Turns out my American History student is actually taking Modern European History and that she wanted help not preparing for a test, but writing a paper. The subject? Was Marshall Petain a patriot or a traitor? (Her answer: the latter). At the end of the session, I told her to rent The Sorrow and the Pity because, well, it's so good. The best documentary ever made. (Really. HIGHLY recommended. Long, but easy to break into separate viewing sessions). Also, it's about Vichy France. So there was some relevance.
It turns out she got the idea to write about Petain through Lord of the Rings. (She was curious about "You shall not pass!" which lead her to Verdun which lead her to Petain). So, that endeared me to her, obviously. Not that I much like LOR (I was never a Tolkein head), but that she displayed that level of geekiness. It's what we like to see.
As I told her, it's not much of an exaggeration to say that every single French play written between the years of 1945 and 1970 deals in some way with the legacy of Vichy. At least every one that I've ever read. Novels too, I'm sure. And since I was a French major in college, I had to endure quite a number of said plays. Of course at no point during those studies did we actually learn the details of what HAPPENED in France during the War (events are so pedestrian), but still. It's a subject near and dear to my heart. And Sartre's. "Do not be a collaborationist pig," was essentially the summation of my college studies in French Literature. A lesson I still follow to this day.
So my reading up on the Grange and the Haymarket strike and the Taft Administration will avail me nothing. Oh well.
More tutoring this afternoon and evening. I've started reading Graham Greene's The Comedians, about the situation in Haiti in the 60s.