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May 11, 2005 1:13 am

Cliopatria Welcomes Chris Bray ...

Cliopatria is pleased to welcome Chris Bray to its circle. Bear with me. This is quite a story. Chris is a Californian, born in Anaheim and raised in the San Gabriel Valley. After high school, he began working as a journalist, initially for small community newspapers, but placing his work elsewhere, as well: Buzz, Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Reader, Newsday, and, as Ambrose Beers, he became a columnist at

In April 1999, Bray joined the United States Army. While in service at Fort Benning, Georgia, he began taking college classes at night. When his tour of duty was up in August 2001 [nb!], Chris entered Pitzer College in Claremont, California. He had been planning a return to journalism, but his history professors in the Claremont Colleges, Stuart McConnell, Jonathan Petropoulos, Rita Roberts, and Andre Wakefield, saw a historian in the making. His senior thesis was about cases heard by the Florida Supreme Court on armed black self-defense in the late 19th and early 20th century. Graduating with honors from Pitzer, Chris entered the graduate program in history at UCLA.

I first encountered Chris Bray at his group blog, Histori-blogography, but I've also read his articles and reviews at HistoryNewsNetwork, the LA Times op-ed page, Reason, and the Washington Post's Book World. At UCLA, Bray has been working with Joan Waugh. In September 2005, he was to present his dissertation proposal on late 19th century American foreign policy, economic history, and race. But Chris has remained in the Individual Ready Reserve and is known to be one of these guys. On Friday, 6 May, he was ordered to report for duty. Chris will marry his girlfriend of over three years, screenwriter Ann Cherkis, on 20 May and will report for duty on 5 June, with the expectation of being sent to Iraq. We look forward to his posts over the subsequent 545 days and to his release on 1 December 2006. He hopes to present that dissertation proposal in January 2007. We're very proud to have Chris join us at Cliopatria.

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More Comments:

Chris Bray - 5/11/2005

Thanks, and I'm looking forward to getting started. Although things are a little hectic this week, and my warm thank-you to the United States Army for that generous 29-day warning...

Jonathan Dresner - 5/11/2005

until a new Cliopatriarch posts their own first post before I issue my official welcome, but in this case I think Chris might be a bit too busy for a little while.

In addition to everything else he does, blog and academically, Chris is one of the staunchest defenders of historical realism against fanciful and distorted revisionism in the comments sections of Eric Muller's blog, where fanciful distorters often run amok. In addition to the weight of evidence and logic, Chris has a rapier-tongued ability to pierce to the heart of a matter, making further comment by either side irrelevant. I'm glad he's joining us!