My Adventures in the National Park Service

If I could do it all over again I would earn a degree in public history and work for the National Park Service at a historic site.  Over the past ten years I’ve had a number of opportunities to help out with various NPS projects and the work is always rewarding.  It has given me the opportunity to work with some incredibly talented historians and passionate educators.  On moving to Boston I decided to explore opportunities beyond the classroom and the NPS was high on that list.  Over the past few weeks I’ve made some wonderful new friends in the NPS here in Boston and it looks like I will be involved in organizing events over the course of the next year for the Civil War sesquicentennial.

As for more permanent work, the response has been less than enthusiastic.  It’s not that my new contacts don’t believe that I am qualified for most of their positions as an interpreter/educator; in fact, I’ve been told numerous times that I am over-qualified.  The problem is with the hiring process and what comes up more than anything else is the veteran’s preference.  If I understand it correctly the federal government gives preference to candidates who have served in the military.  If a veteran meets the minimum qualifications for a position he/she is given preference.  I recently came up against this wall when I decided to apply for an entry-level position as an interpreter (GS-05).

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Celebrating Confederate Heritage in Bloomington, Indiana

I wonder if the Confederate Heritage folks will rally around Thomas Buhls, who earlier today tried to celebrate Confederate heritage in Indiana with a sign that read, “CELEBRATE YOUR WHITE HERITAGE.”  I have no idea whether Mr. Buhls is a native southerner, but of course that shouldn’t matter much.  Confederate heritage transcends race, gender, and region.  Like Hunter Wallace, Buhls seems to embrace a narrative of the Confederacy that actually conforms to its history.  That’s right, the Confederacy was organized as a slaveholding republic built on white supremacy that was forced to fight for its independence and failed.  Buhls and Wallace are much closer to the views of Alexander Stephens and other pro-Confederate nationalists than most heritage types today who water down and distort this history and fantasize that the Confederacy was some kind of experiment in civil rights.  While I find their embrace of white supremacy to be utterly appalling, at least it is grounded in something that reflects Confederate history.

Who Best Interprets the Coming of the Civil War?

I was hoping that yesterday’s post would not turn into another round of the same old back and forth over the cause of the war, but that is exactly what happened.  Unfortunately, most of what is usually offered in such discussions lacks any serious analysis and/or context.  I was hoping to encourage readers to share those books that have informed their understanding of the coming of secession and war.  For what it’s worth, here are a few of my favorites, though I could just as easily have chosen five others.

Feel free to add to this list.

Indexing Tips

Well, I just finished reading through the page proofs for my Crater book.  Now all that stands between me and a finished book is the index.  I have the formatting guidelines in front of me, but I would love to know what is the best way to proceed from those of you who have done this before.  I was going to take the traditional route and use index cards.  One index card for each term and place them in alphabetical order.  Seems simple enough.  The only thing I would have to worry about is a surprise visit from Felix or Jeb.

This is likely the last time I will ask my readers for assistance with this project so thanks a bunch.  I assure you that if I thought there was anything glamorous about publishing a book before this week it is a distant memory.  Why exactly did I put myself through this?