Author Archives: michaeljdouma

The JFK Hat Thesis Lives on

The idea that American men stopped wearing hats because they followed the example of their fearless leader, John F. Kennedy, is one of those historical myths that is almost certainly wrong but seldom challenged. In an article in Insider Higher Ed, Matt Reed asks “Will the pandemic do to ties what JFK did to hats?” […]

Croquet History

Some images from the county histories of western New York from the 1870s.

A 19th Century Waldo

Browsing through those 1870s county histories for New York and I discovered this guy, a kind of 19th century Waldo, was a frequent stand-in for the artist. Some amazing sketch work in these volumes by the way.

Foreign Soldiers in the U.S. Civil War (Dutch, German, Danish, English, etc)

Last year, I and my two co-authors Anders Rasmussen and Robert Faith published an article (in the well-regarded Journal of American Ethnic History) about foreign-born men who were forced against their will into the Union army during the American Civil War. In 1862-1863, at the peak of “impressment” claims, over one thousand men complained that […]

Advertisements for new Suriname history book

The following advertisements for my new book, The Colonization of Free African Ameicans in Suriname, will appear in the Journal of Modern History and the Journal of African American History.  

The best answer

What is “Dad History”? Giving a Label to a Popular Genre of History Writing

About  a week ago, there was an active post on the r/History subreddit about “Dad History.” Some of the responses suggest that the original post had just coined the term “Dad History”, and this may very well be the case, because I find little use of the term elsewhere online. Dad History is mostly “Blokes, […]

Book Review: Marcus Collins and Peter N. Stearns, Why Study History? (London Publishing Partnership)

University history class enrollments are down nationwide and fewer students are majoring in history. Now is the time for a book to come along to save history departments, or at least to provide good arguments for students to major in history so that history departments can flourish again. This book, directed at undergraduate students who […]

Book Review: David Kaiser, A Life in History (Mount Greylock Books, 2019)

David Kaiser,  A Life in History (Mount Greylock Books, 2019) This autobiography is organized around a central question that preoccupies the author’s life: “Why could I not get tenure in a history department at an elite university?”  The answer, Kaiser suggests, is two-fold. First, generational conflict between the Silent Generation and his own Boomer Generation […]

Book Review: William Caferro, Teaching History (Wiley-Blackwell, 2020)

This book might be categorized as a memoir or more precisely a set of reflections about teaching history. It is only secondarily a guide or how-to book about teaching history. Caferro has been teaching history at the university-level for 35 years. He graduated from Yale, began his career as an adjunct teacher, taught for a […]