On the podcast this week I have released the second part of my conversation with Felipe Fernández-Armesto. In this podcast Felipe reflects on the multipolar world, China, India, Russia and the Hispanic History of America. We also have a remarkable conversation about the explorer, Magellan, and how explorers and exploration are the frontier of cross-cultural exchange.
The Burning Archive podcast brings you a special two-part interview with the esteemed world historian, Felipe Fernández-Armesto.
Change is part of life and central to history. But has the pace of change accelerated over the last 50 years beyond our capacity to cope?
On the podcast this week I gave a rapid fire history of the Altlantic, structured around seven key dates. These dates provide glimpses into the multipolar history of the Atlantic Ocean, and the chameleon-like character of the Atlantic idea, institutions, alliance and civilization. It tells the story of how NATO emerged from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
I have just released episode 55 of the Burning Archive podcast. This episode is about the concept of civilization, in both the legendary game Civ I-VI and in the traditions of history-writing. Civilization, the game, is soon to be released in its 7th edition. In this episode of The Burning Archive I respond to a… Continue reading The making of my podcast marathon on Civilizations
Elena Shvarts and the burnt archive. Olga Tokarczuk, The Books of Jacob, and the perils of order in history. The Stranger Effect and the charisma of Messiahs. The Coming of the Third Reich. Hermann Broch, The Death of Virgil and the ethics of poetry as gathering flowers of the mind.
Today after the distressing events and death in the Capitol building of Washington DC that interrupted the process of confirming electoral college votes, I am reposting this piece from five months ago. It may be more relevant today than then. I would place my bets on fragmentation or collapse at this stage *** Original Post… Continue reading America’s fate: civil war, fragmentation or collapse?
"even well-educated, amiable, open-minded people in the United States do not realize that their country has a Hispanic past as well as a Hispanic future."Felipe Fernandez-Armesto Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States Over the last few weeks I have read Felipe Fernandez-Armesto's Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States. The… Continue reading America’s Hispanic Past and its Hispanic Future Proves it is not Exceptional
There is increasing talk of a looming civil war in America. There has even been a website - anewcivilwar.com - established to track the increasing speculation on civil war by both left and right. Two years ago the academic military strategist, Michael Vlahos speculated on the form and likelihood of a Third Civil War. Vlahos… Continue reading America’s fate: civil war, fragmentation or collapse?
I am in Bali, staying for a short stay luxury escape at Padma Resort, Ubud, which is actually at a small village, Payangan, about 45 minutes drive north of Ubud. It is a marketing sleight of hand by the resort, but no matter. For the cost of minor distance from the well-known Ubud, connected by… Continue reading Notes on a Balinese cockfight
I am returning today to my notes on my travels, and piecing together the literary and cultural associations prompted by my travels through Stockholm and Uppsala in June. I began to say that I knew little Swedish or Scandinavian writing or culture as I entered the country, but that was not really true. As we… Continue reading My descriptions of the Northern Peoples – travel in Stockholm and Uppsala
Over the last couple of months I have been reading history. Simon Sebag Montefiore's The Romanovs: 1613-1918, Orlando Figes A People's Tragedy: the Russian Revolution 1891-1924, and Ian Kershaw's Rollercoaster: Europe 1950-2017. All of this reading has been valuable and fascinating to me. The intricate catastrophes of the Romanov dynasty, the myriad tragedies of the… Continue reading The slow death of my history
About a year ago I wrote a post Time might change me, but I can't change time. It was prompted by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto’s A foot in the river: why our lives change and the limits of evolution, and frustration with a dose of bland management rhetoric about change. Today I finished rereading Fernandez-Armesto’s book, again prompted to… Continue reading Turn and face the strange…
Civilizations and natures From time to time, I am tempted to be a prophet of a doom, and like Cassandra abandon myself to "the awful pains of prophecy... maddening as they fall" (Agamemnon); but something in my temperament, holds me back to a more tempered and sane view. History is neither progress nor complete decay.… Continue reading The many cradles of civilizations (list)
Roger Scruton writes, in How to be a Conservative: Whatever our religion and our private convictions, we are the collective inheritors of things both excellent and rare, and political life, for us, ought to have one overriding goal, which is to hold fast to those things, in order to pass them on to our children… Continue reading Time may change me but I can’t change time
Fernandez-Armesto's final prediction is almost too mild. It would seem like stating the obvious until you recall how often the obvious is ignored. Cultures freeze their minds at the moment of their triumph, and continue to regard themselves as global leaders while decay is obvious to all. The United States with its eternally replenishing liberal… Continue reading Final millennial prediction: initiative will continue to shift