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Total Eclipse of the Past (Guest Post by William S. Cossen)

With a few exceptions, solar eclipses have played largely peripheral roles in historical scholarship on the United States. Chief among these exceptions are historian Louis Masur’s 2001 book 1831: Year of Eclipse and journalist David Baron’s 2017 book American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World. Masur’s work conceives of the 1831 eclipse as “metaphor and omen,” albeit one that had a significant impact on the beginning of Nat Turner’s rebellion in Virginia.[1] Baron argues in his book that “[e]clipses inevitably reveal much about ourselves, too. What we Read more