8,000 Page Fantasy Life

I’m just wrapping up twelve weeks of Hitler and Stalin at the University of Maryland, and has been my experience with every class I have ever taken, I end with not much more than the sense of just how little I know about the subject. I then spend a postmortem of fantasy about actually becoming an expert in something-or-other. The 540 pages of Geyer and Fitzpatrick’s Beyond Totalitarianism: Stalinism and Nazism Compared and similar number of pages of selected journal articles weren’t enough. Thus, a Year of Hitler could be in my future as well (Barnett, Erica C., “My Year of Hitler: Six Things I Learned from Reading 8,000 Pages About the Nazis,” SLOG, The Stranger, 26 May 2009). Coincidentally, I’m tentatively titling my paper “Seven Ways to Think about Stalin during the Interbellum.”