Why the Middle East Is the Way It Is Today

No one piece of writing can actually detail how the Middle East is now an area in so much turmoil, but reading this – Fractured Lands: How The Arab World Came Apart from The New York Times Magazine– can offer some insights. (N.B. This is the only time in the magazine’s history that it has devoted the entire section to a single story.)

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Our Newest National Monument

In honor of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, President Obama has declared this 87,000 acre preserve in Maine as our newest national monument. The difference between a national park and a national monument is explained here. A report in The Smithsonian provides links and background information.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: Early Diplomatic Correspondence

Before the United States was the United States, it operated under the Continental Congress and the Articles of Confederation, a less than effective central government. However, it still needed to have relations with foreign powers if only to secure needed military supplies and other forms of aid. Representatives were dispatched to Europe, among them Benjamin Franklin, to engage in diplomatic negotiations. Their various writings and other documents are collected in The revolutionary diplomatic correspondence of the U.S. under direction of Congress (6 volumes, 1889) and The Emerging nation: a documentary history of the foreign relations of the United States under the Articles of Confederation, 1780-1789 (3 volumes, 1996).


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Historical Books/Journals on American Agriculture

Suffice it to say, farming has been one of the central industries in this country. (Look at the Census of Agriculture dating back to 1840 and visit the National Agriculture Statistics Service). The Core Historical Literature of Agriculture from Cornell University has digitzed over 2,000 important farming books, along with various farming journals. You can peruse a 1623 treaties on the “historie of bees” or leaf through 1840s issues of the Central New-York Farmer. And what you will find is that what was important to agriculture then is just as important today.

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Soldier Newspapers in the Civil War

This site from the National Endowment for the Humanities features examples of newspapers run and printed by soldiers for soldiers. Access to issues of the newspapers, as well as detailed histories of each one, are provided. A marvelous research tool for boots-on-the-ground perspectives.

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U.S. Intelligence Reforms in the 1970s

As this 2005 report from the CIA states: “To understand the Intelligence Community as it exists today thus requires some grounding in how it has evolved from World War II into its present complex, diffuse, and often bewildering form. It is this paper’s purpose to explain the evolution of today’s Intelligence Community by examining the principal reform efforts that various surveys, study commissions, and task forces have undertaken since 1947.”(1) This report lists the main reform projects undertaken and offers a summary of their respective findings. To augment this report, having recourse to the following Foreign Relations of the United States volumes will provide valuable primary sources: Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Volume II; Organization and Management of Foreign Policy; Public Diplomacy, 1973–1976, Volume XXXVIII, Part 2; and Organization and Management of Foreign Policy, Volume XXVIII.


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Bibliography on ISIS

ISIS Bibliography (Part 1 and Part 2 from Perspectives on Terrorism) provides access to hundreds of references, links provided where possible, to this terrorist group. Books, articles, websites, theses, bibliographies and the like are all included in this almost 90-page work. A great resource.

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