Eating One’s Own: Examining Civil War

by Howard Burton (Author)
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This book is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and intellectual historian David Armitage, the Lloyd C. Blanfein Professor of History at Harvard University. This conversation covers David Armitage?s research on the history of ideas of civil war from Ancient Rome to the present. A salient feature of Armitage?s work is a strong focus on etymology as it relates to our understanding of how people interpreted (or misinterpreted) and perceived events in history which results in a fascinating exploration of how our understanding of various concepts has been prejudiced by past societies and past beliefs that we might not even be aware of, and how they, in turn, go on to influence other societies; and how this cumulative process frames our understanding of these ideas.

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, Imagining the Possibilities, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

I. Historical Origins - In search of multiple perspectives
II. The Semantic Archaeologist - Analyzing sedimented meanings
III. In Search of a Definition - Francis Lieber?s ?ticklish business?
IV. Bellum Civile - The Roman reference point
V. What Is To Be Done? - Applying historical understanding to the modern world
VI. Historical Relevance - More prevalent than often recognized
VII. Oceans of Possibilities - Future work

About Ideas Roadshow Conversations Series:

This book is part of an expanding series of 100+ Ideas Roadshow conversations, each one presenting a wealth of candid insights from a leading expert through a focused yet informal setting to give non-specialists a uniquely accessible window into frontline research and scholarship that wouldn't otherwise be encountered through standard lectures and textbooks. For other books in this series visit our website:

Book details

Publication date
September 30, 2020
File size
2 MB