and other financial instruments were understandable … More after the Jump…

The Grave of Richard Wagner

I recently visited the grave of Richard Wagner behind the Wagner Museum in Bayreuth, Germany and thought I would share the photos I took while there.  The grave itself is not very remarkable and the only way you know it is is his is because there are signs pointing to it.  There is no marking on the grave itself saying it is where Wagner and his wife are buried.  There is an outstanding site with a wealth of information on the composer at the Richard Wagner Archive.   The gravestone for the dog says Here rests and guards Wagner’s Russ.  Russ was the name of his dog.  

Is History Paradigmatic?

The paradigm shift is a good phrase used in both science and history. It generally means something or event that changes the way the world is perceived. It is common in history books to read about this or that’s rise and then fall from the Roman Empire to Soviet Communism, but is that really a good description? I don’t think it is. Any serious student of history can demonstrate that nothing really comes to a crashing halt in history and almost every change is either evolutionary or that the signs are clear long before an event happens. There are things that have a revolutionary impact, but even then the impact … More after the Jump…

Photo Essay – Langenbruck Cemetery – Rose Barracks, Vilseck Germany

There is an old German cemetery on Rose Barracks that I have driven past hundreds of times and never stopped to look at. I finally did today and was surprised. I thought it was a military cemetery like the POW cemetery in Grafenwohr but it is not. It is a village cemetery from one of the villages that was moved when the training area was established in the early 20th century. There are several other abandoned villages on Grafenwohr Training Area, most of them are inside the impact area and off limits, there is one other in the maneuver area that still has the shell of a church and has been a reference point that anyone who has ever trained at Graf knows about. Ask anyone who trained at Graf about the Hofenohe Church and they have probably walked through the ruins.

The Cemetery on Rose Barracks is for the village of LangenBruck. As the information panel states, the village dates back to 905. Someone visits the cemetery as there were candles on several of the graves and some of the graves have what looks to be fairly new headstones on them.

I will post the photos below with short explanatory captions.   The photos are compressed due to their large size but if anyone wants the original photos email me and I will be happy to send you a copy of the originals.

Information panel at entrance to the cemetery.

There are more photos below the fold.

More after the Jump…Photo Essay – Langenbruck Cemetery – Rose Barracks, Vilseck Germany

Book Review: The Penguin History of Europe by J.M. Roberts

I cannot remember why I bought The Penguin History of Europe by J.M. Roberts several years ago, no doubt it was as a resource for an undergrad paper I wrote although I cannot find it used as a cite in any of my papers. It is also possible that I bought it just because I though it looked interesting since my specialty is European history. This is not a bad book, but it is also not quite what the title makes it out to be. I think the best way I an categorize this book is that it presents an eclectic view of European history. It is very well written … More after the Jump…