Happy Tuesday, everyone! What a crazy week, right? Luckily here there have been no earthquakes or floods, just continuing heat and drought (two straight months of 105+ temps–I want autumn already!) and I am buried in trying to finish revisions before I go on vacation on the 12th. So this post will be short….

I’ve been reading Amanda Foreman’s fascinating new book, A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War. It’s 900 pages so it’s taking me a while, but every time I sit down to read I find myself totally engrossed. I’m embarrassed to admit I know so much less about American history than European history, and very little about the Civil War (except what I learned as a kid touring some battlefields with my grandparents!), but almost nothing about European attitudes toward the war, but Foreman’s book reads like a novel about complex, fascinating, and very human characters of all sorts (both known and unknown). Their world, much like ours, was caught in the grip of profound uncertainty, and Britain was no exception despite their official neutrality. (British attitudes were especially complex, given how attitudes were overwhelmingly in favor of abolition but Northern mills were heavily dependent on Southern cotton–the blockade threw tens of thousands into unemployment…)

I highly recommend this book! And now I need to get offline and get back to work, so let’s look at some historical photos (which I love doing!). Have you read anything good lately? Gone on any good summer vacations?