History Buzz: May 2007

History Buzz

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor/Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

May 28, 2007

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:
    Presidential Campaign 2008 Watch

  • Andrew Polsky on “Campaign tunes not so simple in US campaigns”: “This is a mistake waiting to happen in New York. Some campaign adviser who cooked up this scheme may be updating his resume if it blows up in her face.” – Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand, 5-28-07
  • Edward Widmer on “Things U.S. presidential hopefuls would rather forget”: “There’s always a tension between what can be said, what should be said and what must be said. The first candidate to calibrate this tension may move to the head of the pack.” – International Herald Tribune, 5-27-07
BIGGEST STORIES:
  • Douglas Brinkley: On Reagan’s Incredibly Personal Account – FoxNews, 5-23-07
  • Douglas Brinkley: Interviewed on Meet the Press about the Reagan diaries – Meet the Press, 5-20-07
  • Douglas Brinkley: The pure Reagan emerges from diaries ‘The Reagan Diaries’ reveals a president who’s thoroughly comfortable with himself – Los Angeles Times, CA, 5-23-07
HNN STATS THIS WEEK:
THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: This Week in History:

  • 05-28-1754 – Lieutenant Colonel George Washington begins the Seven Years’ War
  • 05-28-1863 – Robert Gould Shaw, leading the first northern all-black regiment, leaves Boston for the Civil War.
  • 05-28-1918 – U.S. troops score victory at Cantigny
  • 05-28-1937 – Golden Gate Bridge opens
  • 05-28-1940 – Belgium surrenders unconditionally
  • 05-28-1969 – U.S. troops abandon “Hamburger Hill”
  • 05-28-1987 – Mathias Rust, a 19-year-old pilot from West Germany, landed his private plane in Moscow’s Red Square. He was arrested and sentenced to four years in a labor camp, but was released after just one.
  • 05-28-2003 – Pres. Bush signed a $350 billion tax cut into law; the third largest tax cut in U.S. history.
  • 05-29-1780 – Tarleton gives “quarter” in South Carolina
  • 05-28-1765 – Patrick Henry bitterly denounced the Stamp Act in the Virginia House of Burgesses.
  • 05-28-1790 – Rhode Island became the 13th state in the United States, the last of the original colonies to ratify the Constitution.
  • 05-29-1843 – Fremont begins his second western expedition
  • 05-29-1848 – Wisconsin became the 30th state in the United States.
  • 05-29-1864 – Union troops reach Totopotomoy Creek, Virginia
  • 05-29-1865 – President Andrew Johnson issues general amnesty for all Confederates
  • 05-29-1917 – John F. Kennedy was born in Brookline, Mass.
  • 05-29-1942 – Jews in Paris are forced to sew a yellow star on their coats
  • 05-29-1942 – Bing Crosby recorded his version of “White Christmas.” It would go on to sell over 30 million copies.
  • 05-29-1988 – Reagan arrives in Moscow for summit talks
  • 05-29-1990 – Boris Yeltsin was elected president of the Russian republic by the parliament.
  • 05-30-1431 – Joan of Arc was burned at the stake as a heretic.
  • 05-30-1536 – King Henry VIII of England married his 3rd wife, Jane Seymour, 11 days after he had his 2nd wife, Anne Boleyn executed.
  • 05-30-1806 – Patriot and future President Andrew Jackson kills Charles Dickinson in a duel
  • 05-30-1861 – Union troops occupy Grafton, Virginia
  • 05-30-1862 – Confederates evacuate Corinth, Mississippi
  • 05-30-1864 – Confederates attack at Bethesda Church, Virginia
  • 05-30-1922 – The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, was dedicated by Chief Justice William Howard Taft.
  • 05-31-1775 – Mecklenburg Resolutions reject the power of the British in North Carolina
  • 05-31-1790 – The first U.S. Copyright Law was enacted, protecting books, maps, and other original materials.
  • 05-31-1859 – Big Ben goes into operation in London
  • 05-31-1889 – Heavy rains caused the South Fork Dam to collapse, sending 20 million tons of water into Johnstown, Pa. Over 2,200 people were killed and the town was nearly destroyed.
  • 05-31-1911 – The hull of the Titanic was launched in Belfast. At the ceremony, a White Star Line employee claimed, “Not even God himself could sink this ship.”
  • 05-31-1962 – Former Gestapo official Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel.
  • 05-31-2004 – Alberta Martin, 97, one of the last widows of a U.S. Civil War veteran, died. She had married Confederate veteran William Martin in 1927 when she was 21 and he was 81.
  • 06-01-1792 – Kentucky became the 15th state in the United States.
  • 06-01-1796 – Tennessee became the 16th state in the United States.
  • 06-01-1958 – General Charles De Gaulle became the premier of France.
  • 06-01-1980 – Cable News Network (CNN) debuted.
  • 06-02-1886 – Grover Cleveland became the first U.S. president to get married in the White House.
  • 06-01-1924 – Congress granted U.S. citizenship to all American Indians.
  • 06-01-1941 – Baseball great, Lou Gehrig died of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS, a rare type of paralysis now referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
  • 06-01-1946 – In Italy, a plebiscite rejected the monarchy in favor of a republic. 1953
  • 06-02-1953 – Queen Elizabeth II of Britain was crowned in Westminster Abbey.
  • 06-03-1861 – Stephen Douglas, U.S. politician, died.
  • 06-03-1937 – The Duke of Windsor (formerly Edward VIII) married Wallis Simpson.
  • 06-03-1965 – Maj. Edward White became the first U.S. astronaut to walk in space, during the Gemini 4 mission.
  • 06-01-1989 – Chinese army troops head to Beijing to crush student-led pro-democracy demonstrations.
IN THE NEWS:
REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:
  • Jean Edward Smith: A careful scholar explores the life of an aristocratic man of the people – FDRWaPo, 5-27-07
  • Douglas Brinkley: The Contender A historian argues that Gerald Ford came close to being a great president GERALD R. FORDWaPo, 5-27-07
  • Vincent Bugliosi: Goodbye, Grassy Knoll A famously effective prosecutor tries to prove that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone RECLAIMING HISTORY The Assassination of President John F. KennedyWaPo, 5-27-07
  • Andrew Burstein: Uncovering an American Legend For almost 200 years, his reputation has been trapped in “Sleepy Hollow.” THE ORIGINAL KNICKERBOCKER The Life of Washington IrvingWaPo, 5-27-07
  • Gil Troy on Conrad Black: Conrad Black reflects on Nixon Conrad Black reflects on NixonCanada.com, 5-26-07
  • Rival Books on Hillary Clinton Play Leapfrog on Debut Dates – NYT, 5-22-07
OP-ED:
PROFILED:
INTERVIEWED:
FEATURE:
  • Smithsonian, Congress Share a Turbulent History – NPR, 5-20-07
QUOTED:
  • Lee Edwards on “Carter, with his slam at Bush, breaks code of ex-presidents”: “Mr. Carter is bending, if not breaking, a century-long tradition. You’d have to go back to Theodore Roosevelt, who was so upset about William Taft that he ran for president against him in 1912.” – Financial Express.bd, Bangladesh, 5-24-07
  • Robert Dallek on “Carter, with his slam at Bush, breaks code of ex-presidents”: “Harry Truman didn’t like Eisenhower much, but he kind of kept his tongue about Ike.” – Financial Express.bd, Bangladesh, 5-24-07
  • Julian Zelizer on “Carter, with his slam at Bush, breaks code of ex-presidents”: “Former presidents are extremely cautious, avoiding big, dramatic public declarations” – Financial Express.bd, Bangladesh, 5-24-07
  • Michael Beschloss, Tim Naftali: When Former Presidents Assail the Chief – NYT, 5-22-07
SPOTTED & SPEAKING EVENTS CALENDAR:
HONORED, AWARDED, AND APPOINTMENTS:
  • Robert C. Darnton: Princeton Historian To Head Harvard’s Libraries Darnton will replace Sidney Verba as libaries chief, University professor – TheHarvard crimson, 5-22-07
  • Taylor Branch: King history award from Robert F. Kennedy Memorial – Baltimore Sun, 5-23-07
  • Charles Rappleye: Wins $50,000 Washington Prize for Book on Slave Trade – WaPo, 5-23-07
  • Tim Brooks: TV historian Announces Retirement – PRNewswire, 5-22-07
ON TV: History Listings This Week:

  • C-Span2, Book TV : Featured Program: Douglas Brinkley, editor, “The Reagan Diaries” on Sunday, May 28 at 6:55pm C-Span2, BookTV
  • PBS: The American Experience: “The Berlin Airlift” Monday, May 28, 2007 at 9pm ET – PBS
  • History Channel: “True Caribbean Pirates” Sunday, May 27, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier” Sunday, May 27, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Band Of Brothers :The Breaking Point,” Monday, May 28, @ 2:30pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Band Of Brothers :The Last Patrol,” Monday, May 28, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Band Of Brothers :Why We Fight,” Monday, May 28, @ 5:30pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Band Of Brothers :Points,” Monday, May 28, @ 7pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Star Wars Tech,” Monday, May 28, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed,” Monday, May 28, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “UFO Files :Alien Engineering, Part 1,” Tuesday, May 29, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Universe :Secrets of the Sun,” Tuesday, May 29, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Special :The Kings: From Babylon to Baghdad,” Wednesday, May 30, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “History Rocks: The 70′s :Part 1,” Wednesday, May 30, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mega Movers :Moving the Impossible,” Thursday, May 31, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “History’s Mysteries :Ancient Monster Hunters,” Thursday, May 31, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Man, Moment, Machine :Apollo 13: Triumph on the Dark Side,” Thursday, May 31, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “History Rocks: The 70′s :Part 2,” Thursday, May 31, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Special : Da Vinci & the Code He Lived By,” Friday, June 1, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Special : Da Vinci & the Code He Lived By,” Friday, June 1, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Man, Moment, Machine :Da Vinci & the Handgun,” Friday, June 1, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Modern Marvels :Castles & Dungeons,” Friday, June 1, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Modern Marvels :Walt Disney World,” Friday, June 1, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Jonestown Paradise Lost,” Friday, June 1, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “True Crime,” Marathon Saturday, June 2, @ 1-5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “True Caribbean Pirates,” Saturday, June 2, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The States :07 – Illinois, Connecticut, Nevada, Mississippi, Wyoming,” Saturday, June 2, @ 10pm ET/PT
SELLING BIG (NYT):
  • Walter Isaacson: EINSTEIN HIS LIFE AND UNIVERSE #2 (5 weeks on list) – 6-03-07
  • Michael Beschloss: PRESIDENTIAL COURAGE, #7 (2 weeks on list) – 6-03-07
  • Robert Dallek: NIXON AND KISSINGER #34 – 6-03-07
FUTURE RELEASES:
  • Elizabeth Drew: Richard M. Nixon: The 37th President, 1969-1974, (Times Books), May 28, 2007
  • Kevin P. Spicer: Antisemitism, Christian Ambivalence, and the Holocaust (Indiana University Press), May 28, 2007
  • Gabor Boritt (Editor): Slavery, Resistance, Freedom, (Oxford University Press, USA), June 2007
  • William C. Davis: Virginia at War 1862 (Editor) (University Press of Kentucky), June 2007
  • Jack Valenti: This Time, This Place: My Life in War, the White House, and Hollywood, (Crown Publishing Group), June 5, 2007
  • Steve Vogel: The Pentagon: A History, (Random House Publishing Group), June 5, 2007
  • Amity Shlaes: The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, HarperCollins Publishers, June 12, 2007
  • Orville Vernon Burton: The Age of Lincoln, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), June 12, 2007
  • Brian K. Bugge: The Mystique of Conspiracy: Oswald, Castro, and the CIA, (Provocative Ideas), June 28, 2007
  • Kathryn C. Statler: Replacing France: The Origins of American Intervention in Vietnam, (University Press of Kentucky) July 28, 2007
DEPARTED:
  • Eugen Weber; UCLA Historian, PBS Host – WaPo, 5-27-07
  • Karen Hess Put Food on America’s Academic Table – NPR, 5-26-07
  • Vicki Kaye Heilig: Historian of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, dies – WaPo, 5-25-07
  • Richard Whelan: Cultural historian, dead – NYT, 5-25-07
  • Kenneth L. Sokoloff: Economics historian, dies at 54 – NYT, 5-24-07
  • Baruch Kimmerling: Sociologist and ‘new historian,’ dies at age 67 – Haaretz, 5-21-07

Posted on Sunday, May 27, 2007 at 8:25 PM

May 21, 2007

BIGGEST STORIES:
  • Holocaust Denier Expelled From Warsaw Book Fair British historian David Irving, a convicted holocaust denier, was escorted out of an international book fair in Warsaw – Javno.hr, Croatia, 5-19-07
  • Famed historian to help shine spotlight on Rice University’s think tank hopes Douglas Brinkley will spread its public policy proposals to the public – Houston Chronicle, TX, 5-17-07
HNN STATS THIS WEEK:
THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: This Week in History:

  • 05-21-1542 – Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto died while searching for gold on the banks of the Mississippi River.
  • 05-21-1881 – Clara Barton founded what became the American Red Cross.
  • 05-21-1927 – Charles Lindbergh became the first person to fly across the Atlantic (from New York to Paris) in his monoplane, The Spirit of St. Louis.
  • 05-21-1932 – Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean (from Newfoundland to Ireland).
  • 05-21-1956 – The first hydrogen bomb to be dropped by air exploded over the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.
  • 05-21-1989 – In Hong Kong, approximately one million people took to the streets to show their support for students protesting for democratic reforms in China’s Tiananmen Square.
  • 05-22-1455 – The first battle in the 30-year War of Roses took place at St. Albans.
  • 05-22-1761 – The first life insurance policy in the United States was issued in Philadelphia.
  • 05-22-1849 – Abraham Lincoln received patent number 6469 for his floating dry dock.
  • 05-22-1947 – Harry S. Truman’s Doctrine brought aid to Greece and Turkey to combat the spread of Communism.
  • 05-22-1972 – Richard Nixon arrived in Moscow, becoming the first U.S. president to visit the Soviet Union.
  • 05-22-2003 – The UN Security Council approved a resolution lifting the economic sanctions against Iraq and supporting the U.S.-led administration in Iraq.
  • 05-23-1430 – Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians and subsequently sold to the English.
  • 05-23-1788 – South Carolina became the 8th state in United States.
  • 05-23-1830 – The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad began the first passenger service in the United States.
  • 05-23-1873 – The North West Mounted Police force was formed in Canada. It would later be known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
  • 05-24-1911 – The New York Public Library, at the time the largest marble structure ever built in the United States, was dedicated by President Taft in New York City after 16 years of construction.
  • 05-24-1844 – Samuel Morse transmitted the first telegraph message, in which he asked, “What hath God wrought?”
  • 05-24-1883 – The Brooklyn Bridge, linking Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City, opened to traffic.
  • 05-24-2000 – Israeli troops pulled out of Lebanon after 18 consecutive years of occupation.
  • 05-24-2001 – Vermont senator James Jeffords quit the Republican Party and became an Independent, giving Democrats control of the Senate.
  • 05-25-1787 – The Constitutional Convention convened in Philadelphia under the leadership of George Washington, in order to establish a new U.S. government.
  • 05-25-1925 – John Scopes was indicted for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution.
  • 05-25-1979 – The worst air disaster in U.S. history (excluding the Sept. 11 attacks) occurred when a DC-10 crashed at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, killing over 270 people.
  • 05-26-1521 – Martin Luther’s writings were banned by the Edict of Worms.
  • 05-26-1868 – President Andrew Johnson avoided conviction for impeachment charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors” by one vote.
  • 05-26-1940 – Allied troops began the massive naval evacuation of troops from Dunkirk, France, during World War II.
  • 05-26-2003 – Rwandans voted to approve a new constitution that instituted a balance of power between Hutu and Tutsi.
  • 05-27-1647 – The first recorded execution of a witch reportedly took place in Massachusetts when Achsah Young was hanged.
  • 05-27-1703 – St. Petersburg was founded by Czar Peter the Great.
  • 05-27-1936 – The Queen Mary left England on its maiden voyage, arriving in France four hours later.
  • 05-27-1937 – Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco opened.
  • 05-27-1941 – British ships sank the German battleship Bismarck off the coast of France, resulting in the loss of 2,300 lives.
  • 05-27-1996 – After a year and a half of bloodshed, Russian President Boris Yeltsin met with the leader of the Chechen rebels and negotiated a cease-fire.
  • 05-27-1999 – Slobodan Milosevic was indicted by the International War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague for crimes against humanity.
IN THE NEWS:
REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:
  • ALAN BRINKLEY on David Talbot: Conspiracy? BROTHERS The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years5-20-07
  • Vincent Bugliosi: Or No Conspiracy? RECLAIMING HISTORY The Assassination of President John F. KennedyNYT, 5-20-07
  • Arnold Rampersad: Visible Man RALPH ELLISON A BiographyNYT, 5-20-07
  • Arnold Rampersad: RALPH ELLISON A Biography, First Chapter – NYT, 5-20-07
  • Arnold Rampersad: The Man Made Visible A revelatory biography of Ralph Ellison, a brilliant writer who lived a life of chaos RALPH ELLISON A Biography WaPo, 5-20-07
  • Jean Edward Smith: Historian skips FDR’s flaws but shows the appeal FDRBaltimore Sun, 5-20-07
  • Did Jane Austen have a lover? New book suggests author was not a solitary genius but a free spirit who had an ill-fated courtship – AP, 5-20-07
OP-ED:
PROFILED:
  • Famed historian to help shine spotlight on Rice University’s think tank hopes Douglas Brinkley will spread its public policy proposals to the public – Houston Chronicle, TX, 5-17-07
  • Studs Terkel: Still Humming at 95 – Alternet, 5-15-07
  • Studs Terkel turns 95, worries U.S. is losing its memory – Reuters, 5-16-07
INTERVIEWED:
FEATURE:
QUOTED:
  • Douglas Brinkley on “Former President Carter Blasts Bush”: “This is the most forceful denunciation President Carter has ever made about an American president. When you call somebody the worst president, that’s volatile. Those are fighting words.” – AP, 5-19-07
  • Professor Leo Braudy, a cultural historian at the University of Southern California, said pirates disappeared so long ago that they’ve become romanticized. “There’s always that kind of nostalgia for those rebels of the past because they’re safe.” – Charlotte Observer, NC, 5-20-07
SPOTTED & SPEAKING EVENTS CALENDAR:
HONORED, AWARDED, AND APPOINTMENTS:
  • Douglas Brinkley: Katrina Biographer Leaving New Orleans, Going to Rice – CBS, 5-16-07
  • David Nasaw: Honored at Weekend with History – AHA Blog, 5-17-07
  • Idaho history group replaces director who quit in payment flap – AP, 5-14-07
ON TV: History Listings This Week:

  • C-Span2, Book TV : History on Book TV: Ann Hagedorn, “Savage Peace: 1919 – Hope And Fear In America” on Sunday, May 20 at 11:45pm C-Span2, BookTV
  • PBS: The American Experience: “The Great Atlantic Cable” Monday, May 21, 2007 at 9pm ET – PBS
  • History Channel: “Earth’s Black Hole” Sunday, May 20, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Siberian Apocalypse” Sunday, May 20, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Special : Absolute Evel: The Evel Knievel Story” Monday, May 21, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: ” Battle History of the Navy :Born into War.,” Monday, May 21, @ 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Modern Marvels :Pirate Tech,” Monday, May 21, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld :02 – City of Caves,” Monday, May 21, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Naked Archaeologist :Crucifixion/Biblical Epicentre,” Monday, May 21, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The History of Sex :Ancient Civilizations.,” Monday, May 21, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Spanish-American War: First Intervention,” Tuesday, May 22, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Julius Caesar’s Greatest Battle,” Tuesday, May 22, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Battle History of the US Marines :Tragedy to Triumph,” Tuesday, May 22, @ 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The History of Sex :The Eastern World,” Tuesday, May 22, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Bible Battles,” Wednesday, May 23, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Samurai,” Wednesday, May 23, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Dogfights :08 – Death of the Japanese Navy,” Wednesday, May 23, @ 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The History of Sex :The Middle Ages,” Wednesday, May 23, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Last Stand of The 300,” Thursday, May 24, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The History of Sex :From Don Juan to Queen Victoria.,” Thursday, May 24, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Indian Warriors: The Untold Story of the Civil War,” Friday, May 25, @ 3pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Wild West Tech :Native American Tech,” Friday, May 25, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Save Our History :Sherman’s Total War Tactics,” Friday, May 25, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Dogfights: The Greatest Air Battles,” Friday, May 25, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Special :Nazi America: A Secret History,” Saturday, May 26, @ 3pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The States :06 - Florida, Indiana, Washington, Utah, Rhode Island,” Saturday, May 26, @ 10pm ET/PT
SELLING BIG (NYT):
  • Walter Isaacson: EINSTEIN HIS LIFE AND UNIVERSE #1 (4 weeks on list) – 5-27-07
  • Michael Beschloss: PRESIDENTIAL COURAGE, #9 (1 week on list) – 5-27-07
  • Robert Dallek: NIXON AND KISSINGER #29 – 5-27-07
EXHIBITIONS:
FUTURE RELEASES:
  • Susan Dunn: Dominion of Memories: Jefferson, Madison, and the Decline of Virginia, (Perseus Publishing), May 2007
  • Ronald Reagan: The Reagan Diaries, (HarperCollins Publishers), May 22, 2007
  • Elizabeth Drew: Richard M. Nixon: The 37th President, 1969-1974, (Times Books), May 28, 2007
  • Kevin P. Spicer: Antisemitism, Christian Ambivalence, and the Holocaust (Indiana University Press), May 28, 2007
  • Gabor Boritt (Editor): Slavery, Resistance, Freedom, (Oxford University Press, USA), June 2007
  • William C. Davis: Virginia at War 1862 (Editor) (University Press of Kentucky), June 2007
  • Jack Valenti: This Time, This Place: My Life in War, the White House, and Hollywood, (Crown Publishing Group), June 5, 2007
  • Steve Vogel: The Pentagon: A History, (Random House Publishing Group), June 5, 2007
  • Amity Shlaes: The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, HarperCollins Publishers, June 12, 2007
  • Orville Vernon Burton: The Age of Lincoln, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), June 12, 2007
  • Brian K. Bugge: The Mystique of Conspiracy: Oswald, Castro, and the CIA, (Provocative Ideas), June 28, 2007
  • Kathryn C. Statler: Replacing France: The Origins of American Intervention in Vietnam, (University Press of Kentucky) July 28, 2007
DEPARTED:

Posted on Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 6:28 PM

May 14, 2007

BIGGEST STORIES: King Herod Discovered
BIGGEST STORIES: Jamestown 400th
  • Michael Beschloss: Jamestown, Virginia: How To Make History Cool – Newsweek, 4-30-07
  • Jamestown Uncovered Historian Michael Beschloss on the un-Disnyfied story behind Jamestown – Newsweek, 4-30-07
HNN STATS THIS WEEK:
THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: This Week in History:

  • 05-14-1796 – Edward Jenner administered the first smallpox vaccine to 8-year-old James Phipps.
  • 05-14-1804 – The Lewis and Clark expedition set out from St. Louis.
  • 05-14-1904 – The Olympic Games were held in the United States for the first time, in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • 05-14-1948 – British rule in Palestine came to an end as The Jewish National Council proclaimed the State of Israel. Within hours, Israel was under attack from Arab forces.
  • 05-14-1955 – The Warsaw Pact was signed by the Soviet Union and seven other Communist bloc countries. It finally dissolved in 1991.
  • 05-14-1973 – Skylab, the United States’ first space station, was launched into orbit.
  • 05-15-1862 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture was created by an act of Congress.
  • 05-15-1911 – The Standard Oil Company, headed by John D. Rockefeller, was ordered dissolved by the Supreme Court, under the Sherman Antitrust Act.
  • 05-15-1918 – The first air mail route in the U.S. was established between New York and Washington, DC, with a stop at Philadelphia.
  • 05-15-1972 – Alabama Governor George Wallace was shot and crippled as he campaigned for the presidency.
  • 05-15-1988 – The Soviet Union began to withdraw its estimated 115,000 troops from Afghanistan.
  • 05-16-1770 – Marie Antoinette married the future King Louis XVI of France.
  • 05-16-1868 – The first ballot on one of 11 articles of impeachment in the U.S. Senate failed to convict President Andrew Johnson.
  • 05-16-1929 – The first Academy Awards were given on this night. The term, Oscars, was not used to describe the statuettes given to actors and actresses until 1931.
  • 05-16-1991 – Queen Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to address the United States Congress.
  • 05-16-1997 – President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire ended 32 years of autocratic rule when rebel forces led by Laurent Kabila expelled him from the country.
  • 05-17-1792 – The New York Stock Exchange was established when a group of 24 brokers and merchants met by a tree on what is now Wall Street and signed the Buttonwood Agreement.
  • 05-17-1875 – The first Kentucky Derby was held at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • 05-17-1954 – The Supreme Court ruled unanimously against segregation in schools in Brown v. Board of Education.
  • 05-17-1973 – Televised Watergate hearings opened, headed by North Carolina senator Sam Ervin.
  • 05-17-1987 – An Iraqi warplane attacked the U.S.S. Stark in the Persian Gulf, killing 37 American sailors and wounding 62.
  • 05-17-1997 – Laurent Kabila declared himself president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • 05-18-1642 – The city of Montreal was founded by the French.
  • 05-18-1804 – Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed Emperor of France by the French Senate.
  • 05-18-1896 – The Supreme Court affirmed racial segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson as “separate but equal.”
  • 05-18-1980 – Mount St. Helens, in Washington state, erupted after being dormant for 123 years.
  • 05-18-1994 – Israeli troops withdrew from the Gaza strip after three decades of occupation and Palestinians took over.
  • 05-18-2000 – A bill was finally passed that removed the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse.
  • 05-18-2004 – Sonia Gandhi stunned her party, the Indian National Congress, by refusing to accept the prime ministership of India.
  • 05-19-1536 – Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII, was beheaded.
  • 05-19-1588 – The 130-ship-strong Spanish Armada set sail for England; it was defeated in August.
  • 05-19-1643 – The colonies of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Harbor met to form the New England Confederation.
  • 05-19-1921 – Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act, establishing national quotas for immigrants.
  • 05-19-1935 – British author and soldier, T. E. Lawrence, also known as “Lawrence of Arabia,” died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash.
  • 05-19-1962 – Marilyn Monroe sang “Happy Birthday” to president John F. Kennedy.
  • 05-19-1992 – The 27th Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibited Congress from giving itself midterm pay raises, went into effect.
  • 05-19-1994 – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died in New York.
  • 05-20-1506 – Christopher Columbus died in Spain.
  • 05-20-1861 – North Carolina voted to secede from the Union.
  • 05-20-1927 – Charles Lindbergh began the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight, departing from Long Island aboard the Spirit of Saint Louis.
  • 05-20-1932 – Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
  • 05-20-1961 – A mob attacked a busload of “freedom riders” in Montgomery, Ala., setting the bus on fire.
  • 05-20-1996 – In a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court rejected a Colorado measure banning laws that protect homosexuals from discrimination.
  • 05-20-2002 – East Timor became the newest nation.
IN THE NEWS:
REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:
  • MARK ATWOOD LAWRENCE on Robert Dallek: The Odd Couple NIXON AND KISSINGER Partners in Power NYT, 5-13-07
  • E. Howard Hunt with Greg Aunapu. Foreword by William F. Buckley Jr.: Watergate Warrior AMERICAN SPY My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate, and BeyondNYT, 5-13-07
  • Margaret MacMillan on Robert Dallek: The World in Their Hands A historian examines a combative collaboration NIXON AND KISSINGER Partners in PowerWaPo, 5-13-07
  • Daniel Jonah Goldhagen on Saul Friedländer: The War Years A scholar who survived the Nazis completes his life’s work THE YEARS OF EXTERMINATION Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945 WaPo, 5-13-07
  • Molly O’Neill: A moveable feast of essays, memoirs, fiction — all focused on food AMERICAN FOOD WRITING An Anthology with Classic Recipes WaPo, 5-13-07
  • Various new publications on Slavery and Its Legacies WaPo, 5-13-07
  • Krisztian Ungvary: New book highlights WWII atrocities – http://www.budapestsun.com, 5-9-07
  • Lynn Hunt: Her new book on human rights is praised – Gary Bass in the New Republic, 5-3-07
OP-ED:
PROFILED:
INTERVIEWED:
FEATURE:
QUOTED:
SPOTTED & SPEAKING EVENTS CALENDAR:
HONORED, AWARDED, AND APPOINTMENTS:
ON TV: History Listings This Week:

  • C-Span2, Book TV : History on Book TV: Harriet Washington, “Medical Apartheid: The Dark History Of Medical Experimentation On Black Americans From Colonial Times To The Present” on Sunday, May 13 at 12:00pm C-Span2, BookTV
  • PBS: The American Experience: “ALEXANDER HAMILTON Revealed ” Monday, May 13, 2007 at 9pm ET – PBS
  • History Channel: “Hippies” Sunday, May 13, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld :04 – Scotland’s Sin City” Sunday, May 13, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld :06 – Rome’s Hidden Empire” Sunday, May 13, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Save Our History :Secrets of Jamestown” Monday, May 14, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Save Our History :Godspeed to Jamestown,” Monday, May 14, @ 3pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Decoding The Past :Presidential Prophecies,” Monday, May 14, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Investigating History :The JFK Assassination,” Monday, May 14, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Man, Moment, Machine :JFK & the Crisis Crusader,” Monday, May 14, @ 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld :07 – Catacombs of Death,” Monday, May 14, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Digging For The Truth :The Da Vinci Code: Bloodlines,” Monday, May 14, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Bible Code: Predicting Armageddon,” Monday, May 14, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Fort Knox: Secrets Revealed,” Tuesday, May 15, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Ku Klux Klan: A Secret History,” Tuesday, May 15, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Godfathers,” Wednesday, May 16, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Las Vegas,” Wednesday, May 16, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Hell: The Devil’s Domain,” Thursday, May 17, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “History’s Mysteries :Alaska’s Bermuda Triangle,” Thursday, May 17, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “History’s Mysteries :The Mysteries of Devil’s Triangles,” Thursday, May 17, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Modern Marvels :The Colosseum,” Thursday, May 17, @ 7pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld :07 – Catacombs of Death,” Thursday, May 17, @ 3pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Deep Sea Detectives :The Death of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” Friday, May 18, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Special : Warrior Queen Boudica,” Friday, May 18, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mega Movers,” Marathon Saturday, May 19, @ 2-7pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Special : The Templar Code,” Saturday, May 19, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: ” The States :05 - Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Hawaii, South Carolina, Montana,” Saturday, May 19, @ 10pm ET/PT
SELLING BIG (NYT):
  • Walter Isaacson: EINSTEIN HIS LIFE AND UNIVERSE #1 (3 weeks on list) – 5-20-07
  • Robert Dallek: NIXON AND KISSINGER #19 – 5-20-07
  • Hermione Lee: EDITH WHARTON #32 – 5-20-07
FUTURE RELEASES:
  • Peter Heather: The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians, (Oxford University Press), May 2007
  • Jean Edward Smith, FDR, (Random House Publishing Group), May 15, 2007
  • Robert Service: Comrades!: A History of World Communism, (Harvard University Press), May 15, 2007
  • Kieran Doherty: Sea Venture: Shipwreck, Survival, and the Salvation of the First English Colony in the New World, (St. Martin’s Press), May 15 2007
  • Susan Dunn: Dominion of Memories: Jefferson, Madison, and the Decline of Virginia, (Perseus Publishing), May 2007
  • Ronald Reagan: The Reagan Diaries, (HarperCollins Publishers), May 22, 2007
  • Elizabeth Drew: Richard M. Nixon: The 37th President, 1969-1974, (Times Books), May 28, 2007
  • Kevin P. Spicer: Antisemitism, Christian Ambivalence, and the Holocaust (Indiana University Press), May 28, 2007
  • Gabor Boritt (Editor): Slavery, Resistance, Freedom, (Oxford University Press, USA), June 2007
  • William C. Davis: Virginia at War 1862 (Editor) (University Press of Kentucky), June 2007
  • Jack Valenti: This Time, This Place: My Life in War, the White House, and Hollywood, (Crown Publishing Group), June 5, 2007
  • Steve Vogel: The Pentagon: A History, (Random House Publishing Group), June 5, 2007
  • Amity Shlaes: The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, HarperCollins Publishers, June 12, 2007
  • Orville Vernon Burton: The Age of Lincoln, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), June 12, 2007
  • Brian K. Bugge: The Mystique of Conspiracy: Oswald, Castro, and the CIA, (Provocative Ideas), June 28, 2007
  • Kathryn C. Statler: Replacing France: The Origins of American Intervention in Vietnam, (University Press of Kentucky) July 28, 2007
DEPARTED:

Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 at 9:47 PM

May 7, 2007

BIGGEST STORIES:
HNN STATS THIS WEEK:
THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:
  • 05-07-1915 – The British ocean liner Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine in World War I off the coast of Ireland.
  • 05-07-1945 – Germany unconditionally surrendered to the allies in Rheims, France.
  • 05-07-1954 – The 56-day-long battle of Dienbienphu ended with Ho Chi Minh’s forces defeating the French, signaling the end of French power in Indochina.
  • 05-07-1992 – The 27th Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting mid-term Congressional pay raises, was ratified.
  • 05-08-1794 – Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, the father of modern chemistry, was guillotined during the Reign of Terror.
  • 05-08-1902 – Mount Pelee on Martinique erupted, destroying the town of St. Pierre, and killing 40,000 people.
  • 05-08-1945 – V-E Day marks the European victory of the Allies in World War II.
  • 05-09-1914 – Mother’s Day became a public holiday.
  • 05-09-1926 – Explorers Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennett flew over the North Pole.
  • 05-09-1936 – Fascist Italy annexed Ethiopia.
  • 05-09-1994 – The South African parliament chose Nelson Mandela as president.
  • 05-09-2004 – Chechnya’s Moscow-backed leader, Akhmad Kadyrov, was killed in a bombing. Six others were killed and another 60 wounded.
  • 05-10-1775 – Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys captured Fort Ticonderoga from the British.
  • 05-10-1863 – Confederate General Stonewall Jackson died after being accidentally shot by his own troops.
  • 05-10-1869 – The United States’ first transcontinental railroad was completed with a ceremony in Promontory Point, Utah.
  • 05-10-1924 – J. Edgar Hoover became director of the FBI.
  • 05-10-1940 – Winston Churchill succeeded Neville Chamberlain as British prime minister.
  • 05-10-1994 – Nelson Mandela was sworn in as South Africa’s first black president.
  • 05-11-1858 – Minnesota became the 32nd state in the United States.
  • 05-11-1894 – The Pullman Strike began.
  • 05-11-1949 – Siam changed its name to Thailand.
  • 05-11-1960 – Israeli agents captured Nazi Adolf Eichmann in Argentina.
  • 05-11-1973 – Charges against Daniel Ellsberg for his role in the Pentagon Papers case were dismissed.
  • 05-11-2003 – 91% of Lithuanian voters opted to join the European Union—the first former Soviet nation to do so.
  • 05-12-1870 – Manitoba became a province of Canada.
  • 05-12-1932 – The body of Charles and Anne Lindbergh’s kidnapped baby was found.
  • 05-12-1937 – Britain’s King George VI was crowned at Westminster Abbey in London.
  • 05-12-1949 – The Soviet blockade that prompted the Berlin airlift was ended.
  • 05-12-1970 – Harry A. Blackmun was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice.
  • 05-12-2002 – Former president Jimmy Carter became the first U.S. president (in or out of office) to visit Fidel Castro’s Cuba.
  • 05-13-1568 – Mary Queen of Scots was defeated at the Battle of Langside and immediately fled to North England.
  • 05-13-1846 – The United States formally declared war on Mexico after several days of fighting.
  • 05-13-1938 – Louis Armstrong and his orchestra recorded the New Orleans’s jazz classic, When the Saints Go Marching In, on Decca Records.
  • 05-13-1940 – Winston Churchill gave his first speech as prime minister: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”
  • 05-13-1981 – Pope John Paul II was shot and wounded by Mehmet Ali Agca as he drove through a crowd in St. Peter’s Square, Rome.
IN THE NEWS:
REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:
  • Barbara Holland: Against Moderation THE JOY OF DRINKINGNYT, 5-6-07
  • Barbara Holland: THE JOY OF DRINKING, First Chapter – NYT, 5-6-07
  • Allan M. Brandt: Tobacco Road THE CIGARETTE CENTURY The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined AmericaNYT, 5-6-07
  • CAMILLE PAGLIA on Jon Savage: The Young and the Restless TEENAGE The Creation of Youth Culture. NYT, 5-6-07
  • Robert Dallek: Secret service How the machinations of two unlikely allies defined — and deformed — an era – Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in PowerBoston Globe, 5-6-07
  • Azar Gat: A wide-ranging, stimulating treatise on the why of war The author examines history, philosophy and politics, but sides with biology as the motivation for human attainment by force War in Human CivilizationPhiladelphia Inquirer, PA, 5-6-07
  • Daniel Aaron: From scholar Daniel Aaron, the long view of civilization From scholar Daniel Aaron, the long view of civilization THE AMERICANIST WaPo, 5-3-07
  • George F. Kennan: Who Put the ‘Cold’ in Cold War? – James Traub in the course of a review of a short biography of Kennan by John Lukacs, 4-29-07
OP-ED:
PROFILED:
INTERVIEWED:
  • Robert Dallek, Summing Up ‘Nixon and Kissinger’ – NPR, 4-25-07
FEATURE:
QUOTED:
  • Robert Dallek on “A Sinking Presidency”: “He may come across to some people as a man of principle, but a great majority see him as stubborn and unyielding. … And everything he touches turns to dust.” – U.S. News & World Report, 5-6-07
  • Julian Zelizer on “Legislation a rare rebuke by Congress”: “Congress is not shy usually about attempting to create problems for a president when a war becomes unpopular. But I think the significance here is that in a big war, they were able to at least get the legislation to the president’s desk pretty early from a historical perspective.” – Hillsboro Times Gazette, OH, 5-3-07
  • Jack Granatstein: Disputed Canadian War Museum exhibit contains ‘true’ facts, historian argues: “They are subjects of hot debate that must be included, You cannot change facts by ignoring them.” – Canada.com, 5-3-07
  • Robert Tombs on Gaullist Sarkozy is no French Thatcher, says British historian – “There is an idea doing the rounds that Sarkozy is a kind of French Margaret Thatcher. But I don’t think such a creature exists. Not least because no-one in France wants a French Thatcher. If you contrast the positions of France today and Britain in the late 1970s, it’s clear that even though there is certainly a sense of crisis in France, it is nothing like as severe as what Britain was going through when Mrs Thatcher was elected in 1979.” – AFP, 5-2-07
  • Fredrick Kagan: We aren’t winning, we aren’t losing: “The al-Qaida surge is very serious. It is very significant. It is altering the situation in Iraq in unpredictable ways. It is clearly further eroding America’s will to stay the course here and continue to try to win this war. The basic conclusion that I would offer you is that victory is still up for grabs. Those who would say that the war is lost, definitively, I don’t think there is support for that statement in Iraq. I think it is hard. I think we may lose. I think we may win. I think it depends a lot on what we do and it depends a lot on what the enemy does. But I don’t think anyone can predict for certain the outcome of this fight at this point.” – Voice of America, 4-30-07
SPOTTED & SPEAKING EVENTS CALENDAR:
HONORED, AWARDED, AND APPOINTMENTS:
ON TV:
  • C-Span2, Book TV : After Words: Jabari Asim author of “The N Word: who can say it, who shouldn’t, and why” interviewed by Bakari Kitwana on Sunday, May 6 at 6:00 and 9:00 pm C-Span2, BookTV
  • C-Span2, Book TV : History on Book TV: Bob Deans, “The River Where America Began: A Journey Along The James” on Sunday, May 6 at 10:00 pm C-Span2, BookTV
  • PBS: The American Experience: “Earhart and Hamilton” Monday, May 6, 2007 at 9pm ET – PBS
  • History Channel: “Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked” Sunday, May 6, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Star Trek Tech” Sunday, May 6, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Spider-Man Tech” Sunday, May 6, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Amazing Story of Superman” Sunday, May 6, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Sharp Shooters” Monday, May 7, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “UFO Files :The Pacific Bermuda Triangle,” Monday, May 7, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld :06 – Rome’s Hidden Empire,” Monday, May 7, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Digging For The Truth :New Maya Revelations,” Monday, May 7, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Secret Superpower Aircraft :Bombers,” Tuesday, May 8, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Secret Superpower Aircraft :Fighters,” Tuesday, May 8, @ 3pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Spanish-American War: First Intervention,” Tuesday, May 8, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Saddam and the Third Reich :Saddam and the Third Reich,” Wednesday, May 9, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Antichrist,” Thursday, May 10, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Presidents :1789-1825,” Friday, May 11, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Presidents :1825-1849,” Friday, May 11, @ 3pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Presidents :1849-1865,” Friday, May 11, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Presidents :1865-1885,” Friday, May 11, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Presidents :1885-1913,” Friday, May 11, @ 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Brothers in Arms: The Untold Story of The 502 :Part 1: D-Day,” Friday, May 11, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Spanish-American War: First Intervention,” Saturday, May 12, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Nostradamus: 500 Years Later,” Saturday, May 12, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The States :04 – New Jersey, Arizona, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Alaska,” Saturday, May 12, @ 10pm ET/PT
SELLING BIG (NYT):
  • Walter Isaacson: EINSTEIN HIS LIFE AND UNIVERSE #1 (2 weeks on list) – 5-13-07
  • Robert Dallek: NIXON AND KISSINGER #9 (1 week on list) – 5-13-07
FUTURE RELEASES:
  • Peter Heather: The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians, (Oxford University Press), May 2007
  • Nancy Isenberg: Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr, (Penguin Group (USA)), May 10, 2007
  • Jean Edward Smith, FDR, (Random House Publishing Group), May 15, 2007
  • Robert Service: Comrades!: A History of World Communism, (Harvard University Press), May 15, 2007
  • Kieran Doherty: Sea Venture: Shipwreck, Survival, and the Salvation of the First English Colony in the New World, (St. Martin’s Press), May 15 2007
  • Susan Dunn: Dominion of Memories: Jefferson, Madison, and the Decline of Virginia, (Perseus Publishing), May 2007
  • Ronald Reagan: The Reagan Diaries, (HarperCollins Publishers), May 22, 2007
  • Elizabeth Drew: Richard M. Nixon: The 37th President, 1969-1974, (Times Books), May 28, 2007
  • Kevin P. Spicer: Antisemitism, Christian Ambivalence, and the Holocaust (Indiana University Press), May 28, 2007
  • Gabor Boritt (Editor): Slavery, Resistance, Freedom, (Oxford University Press, USA), June 2007
  • William C. Davis: Virginia at War 1862 (Editor) (University Press of Kentucky), June 2007
  • Jack Valenti: This Time, This Place: My Life in War, the White House, and Hollywood, (Crown Publishing Group), June 5, 2007
  • Steve Vogel: The Pentagon: A History, (Random House Publishing Group), June 5, 2007
  • Amity Shlaes: The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, HarperCollins Publishers, June 12, 2007
  • Orville Vernon Burton: The Age of Lincoln, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), June 12, 2007
  • Brian K. Bugge: The Mystique of Conspiracy: Oswald, Castro, and the CIA, (Provocative Ideas), June 28, 2007
  • Kathryn C. Statler: Replacing France: The Origins of American Intervention in Vietnam, (University Press of Kentucky) July 28, 2007
DEPARTED:

Posted on Sunday, May 6, 2007 at 6:40 PM

Top Young Historians: 54 – Edward J. Blum

Top Young Historians

Edward J. Blum, 29

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Assistant Professor, San Diego State University 2007-present
Area of Research: 19th Century United States History of race and religion
Education: Ph.D., History, University of Kentucky, 2003
Major Publications: Blum is the author of Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism, 1865-1898 (2005), W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet (2007), Edward J. Blum  JPG and co-editor of Vale of Tears: New Essays on Religion and Reconstruction.
Blum was awarded the C. Vann Woodward Dissertation Prize from the Southern Historical Association for his dissertation: “Gilded Crosses: Race, Religion, and the Reforging of American Nationalism, 1865-1898.” For Reforging the White Republic, Blum was awarded 2006 Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship, given by the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, Shepherd University, and 2005 Gustavus Myers Book Award, given by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights (Honorable Mention), and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize (nonfiction and biography), The Bancroft Prize (Columbia University), The Avery O. Craven Award (Organization of American Historians), The Frederick Jackson Turner Award (Organization of American Historians), The Merle Curti Award (Organization of American Historians), Frederick Douglass Book Prize (Gilder Lehrman Center), Charles S. Sydnor Award (Southern Historical Association), Albert J. Beveridge Award (American Historical Association), Best First Book in the History of Religions (American Academy of Religion), among others.
Currently, Blum is co-editing (with Paul Harvey) the Columbia Guide to American Religious History and writing a book on race and depictions of Jesus Christ in American culture, society, and politics, titled Jesus in Red, White, and Black.
Awards: Blum is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
National Endowment for the Humanities, “African American Civil Rights Struggles in the Twentieth Century,” Summer Institute, W. E. B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University (1 of 20 nationally), 2006;
2006 Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship, given by the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, Shepherd University;
Grant, Students Partnering with Faculty Summer Research Program, Kean University, “‘They Lynched Christ’: Race and Religion in the Early Black Freedom Struggle,” 2006;
Gustavus Myers Book Award, given by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights (Honorable Mention), 2005;
C. Vann Woodward Dissertation Prize, Southern Historical Association, 2004;
Fellow, W. E. B. Du Bois Center for the Advanced Study of Race and Religion, Notre Dame University;
Best Paper Prize for United States History, Southwestern Historical Association, 2004;
Nominee for “The Arnaldo Momigliano Best Article in History Prize,” sponsored by The Historical Society;
University of Kentucky Association of Emeriti Faculty Endowed Fellowship, 2003;
Provost’s Award for Teaching, University of Kentucky, 2002;
Pew Younger Scholars Fellowship (1 of 30 nationally), 2002;
Commonwealth Research Grant, University of Kentucky, 2002 and 2003;
Presidential Fellowship, University of Kentucky, 2001-2002 and 2002-2003;
George C. Herring Writing Award, presented by the Kentucky Association of Teachers of History (KATH), 2002.
Additional Info:
Blum has been a fellow with the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University and with the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Blum formerly was and Assistant Professor at Kean University 2006-2007.
In the classroom, Blum is interested in helping students engage the past in a variety of ways, whether through music and images or role-playing and historical simulations. His courses include Jacksonian America, the Civil War and Reconstruction, religion in the United States, and African American history.

Personal Anecdote

Email was one of my best friends throughout graduate school. With it, I could laugh with old high school friends, try to broker fantasy football trades, and network with new colleagues. But in the weeks following graduation, after I had defended my dissertation and was pining for a book contract, email almost sunk my ship. Most of us, I would imagine, have drafted quick email notes that make us thankful for the cancel button. You know what I mean, the angry rant at a newspaper article, the frustrated response to a department chair or a book reviewer, the dismissive response to a whinny student. Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, we cancel those messages and the next day breathe a sigh of relief. My email blunder was distinct, but probably not all that uncommon: it was a case of mistaken identity. Or rather, of email haste making a mess. Some email programs have “quick-fills,” where you start to type in a name or address and the computer finishes it for you (like when you type “Jo” and the computer adds “John” and his email). For me, it was a case of two Michaels.

Michael #1 was an editor of a series that I was interested in for my dissertation. Michael #2 was a senior colleague who had guided me through many of graduate school’s ups and downs and who himself had successfully negotiated some great book deals. By now, you can see where this is going. I wrote a long email to Michael #2, asking him for advice about how to negotiate a contract. I was torn between the series edited by Michael #1 and another press that had expressed interest. So I laid it all out for Michael #2. I signed my name (as always “Best, Ed”), and away went the email. That night, I realized, the email for #2 had been sent to #1. Now, I was frantic over what to do: should I contact #1 to explain the situation? Sure, I had been honest with the editors that I was shopping the manuscript, but this looked bad. I just emailed an editor that I wanted to maneuver either his press or the other into a bidding contest. This was bad negotiating, on the one hand, and bad form on the other. If this was Texas Hold ‘Em, I had broken one of the cardinal rules: I had shown my cards with vigor. If this were a basketball game, I had just asked my opponent the best way to beat him. I tossed and turned all night with how to respond. I considered another email to Michael #1 with the subject heading: “DO NOT READ PREVIOUS EMAIL.” But that wouldn’t work. He would probably open it after he read the first message and I would look even worse. I decided, in the end, to explain that I had sent this note to the wrong email address, but that I was still very much interested in publishing my book with him. My guess is that if Michael #2 had received the message, his first piece of advice would have been to keep my plans close to myself. So much for that. Michael #1 understood completely (or at least had the wisdom to cancel any chastising email he had composed in response); and, for his good humor, I decided his was the press for me. So I shot him a quick email.

Quotes

By Edward J. Blum

  • If one looks for religion in W. E. B. Du Bois’s life and times, it seems ubiquitous. It is there in his childhood at the Sunday school he loved so much. It is there in his first written works as he unveiled black souls in a culture that denied their W.  E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet JPG existence. It is there in the prayers he wrote for his students, in his attacks on church segregation, in his jeremiads against war and unbridled capitalism, and in his literary creations of black Christs and dark princesses. It is there in his friendships with white ministers, in his lectures in churches and synagogues, and in his conception of Communism. Du Bois never hid his assessments and feelings on religion behind codes or riddles or anagrams. They were too vital then. And they are too vital now. Du Bois was, in his self characterizations and in the hearts of thousands, a prophet with sacred insight. He could see past the myths of the present age and reveal worlds beyond what lies on the surface.
    Du Bois was an American prophet; he was a moral historian, a visionary sociologist, a literary theologian, and a mythological hero with a black face. In a world marked by white supremacy, capitalistic exploitation, grotesque materialism, and wicked militancy, Du Bois became a rogue saint and a dark monk to preach the good news of racial brotherhood, economic cooperation, and peace on earth.” — Edward J. Blum in “W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet”
  • About Edward J. Blum

  • “This book is a marvelous probing into the unknown and unexplored dimension of the great W.E.B. Du Bois’s life and work: his self-styled religious and spiritual temperament. Edward Blum is to be congratulated for this grand contribution!” — Cornel West, Princeton University reviewing “W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet”
  • “Blum illuminates the entire range of Du Bois’s writings, showing him as a prophetic thinker at times, a deliverer of jeremiads, a composer of creeds, an appreciator of the spirituality of everyday folk, and a visionary who anticipated trends in black theology and womanist theology. A truly valuable contribution to African American and American religious history.” — Paul Harvey, University of Colorado reviewing “W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet”
  • “In this eloquent and penetrating book, Edward Blum explores a crucial but neglected aspect of the life and times of W. E. B. Du Bois: the intersection of race and religion. As Blum shows in this rich and revealing book, religion mattered deeply to Du Bois, his readers, and the people with whom he interacted. Blum brilliantly characterizes Du Bois as a prophet and holy seer. He gives us, as no one else has, a new Du Bois. It is a signal accomplishment, and should be required reading for anyone interested in American protest literature and the role of religion in social reform.” — John Stauffer, author of The Black Hearts of Men reviewing “W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet”
  • “Edward Blum has offered us a remarkably fresh, provocative, and searching reading of Du Bois, one that places religion and spirituality at the center of his thought and sensibilities. But he has offered us something more as well: an important engagement with religion and the construction of race—of blackness and whiteness—in America.” — Steven Hahn, author of “A Nation under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration” reviewing “W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet”
  • “While W. E. B. Du Bois’s many prescient ideas on race and the color line are often quoted, he is rarely characterized in the sacred prophetic sense. In this first comprehensive study of the religious meaning and biblical references in Du Bois’s writings, Edward Blum brilliantly and movingly renders the complex soul of this intellectual giant, who demanded his people’s deliverance from a sin-sick world of racial injustice.” — Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, author of “Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880-1920″ reviewing “W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet”
  • “Reforging the White Republic is an ambitiously conceived book that does much more than explain how white southerners won the postbellum peace. Blum insists that the failure of Reconstruction should be traced to American religious institutions and values. Situating his work at the interstices of recent scholarship on historical memory, nationalism, and cultural history, he convincingly argues that an amalgam of ‘whiteness, godliness, and American nationalism,’ came to define not only postwar Protestantism but also the United States.” — W. Fitzhugh Brundage, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, reviewing “Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism, 1865-1898.”
  • “This broadly researched and passionately written work signals the arrival of a compelling new voice in the vital field of race and American religion. … Blum’s work stands as one of the most significant books in American religious history published over the last decade precisely because he shows religion as a central actor in the major national dramas of the post-Civil War era.” — Paul Harvey, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, reviewing “Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism, 1865-1898.”
  • “Imaginative, provocative, and expansively researched, Reforging the White Republic offers an important twist to surveys of Reconstruction-era America. Rather than imagine religious belief as subservient to politics or industrial growth, Blum centers the Christian imagination as critical to the genesis of a national self-image.” — Kathryn Lofton, Indiana University, reviewing “Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism, 1865-1898.”
  • “What the book does so brilliantly is reveal the lasting power and appeal of religious arguments for both sides of the race question but especially for African Americans, who remained the most dedicated disciples of Christian egalitarianism and the most penetrating critics of Christian white supremacy.” — Jane Dailey, University of Chicago, reviewing “Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism, 1865-1898.”
  • “Professor Blum is one of the most enjoyable professors I’ve ever been involved with. He obviously cares about history, and that passion translates. He’s funny and light-hearted and somehow an hour long class flies by. And while you were having this great time you learn a whole lot.”…
    “I normally have no interest in history, but Professor Blum brought out all the juicy details and made this class extremely interesting. On top of the fact that he was super nice and engaging in his teaching methods. This semester has been one of the best that I’ve had. I really enjoyed having Professor Blum as a teacher and I hope to have him again.”…
    “Professor Blum’s drive for teaching history is comparable to the religious fervor of the Prophet Matthias. Rather than teaching about a broad historical concept alone, he used the reading material and lectures to bring us closer to the lives of individuals of the time periods.”…
    “The arrival of Dr. Blum to San Diego State University’s history department marked one of the luckiest days in my life. Dr. Blum’s work ethic, his constant availability, and his concern for others have left an immediate impact on our graduate community.”…
    “Professor Blum’s Civil War and Reconstruction class is easily one of the best I’ve taken yet. I knew the time period itself would be interesting, but Prof. Blum’s knowledge and ability to teach the materials went way beyond my expectations. He has a gift of being able to connect a single event in history with everything else going on at that time, as well as put it in the larger context of history. Too many times in history classes, students learn about events as if they were completely separated and had no relationship with one another, which can be detrimental to a student’s understanding of how history works. But Prof. Blum took extra time in class to explain the other things going on in the late 19th century and how they both contributed to, and were affected by, the Civil War and Reconstruction. He was also able to connect the events of this class to issues that plague today’s society, and even show parallels between other points in history. Plus, he’s just a great teacher that takes time to get to know the class and will always make time to meet and communicate with students” — Anonymous Students
  • Posted on Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 9:01 PM

    Top Young Historians: 53 – Robert MacDougall

    Top Young Historians

    Robert MacDougall, 35

    Basic Facts

    Teaching Position: Assistant Professor, Department of History and Associate Director, Centre for American Studies, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario.
    Area of Research: Post-Civil War United States, with a special interest in the histories of American technology and business in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
    Education: PhD in History, Harvard University, June 2004.
    Major Publications: MacDougall is currently working on the book manuscript The People’s Telephone: Networks, Corporations, and Two Nations, 1876-1926, based on his PhD dissertation. His book manuscript is a comparative history of the Robert MacDougall JPGtelephone industry in the United States and Canada from the 1870s through the 1920s, and the way the dueling networks of that era’s information revolution embodied competing arguments about the ideal organization of the economy and society.
    He is also the author of numerous scholarly articles including: “The Wire Devils: Pulp Thrillers, The Telephone, and Action at a Distance in the Wiring of a Nation,” American Quarterly 57:3 (September 2006); “Long Lines: AT&T’s Long-Distance Network as an Organizational and Political Strategy,” Business History Review 80:2 (Summer 2006); “The All-Red Dream: Technological Nationalism and the Trans-Canada Telephone System,” chapter in Unfinished Business: The Making and Unmaking of Canadian Nationalism in the Twentieth Century, Adam Chapnick and Norman Hillmer, eds., Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007; “The People’s Telephone: The Politics of Telephony in the United States and Canada,” Enterprise and Society 6:4 (December 2005), among others.
    He is also interested in the phenomena of “pseudoscience” and “antiscience” in America, and the changing place of technological expertise in a democratic nation, and has written the journal article “Strange Enthusiasms: A History of American Pseudoscience,” 21stC 3:4 (Winter 1999) on the topic.
    Awards: MacDougall is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
    Krooss Dissertation Prize Nominee (Business History Conference) 2005;
    Cliopatria Award for Best Weblog Post (Historical News Network) 2005;
    Cabot Fellowship for Innovation in Teaching (Harvard University) (Declined) 2004-2005;
    John E. Rovensky Fellowship in Business and Economic History (University of Illinois) 2003-2004;
    David Packard Fellowship (Harvard University) 2002-2003;
    H.B. Earhart Fellowship (H.B. Earhart Foundation, Ann Arbor, Michigan) 2001-2002;
    Indiana Historical Society Doctoral Fellowship 2001-2002;
    Charles Warren Center Research Grants (Harvard University) 2000-2001;
    Center for Middletown Studies Research Grant (Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana) 1999-2000;
    Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship 1998-2000;
    Commendations for Excellence in Teaching (Harvard University) 1997-2003;
    Henry Adams Fellowship (Harvard University) 1995-1997;
    Queen’s Medal for Highest Grades in History (Queen’s University) 1995.
    Additional Info:
    MacDougall was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Visiting Scholars Program at American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cambridge, Massachusetts 2004-2005.
    MacDougall writes for the blogs “Cliopatria,” and “Old is the New New”

    Personal Anecdote

    I’m afraid I haven’t won a Pulitzer, met Henry Kissinger, or been asked to write for The West Wing. One thing I have done, for whatever it’s worth, is visit almost every drive-through tree, roadside mystery spot, and death car museum in the United States. In the summer after college, I and two friends drove across the continent and back, covering 10,000 miles and visiting 25 states in search of strange museums, forgotten tourist traps, and other bits of offbeat Americana.

    “It must be nice to have a job that lets you drive around the country for a month,” said the border guard when we crossed over from Canada. “What do you boys do for a living?” “I’m a musician,” said my buddy Derek. “I plant trees,” said Pete. I had the best answer: “I’m a historian.”

    It was a historical research trip, of sorts. I hadn’t heard the phrase then, but we three Canadians were looking for what author Greil Marcus dubbed “the old, weird America,” that unruly country of cranks and confidence men, mystics and medicine shows that lies under the surface of America’s more familiar past. In the decade since, I’ve filled in many of the gaps—48 states down, Alaska and Mississippi to go—and I find that without making a conscious choice to do so, I have continued exploring the old, weird America in my work. I am drawn to the back roads of American history, to its oddities and strange enthusiasms, to the pasts Americans do not immediately recognize as their own.

    “The taste for strangeness does not suit the favorite flavors of history in the United States,” writes Robert Darnton. We tend to like more familiar history, well-worn tales in which we see flattering outlines of our present selves. “The familiar past,” writes Sam Wineburg, “entices us with the promise that we can locate our own place in the stream of time and solidify our identity in the present.” Weird history, on the other hand, requires confronting our own subjectivity: was the past strange in itself or is it simply strange to us?

    My affection for the old, weird America is probably most obvious in my history blogging and in my nascent research on American cranks and pseudoscientists, but my work on the history of technology and business is also about recognizing the unfamiliarity of the past. Telephones and corporations, the chief subjects of my current book, are not strange to us now. I am interested in the historical moment when they were.

    The technological systems that structure our lives were not pre-ordained by the logic of technology or the market. They are the product at every step of human choice. Without recognizing that telephones and corporations have human histories—and that they once seemed quite strange, in ways both exciting and alarming to ordinary Americans—we cannot see the ways in which these systems could have been different or think about how we might make them different now.

    The weird past need not be an unusable past, and its study can be more than a new kind of geeky antiquarianism. Strange history helps us to see the ways the present is strange: the things we take for granted, the choices others have made for us, the injustices we don’t protest. The old, weird America is an alternate history, not one that takes off from a historical turning point into an imaginary future, but one that snakes back from our present into a hidden past that also was. It offers an inoculation against the shrunken horizons of the present. It reminds us that America is older, bigger, and stranger than we know.

    Quotes

    By Robert MacDougall

  • Historians typically turn to the story of the railroads to explain how large managerial corporations emerged in the United States, but the history of the telephone may tell us more about how and why those institutions gained wide popular support. At a moment in American history when an economy populated by modest local firms was giving way to one dominated by sprawling national corporations, the universal telephone network served the advocates and architects of the new order as a symbol and spectacle of integration and consolidation. … The national long distance network was not profitable—it would not be for many years—but it was instrumental in consolidating control of the Bell companies and the telephone industry in general, and in helping to convince Americans that the nation-spanning corporation was not an enemy but a friend. — Robert MacDougall in “Long Lines: AT&T’s Long-Distance Network as an Organizational and Political Strategy,” Business History Review 80:2 (Summer 2006).
  • “The most common label for these kinds of practices and beliefs is “pseudoscience,” though David Rothman, professor of history and of social medicine and director of Columbia’s Center for the Study of Science and Medicine, warns against careless use of that term. “It’s a retrospective judgement on the losers,” he says. “It renders those who pass the verdict smug.” Indeed, it’s worth remembering that theories we might scoff at today were once embraced by Americans from all walks of life. Phrenology, the divining of personality by reading the contours of the cranium, “had very respectable followers,” says Rothman. Such worthy skulls as Andrew Carnegie’s, Thomas Edison’s, and Walt Whitman’s were phrenologically surveyed. (Whitman’s flattering head-reading was central to his self-portrait in Leaves of Grass.)
    Spiritualism–communication with the dead through a psychic medium–also captured the imagination of the educated and the unwashed alike. William Lloyd Garrison, Horace Greeley, and James Fenimore Cooper were among thousands of antebellum Americans who frequented seances to witness table rapping and oozing ectoplasm.1 Mesmerism, electric medicine, creationism, and the water cure all joined them in the stew of popular beliefs.
    Why was nineteenth-century America so welcoming to these beliefs? A combination of historical circumstances provided both motivation and opportunity for pseudoscience to flourish. “In the eighteenth century, people were convinced that if you examined the book of nature it would lead you to God,” says Philip Kitcher, professor of philosophy at Columbia, and author of Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1982). Most believed science and the scriptures to be harmonious. The scientific developments that destroyed that harmony–the explosion of geological time, Darwin’s Origin of Species–came as a terrible blow. The universe “no longer looked at all Providential,” Kitcher says. “By the middle of the nineteenth century, you could only hold onto the literal truth of Genesis if you were prepared to engage in pseudoscientific maneuvering.” — Robert MacDougall in “Strange Enthusiasms: A History of American Pseudoscience,” 21stC 3:4 (Winter 1999)
  • Plymouth versus Jamestown! They’re the Beatles and Stones, the Betty and Veronica of colonial U.S. history: where does America’s “national narrative” begin? Frankly, I’m not sure we have to choose. If the Pilgrims and Puritans were a pious clutch of religious zealots, Jamestown was a kind of get-rich-slow scheme, a dot-com start-up where half the techies starved before hitting on the colony’s (cough cough) killer app. Surely American history displays a family resemblance to both forebears?
    But if I had to make a choice, I’d plant my flag a hundred and fifty miles south of Jamestown, on the real first English settlement in the New World: the lost colony of Roanoke. (Let’s not talk about Frobisher’s ill-advised attempt on Baffin Island in 1578.) In 1584, more than twenty years before Jamestown, Sir Walter Raleigh planted a hundred or so men on Roanoke Island, off the North Carolina coast. Raleigh’s men toughed it out for a year before all but fifteen of them caught a ride back to England with Sir Francis Drake. A return expedition in 1587 brought more colonists, this time with women and children, led by the artist John White. (Soon after arrival, White’s daughter delivered the first English child born in the Americas.) White himself returned to England for still more settlers and supplies, but a certain Spanish Armada interfered with his return trip, and when English ships finally returned to Roanoke in 1590, the colony’s ninety men, seventeen women, and eleven children had vanished without a trace. Or almost without a trace: the word “CROATOAN” was famously carved into the bark of a tree near the lost colony’s gate.
    Like many I expect, I first learned of Roanoke as a kind of ghost story. I don’t know which lurid kiddie book I read it in, but I do remember having the distinct impression that “Croatoan” was the name of some slavering forest monstrosity, and not, as it turned out, a nearby Cherokee tribe. The fate of the lost colony remains unknown, but the best guesses say they either got killed by the Powhatans, set out on foot for the Chesapeake Croatoan JPGand died en route, or went native, interbreeding with the Indians. Whatever became of them, there’s a nice lesson there for American history about hubris, failure, and the great unlikeliness of the American experiment.
    In Edmund Morgan’s American Slavery, American Freedom, Roanoke is not a creepy campfire tale but a tragic road not taken. While Raleigh’s ships were settling Roanoke, his friend Drake was buckling swash up and down the Spanish Mainósimple piracy, Morgan admits, “but on the scale that transforms crime into politics.” Morgan makes much of Drake’s alliance with the Cimarrons, black and Indian slaves escaped from the Spanish. Drake was not above slaving himself, but he made common cause with the “Maroons” and threatened New Spain with a general uprising of its Indian and African labor. As Drake sacked Santo Domingo, Cartagena, and San Augustin, he liberated, or collected, some three hundred Indians and two hundred “Negroes, Turks, and Moors,” whom he planned to deposit at Roanoke to enjoy English-style liberty and serve as a rallying point for New Spain’s oppressed natives and slaves. “Perhaps it could never have come to pass,” Morgan writes, “and perhaps no one really intended that it should.” Nevertheless, for him, Roanoke represented “a dream in which slavery and freedom were not yet married, a dream in which Protestant Britons liberated the oppressed people of the New World.”
    Less reputable historians have pushed the Roanoke story further. For my man Kenneth Hite (writing in jest) and Peter Lamborn Wilson (writing in earnest), Roanoke was a magickal working by the occult imperialists of the School of Nght, an alleged circle of Elizabethan atheists and adepts said to include Raleigh, poet Christopher Marlowe, magus John Dee, andóhow great is thisóone Lord Fernando Strange. Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Wilson says, was propaganda for their imperial aims. The lost colony, Hite proposes, represented an “alchemical marriage” between the “Red King” Powhatan and the “White Queen” Elizabeth to establish a Golden Empire. “The Old World can keep its maternally-inclined wolves and its giant-killing Trojan refugees,” Hite writes. “Occult conspirators built the United States on a foundation of High Weirdness indeed.”
    Of course, sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn’t. What matters most for Wilson (aka the neopagan Sufi anarchist Hakim Bey) is that Raleigh’s plans didn’t succeed. “The very first colony in the New World chose to renounce its contract with Prospero (Dee/Raleigh/Empire) and go over to the Wild Men with Caliban,” he writes. This makes Roanoke the first of Wilson / Bey’s anarchist ideal of “temporary autonomous zones”:
    They dropped out. They became “Indians,” “went native,” opted for chaos over the appalling miseries of serfing for the plutocrats and intellectuals of London. As America came into being Ö Croatan remained embedded in its collective psyche. Out beyond the frontier, the state of Nature (i.e. no State) still prevailedóand within the consciousness of the settlers the option of wildness always lurked, the temptation to give up on Church, farmwork, literacy, taxesóall the burdens of civilizationóand “go to Croatan” in some way or another.
    Ron Sakolsky’s Gone to Croatan: Origins of American Dropout Culture similarly celebrates Roanoke as the taproot of an American dropout counterculture including pirate utopias, glister societies, Great Dismal Maroons, rogue Quakers, Antinomians, Levellers, Diggers, “tri-racial isolates,” black Islamic movements, and hippie communes.
    It’s all more than a bit dodgy, historically speaking, and certainly nothing I’d stake my tenure decision on. But then I wouldn’t stake my hopes of tenure on the legend of the first Thanksgiving either, or the tender tale of John Smith and Pocahantas. We’re talking about founding myths here, usable pasts. And the lost colony is a myth to conjure with, pun intended. It’s a scare story to help cure historical hubris. It’s Morgan’s dream of American freedom without American slavery. It’s the original old, weird America: a founding myth of sufficient strangeness to suggest that America once was and ought to be more than just a corporation or a pious city on a hill. — Robert MacDougall in “Cliopatria Symposium … Jamestown 2007″
  • About Robert MacDougall

  • “Robert MacDougall’s ‘Turk 182′ brilliantly traversed time and genres to illuminate the abiding fascination with Automata. His use of varied sources, erudition and clear affection for the subject-matter highlights it as the best post of the year.” — Judges comments when Robert MacDougall was awarded the 2005 Cliopatria Award for the best blog post.
  • “A fantastic teacher. Knowledgable, interesting and very helpful.” “Rob has a bright, bright future. Why a Canadian would take so kindly to U.S. history I am uncertain, but we are blessed to have him.”…
    “Robert MacDougall is a dedicated teacher. He goes out of his way to be available to his students … and to instruct and encourage in any way he can. Bravo!”…
    “One of the best teachers I’ve had. He’s knowledgable, nice, helpful, approachable. His comments are insightful and his explanations clear.”
    “Overall Great Prof! If you have a chance to take a course with him do it. He’s young… but he is extremely helpful and gives great feedback on essays!”…
    “Awesome prof. So knowledgeable!”…
    “Rob is a great guy. This class was awesome and really interesting to take. If you can take one of his classes I would definitely recommend it!”…
    “Professor MacDougall did an excellent job leading the class on a thorough, interesting and exciting exploration of America from the Puritans to the present. He left no stone unturned it seemed.”…
    “Professor MacDougall has done an excellent job this year. … One of his greatest strengths lies within his talented ability to respond to student writing. In this sphere, Prof. MacDougall has been vastly superior to any other professor here.” — Anonymous Students
  • Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 at 8:36 PM

    Top Young Historians: 52 – Deborah A. Cohen

    Top Young Historians

    Deborah A. Cohen, 38

    Basic Facts

    Teaching Position: Associate Professor, Department of History, Brown University
    Area of Research: Modern British History, Comparative British and German History
    Education: University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D., 1996
    Major Publications: Cohen is the author of Household Gods: The British and their Possessions, 1830-1945, Deborah A. Cohen JPG (Yale University Press, 2006), which was short-listed for PEN’s Hessell-Tiltman prize, and The War Come Home: Disabled Veterans in Britain and Germany, 1914-1939 (University of California Press, 2001, which was awarded the Allan Sharlin Memorial Award by the Social Science History Association.
    She is the co-editor, with Maura O’Connor of Comparison and History: Europe in Cross- National Perspective (Routledge, 2004). This book surveys comparative and cross-national approaches to the study of Europe. The volume reflects upon the gains – as well as the obstacles and costs – of such research.
    Awards: Cohen is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
    Howard Fellowship in Social Sciences, 2005;
    Salomon Research Award, Brown University, 2003;
    Allan Sharlin prize, Social Science History Association, 2002;
    Summer Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2001;
    National Humanities Center Fellowship, 2001;
    Senate Research Award, American University, 2000;
    Conference Grant, German Historical Institute, 1999;
    Mellon Research Award, American University, 1998-1999;
    Senate Research Award, American University, 1997-1998;
    German American Research Network Grant, 1997-1998;
    Conant Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Harvard University, 1996-1997;
    Mellon Fellowship, 1991-1995;
    German Academic Exchange Service Fellowship, 1994-1995;
    Council for European Studies (Columbia) Fellowship, 1993;
    Berkeley Fellowship for Graduate Study, 1991-1994.
    Additional Info:
    Formerly Assistant Professor, Department of History, American University (1997-2002).

    Personal Anecdote

    I don’t have stacks of crumbling newspapers in my dining room, though my favorite uncle does. In a way, I envy him; he also has shelves of the Louisville telephone directory dating back to 1912; cupboards full of ephemera from the Southern Exposition of 1883; shoebox upon shoebox of cartes-de-visite, ambrotypes, and albumen prints; and life-size cardboard cut-outs of Elvira, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis. (That is of course a small, if representative, sample of the objects in his dining room.) I’m quite certain that were I not a historian by trade, I, too, might by now be well on my way to amassing piles of things. But all of the rigors of disciplining knowledge and inquiring after significance have practically snuffed out my collecting ambitions. I still spend hours at flea markets and yard sales. Whenever I think of starting a little collection – of glass eyeballs, turn-of-the-century desk sets, chased silver umbrella handles – I ask myself the “so-what” question, and put the eyeball down.

    At the same time, I’ve never been able to summon up the disdain we historians are supposed to feel for antiquarians. Perhaps it is because I know from my uncle’s example how much learning is involved when someone sets out to master the seemingly arcane details of postal history. Perhaps it is that I sometimes wish that a little mustiness, whether from the attic or the basement, would seep into our more arid scholarly exchanges. Perhaps it is, too, that there seems at times an uncanny connection between the habits of collectors and the methods of the most inspired historical scholarship. The wild and brilliant juxtapositions of apparently unrelated entities, cartes-de-visite to Elvira – how different is that really from seeing a relationship between leviathans and air pumps? The omnivorous taste for the material world’s full bounty – isn’t that the promise of Braudel’s total history? A seemingly inexhaustible appetite for knowledge, married with unrepentant boundary-breaching: we historians could do with more of both.

    My uncle is now seventy-five, blinded in one eye by an angiogram gone awry, and most importantly, possessed of a new girlfriend who has exiled Elvira, Marilyn and Elvis to the basement, and threatened to do the same to the boxes of cigar labels and World War II postcards that prevent the dining room table from serving its intended function. He has begun to de-accession. His two children naturally want nothing to do with his treasures; my cousin, the owner of an emphatically minimalist New York apartment, refers to his father’s activities as “spelunking.” And so the boxes have begun to arrive here in Providence. This is an old house with no storage space. Nothing can be hidden away. Everything must be confronted. Having long avoided collections of my own, I have now inherited bits of a lifetime of hunting and gathering. Last week I spent an evening riffling through the pages of a high school valedictorian’s keepsake book, circa 1912; a late nineteenth-century German immigrant’s outgoing copy letter-book; a rubber-band bound set of albumen prints of babies. Putting out of mind the doubts that have always frustrated my own nascent collections – what in God’s name am I going to do with all of this stuff – I am trying, for the time being, to relish a life amidst history.

    Quotes

    By Deborah A. Cohen

  •  JPG How to be good and well-to-do: this was the question that confronted the British middle classes from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. At the dawn of the age of mass consumerism, worldly pleasures had first to be cleared of the charge of self-indulgence. The idea that possessions could be evaluated along a moral yardstick – a notion endorsed by design reform and underwritten by incarnationalist theology-found wide reception among Victorians, both agnostic and religious. By redefining consumption as a moral act, and the home as a foretaste of the heaven to come, the British middle classes sought to square material abundance with spiritual good. — Deborah A. Cohen in “Household Gods The British and their Possessions”
  • About Deborah A. Cohen

  • “[Cohen's] is a genuinely fresh approach, diverging from the mainstream furrow ploughed by most historians to concentrate in the main on real lives and real choices – of ‘life lived outside the tyranny of grand design’ – and she does it subtly, confidently and with real pace.” — Kate Colquhoun, Daily Telegraph, reviewing “Household Gods”
  • “[An] excellent new history of the British and their possessions… So much of what Cohen identifies in her insightful survey of Victorian and Edwardian consumerism seems to reflect upon our own age… We have rediscovered the sanctity of our household gods, and the sense of moral wellbeing that they impart.” — Ben Macintyre, The Times, reviewing “Household Gods”
  • “In this riveting and revealing book, Deborah Cohen takes the reader on a journey through interiors cluttered with papier-mâché beds, fire screens set with stuffed birds, soup tureens shaped as boar’s heads and baths decorated with shells…If you want to understand the roots of Britain’s peculiar taste for home improvement and today’s obsession with DIY, IKEA shop openings, makeover and property TV programmes, Household Gods provides all the answers.” — Andrea Wulf, Guardian, reviewing “Household Gods”
  • “”By the close of the 19th century . . . the department store (and the model room) had been invented and one’s things and how they were arranged were seen to be an expression of another new invention: personality. These are the themes of Household Gods by Deborah Cohen, who cheerfully explores a century of thinking about home in England, from 1830 to 1930, with a focus on the raucous period of ‘bad tastes’—when rooms become choked with bric-a-brac, draperies and dried flowers—around the turn of the century.” — Penelope Green, New York Times (Home & Garden), reviewing “Household Gods”
  • “This diverting, tellingly illustrated book takes us through the dim heart of Victorain clutter and into the fresh air of the modern design that swept it away.” — The Atlantic, reviewing “Household Gods”
  • “[A] witty and beguiling history of a hundred years of British domestic interiors.” — Ligaya Mishan, New York Times Book Review, reviewing “Household Gods”
  • “Household Gods is engagingly written, well researched and beautifully illustrated. It makes a significant contribution to our understanding of consumption, especially in terms of its articulation with domestic space and the making of cultural identities.” — John Storey, Times Higher Education Supplement, reviewing “Household Gods”
  • “Based upon a wealth of primary material including records of veterans’ associations, charitable institutions, state archives, and the press, Cohen skillfully integrates economic, political, social, and cultural history to produce a piece of scholarship that deserves a wide readership….Cohen has employed the comparative method to great effect: in a thoughtful and thought-provoking book, she convincingly explains the logics behind different patterns of behaviour which appear paradoxical at first sight.” — Bernhard Rieger, The Historical Journal, reviewing “The War Come Home”
  • “Cohen’s analysis moves elegantly from the intricacies of bureaucratic welfare regulations to the utopian visions of British charities (and their contrast with an often much more mundane reality) to sensitive reconstructions of life histories. In so doing, she skillfully transcends the boundaries between political, social, and cultural history. Her analysis strikes an excellent balance between the critical analysis of larger social and political structures, on the one hand, and an empathetic Verstehen of the predicament of disabled veterans in Britain and Germany on the other. Her book thus brilliantly succeeds in humanizing the aftermath of World War I without abandoning critical analytic distance…. The War Come Home thus marks a major milestone in the historiography of the aftermath of World War I, as well as a model study for transnational comparative analysis.” — Frank Biess, German Politics and Society, reviewing “The War Come Home”
  • “Awesome. Makes British political history easy.”… “if you take [this course] you will be working the entire time, but you will learn more than you thought possible”… “D. Cohen is the nicest Prof. at Brown.”…” She’s the nicest and sweetest lady ever! And she’s brilliant, young, and incredibly helpful. :)” — Anonymous Students
  • Posted on Sunday, May 6, 2007 at 6:16 PM

    %d bloggers like this: