Anyone who reads The Way of Improvement Leads Home on a regular basis knows that I like to link to Jim Cullen’s posts at American History Now. I was thus a bit saddened to learn that Cullen is in the process of closing down the blog. He has not set a final date for ending it , but he says “I believe it will be soon.”
I have really enjoyed American History Now for its steady stream of Cullen reviews, academic fiction, and posts on Springsteen.
Here is a taste of Cullen’s announcement:
So, has American History Now been a success? I guess I’d say yes: any enterprise that helped keep me out of trouble — which is to say has given me at least an illusion of purpose for the last four years — has been valuable. The blog has had about 100,000 page views, which is strictly small potatoes, though a few of my pieces have been accessed hundreds of times, which I think counts as a small audience, one that’s both global and unlikely to have exposure to my work any other way. On the other hand, I haven’t exactly found fame and fortune.
And I’m tired. I began the blog four years ago amid a fallow period in my writing career. In the last four years I wrote two books and prepared second editions of two others, but my momentum has stopped: I’m back where I started, unsure where to go next — or, indeed, whether to go any further, writing-wise. American History Now no longer seems like an exciting new experiment. Actually, it feels like an experiment that’s run its course. I have no clear deadline for ending it, but I believe it will be soon. That may not matter much, not only because it won’t be missed, but because on any given week it’s old posts, not new ones, that get viewed by readers. This is actually what I hoped for; I conceived the blog less as a vehicle for journalism than as a repository for a body of work that would become a very small part of a very large public record.