In my 2018 book Beardmore, which investigates the Viking relics hoax that scandalized the Royal Ontario Museum, I lay out the most likely case for the source of Norse weapons that itinerant prospector James Edward (Eddy) Dodd said he discovered on a mining claim east of Lake Nipigon in the early 1930s. Dodd had been … Continue reading “Beardmore” revisited: Jens Bloch’s dark Norwegian past
One must have patience where reviews of academic-press books are concerned. It can take years for some to appear, but it's nice when the waiting is worth it. The Place of Stone (UNC Press, 2017), which was developed from my 2015 doctoral dissertation, "Stone of Power," has earned another strong review, this time by Patricia … Continue reading “The Place of Stone” review in Winterthur Portfolio
No matter what you write, if you’ve done your research thoroughly, your first draft is probably going to be too long. If you’ve never written a book, the thought of having at least 80,000 words to fill might seem daunting rather than a restriction. For people who have asked me to help them write a … Continue reading Should it stay, or should it go?
In my blog post on book breaking (and the version published by Slate), I wrote of two items that ought to belong in an academic historian’s tool kit: narrative and microbiography. Narrative requires a blog post of its own (but no, I did not mean writing fancy sentences and dumbing down serious work for the … Continue reading Microbiography: Turn over all stones
Spend any time (it won’t take very long) listening to or reading the words of people in the pseudohistory and pseudoarchaeology worlds, and you will encounter a standard riposte to scholarly objections to their theories and evidence. The scholarly world is a closed shop that suppresses innovative ideas of outsiders—even of its own accredited members—in … Continue reading Pseudohistorians claim scholars are hostile to innovative ideas. Do they have a point?
Ship breaking in Bangladesh. Source: http://www.travelyourassoff.com/2012/01/abandon-ship-chittagong-ship-breaking.html In January 2018, Karin Wulf, a history professor at William and Mary and director of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, wrote an instalment for her blog, Vast Early America, entitled “Efficient Reading”. Professor Wulf tossed a lifeline to doctoral students everywhere struggling with the overwhelming impossibility … Continue reading Book breaking, and book mending