Welcome back for Winter quarter. Here's to a great 2015!
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The Department of History

NEWS

Congratulations to UW History graduate student Ross Coen, whose new book Fu-Go: The Curious History of Japan's Balloon Bomb Attack on America has just be published by University of Nebraska Press.

The timing of Ross's book is impeccable: earlier this month, one of these Japanese balloons (with intact bomb) was found in rural British Columbia. This was the first discovery anywhere in North America since the 1960s.

Ross's book is published as part of the "Studies in War, Society, and the Military Series," edited by Peter Maslowski, David Graff, and Reina Pennington. Below is the publisher's description of Fu-Go:

Near the end of World War II, in an attempt to attack the United States mainland, Japan launched its fu-go campaign, deploying thousands of high-altitude hydrogen balloons armed with incendiary and high-explosive bombs designed to follow the westerly winds of the upper atmosphere and drift to the west coast of North America. After reaching the mainland, these fu-go, the Japanese hoped, would terrorize American citizens and ignite devastating forest fires across the western states, ultimately causing the United States to divert wartime resources to deal with the domestic crisis. While the fu-go offensive proved to be a complete tactical failure, six Americans lost their lives when a discovered balloon exploded.

STORIES

Today, Christine R. Charbonneau (B.A., 1982) is the CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, but she started out as a volunteer while studying History at the University of Washington. Planned Parenthood, whose reproductive health mission includes health services, education, and advocacy, is one of the twenty largest not-for-profit organizations in Washington State. Ms. Charbonneau has 500 employees. Looking back, Charbonneau considers her history courses, many of which included learning about social movements, to have been “excellent preparation for the work of leading a social movement.”

As CEO, Charbonneau is responsible for building a shared vision of her organization’s mission and articulating that vision to potential partners. She explains “much of my time… is spent story-telling… creating a picture of a world that would work so well we would all want to live in it, and giving people a chance to give their money to make it a reality.” She credits the skills she built as a History major for much of her success in her current position.

“Working to get my degree in History, I learned to research, write more concisely, argue an intellectual point, assess issues from various angles in various contexts, and organize my thinking into stories evocative of a time and place and set of facts.”

“My greatest strength, especially early in my career, was that I was a skilled generalist. I have been grateful for my education in History every day, which honed those generalist skills. Not only can I occasionally pull some salient fact out of deep memory, but being able to argue persuasively for my cause has been vital for inspiring staff and supporters. Envisioning, then being able to convey exciting ideas and goals and motivate people to work together over three states (and three time zones) and on nationwide projects has made my organization stronger.”

NEW BOOKS

Greece: A Short History of a Long Story presents a comprehensive overview of the history of Greece by exploring the continuity of Greek culture from its Neolithic origins to the modern era. This book tells the story of Greece through individual personalities that inhabited various periods in the lengthy sweep of Greek history; uses an approach based on recent research that includes DNA analysis and analyses of archaeological materials; explores ways in which the nature of Greek culture was continually reshaped over time; and features illustrations that portray the people of different eras in Greek history along with maps that demonstrate the physical sphere of Greece and major events in each of the periods.