Who Am I ?
My name is Robert Bluestein, and I seem to have been imbued with an insatiable curiousity about everything. I am first and foremost, a Historian. My areas of specialization range from Classical Greece and Rome and through the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Technically my degree is in Medieval History, but I am equally fascinated by the History of America too. I see history as a wheel with many spokes eminating from within and each spoke a different approach to the same event at the center. For example, you can take one event, such as the American Civil War, and you can look at it from a Cultural standpoint. You can also look at it from a medical standpoint. You can look at it from a physical anthropology standpoint. Many different spokes and one major event all make for an intriguing look at our human experience.
My journey as a Historian began because I loved Genetics and how humans became, well, humans. I was captured by one of my professors account of the Plague of the Middle Ages and as Organic Chemistry began to lower my GPA, I shifted my courses to Radio-TV and then ultimately to History. But I still find Genetics and the spread of Disease to be a passion of mine. In fact, I have traveled much of the world and seen a great deal of suffering along the way.
I have a passion for the arts and photography is perhaps amongst the highest among them. I have donated my time and expertise with a camera to support Doctors Without Borders and Survival International, a group dedicated to the preservation of Stone-Age peoples living in today's world. In the course of this crazy journey, I have crossed paths with many people and shared many ideas. Knowledge is our long-lost friend and Passion is our drive to make things better for one another, wherever that may be.
As a Historian, I have found each person to have quite an amazing story, Primary accounts, eyewitnesses to our own history, weave like backstreets behind a myriad of our life experiences. The truth is elusive but it will run us down and catch us, and free us from the stereotypes that imprison us into old-world thinking. Lately, I have embarked on a project to interview as many Veterans of our nation that I can find, with a special interest in World War II survivors. Men and Women who otherwise have never told their story or perhaps never thought it was important, have shared with me their life stories.
And it gives them a chance to be born-again when they share with me their stories. I asked them to incorporate all five of their senses when relaying their stories to me and it suddenly brings you - the reader - into the world they lived in, full of color, fragrences, tastes, feel and sounds. This project is caled ''Just Five More Minutes'' and has been a three year labor of love where I have come to know many of these great men and women and sadly, attended many of their funerals. Many of them have given me their personal items, from uniformas to love letters they wrote home. Through these, we get a real glance at what these people went through and how they overcame.
The second project is much more broad than the first one. This has taken twenty years and is still moving along. I am detailing everything I can about the genetic disposition of human kind and how we came to physically be where we are today. But moreover, it is a study of how we know the things we know and how historians critically look at past events. So within this book is a study of Anthropology, Primative People's alive today, Archaeology, Paleobotany, and Forensic Geology and the Extinction Events that the earth has endured. It completely covers every aspect of the human experience and there is sure to be something of interest to everyone in these chapters.
Aside from these two endeavors, I collect Archaeolgical and Geological artifacts and have a sizeable collection of antiquities. I am also a painter, a musician, and I play in a men's baseball league on the side. There aren't many things that don't interest me in some way, shape and form. If you read this and you have any ideas or suggestions for a historical project, please offer them to me. There are probably many things I have yet to think of!
These are a few of the items in my personal collection. The telescope is a French Navigational Scope from 1740.
These are a collection of Medieval Artifacts that would have likely been in every home. Here you have re-strikes of classical currency, Benedictine Crosses, A common nail, Clothes fasterners and leather strippers and even a lead button!
The Ship of Mercy brings medical and food supplies to those in West Africa. Here is an AIDS orphan, Lucy. I wanted to adopt her!
At Right: This is a lucky find from an Estate Sale. It is a second-ever printing of Charles Darwin's ''Origin of Species'' which is worth a great deal more than the $3 I paid for it.
Below: This is from a World War I photo album purchased at a different Estate Sale. The album belonged to Lt. Franklin Bowerman and he served in Germany.
Below Right: This is my 1986 Takimimi which I purchased at a Garage Sale for $50. It sounds wonderful.
Above: World War I era stamps from French-West Africa.
Below: With the recent discovery of a new species of human in South Africa, we further solidified our knowledge that all of humanity streamed out of Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago.
Below Right: Also from my collection, this is an Assyrian Dog, carved from copper and dates from the 9th century BC.
Below: This guitar is from 1944 and was given to me by a Chief Petty Officer Robert Parks, (NY) who played it often to keep morale of the sailors up even when under attack. The guitar was the only thing to survive the sinking of the small Amphibious Landing Boat because the captain ordered it salvaged at all costs. The guitar was passed overhead from man-to-man until it was safely dry and upon the shore. Parks would later get to the island himself and began playing it for the stranded sailors.
Below Right: These are more of my collection and these are VERY old. A few of these are Neolithic Hand Axes and Arrowheads and the four on the top are actually Neanderthal hand axes. What can we tell from these? Three-out-of-Four of these hand-axes are made for right-handers, but the one on far left is for a left-hander.
Bottom Left: This is a beautiful piece of Lapis that is in my collection. I picked this beautiful stone up in the old-market in Ankara Turkey in 1990.
Bottom Right: This is Colchester England, site of one of my favorite stories in all of history. This is where Claudius and the Roman Legions landed when they invaded Brittania.