Intellectual Synchronicity

No sooner than I passed through Annual Report Hell than swift-footed Mercury, in the guise of the USPS, delivered three books from Amazon to my door.

Lawrence          McMeekin_1          McMeekin_2

This summer, I will be directing an Undergraduate Summer Scholar, James Fisher. I have had James in numerous advanced classes, latterly in my Historical Methods seminar where he wrote a paper from primary texts on Roman North Africa. James is a student of broad interests, but he has been particularly fascinated with the Ottoman Empire. His project with me will be examining the German-Turkish economic relationship as it developed from 1871 to 1945.

In the sort of coincidence that makes me believe that there is no such thing as coincidences, my friend Brent Reider had suggested that I read Scott Anderson’s Lawrence in Arabia and it was sitting on my reading table as I ADD-read my way through the pages. (For those of you unfamiliar with folks with ADD, we read books in bits, frequently from the back and NEVER from pages alpha to omega.) Anderson’s bibliography reminded me that I had not yet read Sean McMeekin’s The Berlin-Baghdad Express.

FORTUNATELY, as a USS mentor, I am accorded a small stipend, which I immediately deployed to start my own research so that when May rolls around, I can keep up with James’ topic. Since all scholarship is syncretic, I will be folding our USS project into my Great War class in Fall 2014.

Now, is there a way that I could plan a Great War field trip that would include Gallipoli? I would love to get to Constantinople … sorry, Istanbul … before Erdogan destroys it.

About George Vascik, Historian

A 1988 graduate of the University of Michigan, I have taught history at Miami University since 1992. I maintain blogs on teaching Western Civilization and on Great War. My research focuses on anti-Semitism and rural politics in northwest Germany. I am completing a monograph for Bloomsbury Press, Anti-Semitism and Rural Politics. You can follow my project at Along with Mark Sadler, I have published a book of primary documents on the Stab-in-the-Back Myth (Dolchstoßlegende). I also invite you to visit my profession web page at
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