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Sharing the joy of home and history

Murray State University professor James Duane Bolin is more than a teacher of history, he is also a writer of history. Since 2005, Bolin has been recording the events of his life through essays published in the Murray Ledger & Times, Danville Advocate-Messenger, Providence Journal-Enterprise, Sebree Banner, and the Kentucky Gazette. Now a collection of his favorites can be found in Home and Away: A Professor’s Journal (Acclaim Press).

Bolin’s topics center around the themes most dear to him—family, Kentucky, travels, teaching, learning, history, reading, writing, vocation, and life. Whether sharing an anecdote or preserving a memory, Bolin’s stories are personal and heartwarming, demonstrating a reflective and evaluative look into the past that will perhaps spark a memory in his readers’ minds as well. With each topic division, Bolin includes a smattering of photos linked to those essays.

“Dr. Bolin has the uncanny ability to weave small-town histories, attributes, and traditions

Photo: Sherry McClain

with current events. His insights, marked with a genteel writing style, are a joy to read and deliver a poignant message,” says Dr. Robert O. Davies, president, Murray State University.

Bolin demonstrates his true love of his vocation, both as a teacher and a writer, by including a list of authors and books that inspired his writing career in hopes that his readers will likewise be inspired in some way. After all, were it not for those who take it upon themselves to record life’s events, how would future generations learn from the experiences of those who have gone before them?

Along that line of thinking, Bolin asserts, “Studying history is not a luxury. It is an absolute necessity.” He adds that reading and thinking about history allows one to keep the link intact between ancestors and self, helping one to know from where he came and to better determine where he is going. “By remembering the past, we make sense of our lives. We see how we fit into the big picture, the whole scheme of things.”


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