I have been remiss in my blogging duties. Aside from finishing a series of articles on self-presentation and psychological assessment, which I will report on tomorrow, I have been finishing up the magisterial work on the Korean War by the late David Halberstam (The Coldest Winter). It is not just about the war, but the world situation after WWII, the fall of colonial regimes following WWII, the immediate shift to the Cold War following the fall of Berlin, and American domestic politics during and following the Truman administration–there was a savage right wing in American politics then, too. About 10 years ago, when I turned 50, I started on a dedicated task of undestanding the history of events that have occured in the span of my lifetime. I was previously more knowledgeable about ancient near Eastern history, or the history of late antiquity than my own time. Part of this is the desire to understand the way that the larger events of my era has influenced who I am–a sort of personal psychoanalysis by understanding the way I have been shaped by my own times and the ways that events shaped the people who shaped me–my own parents. Much of my early life I was completely unaware of what was going on, though I occasionally had a vague awareness of the larger events (do you remember the Cuban Missile Crisis (I was 13)? when John Kennedy was assasinated (I was in 9th grade)? I was born in 1949, four years after the world-wide cataclysm of WWII, the Korean War was getting under way–a horrible and costly waste of life with terrible anxiety about its outcome (not unlike the situation we currently face in Afghanistan)–the Cold War and nuclear arms race already started (Joe Stalin got the A Bomb and then the H Bomb! they got it from American spies! do you remember crawling under desks during A bomb drills?), the McCarthy era of American politics, the “Red Scare,” fateful decisions to get invoved in the anti-colonial war in Indochina. The year after I graduated from high school in 1967, interested only in girls, cars, and having fun with my surfing buddies, I had no idea what our country was going through in Vietnam (Tet Offensive started in January 1968, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were killed that year). In other words, the world in which I was raised (everyone stereotypes the 50’s as bland and conformist–hardly!) was one of tremedous uncertainty. It had to be a constant concern of my parents, a concern of all our parents, though I was blissfully unaware. All of our lives take place against the backdrop of terrifying historical events. I am no longer blissfully unaware.