I’m Jarret Ruminski. I’m a writer who also has a PhD in U.S. history, which qualifies me to make educated rants about various historical subjects on a somewhat regular basis. I’m interested in all elements of American history and culture — especially how the past continues to inform the present in ways both exhilarating and infuriating.
This site discusses history, public policy, popular culture, and politics.
The title of this site comes from an 1864 remark made by Union General William T. Sherman during the American Civil War. Referring to the former slave trader, Confederate General, Ku Klux Klansman, and all-around jerk, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Sherman growled: “that devil Forrest must be hunted down and killed if it costs ten thousand lives and bankrupts the federal treasury.”
Forrest remains a controversial figure in U.S. history. As a symbol of racism, slavery, and treason, he’s simultaneously derided by those who want to understand the uglier events of America’s past and celebrated by those who want to wrap up the wounds of history in factually relative, revisionist gauze.
In this respect, the symbol of “that devil Forrest” might well be applied to history itself, hence, That Devil History. History is that most nefarious of devils; its influence can be embraced or rejected, invoked for good or bad, used to justify peace or murder, freedom or repression.
With varying degrees of smarm, That Devil History discusses how historical and contemporary cultural issues are interwoven, even in ways that don’t always seem obvious. Everyone has an opinion about history and politics — however poorly informed. Of course, disagree if you must, as long as you read. For my thoroughly awesome credentials, see the CV below.