History Buzz: September 2007

History Buzz

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

October 1, 2007

  • Lee Edwards on “Presidential candidates touting competence in appeal to voters”: “He won because everybody knew he was a competent guy and a good manager in World War II.”… Iraq is by far the biggest issue in this campaign and is inextricably linked to the competence debate, Edwards said. It also makes it “very tricky” for Republicans who want to promise to be more competent than Bush without alienating Republican voters still loyal to the president…. “They would not take kindly to what they would see as unfair criticism just for political purposes by someone who wants to succeed Bush.” Edwards said. – San Diego Union Tribune, 9-9-07
  • Douglas Brinkley: Gives back advance for Kerouac book – AP, 9-28-07
THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: This Week in History:

  • 30/09/1199 – Rambam (Maimonides) authorizes Samuel Ibn Tibbon to translate Guide of Perplexed from Arabic into Hebrew
  • 30/09/1452 – 1st book published, Johann Guttenberg’s Bible
  • 30/09/1777 – Congress, flees to York Pa, as British forces advance
  • 30/09/1787 – 1st US voyage around the world – Columbia leaves Boston
  • 30/09/1805 – Napoleons army draws into the Rhine
  • 30/09/1864 – Black Soldiers given Medal of Honor
  • 30/09/1946 – 22 Nazi leaders found guilty of war crimes at Nuremberg
  • 30/09/1953 – Earl Warren appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
  • 30/09/1962 – James Meredith registers for classes at University of Mississippi; JFK routes 3,000 federal troops to Mississippi
  • 01/10/1791 – 1st session of new French legislative assembly
  • 01/10/1768 – English troops under general Gauge lands in Boston
  • 01/10/1867 – Karl Marx’ “Das Kapital,” published
  • 01/10/1948 – Calif Supreme Court voids state statue banning interracial marriages
  • 01/10/1958 – Inauguration of NASA
  • 02/10/1187 – Sultan Saladin captures Jerusalem from Crusaders
  • 02/10/1535 – Jacques Cartier discovers Mount Royal (Montreal)
  • 02/10/1833 – NY Anti-Slavery Society organized
  • 02/10/1861 – Former VP John C Breckinridge flees Kentucky
  • 02/10/1870 – Italy annexes Rome and Papal States; Rome made Italian capital
  • 02/10/1967 – Thurgood Marshall sworn in as 1st black Supreme Court Justice
  • 03/10/1789 – Washington proclaims 1st national Thanksgiving Day on Nov 26
  • 03/10/1863 – Lincoln designates last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day
  • 03/10/1922 – Rebecca Felton of Georgia becomes 1st woman in Senate
  • 03/10/1941 – Nazi’s blow up 6 synagoges in Paris
  • 03/10/1942 – FDR forms Office of Economic Stabilization
  • 03/10/1974 – Watergate trial begins
  • 03/10/1990 – East Germany and West Germany merge to become Germany
  • 04/10/1636 – In Massachusetts the Plymouth Colony’s 1st law drafted
  • 04/10/1648 – Peter Stuyvesant establishes Americas 1st volunteer firemen
  • 04/10/1777 – Gen George Washington’s troops attacked British at Germantown Pa
  • 04/10/1854 – Abraham Lincoln made his 1st political speech at Illinois State Fair
  • 04/10/1864 – National black convention meets (Syracuse NY)
  • 04/10/1864 – New Orleans Tribune, 1st black daily newspaper, forms
  • 04/10/1880 – University of California founded in Los Angeles
  • 05/10/1582 – Gregorian calendar introduced in Italy, other Catholic countries
  • 05/10/1796 – Spain declares war on England
  • 05/10/1813 – Battle of Thames in Canada; Americans defeat British
  • 05/10/1862 – Federal fleet occupies Galveston, Texas
  • 05/10/1947 – 1st Presidential address televised from White House-HS Truman
  • 05/10/1953 – Earl Warren sworn in as 14th chief justice of US
  • 05/10/1970 – Quebec separatists kidnap British trade commissioner James Cross
  • 06/10/1683 – 13 Mennonite families from Germany found Germantown Pa (Phila)
  • 06/10/1781 – Americans and French begin siege of Cornwallis at Yorktown; last battle of Revolutionary War
  • 06/10/1944 – Canadians free Austria
  • 06/10/1945 – Gen Eisenhower welcomed in Hague (on Hitler’s train)
  • 06/10/1949 – Pres Truman signs Mutual Defense Assistance Act (for NATO)
  • 06/10/1961 – JFK advises Americans to build fallout shelters
  • 06/10/1973 – Yom Kippur War begins as Syria and Egypt attack Israel
  • 06/10/1976 – Pres Ford says there is “no Soviet domination in Eastern Europe”
  • 06/10/1996 – Bob Dole and Pres Bill Clinton meet in their 1st debate
  • 07/10/1579 – English royal marriage of queen Elizabeth I to duke of Anjou
  • 07/10/1690 – English attack Quebec under Louis de Buade
  • 07/10/1763 – George III of Great Britain issues Proclamation of 1763, closing lands in North America north and west of Alleghenies to white settlement
  • 07/10/1765 – Stamp Act Congress convenes in NY
  • 07/10/1777 – Americans beat Brits in 2nd Battle of Saratoga and Battle of Bemis Hts
  • 07/10/1780 – British defeated by American militia near Kings Mountain, SC
  • 07/10/1868 – Cornell University (Ithaca NY) open
  • 07/10/1886 – Spain abolishes slavery in Cuba
  • 07/10/1944 – Uprising at Birkenau concentration camp, Uprising at Auschwitz, Jews burn down crematoriums
  • 07/10/1960 – 2nd JFK and Richard Nixon debate
  • 07/10/1963 – JFK signs ratification for nuclear test ban treaty
  • 07/10/1991 – Law Professor Anita Hill accuses Supreme nominee Clarence Thomas of making sexually inappropriate comments to her
  • Joseph J. Ellis on Jay Winik: Revolutionary Road THE GREAT UPHEAVAL America and the Birth of the Modern World, 1788-1800NYT, 9-30-07
  • Jay Winik: THE GREAT UPHEAVAL America and the Birth of the Modern World, 1788-1800, First Chapter – NYT, 9-30-07
  • DOUGLAS BRINKLEY on Michael Korda: Overlord’s Overlord IKE An American HeroNYT, 9-30-07
  • Michael Korda: IKE An American Hero, First Chapter – NYT, 9-30-07
  • Rick Atkinson: The Italian Job THE DAY OF BATTLE The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944. Volume Two of the Liberation TrilogyNYT, 9-30-07
  • Tim Jeal: Stanley, I Presume STANLEY The Impossible Life of Africa’s Greatest ExplorerNYT, 9-30-07
  • Tim Jeal: STANLEY The Impossible Life of Africa’s Greatest Explorer, First Chapter – NYT, 9-30-07
  • Frances Welch: Royal Pretender Was the woman pulled from a Berlin canal the daughter of the murdered Russian tsar? A ROMANOV FANTASY Life at the Court of Anna Anderson WaPo, 9-30-07
  • Janet Malcolm: Staying On How did two elderly Jewish writers living in occupied France survive the Nazis? TWO LIVES Gertrude and AliceWaPo, 9-30-07
  • Richard Lyman Bushman: Explains the challenge a Mormon faces in writing about Mormon history – HNN Staff, 9-26-07
  • Edward Larson: Fascinating account of dirty politics among our Founding Fathers – Seattle PI, 9-27-07
  • David Halberstam: Slate says he succumbs to the great man theory of history in his book about Korea – Stephen Sestanovich in Slate, 9-24-07
  • Stanley Weintraub on David Halberstam: A Most Dangerous Precedent In his final book, Halberstam indicts MacArthur for America’s ordeal in Korea. THE COLDEST WINTER America and the Korean War WaPo, 9-23-07
  • Mark Lilla: Urges the West to remember the religious fanaticism in its past – Salon, 9-24-07
  • John Mearsheimer & Stephen Walt: NYT publishes first chapter of their book From the first chapter of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy in the NYT, 9-23-07
  • Adam Hart-Davis: Tells the history of the world in 600 pages – Times (UK), 9-22-07
ON TV: History Listings This Week:

  • C-Span2, Book TV : Bart Jones: Hugo!: The Hugo Chavez Story from Mud Hut to Perpetual Revolution Monday, October 1 @ 1:00am C-Span2, BookTV
  • PBS: American Experience: “World War II” Monday, October 1 @ 9pm/EDT – PBS
  • History Channel: “Alaska: Dangerous Territory,” Sunday, September 30, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Special :Nazi America: A Secret History,” Monday, October 1, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Digging For The Truth :God’s Gold, Part 1” Monday, October 1, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld :10 – Beneath Vesuvius” Monday, October 1, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Lost Worlds :The Vikings” Monday, October 1, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Universe :Beyond the Big Bang,” Tuesday, October 2, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: ” The Universe :The End of the Earth: Deep Space Threats to Our Planet,” Tuesday, October 2, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mysteries of the Garden of Eden,” Tuesday, October 2, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Seven Wonders of the World,” Wednesday, October 3, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Lost Worlds :Braveheart’s Scotland,” Wednesday, October 3, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Lost Worlds :The Pagans,” Wednesday, October 3, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Lost Worlds :Al Capone’s Secret City,” Wednesday, October 3, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “UFO Files :The Day after Roswell,” Wednesday, October 3, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Egypt Decoded,” Wednesday, October 3, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Rescue at Dawn: The Los Banos Raid,” Thursday, October 4, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Hippies,” Thursday, October 4, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Modern Marvels :Engineering Disasters,” Friday, October 5, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Tsunami 2004: Waves of Death,” Friday, October 5, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Modern Marvels,” Marathon Saturday, October 6, @ 2-5pm ET/PT
  • Geoffrey C. Ward: THE WAR #8 (2 weeks on list) – 10-7-07
  • Robert Draper: DEAD CERTAIN #14 (3 weeks on list) – 10-7-07
  • John J. Mearsheimer and M. Walt, by : THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY #24 – 10-7-07
  • Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise, (FSG, Oct.). A history of the 20th century through its remarkable music.
  • Daniel Walker Howe: What Hath God Wrought, (Oxford, Oct.). Three decades that transformed us, from the battle of New Orleans to the Mexican-American War.
  • Richard Rhodes: Arsenals of Folly: The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race, October 9, 2007
  • Benjamin J. Kaplan: Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe, (Harvard University Press, October 15, 2007)
  • Martin Gilbert: Churchill and the Jews: A Lifelong Friendship, October 16, 2007
  • Stacy A. Cordery: Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker, October 18, 2007
  • Aida D. Donald: Lion in the White House: A Life of Theodore Roosevelt, October 22, 2007
  • Richard Avedon, The Kennedys: Portrait of a Family, (HarperCollins Publishers, October 23, 2007)
  • Sally Bedell Smith: For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years, October 23, 2007
  • Laurence Bergreen: Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu, October 23, 2007
  • Bill Sloan: The Ultimate Battle: Okinawa 1945–The Last Epic Struggle of World War II, October 23, 2007
  • Joseph J. Ellis: American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic, October 30, 2007
  • Ronald Reagan: The Reagan Diaries (Leatherbound Edition), October 30, 2007
  • David W. Blight: A Slave No More, (Harcourt, Nov.). The slave narratives of two Americans serve as eye-opening corridors to history.
  • Lady Bird Johnson: A White House Diary, November 1, 2007
  • Stephen William Berry: House of Abraham: Lincoln and the Todds, A Family Divided by War (Houghton Mifflin Company, November 5, 2007)
  • M. Stanton Evans: Blacklisted by History: The Real Story of Joseph McCarthy and His Fight against America’s Enemies, (Crown Publishing Group, November 6, 2007)
  • Chad Alan Goldberg: Citizens and Paupers: Relief, Rights, and Race, from the Freedmen’s Bureau to Workfare, November 15, 2007
  • Thomas Keneally: A Commonwealth of Thieves: The Improbable Birth of Australia, Paperback, December 4, 2007
  • The Great Experiment, by Strobe Talbott (S&S, Jan.). How mere tribes became great nations.
  • James J. Sheehan: Where Have All the Soldiers Gone?, (Houghton, Jan.). The rejection of violence after World War II redefined a continent. Europe chose material well-being over war.

Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2007 at 10:36 PM

September 10, 2007

  • 11/09/2001 – Terrorists hijack two passenger planes crashing them into New York’s World Trade Towers causing the collapse of both and death of 2,752 people
  • 11/09/2001 – Terrorists hijack a passenger plane and crash it into the Pentagon causing the death of 125 people
  • 11/09/2001 – Attempt by passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 to retake control of their hijacked plane from terrorists causes plane to crash in Pennsylvania field killing all 64 people onboard
  • 9/11 101: Professors try to put terrorist attacks in a broader context – Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 9-9-07
  • Zachary H. Alexander: “Specifically, the actions of one tragic day can have a long-term impact on people for several generations. As such, to be able to grasp the entire landscape of Sept. 11’s legacy, we must not shortchange any of its parts.” – Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 9-9-07
  • Randy Roberts: 9-11 now history – Ascribe, 9-4-07
  • James Pfiffner on “For next president, USA likely to call on lawyer”: “Hard-charging CEO deciders are very appealing to the American electorate. Saying ‘I can look at all sides of the issues’ is really important, but it doesn’t impress voters as much.” – USA Today, 9-5-07
  • Irwin Unger: Candidates’ Rhetoric Can Fail To Translate into Official Policy Even election win does not guarantee words will become deeds – US Department of State, DC, 9-6-07
THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: This Week in History:

  • 10/09/1349 – Jews who survived a massacre in Constance Germany are burned to death
  • 10/09/1547 – English demand Edward VI, 10, wed Mary Queen of Scots, 5
  • 10/09/1608 – John Smith elected president of Jamestown colony council, Va
  • 10/09/1776 – George Washington asks for a spy volunteer, Nathan Hale volunteers
  • 10/09/1861 – -15] Battle at Cheat Mountain, Elkwater West Virginia
  • 10/09/1861 – Battle of Carnifex Ferry VA, 170 casualities
  • 10/09/1939 – In WW II, Canada declared war on Germany
  • 10/09/1940 – Buckingham Palace hit by German bomb
  • 10/09/1942 – RAF drops 100,000 bombs on Dusseldorf
  • 10/09/1943 – German troops occupied Rome and took over the protection of Vatican City
  • 10/09/1993 – Israel and PLO sign joint recognition statements
  • 11/09/1557 – Catholic and Lutheran theology debated in Worm
  • 11/09/1649 – Massacre of Drogheda, Ireland, Oliver Cromwell kills 3,000 royalists
  • 11/09/1773 – Benjamin Franklin writes “There never was a good war or bad peace”
  • 11/09/1789 – Alexander Hamilton appointed 1st Secretary of Treasury
  • 11/09/1940 – Buckingham Palace in London destroyed by German bombs
  • 11/09/1943 – Jewish ghettos of Minsk and Lida Belorussia liquidated
  • 11/09/1944 – FDR and Churchill meet in Canada at 2nd Quebec Conference
  • 12/09/1695 – NY Jews petition governor Dongan for religious liberties
  • 12/09/1862 – Battle of Harpers Ferry VA
  • 12/09/1953 – Sen John F Kennedy, 36, marries Jacqueline Bouvier, 24
  • 12/09/1958 – US Supreme Court orders Little Rock Ark high school to integrate
  • 13/09/1556 – Charles V and Maria of Hungary march into Spain
  • 13/09/1663 – 1st serious slave conspiracy in colonial America (Virginia)
  • 13/09/1788 – NY City becomes 1st capital of US
  • 13/09/1847 – American-Mexican war: US Gen Winfield Scott captures Mexico City
  • 13/09/1861 – 1st naval battle of Civil War, Union frigate “Colorado” sinks privateer “Judah” off Pensacola, Fla
  • 13/09/1906 – 1st airplane flight in Europe
  • 13/09/1943 – Chiang Kai-shek became president of China
  • 13/09/1948 – Margaret Chase Smith (R-Me) elected senator, 1st woman to serve in both houses of Congress
  • 13/09/1953 – Nikita Khrushchev appointed 1st secretary-general of USSR
  • 13/09/1993 – Israeli min of Foreign affairs Peres and PLO-Abu Mazen sign peace accord
  • 14/09/1862 – Federal troops escape from beleaguered Harpers Ferry West Virginia
  • 14/09/1872 – Britain pays US $15« M for damages during Civil War
  • 14/09/1917 – Provisional government of Russia forms, Republic proclaimed
  • 14/09/1940 – Congress passes 1st peace-time conscription bill (draft law)
  • 14/09/1948 – Ground breaking ceremony for UN world headquarters
  • 14/09/1948 – Gerald Ford upsets Rep Bartel J Jonkman in Mich 5th Dist Rep primary
  • 14/09/1983 – US House of Representatives votes, 416 to 0, in favor of a resolution condemning Russia for shooting down a Korean jetliner
  • 15/09/1620 – Mayflower departs from Plymouth England with 102 pilgrims [OS May 8]
  • 15/09/1656 – England and France sign peace treaty
  • 15/09/1776 – British forces capture Kip’s Bay Manhattan during Revolution
  • 15/09/1862 – Confederates conquer Union-weapon arsenal at Harpers Ferry WV
  • 15/09/1914 – Battle of Aisne begins between Germans and French during WW I
  • 15/09/1923 – Gov Walton of Oklahoma declares state of siege because of KKK terror
  • 15/09/1935 – Nuremberg Laws deprives German Jews of citizenship and makes swastika official symbol of Nazi Germany
  • 15/09/1941 – Nazis kill 800 Jewish women at Shkudvil Lithuania
  • 15/09/1959 – Soviet Premier Khrushchev arrives in US to begin a 13-day visit
  • 15/09/1963 – 4 children killed in bombing of a black Baptist church in Birmingham
  • 15/09/1981 – US Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approves Sandra Day O’Connor
  • 16/09/1630 – Mass village of Shawmut changes name to Boston
  • 16/09/1782 – Great Seal of US used for 1st time
  • 16/09/1848 – Slavery abolished in all French territories
  • 16/09/1908 – Carriage-maker, William Durant, founded General Motors Corp
  • 16/09/1940 – Luftwaffe attacks center of London
  • 16/09/1940 – FDR signs Selective Training and Service Act (1st peacetime draft)
  • 16/09/1941 – Jews of Vilna Poland confined to Ghetto
  • 16/09/1968 – Richard Nixon appears on “Laugh-in”
  • 16/09/1971 – 6 Klansmen arrested in connection with bombing of 10 school buses
  • 16/09/1974 – Pres Ford announces conditional amnesty for US, Vietnam War deserters
  • 17/09/1562 – Council of Trente takes ecclesiastical canon
  • 17/09/1691 – Colony Massachusetts Bay gets new charter
  • 17/09/1787 – US constitution adopted by Philadelphia convention
  • 17/09/1796 – Pres George Washington delivers his farewell address
  • 17/09/1850 – Great fire in San Francisco
  • 17/09/1862 – Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam)-bloodiest day of Civil War, 23,110 die
  • 17/09/1900 – Commonwealth of Australia proclaimed
  • 17/09/1952 – “I am an American Day” and “Constitution Day” renamed “Citizenship Day”
  • 17/09/1986 – US Senate confirms William Rehnquist as 16th chief justice
  • Eric Rauchway: Why John Edwards is the man to lead us out of the mortgage crisis New Republic, 9-5-07
  • Frederick Kagan: What the Jones Report really says – Weekly Standard, 9-6-07
  • Abigail Thernstrom: A stunning new book shows how elite culture made the Duke rape hoax possible – WSJ, 9-6-07
  • Julian Zelizer on “Report Won’t End Debate”: “I don’t think there’ll be dramatic change. There are not many surprises left on Iraq. It’s a known quantity…. Iraq policy probably will move incrementally in the direction of an end strategy,” with Congress passing “vague legislative steps” toward withdrawal.” – Philadelphia Inquirer, 9-9-07
  • Stuart Butler: Cited by David Brooks in NYT column on health care – David Brooks in the NYT (9-7-07)
ON TV: History Listings This Week:

  • C-Span2, Book TV : History 2007 Roosevelt Reading Festival: Jean Edward Smith: “FDR” Sunday, September 9 @ 5:00pm C-Span2, BookTV
  • C-Span2, Book TV : History Juan Cole “Napoleon’s Egypt: Invading the Middle East” Sunday, September 9 @ 10:00pm C-Span2, BookTV
  • PBS: American Experience: “The Center of the World New York: A Documentary Film” Monday, September 10 @ 9pm/EDT – PBS
  • History Channel: “Digging For The Truth :Mummies of the Clouds,” Monday, September 9, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “American Vesuvius,” Monday, September 10, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Shootout :Iraq’s Most Wanted: Terror at the Border,” Monday, September 10, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Digging For The Truth :The Hunley: New Revelations” Monday, September 10, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld :02 – City of Caves” Monday, September 10, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Lost Worlds :Herod the Great” Monday, September 10, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Countdown to Ground Zero,” Tuesday, September 11, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The 9/11 Commission Report,” Tuesday, September 11, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Zero Hour :The Last Hour of Flight 11,” Tuesday, September 11, @ 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Day the Towers Fell,” Tuesday, September 11, @ 7pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Grounded on 9/11,” Tuesday, September 11, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Ground Zero Search and Recovery,” Tuesday, September 11, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Man Who Predicted 9/11,” Tuesday, September 11, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Kennedys: The Curse of Power,” Wednesday, September 12, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Shootout :Afghanistan’s Deadliest Snipers,”
  • History Channel: “Lost Worlds :Building the Titanic,” Wednesday, September 12, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “American Eats: History on a Bun,” Thursday, September 13, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Blood Diamonds,” Friday, September 14, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Our Generation :Son of Sam,” Friday, September 14, @ 6:30pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Human Weapon,” Marathon Saturday, September 15, @ 2-5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Universe : Beyond the Big Bang,” Saturday, September 15, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • Michael Korda: IKE #9 (2 weeks on list) – 9-2-07
  • Tim Weiner: LEGACY OF ASHES #16 – 9-2-07
  • Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy: THE PREACHER AND THE PRESIDENTS #18 – 9-2-07
  • Walter Isaacson: EINSTEIN HIS LIFE AND UNIVERSE #31 – 9-2-07
  • Churchill and the Jews, by Martin Gilbert (Henry Holt, Oct.). The prime minister’s lifelong commitment to Jewish rights.
  • The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, by David Halberstam (Hyperion, Sept.). Epic history from the late, lamented journalist.
  • The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944, by Rick Atkinson (Holt, Oct.). The sequel to his award-winning An Army at Dawn.
  • The FBI, by Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones (Yale, Sept.). Splitting duties between the FBI and the CIA in 1947 was a big mistake, J. Edgar Hoover was not as important as you think, and other revelations.
  • The Great Experiment, by Strobe Talbott (S&S, Jan.). How mere tribes became great nations.
  • Red Moon Rising, by Matthew Brzezinski (Times, Sept.). The launch of Sputnik and the rise of the space age.
  • The Rest Is Noise, by Alex Ross (FSG, Oct.). A history of the 20th century through its remarkable music.
  • Return to Dragon Mountain, by Jonathan D. Spence (Viking, Sept.). The surprisingly modern era of Ming dynasty China, as seen through the life of a 17th-century intellectual.
  • The Siege of Mecca, by Yaroslav Trofimov (Doubleday, Sept.). The harrowing 1979 raid on Islam’s holiest shrine may have signaled the birth of al-Qaeda.
  • A Slave No More, by David W. Blight (Harcourt, Nov.). The slave narratives of two Americans serve as eye-opening corridors to history.
  • What Hath God Wrought, by Daniel Walker Howe (Oxford, Oct.). Three decades that transformed us, from the battle of New Orleans to the Mexican-American War.
  • Where Have All the Soldiers Gone?, by James J. Sheehan (Houghton, Jan.). The rejection of violence after World War II redefined a continent. Europe chose material well-being over war.
  • The Zookeeper’s Wife, by Diane Ackerman (Norton, Sept.). The Warsaw Zoo became a refuge for Jews during the height of Nazi fury.
  • Geoffrey C. Ward: The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945, (Knopf Publishing Group, September 11, 2007)
  • Andrew Nagorski: Greatest Battle: Stalin, Hitler, and the Desperate Struggle for Moscow That Changed the Course of World War II, (Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group, September 18, 2007)
  • David Halberstam: Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (Hyperion, September 27, 2007)
  • John Kelin, Praise From a Future Generation: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy and the First Generation Critics of the Warren Report, (Wings Press TX), September 28, 2007
  • Maureen Waller: Sovereign Ladies: The Six Reigning Queens of England, (St. Martin’s Press, September 28, 2007)
  • Rick Atkinson: Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944, (Henry Holt & Company, Incorporated, October 2, 2007)
  • Benjamin J. Kaplan: Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe, (Harvard University Press, October 15, 2007)
  • Richard Avedon, The Kennedys: Portrait of a Family, (HarperCollins Publishers), October 23, 2007
  • Stephen William Berry: House of Abraham: Lincoln and the Todds, A Family Divided by War (Houghton Mifflin Company, November 5, 2007)
  • M. Stanton Evans: Blacklisted by History: The Real Story of Joseph McCarthy and His Fight against America’s Enemies, (Crown Publishing Group, November 6, 2007)

Posted on Sunday, September 9, 2007 at 5:24 PM

Top Young Historians: 69 – John C. McManus


Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

69: John C. McManus, 10-1-07

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Associate Professor, University of Missouri-Rolla
Area of Research: US Military History, World War II, Americans in Combat, and 20th Century US History.
Education: Ph.D. in History, University of Tennessee, 1996.
Major Publications: McManus is the author of Alamo in the Ardennes: The Story of the American Soldiers who made John C. McManus JPGthe Defense of Bastogne Possible (John Wiley and Sons, March 2007); The Americans at Normandy: The Summer of 1944, the American War From the Beaches to Falaise, (New York: TOR-Forge, 2004); The Americans at D-Day: The American Experience in Operation Overlord, (New York: TOR-Forge, 2004); Deadly Sky: The American Combat Airman in World War II, (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 2000); The Deadly Brotherhood: The American Combat Soldier in World War II, (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1998)
McManus is also the author of the following forthcoming books: The 7th Infantry: Combat in an Age of Terror, Korea through the Present, TOR-Forge, (May 2008); American Courage, American Carnage: The 7th Infantry Regiment and the Story of America’s Combat Experience, 1812 through World War II, TOR-Forge, (forthcoming); U.S. Military History for Dummies, John Wiley & Sons, (November, 2007); Tipping the Balance: The United States in World War II, University of Missouri Press, (forthcoming pending review), and Grunts: The American Infantry Combat Experience, World War II through the Present, Signet/Penguin USA, (Fall 2009).
McManus has contributed numerous articles and reviews to World War II, and has contributed reviews to The Journal of Military History, Georgia Historical Quarterly, Military History of the West, among others.
Awards: McManus is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Edgar and Jeri Wilson Fellowship Recipient
Bernadotte Schmidt Fellowship Recipient
German Public Radio Fellowship Recipient
Normandy Scholars Fellowship Recipient
Who’s Who Among American Teachers
Arts and Sciences Excellence in Teaching Awards: 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004, 2004-2005, 2005-2006;
Class of 1942 Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award: 2003-2004;
UMR Outstanding Teacher Award: 2003-2004, 2005-2006;
W.E. and Peggy Wiggins Faculty Excellence Award: 2004, 2006;
UMR Faculty Excellence Award: 2005, 2006;
Edgar and Jeri Wilson Research Fellowship;
Bernadotte Schmidt Research Fellowship, 1998;
College of Arts and Science Dean’s Research Grant, 2001-2002;
UM System Research Board Grant, 2004;
The Americans at Normandy named to St. Louis Post-Dispatch best books of 2004.
Additional Info:
In 2004 McManus worked as a tour guide and historian with Stephen Ambrose Tours, leading groups to various beaches in Normandy for the 60-year commemoration ceremony, then throughout Europe touring other battle sites.
He is a member of the editorial advisory board of World War II magazine.

Personal Anecdote

Why am I a combat historian? Many people have asked me that question. To be honest with you, I ask myself that question all the time. There are, after all, many more pleasant topics for an American historian to address than delving into the terrible realities of modern war. Sometimes it can be difficult to spend your days immersed in studying the horrible waste, bloodshed and tragedy of war and then somehow let all of that go when the day is done. Chuck Johnson, my mentor at the Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Tennessee, used to say of combat studies: “If it doesn’t break your heart, you shouldn’t be doing this.” Well, it breaks my heart and, yes, that’s precisely why I do it. In fact, I am quite passionate about it. That passion began when I first studied World War II as a boy, and it has only grown throughout my professional career.

More than anything else, I am fascinated by ordinary Americans in extraordinary circumstances, and no circumstance is more extraordinary than combat. Everyday Americans are the ones who have fought America’s wars. They come from all regions, all creeds, and all races, if not exactly both genders. Studying them is a wonderful vehicle into understanding the American past. I suppose I also cling to the hope that, by understanding war, we can eventually prevent it or at least curtail it significantly.

Regardless of what war we’re talking about, nothing more can ever be asked of an American than to risk his life in combat. I believe it is important that we understand, as realistically as possible, what that combat experience entailed, without resorting to flowery euphemisms or political slogans. For those who have fought our wars, the least we can do is remember what they did and understand something about what the experience was really like for them. We should know, for instance, that American combat soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge existed in sub-zero temperatures, dealing with frostbite and the threat of hypothermia. We should know that, at Peleliu, Marines often fought their Japanese enemies at handshake distance, to the death, in one hundred degree heat. We should know that, in Vietnam, an infantry soldier on an average patrol carried seventy pounds of gear, in grinding heat, all while watching out for booby traps or a Viet Cong ambush.

The focus of my teaching and research is to make these realities come to life for the larger analytical purpose of bettering our understanding of American history. Actually, that brings me to the most compelling reason why I study combat. As a modern historian, I’ve had the precious opportunity to meet and know my sources, from geriatric World War II veterans to college-age soldiers in the Iraq War. My goal is to make sure to collect and tell their stories before they are lost in the mists of time. I encourage them to write down their memories. I conduct personal interviews with them.

Much of my work, of course, is done in such research treasure troves as the National Archives, the United States Army Military History Institute and the World War II Museum in New Orleans, to name only some of my archival haunts. But nothing is more rewarding than melding the after action reports, orders, unit diaries and other official sources I find in these archives with the personal recollections of the soldiers themselves. My books are the product of this mixture of the official and the informal.

Over the years, I’ve logged a lot of miles in pursuit of my research, archival or otherwise. This has included a wide range of moving experiences–conducting battlefield tours from Normandy to Germany, with many of the veterans who fought in these places; studying the Bastogne area minutely, with the help of an amazingly knowledgeable local expert who lived through the war and lost his home to shellfire; attending more veterans reunions and visiting more military bases than I could ever count; giving an untold number of lectures, gathering many thousands of stories. I’ve even conducted group after action combat interviews with Iraq War infantry soldiers. What stands out to me about all this is the people I’ve met and, in some cases, befriended, from guys who jumped into Normandy on D-Day, to Vietnam vets who fought in the anonymity of faraway jungles, to volunteers who repeatedly left their families behind to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. They did these remarkable things yet they are just ordinary Americans with homes, families, jobs, mortgages and personal problems like everyone else. That’s what is truly fascinating about them. I’m simply their storyteller. That’s why I do what I do.


By John C. McManus

  • Beyond the obvious pride they exhibited in looking back at their service, many combat airmen also became wistful as they thought of days past. In so doing, they articulated the essence of what they as combat airmen had been all about — pride, sacrifice, fear, humor, teamwork, anguish — and what they had become as old men. At the very end of his postwar memoir, Jim Lynch, a radio operator in the 379th Bomb Group, provided some particularly moving prose to describe this essence: “Germany’s devastated cities have long since been replaced by modern architectural wonders. The abandoned airfields are grown over by weeds. The sagging, moss-covered buildings of our former home base are quiet. The friendly banter of the laughing young crewmen and the staccato roar of the starting engines are long since silenced. We . . . are no longer the flat-tummied kids who rode the skies with romantic notions that we could save the world from self-destruction. We’re older and wiser. We’re tired senior citizens who have sent our sons off to war twice after fighting the war to end all wars. We have . . . raised families and lived a very normal American way of life, for which we were grateful.
    Another combat airman, writing five decades after the war in a veterans’ publication, perhaps expressed best the experiences of American combat airmen in World War II — and, in so doing, the kind of people these men were: “All air combat crewmen in World War II were the same. We all groaned when the curtain in our briefing room was pulled aside, and the long red ribbon stretching from our bases . . . to the target . . . was revealed. We all grabbed our mikes and our masks and our Mae Wests and heaved ourselves into the throbbing, shaking aluminum tubes of death, which smelled of high-octane gas, cordite, and urine. We all prayed a bit when the flak . . . whomped around us. We all cursed a lot when the fighters slashed in, wings aglow with our death candles. We all grieved for our buddies who didn’t make it.”
    Truly, no greater and more appropriate epitaph to the American combat airman in World War II could ever be written. — John C. Manus in “Deadly Sky: The American Combat Airman in World War II”
  • At last, here is a book that tells the full story of the turning point in World War II’s Battle of the Bulge-the story of five crucial days in which small groups of American soldiers, some outnumbered ten to one, slowed the German advance and allowed the Belgian town of Bastogne to be reinforced. Alamo in the Ardennes provides a compelling, day-by-day account of this pivotal moment in America’s greatest war.
    Alamo in the Ardennes JPG In December 1944, when the Germans launched their last-ditch offensive now known as the Battle of the Bulge, they badly needed to capture the Belgian city of Bastogne as a communications center, supply depot, and springboard for their drive to Antwerp. The city’s defense by the 101st Airborne is often cited as the battle’s most desperate and dramatic episode, but these heroics never could have happened if not for the unsung efforts of a ragtag, battered collection of American soldiers who absorbed the brunt of the German offensive first along the Ardennes frontier east of Bastogne.
    Alamo in the Ardennes tells the powerful, poignant, yet little-known story of the bloody delaying action fought by the 28th Infantry Division, elements of the 9th and 10th Armored Divisions, and other, smaller units. Outnumbered at times by as much as ten to one, outgunned by Hitler’s dreaded panzers, and with no hope of reinforcement, they bore the full fury of the Nazi onslaught for five days, making the Germans pay for every icy inch of ground they gained. — John C. McManus, “Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible”
  • D-Day was just the beginning Never before has the American involvement in Normandy been examined so thoroughly
    or exclusively as in The Americans at Normandy. D-Day was only one part of the battle, and victory came from weeks of sustained effort and sacrifices made by Allied soldiers. Here is the American experience from the aftermath of D-Day to the slaughter of the Falaise Gap, from the courageous, famed figures of Bradley, Patton, and Lightning Joe Collins to the lesser-known privates. The Americans at Normandy honors those Americans who lost their lives in foreign fields and those who survived. Here is their story, finally told with the depth, pathos, and historical perspective it deserves. — John C. McManus, “The Americans at Normandy: The Summer of 1944, the American War from the Beaches to Falaise”

About John C. McManus

  • “McManus’s absorbing and forthright narrative will hopefully dispel several myths, namely that Bastogne was the decisive engagement of the Battle of the Bulge, and give long-overdue credit to the many brave Americans, some of them still alive today, who made victory possible in America’s greatest ever battle. You can’t ask for more. Bravo!” — Alex Kershaw, author of “The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge” and “the Epic Story of WWII’s Most Decorated Platoon” on “Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible”
  • “John McManus has deftly woven a wide range of previously untapped sources into a dramatic and finely detailed account of events that set the stage for the successful defense of Bastogne during the Ardennes Counteroffensive. In doing so, McManus pays a long overdue and heartfelt tribute to the brave men of the 110th Infantry Regiment, Combat Command R, 9th Armored Division, and CCB, 10th Armored Division without detracting from the epic stand of the “Screaming Eagles” of the 101st Airborne Division.” — Lt. Col. (Ret.) Mark J. Reardon, U.S. Army Historian and Author of Victory at Mortain on “Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible”
  • “A comprehensive and vivid account of the heroic defense of Bastogne, the linchpin in the Battle of Bulge. With a scholar’s precision and a writer’s keen eye for the telling detail, John C. McManus has taken a great old story and made it new again.” — Rick Atkinson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “An Army at Dawn and the bestselling In the Company of Soldiers” on “Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible”
  • “I have read hundreds of books about men in battle but seldom have I seen one that comes close to the intensity that John McManus achieves in Alamo in the Ardennes. To an unparalleled degree, his amazing research has enabled him to get inside the minds and hearts of dozens of soldiers, from generals to privates. This is a book that will become one of the classics of the literature of World War II combat.” — Thomas Fleming author of “The New Dealers’ War: FDR and the War Within World War II” on “Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible”
  • “John McManus shines a light on the lesser-known battles that made the historic defense of Bastogne possible. His excellent research puts the reader on the icy battlefields of Belgium where threadbare American retrograde fighting frustrated Hitler’s last offensive in the west.” — Kevin M. Hymel, author of “Patton’s Photographs” on “Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible”
  • “Alamo of the Ardennes” reveals the largely unknown story of how small bands of American soldiers turned the tide during the early stages of Battle of Bulge. Through the words of the men, McManus weaves a brilliant story of courage and sacrifice. This definitive and eminently readable history is destined to be a classic among Bulge histories.” — Patrick K. O’Donnell, author of “We Were One: Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines Who Took Fallujah” and “Beyond Valor: World War II’s Ranger and Airborne Reveal the Heart of Combat” on “Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible”
  • “An American Iliad” — Stephen Coonts on “The Americans at D-Day and The Americans at Normandy”
  • “Required reading on a bitter battle that won’t be–and never should be–forgotten.” — W.E.B. Griffin on “The Americans at D-Day and The Americans at Normandy”
  • “Awesome! A definitive account of a turning point in American and world history.” — Thomas Fleming on “The Americans at D-Day and The Americans at Normandy”
  • “Far more gripping than Saving Private Ryan. Comprehensively detailed . . . Utterly fascinating. McManus’ style fits the slam-bang fighting that characterized one of the most crucial periods of the war, and he makes every battle—and every soldier—count as if it were the last round in the clip.” — Walter J. Boyne, New York Times bestselling author of Operation Iraqi Freedom on The Americans at D-Day and The Americans at Normandy
  • “I thought I knew something about war and men at war until I read John C. McManus’ deeply insightfiul book. I stand humbled by what I consider nothing less than a definitive work on a subject whose scope is simply so vast that no writer until now has put it in perspective and made it real.” — David Hagberg on The Americans at D-Day and The Americans at Normandy
  • “This guy is simply the greatest. He actually makes History interesting, and that’s not an easy thing to do. He’s got a great sense of humor, and you learn a lot in his classes without having too high of a difficulty. I can’t stress enough the quality of this professor.”… “Very good prof. Easily one of the top five profs at UMR, and one of the top two in the history department.”… “Most awesome teacher EVER!!! I would seriously be a history major if he taught every class.”… “Absolute favorite teacher EVER. I have never loved a class more or learned more in one semester. Lecture was like listening to a story, I was just enthralled. I have a LOT of respect for him and would consider changing majors if he taught every class.” — Anonymous Students

Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2007 at 10:46 PM

Top Young Historians: 68 – Jonathan Zimmerman


Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

68: Jonathan Zimmerman, 9-24-07

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Director of the history of education program &Professor of Education and History, Steinhardt School of Education and Professor of history in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, New York University.
Area of Research: Twentieth Century History of Education, Democratic Community and Education, Immigration History, The influence of schools on development
Education: Ph.D., Department of History, Johns Hopkins University, 1993.
Major Publications: Zimmerman is the author of Innocents Abroad: American Teachers in the American Century (Harvard University Press, 2006); Whose America? Culture Wars in the Public Schools (Harvard, 2002), and Distilling Democracy: Alcohol Education in America’s Public Schools, 1880-1925 (Kansas, 1999). Jonathan Zimmerman JPG He is currently working on Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory (forthcoming from Yale University Press, 2008).
Zimmerman has comtributed academic articles to the Journal of American History, the Teachers College Record, and History of Education Quarterly, and has also contributed book chapters to academic anthologies. Some titles include: “Where the Customer is King: American Textbooks Since 1945,” in A History of the Book in America, volume 5 (University of North Carolina Press, forthcoming in 2007); “Sex, Drugs, and Right ‘N’ Wrong: Or, the Passion of Joycelyn Elders, M.D,” in Donald Warren, ed. Moral and Civic Learning in America (Palgrave Press, 2006), 191-205; “Interchange: History in the Professional Schools,” Journal of American History 92 (September 2005), 553-576; “Brown-ing the American Textbook: History, Psychology, and the Origins of Modern Multiculturalism,” History of Education Quarterly 44 (Spring 2004), 45-69 (Special Edition on the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education); “Ethnics Against Ethnicity: European Immigrants and Foreign-Language Instruction, 1890-1940,” Journal of American History, 2002; “Each ‘Race’ Could Have its Heroes Sung’: Ethnicity and the History Wars in the 1920s,” Journal of American History, 2000; “Beyond Double Consciousness: Black Peace Corps Volunteers in Africa, 1961-1971,” Journal of American History, 1995, among others.
Awards: Zimmerman is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Distinguished Lecturer, Organization of American Historians, 2004-07;
Fulbright Senior Specialists Roster, Council for International Exchange of Scholars, 2005-present;
Honorable Mention, Best Article Award, History of Education Society, 2004, for “Ethnics Against Ethnicity: European Immigrants and Foreign Language Instruction, 1890-1940,” Journal of American History 88 (March 2002), 1383-1404;
Outstanding Book Award, History of Education Society, 2003, for Whose America?: presented to the author of the best book in the history of education;
Teaching Excellence Award, Steinhardt School of Education, New York University, 2003: presented to the outstanding teacher in the school;
New Scholar’s Award, American Educational Research Association (Division F), 2001, for Distilling Democracy: presented to the author of the best first book in the history of education;
National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1999-2000;
Daniel R. Griffiths Research Award, School of Education, New York University, 1999: Presented to the faculty member who produces the best research;
Henry Barnard Prize, History of Education Society, 1991: Presented to the best graduate student essay in the history of education;
Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education, 1988.
Additional Info:
Zimmerman has comtributed over 150 oped pieces in popular newspapers and magazines, including: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, New Republic, U.S. News and World Report, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Daily News, and New York Post.
Formerly Assistant Professor of History, West Chester University, August 1992-May 1996; Social Studies Teacher, Southeast Middle School, Baltimore City Public Schools, 1987-1988; Social Studies Teacher, South Burlington School District, South Burlington, Vermont, 1986-1987, and English Teacher/ Teacher Trainer, U.S. Peace Corps, Nepal, 1983-1985.

Personal Anecdote

I’m not a religious person, in the usual sense of the term, but I’ve come to believe in epiphanies. I had my first one about 15 years ago, when I was doing my doctoral research. As a former Peace Corps volunteer and public school teacher, I entered graduate school with the vague idea of writing a dissertation about education. Drug and alcohol instruction seemed like a good topic, because I knew-from my own experience-that it was mostly a failure. So I resolved to uncover the roots of this evil phenomenon, as historians are wont to do, and to explain How We Went So Very Wrong. Along the way, of course, I would also demonstrate How I Was So Very Right. Historians like to do that, too.

As I soon discovered, public school alcohol education was the brainchild of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. So I buried myself in WCTU journals and archives, exploring how these dedicated but misguided ladies (as I saw them) spread the good word about Demon Rum. Then, a few months into my research, I unearthed a letter from F. C. Atwell. Like me, Atwell was a career educator; even more, he was also a bitter critic of the WCTU. “If my child had scarlet fever, it would be the height of folly for me to call in a physician and demand that he cure him by the use of cod liver oil,” Atwell wrote, in an attack on “meddling” temperance women. “Those who have studied neither pedagogy nor psychology should be content to leave the details and the method of achieving the desired result to those who have.”

I squinted into the microfilm reader, struggling to decipher Atwell’s unwieldy handwriting. More than that, though, I struggled against myself. Denouncing the WCTU put me in league with F. C. Atwell, who simply did not believe that laypeople-and, especially, laywomen-should have any say in public school curricula. And that was not a place where I wanted to be. So I rethought the entire project and-eventually-my entire philosophy, about education and everything else.

That was my first epiphany. I’ve experienced others, too, in every book that I’ve written. The epiphany comes on suddenly, shocking you out of your smug self-assuredness. It humbles you with its force and its logic. And, most of all, it makes you surprised. In my second book, about debates over history and religion in the school curriculum, I was surprised to find that most advocates for “prayer in the public schools” before the 1960s were liberal or even radical Christians, not conservative or fundamentalist ones. In my third book, I was surprised to find that the “cultural sensitivity” of overseas American missionaries and teachers-including, at one time, myself-masked a profoundly arrogant set of assumptions about culture itself. And I was surprised, throughout my career, at how many of my questions and answers concerned matters of faith and God. Like I said, I’m not a religious person. But I’ve come to understand the immense role of luck and grace in my own life, especially in the history that I write. And that might be my biggest epiphany of all.


By Jonathan Zimmerman

  • For America’s overseas schoolteachers, the rise of the culture concept spelled the demise of American certainty, and, for some, of American superiority. In the early twentieth century, when di- chotomous notions of “civilization” and “savagery” dominated their Innocents Abroad: American Teachers in the American Century JPG discourse, the teachers could speak confidently about transmitting “virtue” or “knowledge” to people who lacked them. By the 1930s, however, the notion of America as a distinct culture-with its own val- ues, symbols, and beliefs-began to penetrate public consciousness. It would reach a crescendo in the early postwar period, when studies of an allegedly exceptional American “national character” crowded best- seller lists. To square the idea of a unique American culture with the nation’s new global powers and responsibilities, commentators like Henry Luce hypothesized that American values were actually cultural universals: in the American Century, Luce proclaimed, the United States would help other countries achieve the self-evident truths that had bathed its own birth. For American teachers in actual classrooms, though, this feat of ideological gymnastics often proved impossible. Im- bued with the concept of America-as-a-culture, the teachers saw first- hand that many peoples around the globe simply did not share their own values and beliefs. So they started to ask hard questions about whose values-and whose beliefs-should govern the world, and why. — Jonathan Zimmerman in “Innocents Abroad: American Teachers in the American Century”

About Jonathan Zimmerman

  • “”What enables Zimmerman, a Professor of Education and History at New York University, to control such a large canvas of time and space is his focus on the classroom and the experience of teaching – from philosophy to methods to discipline. What makes the prose so readable is his use of primary sources – teachers’ letters and memoirs primarily, but also quotes from educational administrators, both American and foreign, as well as historians, social scientists, and occasionally celebrities like Teddy Roosevelt.” — David Espey, University of Pennsyvania about “Innocents Abroad American Teachers in the American Century”
  • “This charming history of the missionaries, Peace Corps volunteers, and other idealists who taught in the four corners of the world over the past 100 years is billed by the author and publisher as an examination of our shifting understanding of “culture”…For readers interested in education, though, it offers an even more delicious treat: countless scenes of progressive teachers thwarted in their efforts to export dubious ideas.” — Education Next about “Innocents Abroad American Teachers in the American Century”
  • Zimmerman examines the culture wars that have been fought in America’s schools since the Civil War and divides what is commonly held to be one battle into two distinct conflicts, each with its own unique beginnings… By placing these conflicts within their historical context, the author leads readers to a deeper understanding of the issues and how they have influenced and continue to influence public school instruction. [A] landmark piece of scholarship. — Mark Alan Williams, Library Journal reviewing “Whose America? Culture Wars in the Public Schools”
  • Zimmerman argues that the educational wars over religion in the schools and the content of history and social studies courses are separate battles with different stakes, and that the former have been more contentious than the latter. He offers histories of both since the 1920s to illustrate his point and concludes with suggestions about how the religious wars might be resolved. This is a thought-provoking and well-written book…[It] is essential reading for anyone concerned with these issues. — M. Engel, Choice reviewing “Whose America? Culture Wars in the Public Schools”
  • Zimmerman does make a convincing argument. Examples of history textbooks published today substantiate his claim of a diversity coexisting with dullness. So, what exactly does Zimmerman’s position mean for the classroom? This book calls for a reexamination of how U.S. history is taught…This call for presenting multiple perspectives in American history classrooms is a timely one. — Athena Liss, Social Education reviewing “Whose America? Culture Wars in the Public Schools”
  • Jonathan Zimmerman has written a terrific book. Beautifully written and deeply informed, Whose America? addresses issues in American education, politics and identity that are enormously important. It is the best study yet done of political battles about curriculum, how political horse-trading on all sides has shaped the nature and substance of textbook versions of history, and it has great relevance to debates currently raging about what is taught in schools, in matters of facts and values. On these inflammatory subjects, Zimmerman’s even-handed treatment of all sides of these deeply divisive issues is one of the book’s great strengths, and offers a lesson in itself to future historians. — Jeffrey Mirel, Professor of Educational Studies and History, University of Michigan reviewing “Whose America? Culture Wars in the Public Schools”
  • Jonathan Zimmerman’s provocative book reminds us that the passionately argued “culture wars” in American public schools have a long history in America’s public schools. Whose America? illuminates those battles, old and new, with impressive scholarship and story-telling, and deep understanding of the combatants on all sides. — Diane Ravitch, Research Professor, New York University School of Education reviewing “Whose America? Culture Wars in the Public Schools”
  • Whose America? is original in its historical argument, thorough in its scholarship, lively in its style, and timely in its subject. It cuts through the polarized rhetoric of the culture wars and shows the virtue of controversy: “debating our differences may be the only thing that holds us together.” — David Tyack, Professor of Education and History, Stanford University reviewing “Whose America? Culture Wars in the Public Schools”
  • “Should public school pupils be indoctrinated against alcohol and drugs? Or should they be taught to think? As Zimmerman shows, these important questions are not new. By focusing on tensions between science and morality and between democracy and experts, his insightful book makes valuable contributions to the histories of education, science, public policy, and the Progressive Era.” — W.J.Rorabaugh, University of Washington reviewing “Distilling Democracy: Alcohol Education in America’s Public Schools, 1880-1925”
  • “I took two classes with Professor Zimmerman. He’s amazing! You will learn more about how to think than what to think.”…”Professor Zimmerman is soo great! He is really helpful and interesting, and makes it very clear that he cares what you think. Definitely take his class if you can. You’ll love him!” — Anonymous Students

Posted on Sunday, September 23, 2007 at 6:02 PM

Top Young Historians: 67 – Kenneth A. Osgood


Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

67: Kenneth A. Osgood, 9-17-07

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Associate Professor of History, Director, Alan B. Larkin Symposium on the American Presidency, Florida Atlantic University
Area of Research: US History, US Foreign Relations, Propaganda, Media & Culture
Education: Ph.D., History, University of California at Santa Barbara, 2001.
Major Publications: Osgood is the author of Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad (University Press of Kansas, 2006), the winner of the Herbert Hoover Book Award, Kenneth A. Osgood JPG and the co-editor with Klaus Larres of The Cold War after Stalin’s Death: A Missed Opportunity for Peace? (Rowman and Littlefield, Harvard Cold War Series, 2006).
He has written articles and book reviews for Diplomatic History, The Journal of Cold War Studies, The Journal of American History and other anthologies and journals, including: “Hearts and Minds: The Unconventional Cold War [review essay]” Journal of Cold War Studies 4:2 (Spring 2002): 85-107; “Form before Substance: Eisenhower’s Commitment to Psychological Warfare and Negotiations with the Enemy,” Diplomatic History 24:3 (Summer 2000): 405-433.
He has also contributed book chapters including: “The Perils of Coexistence: Peace and Propaganda in Eisenhower’s Foreign Policy,” in Kenneth Osgood and Klaus Larres, eds. The Cold War after Stalin’s Death: A Missed Opportunity for Peace?, (Rowman and Littlefield, Harvard Cold War Series, 2006); “Words and Deeds: Race, Colonialism, and Eisenhower’s Propaganda War in the Third World,” in Andrew L. Johns and Kathryn Statler, eds. Eisenhower, the Third World, and the Globalization of the Cold War (Rowman and Littlefield, Harvard Cold War Series, 2006), 3-25; “Waging Total Cold War: Eisenhower and Psychological Warfare,” in Malcolm Muir, Jr. and Mark F. Wilkinson, eds. The Most Dangerous Years: The Cold War, 1953-1975 (Virginia Military Institute, 2005), 79-91. “Propaganda,” in Alexander DeConde, Richard Dean Burns, and Fredrik Logevall, eds. Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy, 2nd. ed. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2001), 239-254.
Osgood is currently working on The Enemy of My Enemy: The United States and Iraq since 1958 [research monograph]; Selling War in a Media Age: The Presidency and Public Opinion in the American Century [edited volume, under contract with the University Press of Florida], and Rethinking Public Diplomacy: Toward an International History [edited volume].
Awards and Fellowships: Osgood is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Herbert Hoover Book Award, for best book on any aspect of American history during 1914-1964, 2007;
Sponsored Research, Florida Atlantic University, Program to Enhance Scholarly and Creative Activities Research Grant, 2007;
Researcher of the Year Award nominee, College of Arts and Letters, Florida Atlantic University, 2006;
University Award for Excellence in Teaching, Florida Atlantic University, 2004;
Writing Across the Curriculum workshop and grant, Florida Atlantic University, 2004;
Grant from the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace (Columbia University) to attend the Summer Workshop on Analysis of Military Operations and Strategy held at Cornell University, 2004;
Postdoctoral Fellowship, The Mershon Center (for the Interdisciplinary Study of International Security and Public Policy), Ohio State University, 2003-4;
Dwight D. Eisenhower Foundation research grant, 2003;
Predoctoral Fellowship, Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, 1999/00 & 2000/01;
Richard Mayberry Award for top graduate student in history, U.C. Santa Barbara, 2000;
Research Fellowship, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, U.C. Santa Barbara, 1999;
Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award, U.C. Santa Barbara, 1999 Brython Davis Research Fellowship, U.C. Santa Barbara, 1999;
Research Grant, Rockefeller Archive Center, 1999;
University of California Regents Fellowship, 1999;
William J. Ellison Prize for outstanding research paper in history, U.C. Santa Barbara, 1998;
J. Bruce Anderson Award for excellence in teaching history, U.C. Santa Barbara, 1998;
Robert Kelley Award for excellent graduate work in public policy history, U.C. Santa Barbara, 1998.
Additional Info:
During the 2006-2007 academic year, Professor Osgood held the Mary Ball Washington Chair in American History at University College Dublin. Previously, he was a research fellow at the Mershon Center for international security studies at the Ohio State University, and a fellow with the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at the University of California. He also served as associate coordinator of the Center for Cold War Studies at the UC Santa Barbara, and as a representative on the council for the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations.

Personal Anecdote

I know why Stanley Kubrick made Dr. Strangelove a comedy. Sometimes it is just plain difficult to take the Cold War seriously. Having spent the past ten years studying Cold War propaganda, I have embarrassed myself in more than one archive by disturbing the silence with unexpected bursts of laughter.

There was, for example, the time I found a civil defense poster giving Americans straightforward advice for protecting themselves from a nuclear attack: “Don’t be there!” And then there was the national security investigation into the birthplace of “Ham,” the chimpanzee sent into outer space as part of the U.S. effort to catch up with the Soviet Union’s lead in the space race. The classified memorandum confirmed that, yes indeed, Ham was an American-born monkey. And then there were the ideas for demonstrating American scientific prowess. Why not drop a hydrogen bomb into a typhoon to reverse its direction? Maybe dig a harbor in Alaska by exploding a thermonuclear device? Or perhaps use a rocket – i.e. a ballistic missile – to deliver the mail?

And of course there was Atoms for Peace, the program designed to make Americans less fearful of the atomic bomb by highlighting all the wonderful benefits of atomic energy. Inspired by Atoms for Peace propaganda, National Geographic comforted its readers with the knowledge that golf balls had been made radioactive so they could be more easily located when lost in the rough. And dogs benefited from atomic energy’s healing power too, the magazine revealed in a caption of a photograph of a boy holding his puppy as it received radiation therapy for a cancerous tumor. Perhaps, I thought as I kept encountering references to dogs in the course of my research, I should write my next book on the “Canine Cold War.”

But I’m not a satirist. I’m a historian. My task and my challenge is to take all this seriously – to understand, to explain, and to find meaning in a world that sometimes seems very different from the one I am living in now. In this endeavor I am reminded of a personal experience that was both unsettling and inspiring. I was a junior at Notre Dame looking into graduate programs in history. I arranged a meeting with Otis Graham, the eminent political historian who was then teaching at U.C. Santa Barbara. I think I expected him to be so dazzled by my brilliance that he would accept me into the program on the spot and shower me with cash. Instead he told me not even to apply to graduate school – or at least not yet.

He said I should follow “Graham’s Rule.” He explained that historians write about life, and that to be good historians we needed to be grounded in the real world; we needed to have many rich and varied experiences. “So take a year off,” he advised me. “See the world, do the kind of things you can only do now, while you are young. And then, when you are ready, go to graduate school.”

At first I was crushed. This was not the advice I expected. But an hour later I was inspired, and I soon was spending my time following Graham’s rule. I worked as a chef at a ski resort and a golf club in Utah; I spent six months studying Russian in Monterey, California and St. Petersburg, Russia; I worked as an intern at the State Department in Washington, D.C., and I drove my pickup truck from California, to Florida, to Maine, to Alaska, and back. A year and a half later, I started graduate school at U.C. Santa Barbara.

I learned Graham was right. These experiences made me a better historian. They changed the way I view and interpret my study of the past. Conversely, so too has my study of history changed the way I look at the world. Even the seemingly narrow subject of my research — the Cold War’s propaganda battles — offers broader lessons and bigger insights. It clarifies the way humans communicate and interact — the way they represent themselves, the way they spin unpleasantness, the way they deceive others, and the way they are willingly deceived by others. It is also a subject that became strangely relevant after September 11th, 2001 and the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Will today’s Stanley Kubrick make a film about the war on terror? Will it be as much of a cultural landmark as Strangelove was? And will it be a comedy, a tragedy, or a little of both? I know enough to know that only time will tell.


By Kenneth A. Osgood

  • This process by which leaders employed the prospect of peace to further their own ends has a longer history.
    Total Cold War: Eisenhower's Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad JPGThroughout the twentieth century, world leaders used appeals for peace to bolster their legitimacy at home. They also manipulated the hope of peace to create the psychological conditions and moral space for war. They perceived … that hatred and vengeance were necessary, but not sufficient, requirements of total war mobilization. Such passions needed to be softened and made morally acceptable by rhetorical bombast and propaganda framing total war as a communal sacrifice, carried by the entire nation, to bring about a more peaceful and prosperous future. — Kenneth A. Osgood in “Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad”

About Kenneth A. Osgood

  • “Osgood’s book is a carefully crafted, thoroughly researched, and illuminating analysis of U.S. psychological warfare and propaganda during the height of the Cold War. When ‘public diplomacy’ is stated to be critical for winning the war against terrorism, it is invaluable to have this study of the Eisenhower administration’s efforts to win the hearts and minds of humankind during the turbulent decade of the 1950s.” — — Melvyn P. Leffler, author of “A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War” reviewing “Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad”
  • “Impressively researched, packed with new information and insights, Total Cold War is a major contribution to Cold War studies and the history of the Eisenhower presidency. An outstanding first book.” — George Herring, author of “America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975” reviewing “Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad”
  • “This is more than just another chapter in the history of psychological warfare. Osgood’s well-researched volume uses topics as diverse as cultural diplomacy, the arms race, and the space race to shed new light on efforts by the Eisenhower Administration to shape opinions at home as well as abroad, in the free world as well as the communist world. The book succeeds in large part by situating its narrative in a larger context having to do with the new media resources that made this kind of warfare easier and more sophisticated, with the nature of modern war as total war, and with the growing interpenetration between the public and the private spheres, between war and peace, between the home front and the front line that became increasingly typical of both modern war and the modern corporative state.” — Michael J. Hogan, author of “A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954” reviewing “Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad”
  • “Kenneth Osgood continues the scholarly tradition of raising historians’ estimate of the Eisenhower presidency. Total Cold War is a highly informative, suavely argued, conscientiously researched, and articulate book, which shows how crucial the techniques of psychological warfare were to the geopolitical strategy of the United States in the 1950s. Osgood makes a superlative case for the resourcefulness of an administration that was once dismissed as too stodgy to wage an effective fight against Communism abroad.” — Stephen J. Whitfield, author of “The Culture of the Cold War” reviewing “Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad”
  • “This is far and away the most thorough, sophisticated, and meticulously researched account of U.S. propaganda efforts during the early Cold War. Kenneth Osgood’s pathbreaking study demonstrates the centrality of such efforts to the overall foreign policy strategy of the Eisenhower administration. As issues of image and public diplomacy have once again gained currency in the contemporary era, this book could not be more timely.” — Robert J. McMahon, author of “The Limits of Empire: The United States and Southeast Asia Since World War II” reviewing “Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad”
  • Total Cold War is totally absorbing and will alter our understanding of the ways that Americans waged the Cold War in the 1950s. With the United States now engaged in another global battle for hearts and minds, Osgood’s rich and rewarding study is timely and instructive.” — Chester J. Pach, author of “Arming the Free World: The Origins of the United States Military Assistance Program, 1945-1950” reviewing “Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad”
  • “Kenneth Osgood’s path-breaking book on how the Eisenhower administration tried to shape world and domestic opinion at the height of the Cold War could not be more relevant today. Elegantly written and powerfully argued, Total Cold War reminds us that pens and microphones can be as important as guns and bombs in defending U.S. national security. The book belongs on the shelf of core texts for understanding U.S. foreign relations.” — Timothy Natfali, author of “Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism” reviewing “Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad”
  • “This is a superb book that sheds valuable light on the Eisenhower administration’s efforts to sway official and public opinion in the non-Communist world. The use of psychological warfare against the Soviet bloc has been covered in several recent books, but Kenneth Osgood highlights the ‘other side’ of U.S. psychological operations-the operations that focused on neutral countries, on U.S. allies, and on the American public. Osgood convincingly shows, in a sophisticated narrative that weaves together many topics and themes, that the struggle to ‘win hearts and minds’ in Western countries and the Third World was at least as high a priority for the United States as the battle to influence sentiments in the Communist bloc. Total Cold War offers a remarkably comprehensive look at the vast array of programs and policies that cumulatively shaped the Eisenhower administration’s attempts to convey a positive image of U.S. values and American society abroad. The book alters our understanding not only of U.S. foreign policy but of the whole way the ‘war of words and deeds’ was ‘fought.'” — Mark Kramer, Director of the Cold War Studies Center at Harvard University and editor of the “Journal of Cold War Studies” reviewing “Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad”
  • “Kenneth Osgood has written probably the best book to date on any aspect of U.S. Cold War propaganda. … I highly recommend this book.” — “Pacific Historical Review” review of “Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad”
  • “…a nuanced, thoughtful and rewarding study grounded in admirably exhaustive research.” — “Diplomatic History” review of “Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad”
  • “… provocative and disturbing … Total Cold War deserves a wide audience. Despite the continued classification of relevant documents, Osgood has written a well-researched, comprehensive account of one of the Cold War’s often overlooked front lines.” — “Journal of American History” review of “Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad”
  • “Osgood breaks new ground in shifting his focus from tales of psychological operations to foment unrest behind the Iron Curtain to the broader effort to win the hearts and minds of people in the free world. … Well written and beautifully illustrated, this book provides engaging reading for anyone interested in the Cold War, psychological warfare, information operations, or the views and policies of the thirty-fourth president.” — “Journal of Military History” review of “Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad”
  • “Many other books have concentrated on psychological operations behind the so-called Iron Curtain, but Florida Atlantic University history professor Kenneth Osgood’s Total Cold War emphasizes the extent to which Eisenhower’s propaganda agencies directed their messages to friends, not foes. … a fascinating cultural analysis.” — “Bulletin of Atomic Scientists” review of “Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad”
  • “Kenneth Osgood covers ground that cold war scholars often identify but rarely traverse. … Osgood forces his readers to reconsider Eisenhower’s cold war strategy within the context of “total war.” He also provides them with a tool for evaluating America’s struggle for hearts and minds today.” — “History: Reviews of New Books” review of “Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad”
  • “I have had Dr. Osgood for three graduate classes and rate him extremely high. Tough, knowledgeable, accurate and expressive, he is the professor to have in his area of concern – diplomatic history.”… “Osgood is the greatest teacher at FAU. If you need a history class he is your man.”… “I would totally recommend this class to everyone. Professor Osgood is an awesome teacher and very helpful. Loved it!!!”… “Dr. Osgood is one of the best teachers.”… “I loved this class!”… “Dr. Osgood is one of the most effective instructors I have ever had.”… “Excellent class, truly broadened my horizons.”… “Really opened my mind.”… “I have learned so much from this course, and I value what I learned more than what I learned in any other class.” — Anonymous Students

Posted on Sunday, September 16, 2007 at 6:04 PM

Top Young Historians: 66 – Beverly Gage


Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

66: Beverly Gage, 9-10-07

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Assistant Professor of History, Yale University
Area of Research: The evolution of American political ideologies and institutions.
Education: Ph.D., U.S. History, Columbia University, 2004
Major Publications: Gage completed her graduate work at Columbia University, where her dissertation “The Wall Street Explosion:
Beverly Gage's pictureCapitalism, Terrorism, and the 1920 Bombing in New York” received the Bancroft dissertation award for best U.S. history dissertation. Her first book, The Day Wall Street Exploded: A Story of America in its First Age of Terror, examines the history of terrorism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It focuses on the 1920 Wall Street explosion, an unsolved terrorist attack that killed 39 people in New York’s financial district. Oxford University Press will publish the book in May 2008. Gage has written for numerous journals and magazines, including the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, Smithsonian, The Nation, The New York Times, the Nation, New York Times Book Review, and Reviews in American History.
Some of her book chapters and journal articles include: “The First Wall Street Bomb,” After the World Trade Center, edited by Michael Sorkin and Sharon Zukin (New York: Routledge, 2002); “Why Violence Matters: Radicalism, Politics, and Class War in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era,” Journal for the Study of Radicalism, January 2007.
Awards: Gage is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Morse Junior Faculty Fellowship, 2007-2008;
Keroden Fund course development grant, 2005-2006;
Bancroft Dissertation Award, 2004;
Whiting Fellowship, Columbia University, 2002-2003;
Junior Fellowship, Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, Columbia University, 2001-2002;
Summer Research Fellowship, Columbia University, 2001;
Brebner Travel Fellowship, Columbia University, 2000-2002;
President’s Fellowship, Columbia University, 1998-2002;
Richard J. Hofstadter Fellowship, Columbia University, 1997-1998;
Dissertation Fellowship, Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, 2002-2003.
Additional Info:
Gage teaches courses on terrorism, communism and anticommunism, American conservatism, and 20th-century American politics.
Gage wrote more than 150 articles for the New Haven Advocate and affiliated weekly newspapers, and was Managing Editor for the New Haven Advocate from 1996-1997. She wrote and edited award-winning news articles, features, and reviews for weekly newspaper, concentrating on criminal justice, labor, media, and cultural reporting. Earned awards from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, the National Newspaper Association, and the Society of Professional Journalists.
Gage was the host/featured investigator in two History Channel programs exploring the early history of the Cold War. The episodes, part of the History Channel’s Lost Worlds series, aired August 15 and 29, 2007. The programs examined strategic atomic production and testing sites, as well top-secret bunkers designed to protect key U.S. personnel in case of nuclear attack.
Featured commentator, Pane Amaro, directed by Gianfranco Norelli, Italian public television, broadcast 2007

Personal Anecdote

Now, I say it casually. “Oh, I was writing about this before 9-11,” I tell students and reporters who ask how I happened upon the subject of my first book. “This” is the history of terrorism in the U.S.-specifically, the story of what occurred on Wall Street on September 16, 1920. At 12:01 that afternoon, a bomb exploded into the lunchtime crowd at the corner of Wall and Broad streets in New York, killing 39 people and wounding hundreds more. In 2001, I had just started writing my dissertation about this event and its role in prolonging the postwar Red Scare.

I was living in New York at the time. A graduate student at Columbia, I had recently moved to Brooklyn. As a result, I had a near-perfect view of the World Trade Center’s collapse. I heard the second plane crash while walking my dog in Prospect Park (I thought it was a blown transformer), learned that “a plane hit the World Trade Center” on my way home (I pictured a small Cessna, nothing too serious), and watched the rest of the day’s now- familiar tragedy play out from atop my roof.

What this would mean for writing history was hardly the first thing on my mind that day. As my neighbors and I sealed up our windows and gathered downstairs to await further news from across the river, it seemed entirely possible that nothing would be worth writing again.

Then the political battles began. Within days of 9-11, newspapers and television started to inform us quite authoritatively that terrorism in the U.S. was an entirely new phenomenon, a burst of evil with a dark future but no real past. In response, I launched a frenzied round of article- and editorial-writing (including–full disclosure–a short piece for HNN) pointing out that terrorism, in fact, had its own long and messy history.

In those early days, I found myself seized as well by a perverse urge to share my storehouse of uncanny historical detail with friends and family. I silenced many a dinner party that autumn pointing out how the stock exchange reopened on the same day in 2001 that it reopened after the bombing in 1920.

That impulse mercifully faded, along with the sense that everything, from the price of grapefruits to the daily weather report, had to somehow reference 9-11. But as “normalcy” (to borrow Warren Harding’s famous 1920 coinage) set in, I found myself confronted with a more insistent set of questions about how to write about the history of terrorism in this altered world. Were comparisons between past and present worth making? Had the present now irretrievably distorted the past? Was it possible to write decent history on a subject so heavily politicized? Most of all, did the entire subject now seem too ghoulish and opportunistic? It was in this context that I began to issue my first disclaimers–“Oh, I was writing about this before 9-11…”-as if to show that my motives and analysis remained uncorrupted.

Today, I have not arrived at definitive answers to all of these questions. But I no longer feel quite so much urgency to compare the present and past, or to justify my subject in relation to the present day. This is in part because new issues, especially domestic debates over civil liberties, have made the relevance of past experience far more self-evident. Mostly, though, it’s because the passage of time has made it possible, once again, to look at history on its own terms.

The latest draft of my book (The Day Wall Street Exploded, Oxford University Press, forthcoming in 2008) hardly mentions 9-11 at all. In that sense, I’ve now come full circle from where I began more than six years ago. What first drew me to the Wall Street explosion was not its connection with the present, but my genuine surprise that such an event had been so thoroughly excised from our memories of the past. If recovering that story helps to lend a bit of insight into the dispiriting and often terrifying politics of the world around us today, so much the better.


By Beverly Gage

  • Americans almost expected the Wall Street explosion.Nobody knew, precisely, that it would erupt just after noon on September 16, 1920, shattering windows throughout New York’s financial district, scattering metal slugs into the lunchtime crowd, injuring hundreds of men and women, claiming 39 lives.Nobody knew-except, perhaps, the person who abandoned a horse-drawn cart, loaded with dynamite, at the corner of Wall and Broad streets that morning. And except, some thought, for a man named Ed Fisher, who in the weeks before the explosion sent frantic notes to his friends on Wall Street, warning them to “keep away” and “get out” in mid- September. When the police arrested Fisher in Canada on the evening of September 16, he denied any responsibility for the bombing. He explained that he had learned of the Wall Street plot through “messages out of the air,” and that God had reinforced his fears with a terrible headache. The detectives doubted that Fisher had a special relationship with God, but they ultimately accepted his claim that something “in the air” had foretold the disaster. Fisher had merely gotten lucky on the specifics, they concluded; given the politics of recent years, anyone might have predicted that, sooner or later, a bomb would explode on Wall Street.This sense of inevitability, of predictability, was one of the most pronounced aspects of the public response to the event that came to be known as the “Wall Street explosion.” By some measures, the blast that tore through Wall Street on September 16 was unprecedented—the deadliest act of terrorism to that point in U.S. history. Even more stunning to many contemporaries than the sheer number of deaths was what the World called the “hopeless futility of the slaughter.” The explosion came at an unremarkable moment: lunchtime on a Thursday. Until noon, there had been nothing to distinguish September 16 from any other day on Wall Street: no parades, no demonstrations, no strikes or particular spats. “If the explosion was designed it was an act of diabolism almost unparalleled in the annals of terrorism,” wrote the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “There was no objective except general terrorism. The bomb was not directed against any particular person or property. It was directed against the public, anyone who happened to be near or any property in the neighborhood.”

    But for all of the grief and shock at the blast, there was also a sense that, like Ed Fisher, the country should have seen it coming. “It is not surprising that the bomb massacre was accomplished in New York,” mourned the Washington Post. “Rather it would have been surprising if this festering sore had not come to its horrid head.” To the Post and many others, the explosion seemed to be the awful culmination of a half century’s worth of bitter political conflicts: over the growing power of Wall Street, over the rights of political radicals in the U.S., over the problems of political violence and terrorism, over the nature of industrial capitalism itself.

    When it finally came, on September 16, 1920, the Wall Street explosion seemed to capture all of these conflicts and send them hurling forth in a hail of metal and flesh and fire. It took a popular political metaphor—the idea of an “attack on Wall Street”—and made it terribly real. — Beverly Gage in the introduction to the forthcoming “The Day Wall Street Exploded: A Story of America in its First Age of Terror” (May 2008)

http://history.yale.edu/sites/default/files/styles/portrait/public/pictures/picture-100-1355327894.jpgAbout Beverly Gage

  • “Professor Gage is a great lecturer, and extremely approachable as a person and teacher. It is fairly simple to put together an informative presentation for lecture, but she not only makes them interesting and engaging, she has also proven to be great at small group discussions as well. I wish I had another opportunity to take a class with her. You can feel how passionate she is about the subject material. It is rare to find a professor like her.”…
    “Prof. Gage is an incredible lecturer: well organized, entertaining, and provocative. Lectures were definitely something I wanted to go to. Also, I think Prof. Gage asked all the right questions, making the class come alive and worth studying. I especially liked how she decided to present all these different topics and tried to unify them.”…
    “Professor Gage is an amazing lecturer. She’s interesting and extremely knowledgeable and approachable. Her lectures were great supplements to the reading, so most of the studying that I did for midterms and finals came directly from my notes. I thoroughly enjoyed every class.”…
    “Great lecturer who really knows her stuff and understands how to convey it in an interesting and thought- provoking manner. I especially appreciated her very objective and non-judgmental approach as well as her focus on the broad themes and questions raised by the historical narrative.”…
    “Professor Gage’s lectures were, in one short word, excellent. They were well planned, methodical, and interesting. Like clockwork, every lecture began with her outlining where we headed for that day – the theme, the overarching question, and its relation to others – so that we were never once caught off guard. He lectures were amazingly clear – I knew exactly what she meant and what she was talking about and what she wanted to convey at that moment. At the same time they were interesting and extremely engaging. Very rarely did I want to miss this class.Also, her use of films and slide show presentations was very efficient and very effective. Neither were too often or too limited within the course of the semester. When it was needed it was done and it helped greatly.” — Students from Lecture Courses
  • “She was excellent. One of the best teachers I have had at Yale. She knew a lot about every topic we discussed, and did a very good job of leading the discussions and making them flow. She also always had material returned on time and was easy to talk to about papers or reading, and very understanding about any conflicts.”…
    “Prof. Gage is highly knowledgeable and very en”gage”d in the material. She is approachable and willing to help. She manages to teach a politically charged topic in a completely unbiased manner.”…
    “Professor Gage was great. She was really wonderful at leading a full class discussion. A subject like contemporary American politcs can get emotional and silly if a class does not stay in the text and she did a great job keeping everyone in the reading during class. She didn’t let on her own beliefs at all and really encouraged conversation. She was also really accesible outside of class.”…
    “Prof. Gage was the best seminar leader I have ever had – she clearly put a lot of time and effort into leading a good seminar. Discussion was always excellent.”…
    “I pretty much love her. Her enthusiasm for the subject is infectious, and she did a fantastic job of guiding class discussion so that it was incisive, well-considered, and edifying.” — Students from Seminar courses
  • “Professor Gage is one of the best professors I have had. She created a pleasant atmosphere in class, and was always open to students’ comments and ideas. She didn’t give us the impression that she was seeking specific answers that would fit her opinion. The debates she led were lively and interesting. In addition, she was always accessible when needed.”…
    This seminar was probably the best that I’ve taken at Yale, including my time here as an undergraduate. Partly that was a matter of luck–we had a lively, thoughtful mix of students–but it was largely due to Beverly, who is a natural seminar leader. Very few teachers are even competent at leading a discussion with the right blend of authority and informality, and those few who are have usually been in the business for 20 years. Beverly would be shockingly good even if she were old and gray–her classroom sense is all the more astounding because she is so young.” — Graduate Students

Posted on Sunday, September 9, 2007 at 7:35 PM

History Doyens: Paul S. Boyer


Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

Paul Samuel Boyer, 9-3-07

What They’re Famous For

Paul Boyer, a U.S. cultural and intellectual historian (Ph.D., Harvard University, 1966) is Merle Curti Professor of History Emeritus and former director (1993-2001) of the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has held visiting professorships at UCLA, Northwestern University, and William & Mary; has received Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships; and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Society of American Paul S. Boyer JPGHistorians, and the American Antiquarian Society. Before coming to Wisconsin in 1980, he taught at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (1967-1980).

He has lectured at some 90 colleges and universities in the United States, Western Europe, and Israel. He has appeared on programs on the Public Broadcasting System, National Public Radio, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, the BBC, Canadian Broadcasting System, and others.

His publications include: Purity in Print: Book Censorship in America from the Gilded Age to the Computer Age (1968; 2nd edition with two new chapters, 2002); He was the Asst. editor of Notable American Women, 1600-1950 (3 vols., 1971); co-authored with Stephen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft (1974); Urban Masses and Moral Order in America, 1820-1920 (1978); By the Bomb’s Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age (1985); When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture (1992); Fallout: A Historian Reflects on America’s Half-Century Encounter With Nuclear Weapons (1998). He was the editor-in-chief of The Oxford Companion to United States History (2001).

Salem Possessed won the John H. Dunning Prize of the American Historical Association and was nominated for a National Book Award. When Time Shall Be No More received the Banta Award of the Wisconsin Library Association for literary achievement by a Wisconsin author. The Oxford Companion to United States History was a main selection of History Book Club.

Boyer is the author or co-author of two college-level U.S. history textbooks, The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People (6th edition, 2007); and Promises to Keep: The United States Since 1945 (3rd edn., 2004), and a high-school U.S. history textbook: The American Nation (4nd edn., 2002). His scholarly articles have appeared in the Journal of American History, American Quarterly, American Literary History, The History Teacher, Virginia Quarterly Review, William & Mary Quarterly, and others. He has contributed numerous chapters to scholarly collections and encyclopedia entries, and lectured widely at colleges and universities in the United States and Europe. His articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post Magazine, Book World, the New Republic, The Nation, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Wisconsin Academy Review, Harvard Divinity School Bulletin, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Tikkun, Policy Review, and other publications.

Active in the Organization of American Historians, he has chaired its Program Committee (1987-88); served on its Nominating Council (1992-94) and Executive Board (1995-98) and on the editorial board of the Journal of American History (1980-83). He served on the national advisory board of the public television series The American Experience and edits the Studies in American Thought and Culture series for the University of Wisconsin Press (1984-94, 2002–). His service on prize committees includes the John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association, the Phi Beta Kappa Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize, and the ABC-Clio Award Committee of the Organization of American Historians.

Boyer chaired the Wisconsin Humanities Council in 2004-06. Biographical entries appear in Who’s Who in American Education and Contemporary Authors.

Personal Anecdote

Family stories were my first introduction to history-not articles or books, but lived experience: a great-uncle killed at Antietam; grandmothers’ tales of late-nineteenth-century Ohio farm life; my father’s account of losing his job during World War I for refusing to salute the flag when co-workers demanded that he do so. My paternal grandfather was a great repository of stories about the past, including his boyhood memories of President Garfield’s assassination in 1881.

Paul S Boyer JPG
Paul Boyer is seated in the front row, second from left, next to his grandfather.

My future perspective as a historian was influenced, too, by my very conservative religious upbringing. The Brethren in Christ church, an offshoot of the Mennonite church, took seriously the biblical injunction “Be not conformed to this world.” The members did not vote, generally refused military service, and dressed very plainly-no neckties for the men; head coverings, cape dresses, and dark stockings for the women. They avoided the movies and other worldly amusements, and viewed the secular power of the state with profound skepticism. I’m no longer a part of that subculture (which in any event is very different today), but its influence has shaped my life and work.

A grade-school teacher in Dayton, Ohio taught me that history is something people can feel passionate about. A southerner, she informed us in no uncertain terms: “If you get nothing else out of this class, just remember that slavery was NOT the cause of the Civil War.” But I can’t claim that the study of history initially gripped me very deeply. My copy of David Saville Muzzey’s A History of Our Country, assigned in a high-school class, is full of my scribbled drawings and witticisms (e.g., “In Case of Fire, throw this in”). The teacher called him “Fuzzy Muzzey,” signaling us that even textbook writers need not be viewed with total reverence. Now a textbook author myself, I appreciate Muzzey a little more. He writes in his preface: “Boys and girls have sometimes said to me that they have ‘had’ American history, as if it were measles or chicken pox, which they could have and get over and be henceforth immune from. … Do not for a moment think that you are `going over’ American history again in high school in order to add a few more dates and names to your memory. You are studying a new and fresh subject, not because American history has changed, but because you have changed. … You are getting new outlooks on life,–new ambitions, new enthusiasms, new judgments of people and events. Life broadens and deepens for you. So history, which is the record of former people’s ambitions and enthusiasms, comes to have a new meaning for you.”

After high school I enrolled at Upland College in California, a small denominational school that has since closed. Wendell Harmon, who had written his Ph.D. thesis at UCLA on the Prohibition movement in California, taught U.S. history at Upland. Wendell had a skeptical turn of mind and a dry sense of humor. His classes, including a seminar on American Transcendentalism, jolted me into realizing that studying history could be intellectually engaging, even fun. In June 1955, preparing to leave for two years of voluntary service in Europe with the Mennonite Central Committee, I asked Wendell for reading suggestions. His list included Richard Hofstadter’s The American Political Tradition (1948). I devoured the book, writing on the flyleaf words that were new to me (salient, milieu, inchoate, sinecure, ubiquitous). Hofstadter’s cool-eyed revisionist look at America’s political heroes was eye-opening. There is no canonical version of history-all is up for grabs! My copy of this 95-cent Vintage paperback, now falling apart, is still in my library.Paul S Boyer JPG

My two years in Europe-mostly spent in Paris on loan from the Mennonite Central Committee to an NGO at UNESCO–ended with a world trip via ships, trains, buses, and bicycles. On a train in India I met Gloria Steinem, just out of Smith College, also on a Wanderjahr. A comment she later made about how the trip affected her summed up my reactions as well: Eisenhower’s America, rich and complacent, she said, seemed like a sugary cupcake perched atop a suffering world where most people struggle merely to survive. Practicing my writing skills, I wrote a series of travel essays for the Evangelical Visitor, the Brethren in Christ denominational paper. The editorial board voted me an honorarium of fifty dollars. Another eye-opener: writing could actually produce income!

Those two and a half years abroad proved transformative. In 1955 I had expected to go into my father’s religious-supply business. By 1958, when I entered Harvard as a transfer student, I knew I was not cut out for business. Journalism and teaching seemed appealing, but in a fairly inchoate way. What to major in? I considered English, but History soon won out. The department had a tutorial system for majors, and in 1958-59 I took both the sophomore and junior tutorials. My sophomore tutor, Stanley Katz, was a terrific mentor. We discussed and wrote papers on historians from Herodotus to Marc Bloch, executed by the Gestapo in 1944. Rereading those papers, I’m impressed again by Stan’s blend of encouragement and shrewd criticism. My junior tutor, Manfred Jonas, although busy writing his Ph.D. thesis on American isolationism in the 1930s, carefully read my weekly essays on U.S. historical topics, offering perceptive comments. William R. Taylor’s stimulating course in American historiography introduced me to Prescott, Parkman, and other classic historians and prose stylists.

My senior-thesis advisor, Roger Brown, steered me to a fascinating topic: the Federalist party’s reaction to the Louisiana Purchase. Research at the Massachusetts and Connecticut historical societies gave me a first taste of using primary sources in a milieu redolent of the past. (One elderly lady at the Connecticut Historical Society asked where I was from. When I told her Ohio, she replied, “Oh yes, Western Reserve country.”) To my great excitement, Roger Brown mentioned my thesis in a footnote in his 1964 book The Republic in Peril: 1812.

Finishing college in 1960, I entered Harvard’s graduate history program that fall. In Frank Freidel’s seminar on the 1920s, I choose book censorship in Boston as my research topic. That in turn, led to my first published article (American Quarterly, spring 1963); my Ph.D. thesis on book censorship in America (with Freidel as advisor); and my first book, Purity in Print. Freidel returned my thesis draft with a few stylistic suggestions on the first few pages. “You see the kinds of changes I’m suggesting,” he breezily told me; “You can apply them to the rest of the thesis.” I’m fairly sure he never read beyond those early pages. (On one page, he had marked a sentence to be cut and then changed his mind, scribbling “stet” in the margin: a printer’s term meaning “restore this copy.” In dismay I misread it as “shit,” concluding that my dissertation director considered my work beneath contempt.)

Inviting the seminar to his home for our last meeting, Freidel offered us career advice. Our first job would probably be at some obscure school, he told us, and our sole objective must be to move to ever-more prestigious institutions through our publications. “Your students will want your attention, and your wife will ask you to do things with the family,” he warned, “but you must ignore all that and concentrate on publishing.”

In Arthur Schlesinger Jr.’s course in American intellectual history, Schlesinger read his lectures from what appeared to be page proofs, pausing occasionally to correct a typo. When he departed for Washington after the 1960 election, newly-hired Donald Fleming inherited the course, delivering erudite, beautifully crafted lectures. (My paper on Andrew Carnegie in that course became a lecture that remained in my own intellectual-history course until I retired.) I later graded for Fleming, reading blue books far into the night.

The European intellectual historian H. Stuart Hughes strongly supported SANE, the nuclear-test-ban organization. When I took his course in fall 1962, he was running as an independent for the U.S. Senate on a nuclear-disarmament platform. (Ted Kennedy won.) Sitting in Hughes’ class on October 24, as the U.S. blockade of Soviet vessels bound for Cuba went into effect, we all eyed the clock nervously. Hughes’ example as a politically engaged academic probably influenced my own later small-scale participation in Vietnam War protests and the early-1980s’ nuclear- weapons freeze campaign.

We graduate students flocked to Bernard Bailyn’s lecture course and seminar in American colonial history. At the first seminar meeting, Bailyn proposed a list of research topics. By chance, I got the last choice: a 1754 Massachusetts excise-tax controversy. It seemed unpromising, but actually proved engrossing, particularly the pamphlets describing how lecherous tax collectors would ravish the wives and daughters of virtuous yeomen. The pamphleteers also made ubiquitous references to a 1733 excise-tax controversy in England. When I reported this to Bailyn, he responded with a chuckle that he, too, had noticed that connection, and had put his notes aside for future attention. That seminar paper became my second published article (William and Mary Quarterly, July 1964). Years later, after I had published three or four books, I encountered Bailyn at a convention and he greeted me with: “You know, I see citations to that William and Mary Quarterly article of yours all the time.”

Especially salient among these formative influences were Edward and Janet James, the editor and associate editor of a biographical reference work on American women launched in 1955 at the impetus of Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. (Today the positions would likely be reversed, with Janet as editor, but this was the 1950s.) Ed was a very methodical editor, and by 1961 a large back-log of essays had built up. Ed hired history grad students as fact-checkers, and I became one of his minions. I enjoyed roaming Widener Library in quest of elusive facts, in the process learning about the history of women in America-a subject mostly ignored in my undergraduate and graduate training. As I drafted revisions to correct errors or incorporate new information, and sometimes even ventured to rewrite an entire essay, Ed expanded my duties and gave me a desk in his office. Here I edited hundreds of essays (typing and retyping them in that pre-computer era) and wrote twenty-one myself, from Helena Blavatsky to Frances Wright. Ed and Janet generously appointed me assistant editor, so when Harvard University Press published Notable American Women in three volumes in 1971, my name appeared on the title page along with theirs. This editing and writing experience, immersion in women’s history, and exposure to Ed James’s meticulous attention to detail made my time at Notable American Women an important part-perhaps the most important part-of my graduate training.

By 1967, with Ph.D. in hand, it was time to find a teaching job. Notable American Women was fun, but obviously no lifetime sinecure. I had married Ann Talbot, then a student at Radcliffe College, in 1962, and now our first child was on the way. We hoped to stay in New England, so on a map I drew a semicircle around Boston with a radius of about a hundred miles and sent letters to history departments where I thought I might have a shot. Soon after, Howard Quint, the head of the History Department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, phoned and invited me out. Howard rounded up a few department members and I gave a “job talk” that consisted of summarizing my Ph.D. thesis. He took me to meet the dean, and after they chatted briefly, Howard offered me a job at the munificent salary of $10,000 a year. That’s how things worked in those days.

Paul S Boyer JPG

Antiwar protests and a factionalized department made those early years of teaching the most intense of my career. With campus strikes, moratoria, and marches on Washington, every spring semester from 1967 to 1970 ended with classes disrupted or cancelled entirely. Rashly signing up to give a workshop on Vietnamese history, I crammed the evening before from a book by Bernard B. Fall (killed in Vietnam in 1967). I expected ten or twelve people; the hall was packed. Another evening, several of us led a teach-in on the war in a campus dormitory. As the discussion went on, a young woman said tearfully: “My brother was just killed in Vietnam. Are you telling us this war is wrong?” Again I was reminded that “history” is not just something that we write about. History happens to people.

Just as I was becoming resigned to a life of departmental feuding, cancelled classes, and campus protests, the activism suddenly ended in the fall of 1970. The departmental conflict subsided as well, and my remaining years at UMass brought much satisfaction, with great colleagues, interesting research (including a collaboration with Steve Nissenbaum on Salem Possessed), and rewarding teaching. My graduate training had included no classroom experience and indeed no attention to pedagogy at all, so these years involved a lot of on-the-job training. Fortunately, I found that I loved teaching, whether lecture courses, seminars, or one-on-one meetings with students. (Grading blue books I could have done without.)

New experiences, new projects, and many changes lay ahead, but a course had been set, and I’ve never regretted how it all turned out. I can’t imagine a more satisfying life, and seeing one’s students set sail on their own, in history or other fields, is perhaps the greatest reward of all.


By Paul Samuel Boyer

  • If a scholar a thousand years from now had no evidence about what had happened in the United States between 1945 and 1985 except the books produced by the cultural and intellectual historians of that era, he or she would hardly guess that such a thing as nuclear weapons had existed. … We have somehow managed to avert our attention from the pervasive impact of the bomb on … our collective experience….[P]eculiarities in my background … might plausibly be seen as having particularly ‘sensitized’ me to issues of war and peace. Reared in the pacifist beliefs of the Brethren in Christ Church …, I had early heard stories from my father of the harassment and even physical abuse he had experienced as a war resister in 1917-18….  Yet … I suspect it is not my particular upbringing, but experiences that I share with most Americans of the postwar generation, that are relevant here. Even a few random probes of my nuclear consciousness have made clear to me how significantly my life has been influenced by the ever-present reality of the bomb: … [T]he afternoon of August 6, 1945, when I read aloud the ominous-looking newspaper headline, mispronouncing the new word as “a-tome,” since I had never heard anyone say it; … Standing in a darkened room early in 1947, squinting into my atomic-viewer ring, straining to see the “swirling atoms” the Kix Cereal people had assure me would be visible; … Coming out of a Times Square movie theater at midnight on New Year’s Eve, 1959, having just seen the end of the world in On the Beach, overwhelmed by the sheer aliveness of the raucous celebrators; … Feeling the knot tighten in my stomach as President Kennedy, in that staccato voice, tells us we must all build fallout shelters as quickly as possible; … Watching the clock in Emerson Hall creep up toward 11 A.M. on October 25, 1962—Kennedy’s deadline to the Russians during the Cuban missile crisis—half expecting a cataclysmic flash when the hour struck; … Overhearing my daughter’s friend recently telling how her little sister hid under the bed when searchlights probed the sky a few nights earlier(a supermarket was having a grand opening), convinced that the missiles were about to fall. ….Even my sense of ancestral rootedness is now interwoven with images of nuclear menace and danger. In the summer of 1978, my brother Bill and I, finding ourselves together in Pennsylvania, took a little excursion to find the cemetery where some of our forebears who had migrated from [Switzerland] in the 1750s were buried. As we drove southward from Harrisburg along the Susquehanna, the looming concrete bulk of a nuclear power plant—Three Mile Island—suddenly hove into view. Almost literally in the shadows of those squat, hideous—and soon to be famous—towers, we found the small burial plot we were seeking. …I have been repeatedly struck … at how uncannily familiar much of the early response to the bomb seems: the visions of atomic devastation, the earnest efforts to rouse people to resist such a fate, the voices seeking to soothe or deflect these fears, the insistence that security lay in greater technical expertise and in more and bigger weaponry. I gradually realized that what I was uncovering was, in fact, the earliest version of the themes that still dominate our nuclear discourse today. All the major elements of our contemporary engagement with the nuclear reality took shape literally within days of Hiroshima. … By the Bomb’s Early Light, then, is an effort to go back to the earliest stages of our long engagement with nuclear weapons. Unless we recover this lost segment of our cultural history, we cannot fully understand the world in which we live, nor be as well equipped as we might to change it. …

    As is appropriate, this book will be read and judged by my professional peers as a piece of scholarship like any other. I hope it will not seem presumptuous to say that it is also intended as a contribution, however flawed, to the process by which we are again, at long last, trying to confront, emotionally as well as intellectually, the supreme menace of our age. Henry Adams once wrote, “No honest historian can take part with—or against—the forces he has to study. To him, even the extinction of the human race should merely be a fact to be grouped with other vital statistics.” I readily confess that I have not achieved Adams’s austere standard of professional objectivity. This book is a product of experiences outside the library as well as inside, and it is not the work of a person who can view the prospect of human extinction with scholarly detachment. —
    Paul S. Boyer from the introduction to “By the Bomb’s Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age” (1985)

    “By Paul S. Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum

  • If the large concepts with which historians conventionally deal are to have any meaning, it is only as they can be made manifest in individual cases like these. The problems which confronted Salem Village in fact encompassed some of the central issues of New England society in the late seventeenth century: the resistance of back-country farmers to the pressures of commercial capitalism and the social style that accompanied it; the breaking away of outlying areas from parent towns; difficulties between ministers and their congregations; the crowding of third- generation sons from family lands; the shifting locus of authority within individual communities and society as a whole; the very quality of life in an unsettled age. But for men like Samuel Parris and Thomas Putnam, Jr., these issues where not abstractions. They emerged as upsetting personal encounters with people like Israel Porter and Daniel Andrew, and as unfavorable decisions handed down in places like Boston and Salem Town. JPG It was in 1692 that these men for the first time attempted (just as we are attempting in this book) to piece together the shards of their experience, to shape their malaise into some broader theoretical pattern, and to comprehend the full dimensions of thoses forces which they vaguely sensed were shaping their private destinies. Oddly enough, it has been through our sense of “collaborating” with Parris and the Putnams in their effort to delineate the larger contours of their world, and our sympathy, at least on the level of metaphor, with certain of their perceptions, that we have come to feel a curious bond with the “witch hunters” of 1692.But one advantage we as outsiders have had over the people off Salem Village is that we can afford to recognize the degree to which the menace they were fighting off had taken root within each of them almost as deeply as it had in Salem Town or along the Ipswich Road. It is at this level, indeed, that we have most clearly come to recognize the implications of their travail for our understanding of what might be called the Puritan temper during the final, often intense, and occasionally lurid efflorescence which signaled the end of its century-long history. For Samuel Parrish and Thomas Putnam, Jr., were part of a vast company, on both sides of the Atlantic, who were trying to expunge the lure of the new order from their own souls by doing battle with it in the real world. While this company of Puritans were not purveyors of the spirit of capitalism that historians once made them out to be, neither were they simple peasants clinging blindly to the imagined security of a receding medieval culture. What seems above all to characterize them, and even help define their identity as “Puritans” is the precarious way in which they managed to inhabit both these worlds at once.The inner tensions that shaped the Puritan temper were inherent in it from the very start, but rarely did they emerge with such raw force as in 1692, in little Salem Village. For here was a community in which these tensions were exacerbated by a tangle of external circumstances: a community so situated geographically that its inhabitants experienced two different economic systems, two different ways of life, at unavoidably close range; and so structured politically that it was next to impossible to locate, either within the Village or outside it, a dependable and unambiguous center of authority which might hold in check the effects of these accidents of geography.

    The spark which finally set off this volatile mix came with the unlikely convergence of a set of chance factors in the early 1690’s: the arrival of a new minister who brought with him a slave acquainted with West Indian voodoo lore; the heightened interest throughout New England in fortune telling and the occult, taken up in Salem Village by an intense group of adolescent girls related by blood and faction to the master of that slave; the coming of age Joseph Putnam, who bore the name of one of Salem Village’s two controlling families while owing his allegiance to the other; the political and legal developments in Boston and London which hamstrung provincial authorities for several crucial months in 1692.

    But beyond these proximate causes lie the deeper and more inexorable ones we have already discussed. For in the witchcraft outburst in Salem Village, perhaps the most exceptional event in American colonial history, certainly the most bizarre, one finds laid bare the central concerns of the era.
    Paul S. Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum in “Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft”

    About Paul Samuel Boyer

  • Salem Possessed is a provocative book. Drawing upon an impressive range of unpublished local sources, Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum provide a challenging new interpretation of the outbreak of witchcraft in Salem Village. The authors argue that previous historians erroneously divorced the tragic events of 1692 from the long-term development of the village and therefore failed to realize that the witch trials were simply one particularly violent chapter in a series of local controversies dating back to the 1660s. In their reconstruction of the socio-economic conditions that contributed to the intense factionalism in Salem Village, Boyer and Nissenbaum have made a major contribution to the social history of colonial New England….
    Boyer and Nissenbaum have provided us with a first-rate discussion of factionalism in a seventeenth-century New England community. Their handling of economic, familial, and spatial relationships within Salem Village is both sophisticated and imaginative. But the dynamics of witchcraft, not only in Salem Village but also in other Massachusetts towns affected by the outbreak of 1692, still remain a mystery. — T. H. Breen, Northwestern University in “The William and Mary Quarterly,” reviewing “Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft”
  • Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum have made great contributions to our better understanding of the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692. Their first book, Salem Village Witchcraft: A Documentary Record of Local Conflict in Colonial New England (1972). brought together diverse materials dealing with the outbreak of witchcraft and the trials; Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft (1974). was an attempt to place the events of 1692 within the larger context of Salem’s social, economic, and political history. This study relied primarily upon community records and family documents, including wills, deeds, and inventories. The Salem Witchcraft Papers is the most recent and most valuable product of Boyer’s and Nissenbaum’s collaborative research in this important episode of New England history….
    The Salem Witchcraft Papers is an important addition to the growing body of primary and secondary material dealing with the Salem witchcraft scare. Boyer and Nissenbaum have done a great service to all students of early New England history by publishing an important collection that has lain dormant for more than forty years. The ultimate value of the work, however, will be its use as a source book by future historians who seek a better understanding of the Salem witchcraft episode. — Paula A. Treckel in “The New England Quarterly” reviewing “The Salem Witchcraft Papers: Verbatim Transcripts of the Legal Documents of the Salem Witchcraft Outbreak of 1692”
  • “that witchcraft charges . . . were brought principally by members and friends of the tribe with cause for envy, and directed principally against minor members or peripheral connections of the enviable group…. the recent history and practical circumstances which permitted such action are explored, and the whole approach to the Salem disaster is canny, rewarding, and sure to fascinate readers interested in that aberrant affair.” — Phoebe Adams in “Atlantic” reviewing “Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft”
  • “offers an illuminating and imaginative interpretation . . . of the social and moral state of Salem Village in 1692 . . . . It has the extra recommendation of telling a gripping story which builds up to a horrifying climax.” — Keith Thomas in the “New York Review of Books” reviewing “Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft”
  • “The authors have produced an explanatory scheme which accounts fully for the events of 1692, renders them significant in a much wider context of social and economic change, and yet allows room for the operation of personalities and accidental influences. . . . Salem Possessed reinterprets a world-famous episode so completely and convincingly that virtually all the previous treatment can be consigned to the historical lumberroom.” — Robin Briggs in “Times Literary Supplement” reviewing “Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft”
  • “In their book “Salem Possessed, The Social Origins of Witchcraft,” Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum present convincing evidence that Salem village, the backwoods adjunct to Salem town in which the accusers lived, was ridden with fear and hatred of the social changes being wrought by mercantile capitalism in the town and especially in Boston. At first, three social outcasts were accused; then some people in the eastern part of the village nearest to and most involved in the new commercialism. Then more and more prominent merchants and politicians were accused in the town, in Boston and eventually in all of Massachusetts. The authors show that on a number of occasions young girls in other Massachusetts communities had bouts of hysteria and that adults turned the affair into religious revivals. Only in Salem, where the adults were themselves paranoiac about the new commercialism, was adolescent hysteria turned – by adults – into a witch hunt, in which the “witches” were, by no accident, prominent “mercantile capitalists.” — ROGER HILSMAN in the New York Times on “Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft”
  • “Paul Boyer, a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, describes all this with care and nuance and includes much that is less well known: appeals for world government; religious protests; dreams of atomic-powered technology; visions of Utopia and its opposite; advice from the professions; literary, cinematic and musical commentary. The sheer volume of the material is astounding. In this five-year period, education journals alone ran 260 articles relating to the bomb. The problem, Mr. Boyer writes, was “deciding when to turn off the tap”….. As careful as he is with the evidence, Mr. Boyer is clear about where he stands. He tells of his own pacifist origins and readily confesses his inability to follow Henry Adams’s dictum that to the honest historian “even the extinction of the human race should merely be a fact to be grouped with other vital statistics.” His depth of concern comes through in sharp prose….
    A wide-ranging historian who has written important studies of both the Salem witch trials (with Stephen Nissenbaum) and 19th-century urban reform, Mr. Boyer has closely studied the responses earlier Americans made to perceived threats to their well-being. And he does not omit pointing out “how the early discussions of the bomb’s implications often moved in well-worn grooves.” Among these grooves was the fear of concentrations of power (Who will control atomic energy?), worry about mass leisure (What will the masses do when the atom does all the work?), hostility to the city (Ruralization is the answer to atomic threats) and warnings of apocalypse (Repent before the fire consumes us all)….
    In an epilogue, Mr. Boyer brings the story up to date. When the fallout from atmospheric nuclear testing became apparent in the mid-1950’s, it brought about a new round of public concern. This faded away in the wake of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and the 1963 test-ban treaty only to reappear in recent years in the form of hostility to nuclear power, and distress at the Reagan Administration’s lack of enthusiasm for arms control. The current nuclear debate, Mr. Boyer writes, afflicts him with a “sense of deja vu.” Virtually “every theme and image by which we express our nuclear fear today has its counterpart in the immediate post-Hiroshima period,” he writes. It is a depressing thought, for why should what proved ineffectual before not prove ineffectual again? But perhaps the old themes and images are the best we can summon. They may not succeed in removing the threat of nuclear war, but at least they tell us something about who we are. — New York Times Review of “By the Bomb’s Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age”
  • “If you believed you knew the essentials about the dawn of the atomic age, this book will change your mind. Based on an impressive number of contemporary sources – including newspaper articles, cartoons, press ads, poems, pictures, letters and opinion polls -Boyer outlines the bomb’s sociological and cultural impact on American society from 1945 to the early fifties. Indeed, some strange and surprising connections are revealed, as between the Bikini tests and Hollywood-star Rita Hayworth. His main accomplishment, though, is to show the mixed cultural heritage of the Hiroshima/ Nagasaki incidents; how they created both hopes and fears, self confidence and anger, cynicism and guilt. His account of the Atomic Scientists’ Movement is skilled and well balanced, as is his unpassionate discourse on the continuing cycles of anti-nuclear activism and apathy. In short, By the Bomb’s Early Light shows the art of socio-intellectual history from its most perceptive and powerful side.” — Olav Njølstad in “Journal of Peace Research”, reviewing “By the Bomb’s Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age”
  • Of the many books inspired by the 40-year anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, this certainly is one of the best. Boyer, an adept cultural historian, unravels the diverse reactions to the advent of the nuclear era between 1945 and 1950. The enormity of what had occurred caused disorientation among intellectuals and the general public alike. Basic beliefs wavered, contradictions emerged, and attitudes changed in a short period of time. Boyer traces scientific, literary, philosophical, and religious implications of the new weapon, revealing his own wit and commitment as well as historical skill. His neglect of the emergence of Abstract Expressionism as a major cultural response to the bomb stands as one of the few shortcomings in this fine, readable book. Highly recommended — Charles K. Piehl, Director of Grants Management, Mankato State Univ., Minn. in Library Journal reviewing “By the Bomb’s Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age”
  • “In this thoroughly documented and richly illustrated study Boyer has traced the confusions, the ironies and the sometimes humorous and sometimes tragic effects of American efforts to cope with the question of what is permissible and what is taboo in the public morality and in the printed word. Beginning with a brief but penetrating discussion of the state of these matters at the present time, Boyer goes back to the early 1800s and traces the problem and its self-appointed solvers up to the 1930s. Anthony Comstock and John S. Sumner are given full treatment, as are such defenders of a liberal and enlightened attitude as Mencken and Morris Ernst. Boyer makes frequent mention of the psychological factors which motivated the “purifyers” but his approach is principally historical and sociological. Although there have been many other books and articles written on this basic aspect of American culture, this is certainly the definitive study of the subject.” — GEORGE K. SMART, University of Miami reviewing “Purity in Print: The Vice Society Movement and Book Censorship in America” in “American Quarterly,”
  • “It is less this solid but conventional framework which insures Boyer’s study its excellence than the fair mindedness that allows Boyer on every page to rectify old errors, add new insights, and back or qualify recent scholarly conclusions. He makes his reader look in unexpected places for causes and effects, and always to good purpose Deftly disposing of the tired cliches about devious clerical power-plays masked as evangelical reform, he sympathetically charts the demise of active religious and ecclesiastical influence in the city, he shows, nonetheless, its legacy of moral enthusiasm to be the central one in urban reform until the 1920s…. While discovering and sorting the facts of the urban reform movement, Boyer is alert to the language and psychology of the reformers. Again and again, he documents what he perceptively calls “the familiar urban moral control cycle, from initial enthusiasm to baffled discouragement ” This is a book which all serious students of the American city and of the nineteenth century will want to read and keep for perusal and reference. — Ann Douglas, Columbia University in “The Journal of American History” reviewing “Urban Masses and Moral Order in America, 1820-1920”

Basic Facts

Teaching Positions:

University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Asst. Prof. to Professor of History, 1967-1980; department chair, 1978-80
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Professor of History, 1980-85; Merle Curti Professor of History, 1985-2002; Emeritus, 2002 –

Paul S Boyer JPGConcurrent Position at the University of Wisconsin: Senior Member, Institute for Research in the Humanities, 1989-2002; Director, 1993-2001.

Visiting Appointments:
University of California-Los Angeles, Visiting Professor of History, 1987-1988;
Northwestern University, Henry Luce Visiting Professor of American Culture, 1988-1989;
State University of New York-Plattsburgh, September 1992, Distinguished Visiting Professor Northwestern University, Visiting Professor, Fall 1995;
College of William and Mary, James Pinckney Harrison Professor of History, 2002-03;

Other positions included Coordination Committee for International Voluntary Work Camps, UNESCO, Paris. Staff member, 1955-1957;
Notable American Women, Harvard University, Assistant Editor, 1964-1967;

Area of Research:

American cultural and intellectual history; American religious history; Prophetic and apocalyptic belief in America; Censorship and First Amendment Issues; nuclear weapons in American culture, Salem witchcraft.


Harvard University, A.B. (magna cum laude), 1960, M.A., 1961, Ph.D., 1966.

Major Publications:

  • Purity in Print: The Vice-Society Movement and Book Censorship in America, Scribner (New York City), 1968.
  • (With Stephen Nissenbaum) Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1974, Italian edition includes introduction by Carlo Ginzburg, published as La Citta Indemoniate, Einaudi (Turino), 1986, published as Salem Possessed, MJF (New York City), 1997.
  • Urban Masses and Moral Order in America, 1820-1920, Harvard University Press, 1978, reprinted, 1992.
  • (With others) Women in American Religion, edited by Janet Wilson, University of Pennsylvania Press (Philadelphia), 1978.
  • By the Bomb’s Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age, Pantheon (New York City), 1985, second edition, contains a new preface by Boyer, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill), 1994.
  • Mission on Taylor Street: The Founding and Early Years of the Dayton Brethren in Christ Mission, Brethren in Christ Historical Society (Grantham, PA), 1987.
  • (Coauthor) The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People, Volume 1: To 1877, Volume 2: From 1865, Heath (Lexington), 1989, second edition, 1993, interactive CD-ROM editions, developed by Bryten, 1993 and 1996, third edition, 1996, essentials edition, includes text and CD-ROM, Houghton Mifflin (Boston), 1999, fourth edition, Houghton Mifflin, 1999, chapters 22-33 of third edition also published separately as The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People, 1890s to the Present, Heath, 1996.
  • When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture, Harvard University Press, 1992.
  • Promises to Keep: The United States since 1945 (textbook), Heath, 1994, second edition, Houghton Mifflin, 1999.
  • Todd and Curti’s American Nation (textbook), Holt (Austin), 1994, annotated teacher’s edition published as Boyer’s American Nation, 1998.
  • (With Sterling Stuckey) The American Nation in the Twentieth Century (textbook), Holt, 1995, annotated teacher’s edition, 1996.
  • Fallout: A Historian Reflects on America’s Half Century Encounter with Nuclear Weapons (collection of previously published writings), Ohio State University Press (Columbus), 1998.

Byer’s upcoming projects include an article on nuclear themes in the work of the poets and writers of the Beat Movement, with Professor William Lawlor, and revisions of college and high-school American history textbooks (ongoing).

Editor, Contributor, Joint Author:

  • (Assistant editor, with Edward T. James and Janet W. James) Notable American Women: 1607-1950, three volumes, Harvard University Press, 1971.
  • (With Nissenbaum; and author of introduction and index, with Nissenbaum) The Salem Witchcraft Papers: Verbatim Transcripts of the Legal Documents of the Salem Witchcraft Outbreak of 1692, compiled and transcribed in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration, under the supervision of Archie N. Frost, Da Capo (New York City), 1977.
  • (With Nissenbaum; and author of introduction, with Nissenbaum) Salem Village Witchcraft: A Documentary Record of Local Conflict in Colonial New England, Wadsworth (Belmont, CA), 1972, reprinted with new preface by Boyer and Nissenbaum, Northeastern University Press (Boston), 1993.
  • (Editor and author of commentary) Reagan as President: Contemporary Views of the Man, His Politics, and His Policies, Ivan R. Dee (Chicago), 1990.
  • (Editor-in-chief) Oxford Companion to United States History, Oxford University Press, 2001.

Also, general editor of the “History of American Thought and Culture” series, University of Wisconsin Press, 1984-94.

Contributor to reference works and collaborative projects, among them Encyclopedia of American History, essay on Bernard Baruch, Frank Kellogg, and Henry Stimpson, Dushkin, 1974; Notable American Women, Supplement 1: The Modern Era, essay on Dorothy Thompson and Blanche Knopf, Harvard University Press, 1980; Encyclopedia Americana, essays on Carrie Chapman Catt, Henry Blackwell, and Antoinette Blackwell; Dictionary of American Biography, Scribner’s, Supplement III, essays on John Macrae and John Woolsey, 1973, Supplement IV, essays on Frank Buck, Frank Crowninshield, Paul Harris, James McGraw, Barney Oldfield, Charles M. Sheldon, Harry Thaw, and Charles Towne, 1974, Supplement IV, essay on Franklin D’Olier, 1977, and Supplement VI, essay on Duncan Hines, 1980; Dictionary of American History, Scribner’s, 1976; Encyclopedia of American Political History, Volume 1, edited by Jack P. Greene, Scribner’s, 1984; Encyclopedia of American Social History, Volume 1, edited by Mary R. Cayton, Elliott J. Gorn, and Peter W. Williams, Scribner’s, 1993; A Companion to American Thought, edited by Richard W. Fox and James T. Kloppenberg, Blackwell (Cambridge, MA), 1995; History of the United States, Volume 5, edited by Donald T. Critchlow and Andrzej Bartnicki, Polish Academic Press (Warsaw), 1996; Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism, Volume 3, edited by Stephen J. Stein, Continuum (New York City), 1997; A History of the Book in America, Volume 4, edited by Carl Kaestle and Janice Radway, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming; as well as World Book Encyclopedia, American National Biography, and Oxford Companion to American Military History.

Contributor of numerous chapters in coauthored works, scholarly articles, book reviews, and review essays to periodicals, among them American Historical Review, American Quarterly, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Diplomatic History, Historian, History Teacher, Houston Review, Journal of American History, Journal of the American Medical Association, New Republic, Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Research in History, Reviews in American History, Virginia Quarterly Review, and William and Mary Quarterly. Also contributor of essays and commentary to periodicals, including Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Chronicle of Higher Education, Cleveland Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine, Harvard Divinity School Bulletin, Messenger Magazine, Nation, New Republic, New York Times Newsday Books, Policy Review, Tikkun, Washington Post Magazine, and Wisconsin Academy Review.


National Book Award nomination in History, 1975 (for Salem Possessed);
John Dunning Prize, American Historical Association, 1974 (for Salem Possessed);
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, 1973-74;
Distinguished Alumnus Award, Messiah College, 1979;
Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellowship, 1982-83;
American Antiquarian Society, Elected to membership, 1984;
Society of American Historians, Elected to membership, 1990;
Wisconsin Institute for Study of War, Peace and Global Cooperation, Faculty Award, 1992;
Banta Award for literary achievement by a Wisconsin author, Wisconsin Library Assn., 1993 (for When Time Shall Be No More);
“Notable Wisconsin Author” Award, Wisconsin Library Association, 1999;
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Elected to membership, 1997;
Massachusetts Historical Society, Elected to membership, 1997;
Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Humanities Scholarship, Wisconsin, 2003;
Listed in Contemporary Authors, Who’s Who in American Education.

Additional Info:

Boyer has made numerous television appearances on nationally broadcast programs including: “The Menace of Nuclear Weapons,” History Channel “20th Century with Mike Wallace”
“Apocalypse,” PBS “Frontline” program, Nov. 22, 1999;
“Monkey Trial” [The 1925 Scopes Trial], PBS, “The American Experience” series, February 2002;
“Revelation,” Discovery Channel, Jan. 7, 2004; BBC-TV, Apr. 25, 2004;
“Witch Hunt” [Salem witchcraft], History Channel, September 31, 2004;
“Countdown to Armageddon,” History Channel, December 26, 2004;
“Antichrist,” History Channel, Dec. 26, 2005;
“The Rapture,” Discovery Times Channel, Jan. 31, 2006 and rebroadcasts;
“Secrets of Revelation: National Geographic Channel, July 16, 2006 and rebroadcasts;
“The Doomsday Code,” Channel 4 (Great Britain). Sept. 16, 2006;
“U.S. Strategic Nuclear Policy: An Oral History” (4 DVD set, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM, 2005). He has also had national radio interviews on : PBS, CBC, BBC, etc.; and numerous interviews on various topics on local radio stations and TV channels; Wisconsin Public Radio; Wisconsin Public Television.

Posted on Sunday, September 2, 2007 at 2:54 PM

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