ABSTRACT

Research of individuals and their connections to global issues has been at the heart of John E. Wills, Jr.’s (aka Jack’s) studies for decades. When I sat in his classes many years ago, I was amazed at how one person’s experience could represent an entire world of seemingly endless interactive connections and exchanges. Instead of studying history through generic and unfriendly terms such as imperialism, colonization, and diasporas, one could do the same thing by looking at a real person with a real name, a real family, and a real face. Like many of Jack’s students, I became hooked on the individual and the common man approach to global history.