THANKSGIVING WITH PROFESSOR JOE SIREN
November 26, 2020. Fairfax, South Carolina
Q. Happy Thanksgiving, Professor! Can I get you something cold to drink?
A. You might twist my arm.
Q. Make yourself comfortable. I’ll be right back.
Q. Before dinner, I wonder if you would consent to a short interview?
A. Fire away.
Q. You’ve been teaching and studying history most of your adult life. In a few words, what have you learned?
A. In a few words! Are you serious? Hmm….well, I’ve learned that history is repetitious and certain themes are apparent throughout time and place. How’s that?
Q. Not bad! Now tell me what led you to study history?
A. As a youngster, I was lucky enough to visit many historical venues in Europe and Japan, and there are several generations of history buffs in my family.
Q. In other words you're a military brat like me.
A. Yes you can say that. We're both army brats.
Q. And we've both lived all over the world . . .
A. That's right. And I still love to travel. Can't wait for this virus to be over so I can get back to it!
Q. I hear that! Now, do you have any times and places you most enjoy reading about?
A. Sure, all historians do. For me, it’s early 20th century Europe and the Meiji era in Japan.
Q. Please name some of your favorite authors.
A. Barbara Tuchman tops the list. Herbert Muller, David McCulloch are close behind. I admire Tuchman’s wide range of subject matter, which is unusual for historians.
Q. Favorite books?
A. The Proud Tower, Mind of the South, Only Yesterday, and everything by Nikos Kazantzakis.
Q. Have you ever met anyone famous?
A. Senator Eugene McCarthy, John McCain, Walter Cronkite, and Norman Mailer.
Q. Wow! You've gotten around. So, if you could go back in time, what year and what place would you go to?
A. That's easy. I would return to the year of my birth with the caveat I knew then what I know now.
Q. Ha-ha that would be fun! Well that’s about all I have.
A. Then bring on the turkey!