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.

Curriculum Vitae





  1. I just happened upon your blog by accident, but I think you are now my favorite read!! I shared a couple of your blogs on my page to get some conservative trollers a little annoyed! Hope that is cool with you!

    • Well, thanks for reading and for the compliments! And yes, you may feed the trolls if you like; one of my rules regarding this blog is to call out conservatism for the authoritarian ideology that it is. Folks are free to disagree with me, of course, unless they’re dicks about it. I try and post once a week since I do this blog in my free time (of which I wish had more), and should have a new post up over the weekend. In the mean time, check out my past posts, as I think you’ll like some of my other historically minded rants. Thanks again for reading.

  2. Mr Ruminsky,

    There is no other way to contact you in private, so I am leaving a comment.

    I am really interested in your writing, and think that you would be a great addition to The Art of Polemics Magazine. We are an online history magazine, yet we also publish an ezine.

    If you are willing to write for us, please do so through here http://theartofpolemics.com/write-for-us/
    Alternatively you may contact Aaron Watts, our op-ed editor, at op-ed@theartofpolemics.com

    Our next issue will be in print, and are looking for dedicated historians.

    Milad Doroudian
    Senior Editor

  3. I too stumbled upon this blog. Keep up the good work. Love the illustrations. Governor Warren and John Brown, the picture of John Calhoun with his “crazy eyes” is a classical. As is Andy’s response to one of his toasts: “The union, it must and will be preserved”

  4. Hello, Mr. Ruminski. I’ve been a long time fan of your blog, and I’ve been thinking about starting my own blog under the name Carpe Sapientia et Virtus, meaning “Seize wisdom and power”. Would you be able to help me with the accomplishing of this? My blog’s focus is politics, writing from an Independent standpoint. You can contact me at jeremyhillofficial@gmail.com Thank you so much! I hope to hear from you soon.

  5. So glad I stumbled upon this blog. There is so little writing about the correlation between reality television and nostalgia. In a small way your piece on ‘American Pickers’ has helped my Masters dissertation along. Thank you =)

    • Hey thanks for the kind words! I’ve put the blog on hiatus for a while, but I plan to get back to writing eventually. Thanks again.

  6. This is probably silly to ask, but have you listened to Murder Ballads of 1816: The Year Without Summer? If you are as big of a history nerd as I am, then I think you would love it.

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