Rewriting the Past

Back in May, I posted up a week’s worth of posts detailing my research with Norwich University and our alumni who fought at the Battle of the Bulge between December 16th through January 15th. The trip was incredible, but most of all, I learned quite a bit about working on a historical project with other groups: meeting their expectations, to construct a history that better matches with what they are looking for. Since then, we determined that there was more that could be done with the project, and for most of the summer, I worked on further research, uncovering quite a bit more material from archival sources, interviews and records to come up with a paper that’s far more centered around the men who had fought in Belgium, rather than the actions that thrust them into the spotlight.

The editorial process has been exceptionall well, and there’s a couple of things that I’ve reinforced for myself this time around:

  • Everything that I write generally needs to be put away and revisited with a clear mind. Going over the original paper, there were many parts that I found needed to be redone, either for the language that I used, or restructuring the project in a way that better explained what I was trying to convey to the reader.
  • Live by the calendar. This is a key thing for me: deadlines matter, but marking down deadlines matter even more. I carry my iPad around with me almost everywhere, and as such, it’s become an incredible tool for not only taking notes, but keeping me on task to finish up a project in a timely manner. Plus, deadlines are set much further in advance.
  • Archives are your friend. I don’t know what my hesitation was earlier: I think I wanted to write a paper that focused far more on the battle then the soldiers. The archives are an excellent, astounding wealth of information that I had never even known existed. They’re the first stop for all of my NU related projects from here on out.

The paper is far stronger, in my opinion, and I’ve just wrapped up the final edits before  it’s turned in for good. As such, I’ve removed the older entries that I had posted up, but they’ll be brought back in their new (somewhat longer form) in the very near future.

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