". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Turn Premieres April 6 on AMC

Turn is AMC's  new series that features the Culper Ring, General Washington' network of spies who provided him information about the British.  They mostly were "undistinguished" individuals in the history of the American War of Independence, meaning they were successful spies, who were not caught, thus footnotes rather than titles of books.  Their region was New York - Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut.  They were mostly small tradesmen, farmers, and so on.

This is a series to which I've been looking forward.  I spent a fair amount time while working at the Fraunces Tavern Museum -- another center for Washington's spies -- looking at the activities of the Culper Ring.

For background in this action of the War of Independence there is an excellent book, Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring (2006),  by Alexander Rose.

For a detailed background and shooting of the AMC Turn, Hank Stuever of the Washington Post has written one, which can be read here (with the caveat -- really? the only comparison, Mr. Stuever, you can make about the character of

General Washington and the actor playing him is to frackin' Don Draper? -- how pathetic is that -- even though Mad Men is an AMC show? Television writing has a long way to go ....)

Personally, I find it more than ironic, considering our national history, particularly of who held the presidency more than any other state or region, that the shooting of Turn -- a story of the role of the New York region -- is done in Virginia. Even in television Virginia 'owns' all of our history: all of it still belongs to Old Dominion, as it has always and still claims!

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