Taking Stock & Website Launch

Taking Stock & Website Launch

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Well, it’s been quite the rush but my first semester as a Public History graduate student at Western University is coming to a close. I’ve still got a few end-of-term assignments left, but I’m 80%+ complete all but one of them. The last three months or so have thrown many varied assignments my way. I’ve finished a Heritage Designation project for the City of London’s Heritage Planner, worked on a RAD inventory project at the London Life Corporate Archives, and built a promotional website and timeline for my book at www.eaglesoverhusky.ca. Please take the time to check it out and let me know what you think! You can get to the timeline directly by clicking here.

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In other exciting news, I’ve recently received my first proofs from Helion & Company for Eagles over Husky. I probably won’t look at them in detail until closer to the Christmas break, but this is really exciting. My manuscript actually looks like the inside of a book! Assuming I get the proofs turned around on time, the book should be released in the UK by mid-January or February at the latest. It looks like the book won’t be available at North American retailers until March. In the meantime, I’ll be buying plenty of author’s copies to sell on this side of the Atlantic.

I also recently received a really great testimonial for the book from one of my mentors, Professor Marc Milner, Director of The Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society.

“Eagles over Husky is an exceptional debut for a young scholar. It combines excellent research, clear and evocative writing, and deep reflection to give us totally new insights not only into Operation Husky in 1943, but the whole higher direction of the Allied war effort in Europe during this critical phase.  Fitzgerald-Black provides us with a model of how the role of airpower in the major campaigns of the Second World War can best  be understood.”

– Marc Milner, University of New Brunswick, Canada

I’m literally blown away by Marc’s comments. I can’t wait to start the rounds giving talks about my book and raising awareness for Operation Husky’s 75th anniversary this summer. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with interview requests etc. You can get hold of me by filling out this form. Keep an eye on http://www.eaglesoverhusky.com for new content leading up to the book launch and the anniversary!

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There’s a lot to look forward to in 2018. My fellow students and I will be working on an oral history project with Western University’s McIntosh Gallery. We’ll also be researching and writing a history of beautiful Woodland Cemetery in London, Ontario. What I’m looking forward to most is beginning my work at the Royal Canadian Regiment Museum. I’ve already been volunteering there and can’t wait to get started in collections management. It looks like I’ll be handling some artefacts donated by the estate of Milton F. Gregg, who I wrote about back in October. What a thrill!

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Looking Forward

Looking Forward

I’ve decided to follow my passion for history and make it a career. For the last three years, I worked for a management consulting firm in Moncton, New Brunswick. I learned a lot there, especially the need to activate one’s purpose motive, and that’s what I want to do. My overall goal is to land a job at one of Canada’s military museums, historical societies, or heritage institutions.

My first step on this journey is as a candidate in the University of Western Ontario’s Graduate Studies program in Public History. While I already have a research-based Master of Arts, I was particularly attracted to this program’s practical agenda. This is one of the reasons I’m writing this new blog post. Part of the course requirements for our Digital Public History class – History 9808A – is to maintain a blog to spark class discussions, to serve as a project log, to act as an online presence for future employers, and to get comfortable with writing in public.

I’ve maintained my blog on this website for over three years now, and I wrote the blog at Symplicity Designs, but I’m still a work-in-progress when it comes to public writing. The work I do in History 9808A and my other courses in the program will go a long way to preparing me for a career in the public history field.

I’m excited about Digital Public History in particular because it will give me and my classmates a forum to practice digital history skills and to make our work public. Personally, I’m looking forward to designing and producing a podcast. I’ve been on a podcast as a guest before (check out this previous post on my interview with Angus Wallace and WW2 Podcast) and I’m a regular listener to various other history podcasts. I’ll encourage my classmates to check them out at the links below:

History 9808A wraps up later this fall with an Independent Project meant to give us time to explore an application in digital history. This leads me to what I want to accomplish this term. By December, I would like to have a live website for promoting my first book. Eagles over Husky will be published sometime in Q1 2018 by Helion and Company, based in the United Kingdom. I’ve already bought the domain EaglesoverHusky.com and intend to use http://patrickmdennis.com/ and https://markmanson.net/ as inspiration for my website. I will probably focus more on the book than on myself the author.

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A backup idea (and something I’ve already begun) is to design an On This Date in History (#OTDH) Twitter campaign to promote my book. This campaign will be modelled on Twitter accounts such as @BofB1940, @RAAFvictoryroll, and @RealTimeWWII. I’ll be using the Twitter handle @EaglesoverHusky (already active) to execute the campaign.

The next eight months of coursework (followed by a four-month internship) look to be both some of the most challenging and exciting in my career as an historian. I look forward to sharing my trials, tribulations, successes, and achievements with you over the next 12 months.

“Danger gathers upon our path. We cannot afford – and have no right – to look back. We must look forward.” – Winston Churchill, 10 December 1936

Canadians and War Volume 1

Canadians and War Volume 1

It’s a pleasure to announce that my work on Canadian airmen in the Battle of Sicily is included in Lammi Publishing‘s inaugural Canadians and War volume, just in time for Remembrance Day 2016. You can purchase copies of the e-book direct from the publisher, here, or read more about the volume below. I’m friends with many of the authors and have nothing but glowing things to say about their work.

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From the publisher:

Canadians and War Volume 1 brings together four diverse works of research from four Canadian scholars. Canada’s military history is a living, breathing thing, with endless perspectives and accounts to be heard, and this collection seeks to bring some of those little-known stories to light. See the effects of Canada’s proud military history throughout the world and the century. Go to a Maritime fishing village in “Lunenburg’s ‘Quiet Riot’ and Maritime Resistance to the 1917 Military Service Act” by Maryanne Lewell. Fly high above Sicily in “Canada’s Eagles over HUSKY: Canadian Airmen in the Battle of Sicily” by Alexander Fitzgerald-Black. Experience the Dutch occupation through the eyes of a child in “Who Were Their Liberators?” by Matthew Douglass. Finally, let Lieutenant Colonel W.A. Leavey, (retired) bring his four decades of military experience to hilarious light in “Canadian Army Humour: Second World War.”