Reluctant Empire

Once upon a time, I worked in the public relations office of Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History for a couple of years. One of my favorite dioramas featured two taxidermied lions -the infamous Man-Eaters of Tsavo. These lions killed and consumed anywhere from 30 to over 100 workers during the construction of the railway bridge over the Tsavo River on the Mombasa/Nairobi/Lake Victoria route built in the late 19th century. Read more about Reluctant Empire


A Pair of Queens

On a day when I hope we elect Hillary Clinton as the first woman president of the United States, I thought I’d talk about a couple of books I finished recently – one a female ruler of an ancient state, the other a femme fatale of the imagination. Read more about A Pair of Queens


The Swerve

I have thought and argued, for some time now, that we are the same people that we always were – i.e., that aside from various technical innovations, were we to meet someone from ancient times we would have more in common as human beings than we might think. After all, if we got into a time machine and went back only 100 back-to-back 60-year life spans, we would find ourselves in 4,000 something B.C. Only three of those sets us down in 1836. Read more about The Swerve