Several weeks ago, I attended the second installment of a Cold War lecture series hosted by the College of International and Area Studies. I wasn't quite prepared for the type of lecture it turned out to be, but by the end I was able to appreciate its uniqueness.
The tagline was "Personal and Professional Reminiscences of a Scholar/Soldier" - I didn't pay too much attention. But a few minutes into listening to Dr. Fishel speak about his highly personal involvement in the happenings of the Cold War, I realized this really was unlike any lecture I had attended at the university. Here was someone who had not only studied the subject on which he spoke, but had lived it. Granted, at times this made it hard to follow. I myself am no expert on the Cold War, and following the multiple threads of his story - often interrupted with another - while keeping count of the handful of facts I knew about the period was taxing at best. Dr. Fishel, in simply recounting his life story, impressed with not only the intrigue of moving from one position to the next within the greater background of this historical period, but also with the pinpoint accuracy of his recollection. Dates, names, detailed visual depictions of certain scenes, all drew us into the story, enraptured.
I left with a little more knowledge and a lot more respect for this man along with countless others who lived a difficult and interesting double life during the 20th century - scholar-soldiers everywhere.