For the past ten years, I have given a number of talks, mainly on historical topics or literary figures, in the central Florida community. These range from overviews of Shakespeare's life and that of Hemingway to examinations of a diverse crew of characters who interested me: the Emperor Frederick II, whose many achievements included respect for the Islamic world in the Middle Ages; Winston Churchill, a complicated man, admirable despite his faults and errors; Matteo Ricci, the Jesuit who brought Western science to China before dying there in 1610. And others.
Even though there is no inherent relationship among these studies, since they represent a big chunk of my thinking and research, I decided to publish them. This was made easy because my wife, Lynn Schiffhorst, has mastered the technique of launching a number of her stories on Amazon's Kindle.
And so, yesterday, with her help, Living with Past: Essays on History was published. I doubt if many people will find it or bother to download and read it, but it satisfies me that much of what I have written will, like this blog, have a permanent home and not be lost when I am gone.
I am grateful to the various groups (such as the University Club of Winter Park and the English-Speaking Union) for inviting me to talk to appreciative audiences, providing opportunities for me to examine history from a biographical perspective. And I am grateful to Kindle for helping us make the process of electronic publishing easy.