Eric Marcarelli

Software Developer, Writer, Painter

Review of Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America

August 13, 2011 by Eric Marcarelli in Books, History 0 comments
Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America by Jeff Ryan was a fun, quick read. I have to agree with other reviewers that the book lacks a certain amount of depth, and anyone interested in the history of video games probably already knows most of the material in the book. It manages not to feel like a rehash, however, and there are a number of interesting trivia gems throughout. The humor is mostly corny, and not always in a good way. It doesn’t add much for me, but isn’t too distracting either. The book kept my interest all the way through, and it certainly makes you want to go play Mario. Overall I’d recommend it for any Nintendo fan.

Lands of Marvels and Monsters: The Far East in the Medieval European Imagination

August 08, 2010 by Eric Marcarelli in Culture, History, Writing 0 comments
As a research prospectus I wrote for my historiography and historical methods class, this piece is not quite a finished essay. Nevertheless, I love the subject and believe others will enjoy reading through it. If you’re working on a similar project, the annotated bibliography should be quite useful. The numbers scattered throughout the text refer to the notes at the bottom. To medieval Europe, Asia was a distant land of marvels, inhabited by strange creatures as well as monstrous races of humans. The difficulty of travel prevented more than a trickle of European visitors, and it seems that even the few accurate accounts of the region did little to change these views. Europeans based their image of Asia on ancient accounts inherited from Greece and Rome, and filtered these ideas through the lens of Christianity. The view of Asia in Medieval Europe does not seem to receive much attention; it is often relegated to the role of setting a foundation for examination of European colonialism that occurred in later centuries. Nevertheless, there are plenty of secondary sources that cover aspects of the issue to some extent. There are also a fair number of primary sources to draw from, and though […]

Review of That Noble Dream

August 08, 2010 by Eric Marcarelli in Books, History, Writing 0 comments
Peter Novick’s That Noble Dream: The “Objectivity Question” and the American Historical Profession traces the intellectual and institutional developments of the American historical profession from its inception in the late nineteenth century up to the late twentieth century. The central theme of the book concerns the changing attitudes towards the concept of historical objectivity. Novick describes objectivity as “sprawling collections of assumptions, attitudes, aspirations, and antipathies” (1). The essential idea of objectivity is that there is a true past that can be discovered by historians, and that the facts associated with that history are not dependent on the values of the historian that discovers or interprets them (1-2). The narrative Novick crafts out of the hundred years he covers is, despite his apologetic statement about discussing only the more prominent historians, both comprehensive and cohesive. His research is consistently strong throughout the book. While not the liveliest of authors, Novick’s presentation is always clear and approachable. Altogether it is a remarkable piece of scholarship that should serve equally well as an introduction to the history of the historical profession and as resource for more serious researchers.

Delicate Balance: How the Strength of Common Bonds Shapes a Nation

August 08, 2010 by Eric Marcarelli in Culture, History, Writing 0 comments
This is a long, somewhat dense, but hopefully interesting look into an important aspect of national communities. It is the mid 19th century and settlers are blazing a trail across the Great Plains of America. Their fearless procession proceeds with irrepressible optimism towards seemingly boundless horizons. A fledgling American nation has articulated its destiny and will advance west until it eventually spans the entire continent. Tragically, during this time of great national growth American Indian tribes are to be subjugated through a series of wars, relocations, and broken promises. A century later America is engulfed in the Second World War and a united nation stands up triumphantly to the powers of oppression. Yet this society founded on the ideals of freedom is destined to turn on its weaker members and force innocent Americans of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps. America has led the world in protection of personal freedoms but at the same time has been home to several humanitarian disasters. Being capable of both great good and great evil, it is essential to discover how we can shape our nation for the better. A national community is more than a group of people living within certain geographic borders. Something […]

Review of The War that Made America

August 08, 2010 by Eric Marcarelli in Books, History, Writing 0 comments
This is an academic book review I originally wrote for my colonial history class. The War That Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War was written by Fred Anderson, a professor of history at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Anderson has also written longer book, The Crucible of War, on the same subject. In The War that Made America, Anderson argues that the French and Indian War created the conditions that would ultimately lead to the American Revolution, and so it may be considered “the war that made America” (Anderson viii). The war essentially ended France’s imperial presence in North America. Now left to contend alone with the British colonists, whose hatred of Indians was fueled by the war, Native American ability to play a determining role in the developments of North America came to an end. The conduct and conclusion of the war encouraged the British colonists in North America to view themselves as equal partners in the British Empire, while in stark contrast it emboldened Britain to use its military power to exert control over the colonies. Anderson’s work will be explored through an examination of the evidence leading to his thesis, an analysis […]