A great deal has transpired since this site was last active almost four years ago. When we last left our heroes (Rocky and Bullwinkle reference, anyone?), I was on the library staff at the James P. Boyce Centennial Library of Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY. The summer of 2012 brought me to a new chapter in life as the Dean of Library Services at Oklahoma Baptist University, where I also now serve as VP/CIO. Resurrecting this site has been a decision long in coming and which will be explained in due course as the trajectory of OBU’s information services is explained in detail in future weeks.
The name of the site and its location have changed a bit as well. This is now “MyCommonplaces.org,” not just commonplaces.
But as I always have, I will periodically highlight books of interest that come across my desk here in the library. First up, Ian Kershaw’s To Hell and Back.
Few authors would have the ability, and perhaps the determination, to take on the history of both world wars and the connecting decades at this level of sophistication, depth and breadth — Robert Tombs The Times It is true that his subject could hardly be more familiar, but it is a great achievement to cover such vast historical territory in under 600 pages and with such scrupulous balance, care and good sense. Other historians’ books on the same period may be flashier or more provocative. But to read Kershaw on Europe’s bloody century is to be driven through a ravaged landscape in the sleek, smooth comfort of a Rolls-Royce, guided by a historian who probably knows the territory better than anybody else on the planet — Dominic Sandbrook The Sunday Times Ian Kershaw is the historian that other academic historians most admire … Prof Kershaw sits at the very top of his profession. He is one of a tiny handful of historians whose books will still be read in 100 years. So he takes a big risk by moving out of his area of expertise in order to write an all-encompassing history of Europe in the 20th century. His courage has paid off. To Hell and Back, the first of two volumes on the subject, is a triumph — Laurence Rees The Mail on Sunday A triumph — Lawrence Rees Mail on Sunday Kershaw leads his readers through this complex history in a clear and compelling manner — Joanna Bourke Prospect To Hell and Back should be required reading in every chancellery, every editorial cockpit and every place where peevish Euroskeptics do their thinking — Harold Evans The New York Times Authoritative — Nicholas Shakespeare Telegraph