History Buzz: April 2008

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.

April 21-28, 2008

CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

  • Primary Season Election Results – NYT
HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

  • 04-28-1788 – Maryland became the 7th state in the United States.
  • 04-28-1789 – Fletcher Christian led the mutiny aboard the British ship Bounty against Captain William Bligh.
  • 04-28-1945 – Benito Mussolini was executed.
  • 04-28-2004 – The Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal first comes to light when graphic photos of U.S. soldiers physically abusing and humiliating Iraqi prisoners were shown on CBS’s 60 Minutes II.
  • 04-29-1429 – Joan of Arc entered the city of Orléans. She would end its months-long siege and would become known as the “Maid of Orléans.”
  • 04-29-1916 – The Easter rebellion in Ireland ended with the surrender of Irish nationalists.
  • 04-29-1945 – American soldiers liberated the Dachau concentration cam
  • 04-29-1992 – A Los Angeles jury acquitted four police officers accused of beating Rodney King. Massive rioting and looting ensued.
  • 04-30-1803 – France sold Louisiana and adjoining lands to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
  • 04-30-1812 – Louisiana became the 18th state in the United States.
  • 04-30-1939 – U.S. commercial television made its official debut at the New York World’s Fair.The signal was transmitted from the Empire State Building.
  • 04-30-1945 – Adolf Hitler and his newly married mistress Eva Braun committed suicide.
  • 04-30-1975 – The Vietnam War ended with South Vietnam’s surrender to North Vietnam.
  • 04-30-2003 – Libya accepted responsibility for the 1998 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
  • 05-01-1707 – The Act of Union joined England and Scotland to form Great Britain.
  • 05-01-1931 – The Empire State Building opened in New York City. At 102 stories, it would be the world’s tallest building for the next 41 years.
  • 05-01-1941 – Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane, considered by many the greatest film ever made, premiered in New York.
  • 05-01-1948 – The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) was established with Kim Il Sung as president.
  • 05-01-1960 – The Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance plane over Soviet territory.
  • 05-01-2003 – President Bush made a speech aboard an aircraft carrier proclaiming “major combat operations in Iraq have ended.”
  • 05-02-1945 – The Soviet Union announced the fall of Berlin.
  • 05-02-1955 – Tennessee Williams won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
  • 05-02-1994 – Nelson Mandela was victorious in South Africa’s first multiracial election.
  • 05-02-1997 – The Labour Party’s Tony Blair became Prime Minister of Britain, ending 18 years of conservative rule. At 44, he was the youngest prime minister in 185 years.
  • 05-03-1937 – Margaret Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for Gone With the Wind.
  • 05-03-1948 – The Shelley v. Kraemer Supreme Court decision stated that it is unconstitutional for a court to enforce a restrictive covenant which prevents people of a certain race from owning or occupying property.
  • 05-03-1979 – Margaret Thatcher became the first woman elected prime minister of England.
  • 05-03-2001 – The United States, a member of the UN Human Rights Commission since its inception, lost its seat. It would be restored the following year.
  • 05-04-1626 – Peter Minuit landed in Manhattan, which he later bought for $24 worth of cloth and brass buttons.
  • 05-04-1886 – The Haymarket Square riot broke out as a result of a labor demonstration.
  • 05-04-1932 – Public Enemy Number One, Al Capone, was jailed for tax evasion.
  • 05-04-1961 – Civil rights activists, called “freedom riders,” left Washington, DC for New Orleans.
  • 05-04-1970 – Four Kent State University students were shot down by National Guard members during an anti-Vietnam War demonstration.
  • 05-04-1998 – The Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, was sentenced to four life terms plus 30 years for his series of bombings that killed three and injured 23.
  • 05-05-1809 – Mary Kies of South Killingly, Conn., became the first woman to be granted a patent. The patent was for the rights to a technique for weaving straw with silk and thread.
  • 05-05-1821 – Napoleon Bonaparte died on the island of St. Helena.
  • 05-05-1891 – Carnegie Hall (then known as Music Hall) opened in New York City. Peter Tchaikovsky was the guest conductor.
  • 05-05-1925 – John Scopes was arrested in Tennessee for teaching Darwinism.
  • 05-05-1961 – Alan Shepard became the first American in space.
  • 05-05-2004 – Pablo Picasso’s “Boy with a Pipe” became the most expensive painting ever sold.
IN THE NEWS:

IN THE NEWS:

REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

  • Carol Felsenthal: Books of The Times After Life in White House, No Place Feels Like Home CLINTON IN EXILE A President Out of the White HouseNYT, 4-28-08
  • Jonathan Rieder: Talking the Talk THE WORD OF THE LORD IS UPON ME The Righteous Performance of Martin Luther King, Jr.NYT, 4-27-08
  • Don Jordan and Michael Walsh: Master and Servant WHITE CARGO The Forgotten History of Britain’s White Slaves in AmericaNYT, 4-27-08
  • Joseph E. Persico: The women who made a man out of FDR Franklin & Lucy: President Roosevelt, Mrs. Rutherfurd and the Other Remarkable Women in His LifeWaPo, 4-27-08
  • W. Patrick McCray: Writes a history of “moonwatchers” – Press Release, 4-22-08
  • Gerard J. DeGroot: His new book questions whether the era of the 60s was marvelous or misguided – Jay Parini at the website of the Chronicle of Higher Ed, 4-25-08
  • Joseph E. Persico: Says FDR’s affair with Lucy Mercer never ended apparently No End of the Affair Franklin & Lucy: President Roosevelt, Mrs. Rutherfurd and the Other Remarkable Women in His LifeNYT, 4-20-08
  • Tony Judt: Through the Past, Darkly REAPPRAISALS Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth CenturyNYT, 4-20-08
  • Max Hastings: HISTORY | WORLD WAR II Debating Hiroshima and Nagasaki A British historian argues that the atomic bombings were justified. RETRIBUTION The Battle for Japan, 1944-45 - WaPo, 4-20-08
  • Francois Cusset: His forthcoming book takes a fresh perspective on how “Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, & Co. Transformed the Intellectual Life of the United States” – Scott McLemee at the website of Inside Higher Ed, 4-16-08
  • Mary Lefkowitz: Yale publishes her account of her fight with Afrocentrists – John Leo in the WSJ, 4-15-08
OP-EDs:

OP-EDs:

BLOGS:

BLOGS:

PROFILED:

PROFILED:

INTERVIEWS:

INTERVIEWS:

  • Michael Walsh: America’s First Slaves: Whites – NPR, 4-29-08
  • Allan Lichtman: Bush Hits Historic Disapproval High – NPR, 4-27-08
FEATURES:

FEATURES:

  • Historian: Bagpipes history mostly hot air – UPI, 4-19-08
QUOTED:

QUOTED:

  • Allan Meltzer on “Bernanke May Have to Follow Volcker to Avoid Being Tagged Burns “: “You have to take the risk of the possibility of a small recession if you want to avoid ending up with a big one.” – Bloomberg, 4-27-08
HONORED / AWARDED / APPOINTED:

HONORED, AWARDED, APPOINTED:

SPOTTED:

SPOTTED:

CALENDAR:

CALENDAR:

  • May-September 2008: Elizabeth Brand Monroe, Deborah A. Lee, Lectures Showcase Leesburg’s History for 250th Anniversary – WaPo, 1-18-08
  • David Zabecki: Hooks up with Stephen Ambrose Tours / Zabecki will lead the 14-day tour to visit historic World War II sites in Gdansk, Krakow, Warsaw and Berlin from May 16-30, 2008.- Press Release–Stephen Ambrose Tours, 1-10-08
ON TV:

    ON TV: History Listings This Week

  • History Channel: “Tora, Tora, Tora: The Real Story of Pearl Harbor,” Wednesday, April 30, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “True Story of the Bridge on the River Kwai,” Wednesday, April 30, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Modern Marvels :The Manhattan Project,” Wednesday, April 30, @ 7pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “MonsterQuest :American Werewolf,” Wednesday, April 30, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Kennedys: The Curse of Power,” Thursday, May 1, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mysterious Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa” Thursday, May 1, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld :Vietnam,” Thursday, May 1, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Battle 360 :The Empire’s Last Stand,” Friday, May 2, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Alaska: Dangerous Territory,” Saturday, May 3, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Alaska: Big America,” Saturday, May 3, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld :Secret Soviet Bases,” Monday, May 5, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld :08 – New York,” Monday, May 5, @ 11pm ET/PT
SELLING BIG (NYT):

SELLING BIG (NYT):

  • Philip Bobbitt: TERROR AND CONSENT #12 — (1 week on list)- 5-4-08
FUTURE RELEASES:

FUTURE RELEASES:

  • Ted Sorensen: Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History, May 6, 2008
  • Scott McClellan: What Happened, May 12, 2008
  • William F. Buckley, Jr.: Flying High: Remembering Barry Goldwater, May 12, 2008
  • John Lukacs: Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat: The Dire Warning: Churchill’s First Speech as Prime Minister, May 12, 2008
  • Peter Clarke: The Last Thousand Days of the British Empire: Churchill, Roosevelt, and the Birth of the Pax Americana, May 13, 2008
  • Thurston Clarke: Last Campaign, May 27, 2008
  • John S. Eisenhower: Zachary Taylor: The 12th President, 1849-1850, May 27, 2008
  • Paul Finkelman (Editor): Congress and the Emergence of Sectionalism: From the Missouri Compromise to the Age of Jackson, May 28, 2008
  • Shane O’Sullivan: Who Killed Bobby?, June 3, 2008
  • Gil Troy: Leading from the Center, June 9, 2008
DEPARTED:

DEPARTED:

Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 at 12:40 AM | Top
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April 14, 2008

CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

BIGGEST STORIES:

BIGGEST STORIES:

HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

  • 04-13-1975 – Civil War began in Lebanon when gunmen killed 4 Christian Phalangists who retaliated by killing 27 Palestinians.
  • 04-14-1775 – Benjamin Rush was among those who founded the first American antislavery society.
  • 04-14-1828 – Noah Webster copyrighted the first edition of his dictionary.
  • 04-14-1860 – The first pony express rider reached his destination of San Francisco. He left St. Joseph, Mo., on April 3.
  • 04-14-1865 – Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.
  • 04-14-1912 – Titanic hit the iceberg that would sink her the next morning.
  • 04-15-1861 – In response to the attack on Fort Sumter three days earlier, President Abraham Lincoln declared a state of insurrection and called out Union troops.
  • 04-15-1912 – Titanic sank off the coast of Newfoundland on its maiden voyage after it struck an iceberg.
  • 04-15-1920 – A paymaster and guard were murdered in Braintree, Mass. Sacco and Vanzetti were accused of the crime.
  • 04-15-1945 – Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen was liberated by Canadian and British forces.
  • 04-16-1746 – The Jacobite uprising in England ends when Charles “Bonnie Prince Charlie” Stuart is defeated by the Duke of Cumberland.
  • 04-16-1917 – Lenin returned to Russia after 10 years in exile in Switzerland.
  • 04-16-1947 – Financier Bernard Baruch coined the term “cold war” in a speech in South Carolina.
  • 04-16-1972 – China sent President Nixon two giant pandas as a gift.
  • 04-17-1790 – Benjamin Franklin, U.S. patriot, diplomat, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, died in Philadelphia.
  • 04-17-1895 – The Sino-Japanese War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Shimonoseki.
  • 04-17-1961 – Supported by the U.S. government, 1,500 exiles made the unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba.
  • 04-17-1969 – Sirhan Sirhan was convicted for the murder of Robert F. Kennedy.
  • 04-17-1970 – The Apollo 13 astronauts safely splashed down after their near-disastrous flight.
  • 04-17-1975 – Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge, ending the five year Cambodian war.
  • 04-18-1775 – Paul Revere rode from Charlestown to Lexington to warn Massachusetts colonists of the arrival of British troops during the American Revolution.
  • 04-18-1906 – The Great San Francisco Earthquake destroyed over 4 sq mi. and killed over 500 people.
  • 04-18-1978 – The U.S. Senate voted to hand over the Panama Canal to Panamanian control on Dec. 31, 1999.
  • 04-18-2002 – Afghanistan’s former king, Mohammad Zahir Shah, returned after 29 years in exile.
  • 04-19-1775 – The “shot heard around the world” was fired. Colonial Minute Men took on British Army regulars at Lexington and Concord, Mass., starting the American Revolution.
  • 04-19-1824 – Lord Byron died of a fever while helping the Greeks fight the Turks.
  • 04-19-1882 – Naturalist Charles Darwin, developer of the theory of evolution, died.
  • 04-19-1933 – The United States went off the gold standard.
  • 04-19-1943 – The Warsaw ghetto uprising began, one of the first mass rebellions against the Nazis.
  • 04-19-1993 – The siege at Waco, Texas, ended when FBI moved into the Branch Davidian compound with tear gas and cult members set fire to the compound killing over 80 people.
  • 04-19-1995 – The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Okla., was destroyed by a car bomb. 168 people, including 19 children were killed in the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history up to that time.
  • 04-19-2005 – Germany’s Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI.
  • 04-20-1769 – Ottawa Indian chief Pontiac murdered.
  • 04-20-1841 – The first detective story, Edgar Allen Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue was published.
  • 04-20-1971 – The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the practice of busing for racial desegregation.
  • 04-20-1999 – Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went on a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. 14 students (including the shooters) and 1 teacher were killed; 23 others were wounded.
IN THE NEWS:

IN THE NEWS:

  • University of Richmond celebrates Edward Ayers’ presidential inauguration – AP, 4-11-08
  • Historians help N-Y Historical Society raise $1.7 million – NY Sun, 4-7-08
  • Edwin Lewinson: Blind historian heading to jail for civil disobediance protest – http://www.nj.com, 3-26-08
  • Antiquities under Siege: Cultural Heritage Protection after the Iraq War – Press Release, 4-7-08
REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

  • RICHARD BROOKHISER on Steven Waldman: Religious Intent FOUNDING FAITH Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in AmericaNYT, 4-13-08
  • Philip Shenon: A Lack of Intelligence THE COMMISSION The Uncensored History of the 9/11 InvestigationNYT, 4-13-08
  • Philip Shenon: THE COMMISSION The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, First Chapter – NYT, 4-4-08
  • Douglas A. Blackmon: WSJ reporter in new book says slavery didn’t end with the Civi War – What Emancipation Didn’t Stop After All SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans From the Civil War to World War II - Janet Maslin in the NYT, 4-10-08
  • Wilson Smith and Thomas Bender: Updating Hofstadter, they produce a new collection of documents on higher ed American Higher Education Transformed, 1940-2005Inside Higher Ed, 4-10-08
  • Rick Perlstein: First review is in of Nixonland … Wins praise in Atlantic – Ross Douthat in the Atlantic Monthly, 5-1-08
OP-EDs:

OP-EDs:

PROFILED:

PROFILED:

  • A quiet revolution at Harvard The new president, Drew Faust, prefers to work out of the limelight, says Joanna Walters – Guardian, UK, 4-8-08
INTERVIEWS:

INTERVIEWS:

FEATURES:

FEATURES:

QUOTED:

QUOTED:

  • Marvin Dunn: Historian Unsatisfied with Fla. Apology for Slavery: The apology is a meaningless act that only a dolt or outright racist would oppose. It cost the state nothing and of course, there was not a word about the thorny question of reparations. As one of the African Americans to whom the apology was aimed, it was not enough.” – NPR, 4-7-08
  • David A. Hollinger: Says academic freedom is threatened – Chronicle of Higher Ed, 4-7-08
HONORED / AWARDED / APPOINTED:

HONORED, AWARDED, APPOINTED:

EXHIBITS:

EXHIBITS:

  • McLean County Museum of History offers look into Lincoln Legacy Starting May 12, students can take a tour to Springfield to learn more about President Abraham Lincoln – Daily Vidette, IL, 3-26-08
SPOTTED:

SPOTTED:

CALENDAR:

CALENDAR:

  • April 16, 2008: Historian to Discuss East Germany under Communist Rule at SUNY Cortland – SUNY Cortland News, 4-11-08
  • April 16, 2008: Holocaust historian to kick off Stetson University series – Peter Black, senior historian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum at 7:30 p.m. in the Elizabeth Hall Chapel, 421 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand, Florida – Daytona Beach News-Journal, FL, 4-14-08
  • April 24-26, 2008: Bernard Lewis: Will Deliver Keynote Speech at ASMEA’s Annual Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. – Press Release–ASMEA, 4-10-08
  • April 24-27, 2008: Conference: Columbia 1968 and the World – http://www.columbia1968, 3-12-08
  • May-September 2008: Elizabeth Brand Monroe, Deborah A. Lee, Lectures Showcase Leesburg’s History for 250th Anniversary – WaPo, 1-18-08
  • David Zabecki: Hooks up with Stephen Ambrose Tours / Zabecki will lead the 14-day tour to visit historic World War II sites in Gdansk, Krakow, Warsaw and Berlin from May 16-30, 2008.- Press Release–Stephen Ambrose Tours, 1-10-08
ON TV:

    ON TV: History Listings This Week

  • History Channel: “Bible Battles,” Tuesday, April 8, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Biblical Disasters :Biblical Disasters,” Tuesday, April 8, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mega Disasters :The Next Pompeii?,” Tuesday, April 15, @ 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Naked Archaeologist :The Would Be Messiah/The Search for St. Peter,” Tuesday, April 15, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Universe : Beyond the Big Bang,” Wednesday, April 16, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Universe :Secrets of the Sun,” Wednesday, April 16, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: ” The Universe :Spaceship Earth,” Thursday, April 17, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Universe :Jupiter: The Giant Planet” Thursday, April 17, @ 3pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Universe :Alien Galaxies” Thursday, April 17, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: ” The Universe :The Moon” Thursday, April 17, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld :New York: Secret Societies,” Thursday, April 17, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Street Gangs: A Secret History,” Friday, April 18, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “History’s Mysteries :Five Points Gangs,” Friday, April 18, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Battle 360 :D-Day in the Pacific,” Friday, April 18, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “How the Earth Was Made,” Saturday, April 19, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Crime Wave: 18 Months of Mayhem,” Saturday, April 19, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey,” Saturday, April 19, @ 10pm ET/PT
SELLING BIG (NYT):

SELLING BIG (NYT):

  • Max Hastings: RETRIBUTION #12 — (3 weeks on list)- 4-20-08
  • Jonah Goldberg: LIBERAL FASCISM #20 – 4-20-08
FUTURE RELEASES:

FUTURE RELEASES:

  • Tony Judt: Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century, April 17, 2008
  • Ted Sorensen: Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History, May 6, 2008
  • Scott McClellan: What Happened, May 12, 2008
  • William F. Buckley, Jr.: Flying High: Remembering Barry Goldwater, May 12, 2008
  • John Lukacs: Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat: The Dire Warning: Churchill’s First Speech as Prime Minister, May 12, 2008
  • Peter Clarke: The Last Thousand Days of the British Empire: Churchill, Roosevelt, and the Birth of the Pax Americana, May 13, 2008
  • Thurston Clarke: Last Campaign, May 27, 2008
  • John S. Eisenhower: Zachary Taylor: The 12th President, 1849-1850, May 27, 2008
  • Paul Finkelman (Editor): Congress and the Emergence of Sectionalism: From the Missouri Compromise to the Age of Jackson, May 28, 2008
  • Shane O’Sullivan: Who Killed Bobby?, June 3, 2008
  • Gil Troy: Leading from the Center, June 9, 2008
DEPARTED:

DEPARTED:

Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 12:20 AM

April 7, 2008

CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

  • Primary Season Election Results – NYT
  • Beverly Gage: Reconsideration Our First Black President? – NYT, 4-6-08
  • Andrew J. Bacevich on “Foes target McCain’s 100-year war remark”: “Were the US to succeed militarily in Iraq, yes, US forces will remain in Iraq for decades to come,” said Andrew J. Bacevich, a Boston University professor of international relations and US history and retired Army colonel whose son, an Army soldier, was killed last year by a suicide bomb there. “My difference with McCain is I don’t think we will prevail militarily in Iraq.” – Boston Globe, 4-6-08
  • David Greenberg: The Hiett winner talks spin, politics and the presidency – Dallas Morning News, 4-6-08
BIGGEST STORIES:

BIGGEST STORIES: Martin Luther King 40th Anniversary

HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

  • 04-07-1862 – Gen. Ulysses S. Grant defeated the Confederates at the battle of Shiloh.
  • 04-07-1913 – 5,000 suffragists march to the Capitol in Washington, D.C. , seeking the vote for women.
  • 04-07-1927 – U.S. secretary of commerce Herbert Hoover’s Washington speech was seen and heard in New York in the first long-distance television transmission.
  • 04-07-1948 – The World Health Organization, a UN agency, was founded.
  • 04-07-1994 – Hutu extremists in Rwanda began massacring ethnic Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus. In 100 days of killing, an estimated 800,000 are murdered.
  • 04-08-1513 – Ponce de León claimed Florida for Spain.
  • 04-08-1913 – The 17th Amendment was ratified, requiring the direct election of U.S. senators by popular vote rather than by the state legislators.
  • 04-08-1935 – The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was approved by Congress to help alleviate joblessness during the Great Depression.
  • 04-08-1946 – The League of Nations assembled for the last time.
  • 04-09-1731 – Robert Jenkins’s ear was cut off, sparking the War of Jenkins’s Ear between Spain and England.
  • 04-09-1865 – Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House.
  • 04-09-1942 – American and Philippine troops on Bataan were overwhelmed by Japanese forces during World War II. The “Bataan Death March” began soon after.
  • 04-09-1959 – NASA announced the selection of America’s first astronauts, including Alan Shepard and John Glenn.
  • 04-09-1963 – Winston Churchill became the first honorary U.S. citizen.
  • 04-09-1992 – Former Panamanian ruler Manuel Noriega was convicted of drug and racketeering charges.
  • 04-09-2003 – American Marines pulled down Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad after U.S. commanders declared his rule ended.
  • 04-10-1790 – The U.S. patent system was formed.
  • 04-10-1866 – The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was chartered.
  • 04-10-1912 – Titanic set sail on its fateful voyage.
  • 04-10-1970 – Paul McCartney announced the official split of the Beatles.
  • 04-10-1974 – Israeli prime minister Golda Meir announced her resignation.
  • 04-10-1998 – The Northern Ireland “Good Friday Accord” was reached.
  • 04-11-1814 – Napoleon was exiled to the island of Elba.
  • 04-11-1899 – The treaty ending the Spanish-American War took effect.
  • 04-11-1945 – Allies liberated Buchenwald concentration camp.
  • 04-11-1951 – President Harry Truman fired General Douglas McArthur.
  • 04-11-1968 – President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1968 Civil Rights Act.
  • 04-11-1979 – Ugandan dictator Idi Amin was overthrown.
  • 04-11-1981 – President Ronald Reagan returned to the White House after he was shot in an assassination attempt.
  • 04-12-1861 – The Civil War began when Fort Sumter was attacked.
  • 04-12-1862 – James J. Andrews led the raiding party that stole the Confederate locomotive “The General,” inspiring the 1926 Buster Keaton movie.
  • 04-12-1945 – President Franklin Roosevelt died.
  • 04-12-1961 – Soviet cosmonaut Yuri A. Gagarin became the first human in space and also the first human to orbit the earth in a spacecraft.
  • 04-12-1999 – Arkansas federal judge Susan Webber Wright found President Clinton in contempt of court for lying about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
  • 04-13-1598 – The Edict of Nantes gave religious tolerance to the Huguenots in France.
  • 04-13-1964 – Sidney Poitier became the first African American to win the Academy Award for best actor.
  • 04-13-1970 – Apollo 13 announced “Houston, we’ve got a problem,” when an oxygen tank burst on the way to the Moon.
  • 04-13-1975 – Civil War began in Lebanon when gunmen killed 4 Christian Phalangists who retaliated by killing 27 Palestinians.
  • 04-14-1775 – Benjamin Rush was among those who founded the first American antislavery society.
  • 04-14-1828 – Noah Webster copyrighted the first edition of his dictionary.
  • 04-14-1860 – The first pony express rider reached his destination of San Francisco. He left St. Joseph, Mo., on April 3.
  • 04-14-1865 – Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.
  • 04-14-1912 – Titanic hit the iceberg that would sink her the next morning.
  • 04-15-1861 – In response to the attack on Fort Sumter three days earlier, President Abraham Lincoln declared a state of insurrection and called out Union troops.
  • 04-15-1912 – Titanic sank off the coast of Newfoundland on its maiden voyage after it struck an iceberg.
  • 04-15-1920 – A paymaster and guard were murdered in Braintree, Mass. Sacco and Vanzetti were accused of the crime.
  • 04-15-1945 – Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen was liberated by Canadian and British forces.
IN THE NEWS:

IN THE NEWS:

REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

  • Peter Morris: The Unnaturals BUT DIDN’T WE HAVE FUN? An Informal History of Baseball’s Pioneer Era, 1843-1870NYT, 4-6-08
  • Peter Morris: When the national pastime was child’s play BUT DIDN’T WE HAVE FUN? An Informal History of Baseball’s Pioneer Era, 1843-1870WaPo, 4-6-08
  • Jonathan Rieder: HISTORY | CIVIL RIGHTS His Own Man The great civil rights leader felt the tensions between black and white influences THE WORD OF THE LORD IS UPON ME The Righteous Performance of Martin Luther King, Jr.WaPo, 4-6-08
  • David Nichols: Ike misunderstood A Matter of Justice: Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Revolutionhttp://www.thedailystar.com, 4-3-08
  • Kristie Macrakis: MSU historian takes reader behind the scenes of East Germany’s Stasi – http://msutoday.msu.edu, 4-1-08
OP-EDs:

OP-EDs:

BLOGS:

BLOGS:

PROFILED:

PROFILED:

INTERVIEWS:

INTERVIEWS:

  • Marilyn Young: 1968, Forty Years Later: President Lyndon Johnson Announces No Second Term Amid Low Support for Vietnam War in Aftermath of Tet Offensive – Democracy Now, 4-3-08
  • Josh Marshall: Historian blogger predicts digital media takeover – Daily Princetonian, 4-2-08
  • Arnold Hirsch: Historian interviewed about post-Katrina housing in New Orleans – NewsHour (PBS), 4-1-08
FEATURES:

FEATURES:

  • Why Don’t More Colleges Teach Military History? Despite its enduring public appeal, and a country at war, the subject gets little respect on campus – US News, 4-3-08
  • Howard Zinn: Now he’s doing history through illustrations – Boston Globe, 4-1-08
QUOTED:

QUOTED:

  • Robert S. Wistrich: ‘UK is European center of anti-Semitism’: “Britain has become the center point for the meeting of anti-Semitic trends in Europe…. Anti-Semitism in Great Britain is at least a millennial phenomenon and has been around for 1000 years of recorded history…. The authors are conveying and transmitting to a future generation an embedded anti-Semitism whose influence is impossible to underestimate,” – Jerusalem Post, 3-31-08
HONORED / AWARDED / APPOINTED:

HONORED, AWARDED, APPOINTED:

EXHIBITS:

EXHIBITS:

  • McLean County Museum of History offers look into Lincoln Legacy Starting May 12, students can take a tour to Springfield to learn more about President Abraham Lincoln – Daily Vidette, IL, 3-26-08
SPOTTED:

SPOTTED:

CALENDAR:

CALENDAR:

  • April 9, 2008: Nation Mag et al. to run April 9 conference on New Deal – Nation, 4-3-08
  • April 11-13-08: Honestly, how many Abes can there be? Scores of Lincoln impersonators heading to Alton – Belleville News-Democrat, 3-30-08
  • April 24-27, 2008: Conference: Columbia 1968 and the World – http://www.columbia1968, 3-12-08
  • May-September 2008: Elizabeth Brand Monroe, Deborah A. Lee, Lectures Showcase Leesburg’s History for 250th Anniversary – WaPo, 1-18-08
  • David Zabecki: Hooks up with Stephen Ambrose Tours / Zabecki will lead the 14-day tour to visit historic World War II sites in Gdansk, Krakow, Warsaw and Berlin from May 16-30, 2008.- Press Release–Stephen Ambrose Tours, 1-10-08
ON TV:

    ON TV: History Listings This Week

  • C-Span2, BookTV: In Depth: Michael Eric Dyson – Monday, April 7 @ 12:00am ET – C-Span2, BookTV
  • PBS: American Experience: “Amelia Earhart,” Monday, April 7 @ 9pm ET
  • History Channel: “Breaking Vegas,” Monday, April 7, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Gangland :01 – American Gangster, Gangland :06 – Kings of New York,” Monday, April 7, @ 4 & 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Life After People,” Monday, April 7, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Hippies,” Tuesday, April 8, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Modern Marvels :60′s Tech, Modern Marvels :70′s Tech,” Tuesday, April 8, @ 4 & 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Special : An Alien History of Planet Earth,” Wednesday, April 9, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “UFO Files :Deep Sea UFOs, UFO Files :Deep Sea UFOs: Red Alert,” Wednesday, April 9, @ 4 & 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Comets: Prophets of Doom,” Thursday, April 10, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld :Maya Underground,” Thursday, April 10, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Sharp Shooters,” Friday, April 11, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “King,” Saturday, April 12, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “True Caribbean Pirates,” Saturday, April 12, @ 10pm ET/PT
SELLING BIG (NYT):

SELLING BIG (NYT):

  • Jonah Goldberg: LIBERAL FASCISM #21 – 4-13-08
FUTURE RELEASES:

FUTURE RELEASES:

  • Cokie Roberts: Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation, April 8, 2007
  • Tony Judt: Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century, April 17, 2008
  • Ted Sorensen: Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History, May 6, 2008
  • Scott McClellan: What Happened, May 12, 2008
  • William F. Buckley, Jr.: Flying High: Remembering Barry Goldwater, May 12, 2008
  • John Lukacs: Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat: The Dire Warning: Churchill’s First Speech as Prime Minister, May 12, 2008
  • Peter Clarke: The Last Thousand Days of the British Empire: Churchill, Roosevelt, and the Birth of the Pax Americana, May 13, 2008
  • Thurston Clarke: Last Campaign, May 27, 2008
  • John S. Eisenhower: Zachary Taylor: The 12th President, 1849-1850, May 27, 2008
  • Paul Finkelman (Editor): Congress and the Emergence of Sectionalism: From the Missouri Compromise to the Age of Jackson, May 28, 2008
  • Shane O’Sullivan: Who Killed Bobby?, June 3, 2008
  • Gil Troy: Leading from the Center, June 9, 2008
DEPARTED:

DEPARTED:

  • Paul Arthur: 60, Film Historian and Critic, Dies – NYT, 3-30-08

Posted on Sunday, April 6, 2008 at 11:55 PM

On This Day in History… April 23-30, 1968: Columbia University Students Stage a Strike

April 23-30, 1968: Columbia University Students Stage a Strike

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.

HNN, 4-29-08


On this day in history…April 23-30, 1968 leftist students took over Columbia University, NYC occupying five buildings on the campus before forcibly being removed by the police.

This year marks the fortieth anniversary of one of the most turbulent years in modern American history. The year was just beginning and yet as early as Aprils it was already volatile. Opposition to the Vietnam War was at an all time high, so much so that President Lyndon Johnson chose not to run for another presidential term. Just a few weeks before Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated, and student protests raged across the country’s universities, peaking in April 1968 with the stand off at Columbia University. According to historian Jeffrey Meyers, the protests “took place during a volatile and often explosive period in American history: between the Berkeley Free Speech Movement (September 1964) and the student riots in Paris, May 1968, between the assassinations of Martin Luther King in Memphis, April 4, 1968 and of Robert Kennedy in Los Angeles, June 5, 1968, between the March on the Pentagon, October 1967 and the bloody protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, August 1968, between the Tet Offensive February 1968 and the My Lai Massacre, March 1968, and the escalating protest against the war in Vietnam.” (Myers, 2003) On April 23, leftist students began a strike at the university, which lasted eight days, culminating in a riot in the early hours of April 30 when the police busted the students.

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at Columbia University

In 1962 Tom Hayden, a twenty-one year old student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor created the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Along with other student activists at the university, they wrote out the Port Huron Statement, the organization’s statement of principles. In only two years, there were 40 SDS chapters on university campuses. Among the organization’s purposes was educating their fellow students about “the evils of capitalism, the plight of blacks, and the perfidies of the military-industrial complex.” (McCaughey, 427) In 1965, as the US was going on the offense in Vietnam, SDS turned its attention to the war.

On March 10, 1965, Columbia University established the fifty-second chapter of SDS, led by Ted Kaptchuck and Dave Gilbert. In its first few months, the chapter focused its attention on building its membership, which included campus radicals and sympathetic faculty, and trying to determine what the relationship was between the university and the country’s defense establishment. (McCaughey, 427) There were other leftist student groups at Columbia including the Columbia Citizenship Council (CCC), organized in 1959 with a mission to help the local community. Most of the University’s chaplains sympathized or supported the leftist groups.

During the revolt a majority of students supported neither the protesters nor the counter protesters. As Robert A. McCaughey writes in his account, “The students who joined SDS, CCC, and anti-war groups and who became sufficiently persuaded of the complicity of the university in the perpetuation of whatever evil they were protesting to move to shut it down were a minority in a minority.” McCaughey, 428 Columbia University had 20,000 students at the time, 6,000 of whom were undergraduates. By comparison, the radical organizations on campus boasted just three hundred members, with another seven hundred more providing moral support. SDS had just fifty members with another hundred supporters. The majority of the student activists were undergraduates. McCaughey, 428

Leading up to the Revolt: SDS Protests 1965-1967

Student protests against the university’s authority commenced in the spring of 1965. The university took minimal actions against the protesters to minimize media attention. University President Grayson Kirk believed the best policy was to keep the disruptions to a minimum, which would have worked, according to McCaughey, “had student protesters wanted immunity in exchange for not directly challenging the president’s disciplinary authority. But it was precisely the latter that the protesters wanted.” (McCaughey, 431) The students primarily opposed military-related recruiters on campus including the NROTC, the Marine Corps, the CIA and Dow Chemical (which supplied Agent Orange for the Vietnam War).

The university’s patience was tested in the spring of 1967 when CIA and Marine Corps recruiters came to the campus sparking anti-war protests. Two incidents prompted President Kirk to ban all indoor demonstrations for the next academic year. By the fall of 1967, SDS seemed to be losing momentum. The majority of Columbia’s students opposed the protests, SDS could not forge alliances with other leftist groups, and the groups were divided by internal battles. The student newspaper, the Columbia Spectator, noted on October 30, 1967 that the tactics of SDS were ineffective.

The Three Issues at the Center of the Revolt

There were three central issues behind the revolt with two factions merging together for a common goal; opposition to the university’s administration. The first issue was Columbia University’s proposed expansion into Harlem. The university was planning to build a new gymnasium on city park property in Morningside Heights bordering Harlem. Both Columbia students and local residents would be using the gym; however, they would use separate entrances. Although Harlem civic organizations approved the project, militants objecting to the use of separate entrances, claiming this was an example of blatant racism. (Meyers, 2003) African-American students from the Students’ African-American Society (SAS) and the CCC protested the expansion, calling the new building “Gym Crow.”

At SDS there was a power struggle between Ted Kaptchuk, who wanted to focus on membership, recruitment, and education (what critics referred to as the “praxis axis”) and Mark Rudd, who was more interested in “direct confrontation with authorities.” (McCaughey, 437) Rudd, a junior who had just returned from an extended trip to Cuba, believed in participatory democracy. On March 13, 1968, Rudd was elected chairman of the Columbia SDS chapter on the slogan: “How to get the SDS Moving Again and Screw the University All in One Fell Swoop.” (McCaughey, 437) Rudd was unpopular with many. Columbia’s faculty disliked his arrogance, and those on the radical left objected to his suburban New Jersey upbringing, his athletic country club good looks and his male chauvinism. Tom Hayden described Rudd as “absolutely committed to an impossible yet galvanizing dream: that of transforming the entire student movement through this particular student revolt, into a successful effort to bring down the system.” But Hayden also described Rudd as “sarcastic and smugly dogmatic.” (McCaughey, 437)

Another of the issues that preoccupied radical students was the university’s often secret involvement and affiliation with the Institute of Defense Analysis. (Conlin, 284) The IDA did not issue contracts, but affiliated universities got preferential treatment from agencies that did. Columbia’s involvement with the IDA was common knowledge. What was not known, however, was the extent of the university’s military research. Columbia’s Institute of East European Studies was accumulating economic data for the CIA, while faculty members may have been conducting some contract research. The news came as a surprise to the university community. SDS was firmly committed to convincing the university to disengage itself from the IDA, and in March 1968, around 1,700 Columbia students signed a petition urging the university to break its affiliation as had other universities such as the University of Chicago.

The third issue was the university’s crackdown on the protesters, though this was slow to materialize. In February when two hundred students protested against Dow Chemical recruiters on campus, they went unpunished, as did Mark Rudd a few weeks later when he shoved a lemon meringue pie in the face of the visiting New York City director of Selective Service. But when at the end of March Rudd and a hundred members of SDS staged a new protest at Low Library six of the group’s leaders were identified and put on probation. Immediately the gym issue became relevant, and SDS students began protesting the disciplinary action, declaiming: “No disciplinary action against the Low Six.” (McCaughey, 440) The students claimed their constitutional rights had been violated.

Spring 1968 Events Leading up to the Campus Revolt

In early 1968, the tension that had been mounting around the country’s campuses had “reached a fever pitch.” (Davis, 39) The primary reasons were the Vietnam War, Lyndon Johnson’s announcement that he would not seek another term, and Martin Luther King’s assassination. SDS saw Johnson’s announcement as a reason to distrust all US institutions including the university administration. As Kirkpatrick Sale explains: “April began the escalation of student resistance that would mark this spring as the most explosive period up to that time in the history of American universities.” (Sale, 429) Columbia’s SDS protest coincided with the Tens Days of Resistance, a massive demonstration against the Vietnam War on campuses all over the country. Fifty colleges and universities participated. On the campuses there were “rallies, marches, teach-ins, and sit-ills, climaxing in a one-day ‘student strike’ on April 26.” As Sale writes, “It was a demonstration of significant proportions — probably as many as a million students stayed away from classes … and yet somehow its impact on the public was slight.” (Sale, 429)

It was the memorial for Martin Luther King, Jr. at Columbia that made the April riots all but inevitable. One of the chaplains at Columbia, John D. Cannon, believed there should be a memorial service. President Kirk and Provost David Truman were not invited until they heard about the plan and insisted on participating. Their presence prompted the SAS not to attend. Held on April 9, the service was well-attended, and was going smoothly until Mark Rudd came to the pulpit while Truman was speaking and “proceeded to declare the service an ‘obscenity’ given Columbia’s systematic mistreatment of blacks and workers King had lost his life championing.” (McCaughey, 441)

Afterwards Rudd left the chapel with forty other students; the walkout shocked the faculty and administration in attendance. The administration was unable to take disciplinary action against Rudd because Chaplain Cannon essentially blessed Rudd’s action by claiming “that St. Paul’s welcomed the views of anyone ‘who sincerely believes he is moved by the spirit.’” (McCaughey, 441) Although it appalled history Professor Fritz Stern, who caught Rudd before he departed and told him “his actions in the chapel were akin to the takeover of Socialist meetings by Nazis in Weimar Germany.” (McCaughey, 441) As McCaughey claims, “This would not be the last time this analogy was invoked in the weeks that followed.” (McCaughey, 441)

SDS found what they believed was a legitimate excuse to protest the administration. SDS adopted the race issue and the gym as their own, and on April 12, the chapter’s steering committee voted to mount demonstrations throughout the spring in protest of the gym and the university’s connections with the Pentagon “war machine.” Then on April 17 at the SDS general assembly, nearly a hundred students voted in favor of spring demonstrations. April 23 was set as the day for the first day of the protest, which would begin with a noontime rally at the sundial in front of the Low Library. Rudd’s mastermind planning included two pre-protest steps to “assure a crowd at the sundial.” (McCaughey, 441) In a letter entitled “Letter to Uncle Grayson” on April 19 Rudd “listed three nonnegotiable demands that SDS had settled on: the cessation of gym construction; Columbia’s withdrawal from the IDA; and no disciplinary action against the Low Six.” (McCaughey, 441) Rudd also began negotiating with other student groups to embrace their issues of concern. According to McCaughey, this “marked a new departure for SAS, which until now had avoided involvement in any campus issues that were not directly related to the circumstances of black students.” (McCaughey, 441)

Although the Ten Days of Resistance was according to Sale “the largest student strike in the history of the country,” it was dwarfed by the sheer size of the Columbia strike, which dominated the press. The media made it seem as if other universities were copying Columbia. (Sale, 429) Over a million students participated in the nationwide strike on April 26. The next day there was a huge anti-war rally in Central park with eighty-seven thousand attending. Still the eight-day saga at Columbia unfolded in the media and stood out in the minds of many as the ultimate student protest. (Davis, 41)

April 23, 1968: Day One

On April 23, 1968 at noon the SDS, CCC, SAS and the university’s black students joined at the sundial in a protest that drew more than a thousand students. (Davis, 39) The SDS and SAS demonstrated at Columbia’s Low Library, but decided they needed to take a more active approach. The groups wanted to get into the Low Library to confront President Kirk, but counter-protesters, the anti-SDS–Students Columbia 1968  JPGfor a Free Campus–blocked the front entrance and the building’s rear entrance was locked. Mark Rudd tried to take charge, using a bullhorn to organize the students. Someone spontaneously suggested the group exit to the grounds of the proposed gymnasium. At the gym site, they were prevented from entering by the police and one student was arrested. As a result, SDS’s main grievance shifted to the student that had just been arrested. Rudd wanted to organize “a democratic decision-making event, proposing a future student strike.” (Boren, 174) However, when someone suggested regrouping again at the sundial the frustrated group moved again.

But instead of moving to the sundial they went to the lobby of Hamilton Hall. It was there that Rudd gained leadership control of the protest, suggesting that the protesters “take a hostage and occupy Hamilton Hall, the main classroom building of Columbia.” (Boren, 174) Their chosen hostage was the university’s interim Dean Henry Coleman, who had not left the building after 6 P.M. in the evening when the majority of the students and faculty had already left. The protesters held him in his office for 24 hours. Coleman was an agreeable hostage, partially because he was treated well by his captors: “We had more food than we could possibly eat.” (Davis, 40)

Although the protests had started off haphazardly, the students began organizing themselves. Rudd acted as the leader, and “appointed a steering committee.” (Boren, 174) The students began drafting their demands to the university, and organized a stand off with the authorities. They also set about posting all over the interior of the building Che Guevara posters and political slogans. (Boren, 174) As Meyers reports, the students “took their revolutionary style and dress, their beards and berets, from Che Guevara” and seemed, as “Dupee wrote, ‘to unite the politics of a guerrilla chieftain with the aesthetic flair of a costumer and an interior decorator.’ ” (Meyers, 2003) Hamilton Hall became a closed occupation and several dozen armed black activists were invited. (McCaughey, 443)

The students made six demands. The first two were the withdrawal from the IDA and a moratorium on building the gym. The others included the right to stage indoor demonstrations, the establishment of open hearings on student discipline, the dropping of charges against the student arrested at the first demonstration, and the granting of amnesty for past, present, and immediate future acts of the protesters. (Colin, 287)

April 24, 1968: Day Two

On April 24, the second day of the revolt the two factions broke ranks, the black students no longer wanting to collaborate with the white ones, and kicked them out of the building. The dynamic changed at midnight, when the SAS voted “that an ongoing occupation of Hamilton–now dubbed Malcolm X Liberation College–should be a blacks only project.” (McCaughey, 444) Although Rudd and SDS were shocked, they agreed to leave. The black students began fortifying the building against a possible police attack and they took over keeping Coleman hostage. (Boren, 174-175) The white students not knowing what to do, took up the suggestion by one of the black students to “Get your own building.” (McCaughey, 444) Rudd, SDSers and white student protesters chose to take over the Low Library, and particularly make their headquarters in President Grayson Kirk’s office. They easily took over the building almost uncontested in the early morning hours. Soon however, there were rumblings that the police were approaching, prompting Rudd and other SDS leaders to jump from the window. The remaining twenty-five students remained there Columbia 1968  JPGunchallenged for the next six days, with many others joining. Rudd wanted to occupy other buildings, but SDSers voted against it fearing it would scare away support, prompting Rudd to briefly resign his post.

The administration made its headquarters in the unoccupied part of Low Library, and although President Kirk wanted to call in the police and resolve the strike quickly, Provost Truman opposed such action. The administration feared the black students would incite residents in Harlem and was cautious in dealing with them. Support grew rapidly for the strike with students taking over other buildings on campus. Students opposed to the strike “began marching on the city campus” and tried to retake Hamilton Hall, without success. (Boren, 175) (McCaughey, 444)

April 25, 1968: Day Three

Day Three ended with graduate students taking over Fayweather Hall. However the most important event of the day was the faculty’s decision to try to resolve the strike. The faculty made their headquarters in Philosophy 301 where they convened an emergency meeting. Daniel Bell offered the most popular resolution, which called for the students to vacate the occupied buildings and a tripartite committee consisting of faculty, students, and the administration to decide on appropriate disciplinary action. He ended by claiming, “We believe that any differences have to be settled peacefully and we trust that police action will not be used to clear university buildings.” (McCaughey, 447) The SAS released Dean Coleman, and he joined the meeting that almost unanimously endorsed Bell’s proposal.

Kirk and Truman were not as supportive. President Kirk announced that classes were canceled until Monday, and Provost Truman told the faculty the police might need to be called in. In response the faculty created the Ad Hoc Faculty Group (AHFG), which would insert itself between the police and the students.

The students were for the most part were unwilling to work with the faculty. The university hoped to end the stand off by announcing that construction on the gymnasium would stop. But things remained at an impasse for four days. The students demanded amnesty for those involved in the revolt, while the administration resisted, fearful that amnesty would give students an incentive to stage another strike later. (Boren, 175)

The day also marked the occupation of another building, after students in Fayerweather considered abandoning their occupation, hard-line SDSers moved on to Mathematics Hall. Later it would be the scene of the most radical protests. National radical leaders came to the campus to endorse the plight of their local chapters. Black Power leaders Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee also came into to speak with the African-American students occupying Hamilton Hall.

April 26, 1968: Day Four

Faculty members were staying round the clock at Philosophy Hall, but in the early morning Provost Truman warned that the faculty must leave. The administration called in the police “to secure the campus,” and plainclothes policemen scuffled with faculty members at the building. (Boren, 175) Still President Kirk decided to withhold widespread police action, holding out the hope that the AHFG could work out a compromise. A break seemed in sight after a meeting with SDS leadership; Rudd agreed to meet on the next day, Saturday, with AHFG at Philosophy 301.

April 27, 1968: Day Five

AHFG was willing to offer Rudd full amnesty for the protesters at the meeting, but he exclaimed, “Bullshit,” and left. Day Five also saw the appearance of national SDS leaders including Tom Hayden, who held control over one building. (Boren, 175) Counter protesters tried to stop food from being delivered to those involved in the strike. Other strike supporters served as supply blockaders around the occupied buildings.

A routine set in on campus. With the exception of those in Hamilton, protesters moved in and out of the buildings easily. The protesters made themselves comfortable inside the five buildings they were occupying. As Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin write, “protesters slept in the president’s office, smoked his cigars, drank his sherry, and rifled through his files for politically incriminating documents…. Life inside the ‘liberated’ buildings was tense but passionate, sleepless yet amusing.” (Isserman, 229)

On day five even a marriage took place between two of the protesters, Richard Eagan and Andrea Boroff, who recalled, “We went out on the balcony, and the [university] chaplain proclaimed us children of a new age. There were flowers. There was cake. They took us out and marched us around campus with people banging on pots and pans. . . . Someone had keys to a faculty office and they gave us a honeymoon suite.” (Isserman, 229) The day ended with a rally: “The effective united front among all the variety of SDSers was neatly symbolized on Saturday night, when three SDS leaders addressed a crowd of antiwar marchers who collected outside the university gates: Mark Rudd, Ted Kaptchuk, and Tom Hayden, ” as Sale recounted. Sale, 437, 438

April 28, 1968: Day Six

The calm peace was about to turn violent. On Sunday the AHFG, consisting of sociology Professors Immmanuel Wallerstein, Daniel Bell, Allan Silver, history Professors David J. Rothman and Robert Fogelson and economics Professor Peter Kenen, drew up the “Bitter Pill Resolutions”:

  1. Cancellation of the gym construction.
  2. Columbia’s withdrawal from the IDA
  3. Establishment of the principle of collective punishment for the building occupiers
  4. The disavowal by the faculty of either party, students or administration, that refused to accept these resolutions. (McCaughey, 452)

The faculty involved with AHFG voted in favor of the resolutions, but when Kenen and Bell presented them to Provost Truman, he asked them not to present them at the joint faculty meeting or he would resign. At the meeting 400 members of the faculty from the university’s six schools decided to take a centrist position, neither repudiating their president nor abandoning the students. (McCaughey, 453) Meanwhile outside of Low, the power struggle between strikers and counter protesters increased, reaching a boiling point as the anti-protesters circled the building, blocking the delivery of food. The scene, featuring strikers precariously balanced on window ledges, was famously captured by Life magazine in an iconic photograph.

Columbia  1968 JPG

April 29, 1968: Day Seven

Day seven was make or break in the strike and became known as “the day of decision.” Desperate to resolve the matter, the administration told the police to prepare to remove the students in the next 24 hours if they would not agree to end the strike. The intervention would take place in the early morning hours. This detail was kept from AHFG. President Kirk was open to considering the “bitter pill” resolutions, but the university’s trustees wanted changes made. (McCaughey, 455) The protesters’ reaction to the resolutions showed that police action was inevitable. The SDS’s Strike Coordinating Committee refused to compromise without a guarantee of amnesty. Hamilton Hall protesters also refused to go along. Only the Majority Coalition accepted the resolutions, and after one last skirmish with Low’s food suppliers, they vacated their barrier to the building.

April 30, 1968: Day Eight

Eight days into the stand-off there was no solution in sight. The two groups could not meet in agreement, and university officials were concerned that the confrontation was only escalating. As Boren writes: “With major facilities of the campus held by student radicals, a growing national interest in the students’ revolt, and the threat that residents of Harlem might decide to intervene, President Kirk gave the police permission to remove the students on April 30, eight days into the occupation.” (Boren, 175) It was the only way to end the stalemate. The administration, the police, and Mayor Lindsay feared that despite an attempt to remove the students quietly, there would be a riot. It was this fear that had prolonged the strike for so long. One of the mayor’s advisers, Barry Gottehrer, who had watched the proceedings develop since early on in the strike, believed police action could “result in a massacre.” (McCaughey, 456) Mayor Lindsay looked for advice from Yale’s President Kingman Brewster, who told him, “the very future of the American university depended on punishing the strikers.” (McCaughey, 456) His advice helped persuade the mayor to allow the police to move in.

In making that decision, the university administration was giving up its right to control the situation, leaving the police in charge. Provost Truman claimed afterward: “It was like deciding to take an airplane ride and having to leave everything in the air to the pilot.” (McCaughey, 456) The police intended to clear each building one at a time. A thousand police officers were sent in to remove the approximately 1200 students. Police would enter unarmed and the removed students would be transported in vans to jail and booked. Many things could go wrong and ultimately they did. Outside, students and faculty could attempt to stop the police from entering, and inside the officers would be dealing with uncooperative students. It was the perfect recipe for an eventual riot.

At 2:00 A.M. police officers entered the campus to break up the revolt. James Kirkpatrick Davis says the “assault by officers” lasted “nearly to dawn.” (Davis, 41) The first building emptied out was Hamilton Hall; the black students holding the facility had agreed in advance to leave peaceably. Fifteen minutes later the eighty-six protesters were escorted out of the front entrance. The second building emptied was Low Library, at 2:25 A.M. When the police entered they met only passive resistance; ninety-three students were arrested. As one student recounted: “We all gave passive resistance and were dragged out–heads were banged, clothes were torn, some people were bleeding. Nothing serious though.” (McCaughey, 457) Avery Hall was next at 2:30 A.M. After students refused to leave the police broke down the door. Inside they encountered some resistance and both students and police officers received minor injuries; forty-two students were arrested.

With each building the resistance escalated, and it became more difficult to remove the protesters. Fayerweather Hall was the next building the police entered at 2:45 A.M. There the police encountered faculty and students who stood in their path in front of the doors. In the scuffle history Professor James Shenton received a head wound. The injuries continued to mount inside as students resisted the police; 286 students were forcibly removed. The last building was the Mathematics Hall, which was the most difficult to clear. It was there that the most radical students, SDSers, and Mark Rudd, were hold up. The lights were turned off, leaving the police in the dark. Students poured liquid soap all over the stairs to hinder the officers’ access. Students resisted removal and were taken out by force and injured in the process. They threw “bottles, flashlight batteries, furniture and anything else they could get their hands on at the oncoming police.” (Davis, 41) They could get violent, “biting, scratching, punching and even kicking police officers.” (Davis, 41) Stairwells and halls were barricaded with broken furniture, and even a janitor was thrown down a staircase to stop the police from advancing. (Davis, 41) In the end, 203 students were removed. In a little over an hour, all of the buildings were cleared of 711 strikers: 239 were from Columbia, 111 from Barnard, and the rest from other university/college campuses. Three faculty members were arrested. (Davis, 41)

Columbia 1968  JPG

The removal process was far more peaceful than many had feared with only 148 injuries, most of them minor. One police officer suffered a permanent back injury in the process. However, as observers, students, faculty, and families on the South Field were watching students being placed in the vans, a call went out from officers in the vans to other police on campus. It was then that the police came charging at the crowd, and riots and violence commenced. As McCaughey recounts: “A phalanx of police charged the spectators in the South Field, forcing them to retreat south and west until they were backed up against Ferris Booth Hall and Butler Library.” The gates were locked and the crowd could not escape the police. That was where the worst confrontations and violence occurred. As Peter Kenen observed: “Even those of us who were intellectually ready for police action were not emotionally ready for what we saw.” (McCaughey, 459) As Davis states, “the New York Police Department received the highest number of complaints ever received for a single police action. This was also the largest police action in the history of American Universities.” (Davis, 42) In the process, the police injured hundreds of students and faculty, and arrested hundreds more. The day would be remembered as the Battle of Morningside Heights. (Boren, 175)

The Aftermath

When the stand-off was finally over seven days later on April 30, 1968 Columbia’s president Grayson Kirk went into his office at 4:30 A.M. to survey the damage. Protesters had placed a sign on his window ledge that read “LIBERATED AREA. BE FREE TO JOIN US.” (Davis, 39) The state of the office surprised Kirk and the police officer who accompanied him. Kirk wondered, “My God, how could human beings do a thing like this?” The officer exclaimed, “The whole world is in these books. How could they do this to these books?” (Davis, 39) Provost Truman wondered: “Do you think they will know why we had to do this, to call in the police? Will they know what we went through before we decided?” (Davis, 39)

The university remained closed for the next week. Meanwhile, student radicals and SDS planned their next protests. For the rest of the term the students essentially remained on strike. (Boren, 175) On May 21 the students “placed a poster in Ferris Booth Hall which warned of ‘Showdown No. 2.’” (Davis, 42) They also distributed flyers that claimed: “Can an administration, which helps make weapons for Vietnam, steals people’s land and homes discipline anyone?” (Davis, 42) May 22, 1968 marked the second showdown, a much more violent revolt than the April strike. Students occupied Hamilton Hall again, and the more radical among the protesters set fires to parts of the campus. With this revolt, the administration wasted no time and called in the police.

Again, a thousand police officers were called to campus, and the confrontation turned violent. As Davis reports, the police “were in no mood to be pushed around by rowdy college students. Students threw bricks, rocks, and bottles at the lawmen. The police gave no quarter. It was a bloody, wild fight.” (Davis, 42) As with the last strike, the police forced back the crowds that had assembled to watch. Two hundred students were arrested. In a final revolt, that academic year in June students and faculty “dramatically marched out of Columbia’s official commencement ceremonies and held a counter-commencement exercise, officiated by former Sarah Lawrence College President Harold Taylor.” (Boren, 176)

Many of the liberal students at Columbia wanted to reform and restructure the university; many of the students’ demands were met to accomplish this. The university wanted to move on from the strikes, and in August President Kirk resigned, another marker of change that pleased the students. With the changes, SDS lost its less radical liberal advocates. (Boren, 176) Dick Greeman, an SDS veteran and one of the few Columbia faculty members that unconditionally supported the radicals wrote them: “To student rebels, allies must be sought in the black ghettos and in the ranks of labor, not on campus. It means that ‘a free university’ will only exist after we have won a ‘free society’ ” (Sale 440, 441) Many of the radicals left the university after that spring, while others were suspended for the most destructive actions, including Mark Rudd, who soon became the leader of the violent radical group, the Weather Underground.

The events at Columbia radicalized the student movement. The SDS’s slogan of “two, three, many Columbias” inspired radical students all across the country. As Boren explains, “The incident immediately ignited a number of student power demonstrations on campuses throughout the United States, fueled more by antiestablishment sentiments than by specific attainable goals.” (Boren, 176) Rudd later admitted that the stated reasons for the revolt at Columbia were just an excuse to challenge authority. “We just manufactured the issues…. The gym issue is bull. It doesn’t mean anything to anybody.” (Meyers, 2003) As Sale observes: “Conservative critics were right, for the wrong reasons, when they argued that if the university had given in on these demands the radicals would have found three others just as urgent; or, in the words of a famous Berkeley slogan, ‘The issue is not the issue.’ ” (Sale, 435)

Sources and Further Reading

Mark Edelman Boren, Student Resistance: A History of the Unruly Subject, (Routledge, 2001).

Joseph Conlin, The Troubles: A Jaundiced Glance Back at the Movement of the Sixties, (Watts, 1982).

James Kirkpatrick Davis, Assault on the Left: The FBI and the Sixties Antiwar Movement, (Greenwood, 1997).

Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin, America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s, (Oxford University Press, 2000).

Michael J. Lewis, “Activism & Architecture: A Tale of Two Cities,” New Criterion, Volume: 16. Issue: 10, June 1998.

Robert A. McCaughey, Stand, Columbia: A History of Columbia University in the City of New York, (Columbia University Press, 2003).

Jeffrey Meyers, “Lionel Trilling & the Crisis at Columbia,” New Criterion, Vol. 21, January 2003.

Kirkpatrick Sale, SDS, (Vintage Books, 1974).

Top Young Historians: 90 – Michael S. Neiberg

Top Young Historians

Michael S. Neiberg, 38

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Professor of History and Co-Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society, the University of Southern Mississippi, 2005-present
Area of Research: Military history, Nineteenth century, World War I, American Military history
Education: Ph.D., History, Carnegie Mellon University, 1996
Major Publications: Neiberg is the author of The Second Battle of the Marne, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008); Soldiers’ Lives Through History: Volume 4, The Nineteenth Century, (Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 2006); Fighting the Great War: A Global History, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005), available in a Spanish translation, La Gran Guerra, Michael  Neiberg JPG (Barcelona: Libros Paidós, 2006), and was the Winner of Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award, 2006; Warfare and Society in Europe, 1898 to the Present, (London: Routledge Press, 2004); Foch: Supreme Allied Commander in the Great War, (Dulles, Va.: Brassey’s Press, 2003); Warfare in World History, (London: Routledge Press, 2001); Making Citizen-Soldiers: ROTC and the Ideology of American Military Service, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000), finalist for the Thomas J. Wilson Prize, named as an Association of American University Presses “Book for Understanding our Times.”
Neiberg is the editor of The Great War Reader, (New York: New York University Press, 2006); editor, International Library of Political History: Fascism, (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), International Library of Political History series, Jeremy Black, general editor; editor, International Library of Military History: World War I, (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005), International Library of Military History series, Jeremy Black, general editor. Neiberg is also the author with Steven Schlossman of The Unwelcome Decline of Molly Marine: Historical Perspectives on Women in the American Military, 1994, prepared under the direction of Dr. Bernard Rostker for the RAND Corporation’s National Defense Research Institute.
Neiberg is currently working on War and Peace in the Modern World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, under contract).
Neiberg is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “Civilian Daily Lives in European Warfare, 1815-1900″ in Linda Frey, ed. European Civilians in Time of War, (Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 2007), 175-218; “Civilians Daily Lives during World War I,” in Jeanne T. Heidler and David S. Heidler, eds. The United States from the Age of Imperialism to the War on Terror, (Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 2007), 35-66. “War and Society” in Matthew Hughes and William Philpott, eds. The Palgrave Guide to Modern Military History, (London: Palgrave, 2006), 42-60; “Revisiting the Myths: New Approaches to the Great War,” Contemporary European History 13, 4 (November, 2004), 505-515, and “Cromwell on the Bed Stand: Allied Civil-Military Relations in World War I” in Jenny MacLeod and Pierre Pursiegle, eds. Uncovered Fields: New Approaches In First World War Studies, (Amsterdam: Brill Publishers, 2003), 61-78.
Awards: Neiberg is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Innovation and Basic Research Award, University of Southern Mississippi, 2008;
Selected Participant, Philip Merrill Center, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University Workshop, 2006;
USAFA International Programs Committee Faculty Development Grant, 2003;
Finalist, Heiser Award for Teaching Excellence, United States Air Force Academy, 2000, 2001, and 2005;
Dean’s Fund to Promote Academic Excellence Grant, United States Air Force Academy, 2001;
Stephen L. Orrison Award for Excellence in Mentoring, United States Air Force Academy, 2000;
Outstanding Academy Educator Award, United States Air Force Academy, 1999;
Spencer Foundation Research Grant, 1997-1998;
United States Army Center of Military History Dissertation Fellowship, 1995-1996;
Mark Stevens Research Travel Grant, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, 1995;
Finalist, Graduate Student Teaching Award, Carnegie Mellon University, 1994;
Goldman Award for Teaching Excellence, Carnegie Mellon University, 1993-1994.
Additional Info:
Formerly Professor of History, United States Air Force Academy. Neiberg was the Guest Editor, Organization of American Historians Magazine of History: World War I 17, 1 (October, 2002). Neiberg was a Consultant, Lucas Films, The Young Indiana Jones DVD Collectionl; Guest of the French Government, Ceremonies Marking the 250th Anniversary of the Birth of the Marquis de Lafayette, Paris, December 12-14, 2007. He made a number of radio/interview appearances including; La Première, RTBF, Belgian National Radio; Larry Mantle, Air Talk, KPCC FM, Los Angeles, California; Warren Olney, To the Point, KCRW FM, Santa Monica, California, and Deutsche Welle Radio, Germany. Neiberg has written newspaper articles for the Los Angeles Times and New York Newsday, and has been interviewed for in the Kansas City Star, the Wall Street Journal; the New York Times, and the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

Personal Anecdote

“Mike, any idiot can get a Ph.D.”

Such was the advice I got shortly after I had begun graduate school. I was visiting with a high school friend of mine whose mother had been a dean of a college of social work. She had asked me about my first reactions to entering a doctoral program. I told her that I was concerned that most of the people in my cohort seemed a good deal smarter than I was. At first I was taken aback by her response, but she soon explained what she meant. Being smart was, in her opinion, no guarantee of success in graduate school. The key, she told me, was to work hard and be creative.

Of course, I didn’t fully understand what she was trying to tell me any more than I understood the advice of one of my undergraduate mentors that “Professors aren’t what you think they are.” Nevertheless, both comments stuck in my head and wouldn’t leave me alone. But as I completed course work and prepared a dissertation topic, I began to understand at least the first comment. What I needed to do was take a subject that seemed banal or prosaic and make people see its importance. Better still, I might take a subject people thought they understood and make them see it in an entirely new light.

Along the way I realized another aspect of the historian’s mind. We all have a time and place that interests us and draws our attention, such as Antebellum America or Third Republic France. But we also have a set of questions that we seek answers to, even if, in my case, it took me years to figure out what those questions were. I finally concluded that my core interests revolved around warfare and the impacts it has on both societies and individuals.

Eventually that path has led me to an intensive study of the First World War. I think I have been drawn to the 1914-1918 period because the causes of the war have always struck me as so disproportionate to its effects. Currently, I am examining the process by which the lives of millions of Europeans were forever altered by a chain of events begun by the assassination of little-known and less-admired Austrian Archduke. I am interested less in understanding how the war began than in understanding how the war that followed was possible. This project is informed by recent trends in transnational history, an exciting and potentially fruitful method for answering the questions I am posing.

For the past 15 years, I have kept the sage words of my friend’s mother at heart. I am still not sure if she meant them literally or facetiously, although I have always hoped it was the latter. It has taken me a long time to figure out what those words mean, but now I think I have it. They have turned out to be the best words of wisdom I ever received.

Quotes

By Michael Neiberg

  • As important as the war is to European, American, and world history, teaching the First World War can be a difficult endeavor. In contrast to the Second World War, the First lacks a clear master narrative of good versus evil. The even greater destruction of the Second World War contributes to an understandable yet misleading image of the First as a senseless waste, the ultimate expression of a wrong war fought for the wrong reasons. Because the war produced relatively few heroes or even few villains, it also lacks a clear and easy identification with well-known people. As a result, the war becomes reduced to simplistic and familiar themes, especially when the teacher is short on time. These well-worn themes include the stupidity of generals, the innocence of soldiers, and the overall waste of the war. Like all simplifications, these tropes are based in an element of reality, but they disguise a tremendous level of complexity. — Michael Neiberg in “The World War I Reader” (New York: NYU Press, 2007), p. 3.
  • By the end of 1917, however, that learning curve was nearly complete. France, Britain, and the United States had developed industrial, political, and military structures that saw them through the crisis of 1918. Victory resulted from a combination of improved military prowess and the evolution of an administrative, economic, and social support system that drove battlefield success. Both nations had come far from August 1914, when British General Henry Wilson observed the meeting at which Britain’s senior leadership had decided upon war. He described it as a “historic meeting of men mostly entirely ignorant of their subject.”6 By 1917–1918 his description no longer fit the senior civilian and military leaders of the Allied powers. They oversaw massive military machines with the infrastructure to support them. Because of the allied creation of a joint civil-military system, French Marshal Ferdinand Foch directed representatives of the new German government to a forest clearing near Compiègne in November 1918. In a railway car in that clearing, the German government surrendered, thereby ending the war that they had played such a large role in beginning. — Michael Neiberg in “Fighting the Great War A Global History”
  • About Michael Neiberg

  • “In recounting the events of WWI with skill and clarity, Neiberg does not break new ground for serious students of the conflict but achieves a fine balance of narrative and analyses – no easy feat in a one-volume study. And Neiberg also goes considerably further afield than do many one-volume accounts. A larger-than-usual share of responsibility is laid on the Germans, particularly for their diplomacy before the war and in its opening stages. Neiberg’s analyses of military incompetence do not bog down (along with the armies) on the Western Front – the Italian campaign is noted, where the Italian army distinguished itself in spite of being nearly extinguished. Even in the battle narratives, one finds choice revelations, such as how the French African troops’ khaki uniforms (which were designed for warfare in dusty Africa) helped the French to abandon their conspicuous prewar garb. The illustrations (89 duotones and 10 maps) are particularly well chosen. Compare this book with Hew Strachan’s The First World War; it ranks above entries by Martin Gilbert and John Keegan in readability and value for a wider audience.” — Publishers Weekly reviewing “Fighting the Great War”
  • “An interpretive narrator of World War I, Neiberg develops military explanations for its continuation in the face of apparent futility, a theme worked out in its political dimension by David Stevenson in Cataclysm (2004). The initial reason the war went on after 1914 was the failure of every prewar campaign plan, and Neiberg describes the battles (the Marne and Tannenberg) in which paper war met real war. The underlying military problem confronting generals was defensive firepower, and as time elapsed, they tried different methods to neutralize it: titanic artillery barrages, poison gas, tanks, and intentional attrition at Verdun. Resisting the temptation to condemn the generals (with the exception of Italian Luigi Cadorna, “one of the worst senior commanders of the twentieth century”), Neiberg shows how leaders drew hope from incremental technical improvements in weapons and tactics that the next offensive would break the enemy. A well-judged chronicle that compares favorably to the excellent The First World War, by Hew Strachan (2004), Neiberg’s survey supplies a solid foundation in the facts and controversies of WWI’s military course. — Gilbert Taylor in “Booklist” reviewing “Fighting the Great War”
  • Michael Neiberg dissects the resulting carnage on both sides with chilling precision. — Tony Maniaty in “The Australian” reviewing “Fighting the Great War”
  • An authoritative, compelling, and brief narrative of World War I in its military and political aspects. To provide a comprehensive account of the battles and leaders of World War I in a book fewer than four hundred pages is a major achievement. Michael S. Neiberg has accomplished that feat in a lucid, fast-paced treatment of the conflagration that raged across the entire world from 1914 to 1918 in Fighting the Great War: A Global History… Neiberg has a good eye for the relevant anecdote and offers fresh judgments about many of the key figures in this great conflict, such as Erich Ludendorff and Douglas Haig. He is also adept at explaining battles and their significance. There are few better introductions to the complex issues and enduring historical problems that grew out of the war than Neiberg’s book. Balanced in its judgments, crisp in its prose, and powerful in its evocation of a formative moment in world civilization, Fighting the Great War is a significant scholarly contribution. — Lewis L. Gould in “Magill Book Reviews” reviewing “Fighting the Great War”
  • “Who is in charge of our military? Where did they come from? While these questions may not press daily on the minds of most Americans, Making Citizen-Soldiers does not merely ask and answer them–it convinces us that these questions are critical to American democracy. In a focused, well-researched history of the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC), Michael Neiberg discusses the development of this program from 1950 to 1980. More importantly, he sets forth a convincing argument that ROTC, which populates the officer ranks of the military with graduates of civilian colleges, brings to fruition some of the most cherished ideas Americans have about how their military ought to be… So bravo to Neiberg for his success. I do hope a sequel is forthcoming, for he ended his study too soon. As it stands, Making Citizen-Soldiers is not only a well-written history of an important program, it is also a revealing exposition of bedrock American ideals. Like all good historical works, Making Citizen-Soldiers is insightful and important. — David Maier in the “Boston Book Review” reviewing “Making Citizen-Soldiers”
  • “Neiberg provides an absorbing examination of U.S. higher education’s changing relationship with Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs, from their inception in 1916 to 1980…This thoughtful book will interest audiences concerned about American culture and history. — Steven Puro in “Library Journal” reviewing “Making Citizen-Soldiers”
  • Neiberg’s extensive archival research reveals the many conflicts among and within universities over the intellectual validity of ROTC…Neiberg does a commendable job of providing an institutional and social history of ROTC from 1950 through 1980. — — Michael P. Noonan in “Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs” reviewing “Making Citizen-Soldiers”
  • “I met Dr. Michael Neiberg in the spring of 2005, shortly after he joined the faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi. In the past three years I have come to know Dr. Neiberg as an enthusiastic and dedicated professor, encouraging my own interest in history through two undergraduate courses and a senior thesis project. My respect for his knowledge and contribution to his field is surpassed only by my appreciation for his continuous guidance, good humor, and honest advice. I am thankful for the opportunity I have had to learn from such a gifted teacher and mentor.” — Kristin Cabana Fitzgerald, former student and PhD student at Vanderbilt (Fall 2008)
  • “Incredible Teacher! He knows his material cold and has the intelligence to back it up. Regardless of what course he’s teaching, take one of his classes.”… “Is there something he doesn’t know about history?”… “Real approachable, very good lecturer, good teacher.”… “I LOVE him. He is truly amazing, and USM is lucky to have someone of his knowledge level be part of their History department.”… “He is an amazing professor and very knowledgeable about the subject matter. As a person, he is wonderful. He is always willing to answer questions and clarify his lectures. His class is very challenging, like college courses are supposed to be. He gives you the grade you deserve and does not sugar coat it. A great guy!” — Anonymous Students
  • “I felt honored to be in this class. Dr. Neiberg is the best instructor I have had in 3 years at USM.”… “The best organized and taught history class I have had at USM.”… “My favorite History class. Not only was it interesting, it was also challenging.”… “I loved this class. I’ve never even had an interest in history before, but Dr. Neiberg is an outstanding instructor. He made this my favorite course of the semester.”… “World War I has never been a subject that I had any interest in and now I do. This is all due to Dr Neiberg’s enthusiasm and his class preparation.”… “This was my favorite and my most challenging class.”… “I really enjoyed this class and it was definitely a challenge for me. But I feel like I was encouraged to improve. Thanks.”… “I loved this class. I have never enjoyed attending a lecture this much. I learned a lot and had a great time. Thanks!”… “Wonderful class. People that are excited about the subject they teach always make for better instructors.” — Anonymous Students
  • Posted on Thursday, April 24, 2008 at 8:45 PM

    Top Young Historians: 89 – Samuel Truett

    Top Young Historians

    Samuel Truett, 42

    Basic Facts

    Teaching Position: Associate Professor, Department of History, University of New Mexico
    Area of Research: borderlands history, environmental history, U.S. West and Mexico, U.S. culture and empire, family and migration history, transnational history, comparative frontiers and borderlands
    Education: Ph.D. Yale University, Department of History, 1997
    Major Publications: Truett is the author of Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (Yale, 2006), selected as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2007 by Choice Magazine; and co-editor (with Elliott Young) of Samuel Truett  JPG Continental Crossroads: Remapping U.S.-Mexico Borderlands History (Duke, 2004). He is currently working on two new book projects, Old New Worlds: Ruins, Borderlands, and Empire in America, and A Cossack on the U.S.-Mexico Frontier: The Transnational Life and Times of Emilio Kosterlitzky.
    Truett is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters, and reviews including among others: “Epics of Greater America: Herbert Eugene Bolton’s Quest for a Transnational American History,” in Interpreting Spanish Colonialism: Empires, Nations, and Legends, ed. Christopher Schmidt-Nowara and John Nieto-Phillips (University of New Mexico, 2005), winner of the 2006 Bolton-Kinnaird Award in Borderlands History; “The Ghosts of Frontiers Past: Making and Unmaking Space in the Borderlands,” Journal of the Southwest 46 (Summer 2004), 309-50; “Making Transnational History: Nations, Regions, and Borderlands” (co-authored with Elliott Young), and “Transnational Warrior: Emilio Kosterlitzky and the Transformation of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands,” in Continental Crossroads, ed. Truett and Young (Duke, 2004); and “Neighbors by Nature: Rethinking Region, Nation, and Environmental History in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands,” Environmental History 2 (April 1997), 160-78.
    Awards: Truett is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
    Lloyd Lewis Fellowship in American History, The Newberry Library, Chicago, IL, 2008-2009; Center for New World Comparative Studies Fellowship, The John Carter Brown Library, Providence, RI, 2008; Feminist Research Institute Research Grant, University of New Mexico, 2007; College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Grant, University of New Mexico, for pilot Arizona-New Mexico borderlands/environmental history field institute, 2007; Shoemaker Endowed Fellowship, Department of History, University of New Mexico, 2007; Bolton-Kinnaird Award in Borderlands History, Western History Association, for best article on borderlands history, 2006; Research Allocations Committee Grant, University of New Mexico, 2006; Mellon Fellowship, The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, 2004-2005; Snead-Wertheim Endowed Lectureship in Anthropology and History, University of New Mexico, 2001-2002; J. William Fulbright Lectureship, University of Tampere, Finland, 2000-2001; Research Allocations Committee Grant, University of New Mexico, 1999; Latin American and Iberian Institute Field Research Grant, University of New Mexico, 1999; William P. Clements Research Fellowship in Southwest Studies, William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, 1997-1998; Frederick W. Beinecke Dissertation Prize, Yale University, 1998; Mrs. Giles P. Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities, Yale University, 1995-1996; Yale Center for International and Area Studies Doctoral Research Grant, Yale University, 1994-1995; Yale Council on Latin American Studies Pre-Dissertation Grant, Yale University, 1993; Ralph H. Gabriel Fellowship in History, Yale University, 1992-93; Yale University Graduate Fellowship, Yale University, 1991-1995.
    Additional Info:
    Visiting Lecturer in History, California Institute of Technology; while on a Mellon Fellowship at the Huntington Library, taught undergraduate class in borderlands history, 2005, and J. William Fulbright Lecturer in North American Studies, The University of Tampere, Finland; taught classes in western U.S., environmental, and borderlands history, 2000-2001, and William P. Clements Fellow in Southwest Studies, at Southern Methodist University, 1997-1998.
    Co-organized in 2007, with Katherine Morrissey (University of Arizona), Paul Hirt (Arizona State University), and Marsha Weisiger (New Mexico State University) a pilot summer field institute in borderlands and environmental history, based in ranchlands and mining landscapes in New Mexico, Sonora (Mexico), and Arizona; have since applied for funding for future regional field institutes based on the same model.
    Co-organized in 2006, with Ann Massmann, Center for Southwest Research (University of New Mexico) a pilot History Department-Zimmerman Library undergraduate seminar based on “total immersion” in the rare book collections and archives.

    Personal Anecdote

    I avoided history for years—perhaps because I found it hard enough to keep up with the present. As a child and then a teenager, I was in constant motion, following my wildlife biologist father all across the western U.S. and Canada. As he was chasing and counting critters between Tucson and Yellowknife, my brother and I became experts in the human species (always new kids on the playground, always trying to stay alive). It’s a kind of childhood that prepares one well for anthropology (which I studied as an undergraduate), but it took me a while to parlay this into an appreciation of the past.

    History came soon after college. After finishing at the University of Arizona, I spent $99 on a one-way Greyhound ticket to see the wild east, and began to work at a Xerox shop in Cambridge. I warmed up the equipment each morning at 5:30, and by 2:30 I was free for the day. I would take the T to the Boston Public Library, browse the stacks, take as many books as I could to the Arnold Arboretum and read until dark. It was a liberating year: I had time to read anything I wanted (and not just what I had to read for exams or papers), so each day I chose something different: astronomy or literary criticism or paleozoology or geography or modernist fiction.

    I knew I wanted to go on to graduate school—I liked the idea of thinking and writing and teaching for a living—but I’d grown lukewarm on anthropology. I wanted to write about people, but in a more humanistic way. I also wanted to learn more about how people and the natural world had changed in tandem, perhaps because I’d been raised by an ecologist who taught me to read history in landscapes and not just in books. And mostly I wanted to preserve that feeling of wonder and serendipity that came from moving freely through the library. I worried that I’d eventually have to abandon my wandering ways, and settle on a single letter of the Library of Congress alphabet. I tried them out for size—the C’s, the F’s, the G’s, and the Q’s—and then one day I took a left instead of a right into one of the stacks, and stumbled across the field of environmental history.

    The rest is history, as they say. Environmental history was just the beginning. It opened my eyes to the importance of staying in motion, of moving across the borders we draw to distinguish ourselves from other scholars, of seeing what things look like from the other side. To understand relationships between human and non-human worlds, environmental historians have learned to speak to geologists, ecologists, literary scholars, geographers, and so on: they’ve learned to browse the G’s, the Q’s, the P’s. Similar nomadic, border-crossing habits underpin my interests in borderlands history. To understand how the U.S. changed in tandem with the world across its borders, I often find myself on the road: in other nations’ archives, reading other languages, taking an outsider view. Environmental and borderlands histories are about place and rootedness— but they’re also histories of the world at large, and the ways people and things and ideas move.

    Perhaps it’s due simply to my peripatetic upbringing and serendipitous turns of fate down dusty library stacks, but I’m increasingly convinced that historians can benefit from a life in motion. By keeping our minds moving across disciplinary, geographical, and temporal registers, we may be in the ideal position to keep our eyes on that fugitive subject we call the American past.

    Quotes

    By Samuel Truett

  • In the early twentieth century, Arizonans viewed their neighbors to the south as siblings in an interlocking family history of sorts, a history that began with shared struggles on the “wild” frontier and pointed towards a Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico  Borderlands JPG shared modern future. . . . One cannot study an early twentieth-century map of this region without seeing connections: railroad lines, like strands of a spider’s web, converge on, indeed, almost overwhelm the line between nations. . . . What follows is a history of this lost world, which became by the early twentieth century one of the most industrialized and urban places in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. People dreamed about this landscape in ways that may seem remarkably familiar to us today, in an age of globalization and NAFTA. They expected economic development to knit Mexico and the United States together and carry them as progressive partners into a modern future. This is the history of what actually happened. Corporations, states, and regional entrepreneurs hoped to domesticate and modernize a fugitive landscape–what they saw as a wild and barbaric frontier–but it continually slipped out of their control. Their reorganization of the borderlands remained tenuous, uneven, and incomplete. Over the short term they often made impressive gains, but in the long run, their dreams were dashed and their stories were forgotten. — Samuel Truett in “Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands”
  • About Samuel Truett

  • “Truett has written one of the most compelling borderlands narratives to date. His beautifully written and efficiently organized history details the well-developed lines of economic, industrial, and personal connection that; have long linked the U.S. to its southern neighbor. . . . This book is a fine contribution to the fields of western, environmental, and Chicano/a history as well as the national histories of the U.S. and Mexico. Highly recommended.” — Choice Magazine Review of “Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands”
  • “Truett’s book . . . reinforces what fiction by Carlos Fuentes and John Nichols and movies such as John Sayles’s Lone Star have said: the regions around borders defy the categorization governments wish to put on them. It’s a paradox: the divide both connects and separates.” —- Oscar Villalon, reviewing “Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands” in Virginia Quarterly Review
  • Samuel Truett provides a concrete example of what transnational history looks like and what it can reveal. Fugitive Landscapes puts into practice what many American historians urge, but rarely do themselves. — Richard White, Stanford University, writing on “Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands”
  • “[A] rich and engaging regional historical narrative. . . . An important contribution to the borderland scholar’s library, but it also has lessons for other geographers who till the borderlands of regional cultural geography. On one hand, Fugitive Landscapes may be one of the best pieces of research and writing about the historical geography of any part of the Mexican borderlands, and on the other, it is a vibrant example, a model in the truest sense, of inspired historical regional geographic scholarship. — Daniel Arreola, reviewing Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands in Journal of Cultural Geography
  • In this richly textured history of the Arizona-Sonora borderlands, Samuel Truett deftly peels off layers of multiethnic, transnational history to reveal what he calls fugitive landscapes. . . . The author presents one of the most significant works on understanding the transnational process. . . . The study will serve as a model, offering new theoretical constructs without forcing the reader to navigate a tortuous treatise on the meaning of this important framework.-F. Arturo Rosales, reviewing Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands in American Historical Review
  • “A rich, vivid, and satisfying book. Scholars of northern Mexico, the American West, the borderlands, and, more broadly, of frontiers, international labor, and the Gilded Age will all find valuable insights in Truett’s work. The book’s attention to detail and to characters, its length, and the author’s lucid, engaging style make Fugitive Landscapes an excellent choice for graduate and undergraduate classes alike. — Brian Delay, reviewing “Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands” in Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas
  • “Truett’s writing style is economical and uncomplicated, in a manner expected by historians and welcomed by anthropologists. . . . Truett’s effort to move the border from the edge to the center of the historical narrative is a resounding success. It is recommended reading for any anthropologist working on transnational subjects, if only as inspiration to transcend the constraints imposed by political boundaries.” — Jeremy Kulisheck, reviewing “Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands” in Journal of Anthropological Research
  • “In a brilliant introduction Samuel Truett and Elliott Young guide the reader through long-standing and current debates over the nature of frontiers, borders, and borderlands more generally. . . . This collection highlights some of the best writing in borderlands and Southwest studies and is suitable for classroom use. . . . Overall this fine collection of essays adds considerably to our understanding of this developing field and challenges historians to take seriously the ‘transnational historical terrain’” — Marc Simon Rodriguez, reviewing “Continental Crossroads: Remapping U.S.-Mexico Borderlands History in The Journal of Southern History”
  • “While duly acknowledging the foundational work of earlier generations of border-crossing historians, Samuel Truett and Elliott Young and their gritty band of young collaborators bring into focus a more socially complex, multiracial, and multiethnic world of transnational players and history-makers. . . . They have thrown down the gauntlet; I suspect many more young scholars of the United States and the American West, of Latin America and Mexico, of Chicano/a and Ethnic Studies, will rush to join them because they sense that if they don’t, they risk becoming obsolete before they even begin their careers.” — Evelyn Hu-DeHart, Brown University, writing on “Continental Crossroads: Remapping U.S.-Mexico Borderlands History”
  • “Truett and Young have produced a theoretically savvy anthology that will promote additional research and writing about the U.S.-Mexico border. Their edited volume will find an eager audience among college students and professional historians alike, especially since each contributor has shown how far we have come since the days of Herbert Eugene Bolton.” — Michael M. Brescia, reviewing “Continental Crossroads: Remapping U.S.-Mexico Borderlands History” in History: Reviews of New Books
  • “[An] exceptional new anthology. . . . [A] set of insightful and nuanced contributions to borderlands history. . . . This is an important book that should be read both by scholars and students of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, and by those who are interested in the relationships between nation building and identity formation.” — Eric V. Meeks, reviewing “Continental Crossroads: Remapping U.S.-Mexico Borderlands History in The Americas”
  • Posted on Sunday, April 6, 2008 at 11:06 PM

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