Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ode to Eugen Weber

I love history. In fact, I'm currently working on becoming a high school history teacher. In the past year or so, I have discovered a television program called The Western Tradition, which airs on WHYY at 5:00am. The show chronicles the history of western civilization and it is tremendous. Here is a clip.

He is like a god clad in tweed! Listen to how he rolls his r's.

The program was originally filmed in 1989 and is broken into 52 half hour episodes. The program is hosted by former UCLA Professor and famous writer, Eugen Weber. Weber does an excellent job of explaining history through highlighting art, letters, and details that are often ignored by many other historical programs.

In the last week or so I began having daydreams of meeting this man. Perhaps I would write him a letter. We would begin corresponding about the rise of nationalism in France during the 19th century or how the Viking invasions of central Europe served as a catalyst for economic change during the Dark Ages. Oh, the things this man could teach me about history! Much to my dismay, I just learned yesterday that Weber died last year of Pancreatic cancer and so, we will never have that correspondence.

I know it seems odd that I feel so strongly about someone I have never met, but I can honestly say that the man has inspired me. He makes we want to wear a suit and tie everyday once I'm a teacher. It's a profession goddammit.

Here's to you old man.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Just ran across this post and must say I feel the way you do about Prof. Weber. However I was fortunate enough to have some correspondence with him and even met him for lunch on campus at UCLA. It was awesome meeting him. He was quite a character.

GenZod said...

Link to streaming video!