When I first began teaching at Florida State College at Jacksonville in 2010, Dr. Wesley Moody was a senior historian who became both my mentor and my friend. Always in a coat and tie, with a conservative, formal approach to dealing with students and teaching, Wes is very much a professor in the classic or traditional sense. He values scholarship, seeing it as essential for high-quality instruction, and so although he has tenure, he nevertheless pushes himself to engage constantly in high levels of scholarly productivity. If one did not know him, that person would never realize just how friendly he can be. He is from north Florida, born and raised, as his southern accent makes clear, and his easy-going style when socializing can be both charming and disarming. He is a top-level historian and his work has won high praise from the likes of James McPherson, Professor Emeritus of Princeton University, but he is also not above using the phrase “y’all” in a private conversation. Continue reading
Alfred J. Andrea and I recently had the opportunity to do an interview with Medievalists.net focusing on our recent book Seven Myths of the Crusades (Hackett Publishing, 2015). The book has been well received so far, with a number of nice endorsements from leading crusade historians (which can be viewed here).
Medievalists.net provided some excellent questions that allowed Al and I to provide some in depth responses considering a number of important issues.
One of the questions asked why we chose to write the book. My partial response is below.
“I do want to address your question, however, as to why we wanted to create another book on the crusades, specifically taking the approach of countering modern popular crusade myths. We and the contributors all agreed that the prevalence of the myths that we address in this book are repeated so regularly in all media, especially popular films and literature, as well as in political speeches and commentary, that it was worthwhile to pull together a book, written and edited by scholars, that targets general readers and undergraduates. The goal is to explain to the reader why scholars tend to see the issues covered in the chapters quite differently than popular accounts often suggest. We wanted to give readers a sense of the complexity of each of the historical issues dealt within the chapters and why historians often disagree with common popular, often unnuanced interpretations of historical events. It is a topic that crusade historians discuss among themselves quite often, occasionally publishing articles in popular publications and on the web to make such a point to just such an audience. So the essays we have collected here do not represent new or cutting-edge scholarship. Rather, our goal is to communicate current scholarship to undergraduates and a general reading public. Moreover, we want to make that scholarship accessible, affordable, and engaging in a way that many academic books are not.”
Please read the full interview here.
“Retired” scholar Alfred J. Andrea is easily one of the most active and dynamic historians I know. As an accomplished author, editor, and Professor Emeritus of Medieval History at the University of Vermont, you might think he would take it easy in his retirement. Yet those who know Al know better. The 73-year-old former U.S. Marine still looks the part, Continue reading