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Hope everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving. I know I’ve neglected this blog of late, due in part to other literary exertions, but felt compelled to scribble something that bears on what I’ve been doing and will hopefully satisfy an urge to be at least minimally conscientious about posting stuff. (I will not make a new year’s resolution to do better on this score because experience suggests—actually screams—that it would guarantee nonperformance.)
Anyway, what triggered this latest post is something from Al Frazza’s book, State of Revolution: My Seven-and-a-Half-Year Journey Through Revolutionary War New Jersey, Al, who created RevolutioaryWarNewJersey.com, provides a useful reminder to maintain humility in the context of historical interpretation—and other pursuits too, for that matter. In other words, it’s a good idea to know what you don’t know (so to speak). I’ve tried to keep that in mind when writing and doing my tour-guide thing at Washington Crossing and Princeton, but it never hurts to give the memory banks a nudge on that every so often.
So here’s the relevant excerpt:
…one should always stay humble about what one is researching. Always consider that, no matter how much you know, it is only a small part of the larger story, and that other people know things that you don’t. Even when it comes to the things that you know very well, it is good to be open to the possibility that you may be incorrect in your conclusions. It can keep you from finding a deeper truth if you are too confident in your assumptions.
And speaking of assumptions, one that I never made relates to an early holiday gift for yours truly that just arrived from the Journal of the American Revolution (JAR). I never know what’s going to (as they say at the Washington Crossing parks) really float the editors’ boat, but today I learned that one of my articles from earlier this year—Eutaw Springs and the Ambiguity of Victory—has been selected for inclusion in the next annual hardcover book produced by JAR, scheduled for release in April. These hardcover volumes feature the best (as determined by the editors) historical research and writing published by the journal during the prior calendar year—typically between thirty and forty articles (forty in the 2024 volume). They are available from Westholme Publishing, Amazon, or wherever books are sold. (Since 2021, I’ve written nine articles for JAR and three have made the cut for the annual volume. Boy, if only I could have hit .333 playing softball at Glen Ridge High.)
I hope to be able to share encouraging news on the next book very soon—but I don’t want to sound too, well, confident in that assumption.
In the meantime, I hope you all have a great holiday season and extend my best wishes for a healthy and happy new year!
If any of you will be attending the annual Princeton battle reenactment on January 7, I’ll be manning the “general store”for the Princeton Battled Society that day, i.e., selling stuff, along with my wife Alison. (I mean to say she’ll be helping me, not that I’ll be selling her.) So stop by and say hello. I’ll also be helping out at the Delaware River crossing reenactments at Washington Crossing Historic Park on December 10 and Christmas Day, so the same goes for them. (No, I will not be in a boat; I get seasick in a bathtub.)