In the spring of 1986, the University of Texas admitted me to its graduate history program, and at the end of the summer I moved to Austin TX. I worked as a teaching assistant to support myself. Professor Black of Princeton wrote a strong letter of recommendation and told me that moving to a new part of the country would be good for me. He could not have been more right.
Austin is a beautiful and livable city, and I was able to get around on foot or by bus quite comfortably. In addition to making new friends in the history program, I got to know students in economics through a joint history course that I took with them. I was particularly close to the circle of history students who shared my faculty adviser, W. Roger Louis.
My field of graduate study was Modern Britain and the Commonwealth, which included India, much of Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the West Indies. I also studied British and European social history. After four years, I began for my thesis a biography of Philip Kerr (1882-1940), a British journalist and sometime official who tried with very uneven results to mediate conflict at home and abroad. After a year to do research, I began to write. But I was very burned out by then and didn't finish when my eligibility for university employment ran out in mid-1993. My parents allowed me to finish at home over the following year and I graduated in May 1995. Here is a graduation photo of me with my sister Sarah and Travis Hanes, who was one of the graduate students I studied with.
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