History Buzz: July 2008

History Buzz

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

July 28, 2008

CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

BIGGEST STORIES:

BIGGEST STORIES:

  • Kevin Sharpe: Graduation: But degrees are no longer a sign of intelligence, says a top historian – 7-23-08
HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

    On This Day in History….

  • 06-28-1836 – The fourth president of the United States, James Madison, died at Montpelier, his Virginia estate.
  • 06-28-1894 – Labor Day became a federal holiday by an act of Congress.
  • 06-28-1914 – Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and his wife were assassinated, setting off World War I.
  • 06-28-1919 – The Treaty of Versailles was signed in France, ending World War I.
  • 06-28-1978 – The Supreme Court ruled in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke that the use of quotas in affirmative action programs was not permissible.
  • 06-28-2000 – Elian Gonzalez was returned to his father in Cuba.
  • 06-28-2001 – Serbia handed over Slobodan Milosevic over to the UN war crimes tribunal.
  • 06-28-2004 – In Iraq, the United States transferred power back to the Iraqis two days earlier than planned.
  • 06-29-1613 – London’s Globe Theatre burned down during a performance of Shakespeare’s Henry VIII.
  • 06-29-1767 – The British Parliament approved the Townshend Acts.
  • 06-29-1972 – The Supreme Court ruled in Furman v. Georgia that the death penalty could constitute “cruel and unusual” prompting some states to revise their laws.
  • 06-30-1921 – President Warren G. Harding appointed former president William H. Taft chief justice of the United States.
  • 06-30-1934 – Adolf Hitler secured his position in the Nazi party by a “blood purge,” ridding the party of other leaders such as Ernst Roehm and Kurt von Schleicher.
  • 06-30-1936 – Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind was published.
  • 06-30-1971 – The 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18, was ratified by the states.
  • 06-30-1998 – The remains of a Vietnam War serviceman buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers were identified as those of Air Force pilot Michael J. Blassie.
  • 07-01-1863 – The Battle of Gettysburg, which marked the turning point in the Civil War, began.
  • 07-01-1867 – Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain under the British North America Act.
  • 07-01-1898 – Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders fought the battle of San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War.
  • 07-01-1943 – Income tax withholding began in the United States.
  • 07-01-1962 – Burundi and Rwanda achieved independence.
  • 07-01-1963 – The U.S. Post Office inaugurated its five-digit ZIP (Zone Improvement Plan) codes.
  • 07-01-1968 – The United States, Britain, the Soviet Union, and 58 other nations signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
  • 07-01-1997 – After 156 years of British colonial rule, Hong Kong was returned to China.
  • 07-01-2000 – Vermont’s civil unions law went into effect.
  • 07-01-2000 – The Confederate flag was removed from the South Carolina statehouse.
IN THE NEWS:

IN THE NEWS:

  • Dannel McCollum: Where have timbered areas crucial in state’s settlement gone? – Urbana/Champaign News-Gazette, IL, 7-27-08
  • Will the truth about the Katyn genocide ever fully see the light of day? Historians and prosecutors of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance could not find authorized copies of Stalin’s order for the mass murder of twenty two thousand Poles, necessary for their investigation of the massacre – Polish Radio External Service, Poland, 7-24-08
  • HISTORY: Professor Halaçoglu, who was seen as a hardliner on the Armenian issue, is removed from his post – Turkish Daily News, 7-24-08
  • Leslie Woodcock Tentler: “Dishonesty at Heart of System” Keeps Catholic Church “Pretending” on Birth Control, CUA Prof Says Catholic society says Catholic University prof undermining Catholic Church’s “message of sexual purity – Lifesite, PA, 7-16-08
REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

OP-EDs:

OP-EDs:

BLOGS:

BLOGS:

PROFILED:

PROFILED:

  • Are historians live David Cannadine and Andrew Roberts an endangered species? Literate, engaging and free from constraint, British historians are the best in the world – Times Online, UK, 7-26-08
  • Max Holland: Author: Oswald was lone assassin – Profiled in the WaPo as a writer obsessed with JFK assassination – WaPo, 7-24-08
INTERVIEWS:

INTERVIEWS:

FEATURES:

FEATURES:

QUOTED:

QUOTED:

  • J. Rogers Hollingsworth: UW-Madison historian predicts the end of science ‘superpowers’ – http://www.news.wisc.edu, 7-23-08
  • Andreas Daum: Berlin an Appropriate Stage for Obama Speech Says Historian – “A spectacle is guaranteed on Thursday when Obama gives his speech, but the more serious question is: How will the United States define its relationship to a Europe that has dramatically changed since the days of the Cold War…. For Obama, I think Berlin is a reference to old Europe, and giving a speech in Berlin is a way to tell Europeans that he’s interested in developing a unified approach to global challenges, such as terrorism and global warming, that affect us all…. And now Obama gets his turn on this stage, yet in a very different Germany, 19 years after the Wall came down. – http://www.newswise.com, 7-23-08
HONORED / AWARDED / APPOINTED:

HONORED, AWARDED, APPOINTED:

EXHIBITS / WEBSITES:

EXHIBITS / WEBSITES:

SPOTTED:

SPOTTED:

CALENDAR:

CALENDAR:

  • May-September 2008: Elizabeth Brand Monroe, Deborah A. Lee, Lectures Showcase Leesburg’s History for 250th Anniversary – WaPo, 1-18-08
ON TV:

    ON TV: History Listings This Week

  • Ken Burns: PBS to air his national parks series next year – AP, 7-13-08
  • C-Span2, BookTV: Politics The Leaders We Deserved (And a Few We Didn’t): Rethinking the Presidential Rating Game Author: Alvin Felzenberg – Monday, July 28 @ 5:45am ET – C-Span2, BookTV
  • PBS: History Ditectives, PBS – Monday, July 28, 2008 @ 9pm ET
  • History Channel: “The Lost Pyramid,” Monday, July 28, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Lost Worlds: The Real Dracula,” Monday, July 28, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “History’s Mysteries: Japan’s Mysterious Pyramids,” Monday, July 28, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Prehistoric Monsters Revealed,” Monday, July 28, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “History’s Mysteries: Ancient Monster Hunters,” Monday, July 28, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “How Life Began,” Tuesday, July 29, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “How the Earth Was Made,” Tuesday, July 29, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Jurassic Fight Club: Cannibal Dinosaur,” Tuesday, July 29, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mega Disasters: Noah’s Great Flood,” Tuesday, July 29, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Alaska: Dangerous Territory,” Wednesday, July 30, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Tougher In Alaska: Gold Mining,” Wednesday, July 30, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Kennedys: The Curse of Power,” Thursday, July 31, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Snipers: One Shot–One Kill,” Thursday, July 31, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mysterious Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa,” Thursday, July 31, @ 5pm ET/PT
SELLING BIG (NYT):

SELLING BIG (NYT):

  • David Maraniss: ROME 1960 #13 — (3 weeks on list) – 8-3-08
FUTURE RELEASES:

FUTURE RELEASES:

  • Jonathan Harris: The Split in Stalin’s Secretariat, 1939-1948, July 28, 2008
  • Noah Andre Trudeau: Southern Storm: Sherman’s March to the Sea, August 5, 2008
  • Lorri Glover: The Shipwreck That Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America, August 5, 2008
  • Fred E. Haynes: The Lions of Iwo Jima: The Story of Combat Team 28 and the Bloodiest Battle in Marine Corps History, August 5, 2008
  • Patrick Desbois: The Holocaust by Bullets, August 19, 2008
  • Robert Dallek: Harry S. Truman (REV), September 2, 2008
  • Mary C. Henderson: The Story of 42nd Street: The Theatres, Shows, Characters, and Scandals of the World’s Most Notorious Street (First Edition), September 2, 2008
  • Paul Douglas Lockhart: The Drillmaster of Valley Forge: The Baron de Steuben and the Making of the American Army, September 9, 2008
  • Jeffry D. Wert: Cavalryman of the Lost Cause: A Biography of J. E. B. Stuart, September 23, 2008
  • Harold Holzer: Lincoln: President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Winter of Secession, 1860-1861, October 7, 2008
  • David Hackett Fischer: Champlain’s Dream, October 14, 2008
  • Carlo D’Este: Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill at War, 1874-1945, November 11, 2008
DEPARTED:

DEPARTED:

Posted on Monday, July 28, 2008 at 12:39 AM

July 21, 2008

CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

BIGGEST STORIES:

BIGGEST STORIES: American Voters

HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

    On This Day in History….

  • 07-21-1861 – Confederate forces won victory at Bull Run in the first major battle of the Civil War.
  • 07-21-1873 – The first train robbery west of the Mississippi was pulled off by Jesse James and his gang.
  • 07-21-1925 – In the “Monkey Trial,” John T. Scopes was found guilty of violating Tennessee state law by teaching evolution.
  • 07-21-1949 – The U.S. Senate ratified the North Atlantic Treaty.
  • 07-21-1970 – The Aswan High Dam was opened in Egypt.
  • 07-21-1998 – Astronaut Alan Shepard died.
  • 07-21-2002 – WorldCom filed for bankruptcy, the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.
  • 07-22-1796 – Cleveland, Ohio, was founded by Gen. Moses Cleaveland.
  • 07-22-1933 – Wiley Post became the first person to fly solo around the world.
  • 07-22-1934 – John Dillinger was shot to death outside Chicago’s Biograph Theater.
  • 07-22-1937 – Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “court packing” scheme was rejected by the U.S. Senate.
  • 07-22-1975 – Congress restored Confederate general Robert E. Lee’s U.S. citizenship.
  • 07-22-2003 – Saddam Hussein’s sons, Uday and Ousay, were killed in a firefight.
  • 07-23-1829 – William Burt patented a forerunner of the typewriter.
  • 07-23-1885 – Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president of the United States, died at Mount McGregor, N.Y., at age 63.
  • 07-23-1914 – Austria and Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, precipitating World War I.
  • 07-23-1945 – Vichy government leader Marshal Henri Petain went on trial for treason.
  • 07-23-1952 – Revolution erupted in Egypt as the military took power in a bloodless coup. The following year the monarchy was abolished and, for the first time since the pharaohs, Egypt was again ruled by Egyptians.
  • 07-24-1847 – Brigham Young and the first members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) arrived at the Great Salt Lake.
  • 07-24-1862 – Martin Van Buren, the eighth president of the United States, died in Kinderhook, N.Y.
  • 07-24-1866 – Tennessee became the first Confederate state to be readmitted to the Union.
  • 07-24-1937 – Charges against five black men accused of raping two white women in the Scottsboro case were dropped.
  • 07-24-1974 – The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Richard Nixon had to turn over White House tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor.
  • 07-25-1946 – The United States tested the first underwater atomic bomb at Bikini Atoll.
  • 07-25-1952 – Puerto Rico became a commonwealth of the United States.
  • 07-25-1978 – The world’s first test-tube baby, Louise Joy Brown, was born in Lancashire, England.
  • 07-25-1984 – Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space.
  • 07-26-1788 – New York became the 11th state in the United States.
  • 07-26-1847 – Liberia became Africa’s first republic.
  • 07-26-1908 – The Office of the Chief Examiner, which in 1935 became the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was created.
  • 07-26-1947 – President Harry S Truman signed the National Security Act, creating the Department of Defense, the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • 07-26-1952 – Argentina’s first lady, Eva Peron, died in Buenos Aires at age 33.
  • 07-26-1952 – King Farouk I of Egypt abdicated after a coup led by Gamal Abdal Nasser.
  • 07-26-1953 – Fidel Castro was among a group of rebelling anti-Batistas who unsuccessfully attacked an army barracks.
  • 07-27-1861 – Union general George B. McClellan was put in command of the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War.
  • 07-27-1953 – An armistice was signed ending the Korean War.
  • 07-27-1974 – The House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach Richard Nixon for obstructing justice in the Watergate case.
  • 07-27-1995 – The Korean War Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC.
  • 07-27-1996 – A pipe bomb exploded in an Atlanta park during the Olympic Games.
IN THE NEWS:

IN THE NEWS:

REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

  • A Life In …Books: Niall Ferguson (video) – Newsweek, 7-28-08
  • Tony Judt: Flames of passion Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth CenturyJPost, 7-17-08
  • Unfriendly Fire Historian Lorenz M. Luthi explores the causes and consequences of the crisis in Sino-Soviet relations – Moscow Times, 7-18-08
  • Leonard S. Marcus: Children’s-book historian writes history of children’s books – Scripps Howard News Service, 7-16-08
OP-EDs:

OP-EDs:

PROFILED:

PROFILED:

  • Keeping his work alive When UNLV history professor Hal Rothman died at age 48, he had five research projects in the works. Now his former students and others are finishing them – Las Vegas Sun, 7-4-08
INTERVIEWS:

INTERVIEWS:

FEATURES:

FEATURES:

  • A new chapter for a legacy, Sweet Briar plantation, Amherst, MA – The News and Advance, VA, 7-19-08
  • Historicist: An English Estate in the Heart of the City – Torontoist, 7-19-08
  • Monstrous monarchs Are there too many awful rulers to pick the worst? With the pressure of ruling and the stress of succession, perhaps it is no wonder that so many of Britain’s kings and queens have made a mess of their reign – BBC, 7-18-08
  • Myths of the missile crisis The Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 is the best documented case study of decision-making by a United States president at a time of grave international peril – BBC, 7-7-08
QUOTED:

QUOTED:

  • Henry Y on “Racism of 100 years ago still has an effect”: “When we think of 1908, it’s that moment when a world that was already being created and formed was cut off. Could the world we live in right now, the Vancouver we live in now, could that have been achieved much earlier? One answer to what the world would have been like might be well the world we live in today, except much earlier.” – Georgia Straight, Canada, 7-18-08
  • Tom Segev, Israeli historian and a columnist for Haaretz writes, that when Obama arrives in Israel, he’ll find Israelis are as eager for change as his supporters at home. And that most Israelis “feel deeply dependent on America and will not risk major policy differences with the United States. That means Obama may find them open to a new, more rational approach to the Middle East conflicts.” – Newsweek, 7-28-08
  • Timothy Garton Ash, a professor of European studies at Oxford University, writes that the good news from Britain is that they’re all Obamamaniacs now. But enthusiasm for Obama is “equaled by skepticism about his country. That means there’s a lot of ground for him to make up.” – Newsweek, 7-28-08
  • Richard Norton Smith “Historian points to Ford Administration complexities”: “We’re in the very early stages of forming historical impressions about Ford and the Ford presidency. It’s the perfect time to ask questions about alternative ways of thinking about this president. The danger is the Ford presidency may be defined by his first month. It was not a coda to the Nixon White House, but a curtain raiser to subsequent events…. I want to call into question some of the assumptions about Gerald Ford. It’s about time we see him as a historical figure who somehow transcends a particular period. This is not a guy who should be walled off with Pet Rocks and leisure suits…. He’s relevant to the current campaign, and he’s relevant to the question of what kind of president do you want?… Jerry Ford was an Eagle Scout. In some ways, that’s all you need to know.” But he also was a shrewd political operative who knew how to get things done and could be calculating and manipulative when necessary. Gerald Ford deserves to be seen as more than the man who pardoned Richard Nixon, more than the man who healed the country,” Smith said. Nothing would do Gerald Ford a greater disservice than to make him into something he wasn’t or rob him of his humanity. He deserves more than that….” – Grand Rapids Press, 7-12-08
HONORED / AWARDED / APPOINTED:

HONORED, AWARDED, APPOINTED:

EXHIBITS / WEBSITES:

EXHIBITS / WEBSITES:

SPOTTED:

SPOTTED:

CALENDAR:

CALENDAR:

  • May-September 2008: Elizabeth Brand Monroe, Deborah A. Lee, Lectures Showcase Leesburg’s History for 250th Anniversary – WaPo, 1-18-08
ON TV:

    ON TV: History Listings This Week

  • Ken Burns: PBS to air his national parks series next year – AP, 7-13-08
  • PBS: History Ditectives, PBS – Monday, July 21, 2008 @ 9pm ET
  • History Channel: “Tougher In Alaska: Gold Mining,” Sunday, July 20, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Biblical Disasters,” Monday, July 21, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Decoding The Past: Mayan Doomsday Prophecy,” Monday, July 21, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mysteries of the Garden of Eden,” Monday, July 21, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Modern Marvels: 90’s Tech,” Monday, July 21, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Batman Tech,” Monday, July 21, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark Knight,” Monday, July 21, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Real Tomb Hunters: Snakes, Curses, and Booby Traps,” Tuesday, July 22, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld: Underground Apocalypse ,” Tuesday, July 22, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld: Hitler’s Last Secret,” Tuesday, July 22, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Ancient Discoveries: Ancient New York,” Tuesday, July 22, @ 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Ancient Discoveries: Ships,” Tuesday, July 22, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mega Disasters: Atlantis Apocalypse,” Tuesday, July 22, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “History of the Joke,” Wednesday, July 23, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed,” Wednesday, July 23, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Modern Marvels: 70’s,” Wednesday, July 23, @ 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark Knight,” Wednesday, July 23, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Lost Book of Nostradamus,” Thursday, July 24, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mega Disasters: Noah’s Great Flood,” Thursday, July 24, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Quest for Dragons,” Saturday, July 26, @ 5pm ET/PT
SELLING BIG (NYT):

SELLING BIG (NYT):

  • David Maraniss: ROME 1960 #14 — (2 weeks on list) – 7-27-08
  • Patrick J. Buchanan: CHURCHILL, HITLER, AND “THE UNNECESSARY WAR,” #30 – 7-27-08
FUTURE RELEASES:

FUTURE RELEASES:

  • Trevor Royle: Lancaster Against York: The Wars of the Roses and the Foundation of Modern Britain, July 22, 2008
  • Jonathan Harris: The Split in Stalin’s Secretariat, 1939-1948, July 28, 2008
  • Noah Andre Trudeau: Southern Storm: Sherman’s March to the Sea, August 5, 2008
  • Lorri Glover: The Shipwreck That Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America, August 5, 2008
  • Fred E. Haynes: The Lions of Iwo Jima: The Story of Combat Team 28 and the Bloodiest Battle in Marine Corps History, August 5, 2008
  • Patrick Desbois: The Holocaust by Bullets, August 19, 2008
  • Robert Dallek: Harry S. Truman (REV), September 2, 2008
  • Mary C. Henderson: The Story of 42nd Street: The Theatres, Shows, Characters, and Scandals of the World’s Most Notorious Street (First Edition), September 2, 2008
  • Paul Douglas Lockhart: The Drillmaster of Valley Forge: The Baron de Steuben and the Making of the American Army, September 9, 2008
  • Jeffry D. Wert: Cavalryman of the Lost Cause: A Biography of J. E. B. Stuart, September 23, 2008
  • Harold Holzer: Lincoln: President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Winter of Secession, 1860-1861, October 7, 2008
  • David Hackett Fischer: Champlain’s Dream, October 14, 2008
  • Carlo D’Este: Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill at War, 1874-1945, November 11, 2008
DEPARTED:

DEPARTED:

Posted on Sunday, July 20, 2008 at 11:21 PM

July 14, 2008

CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

  • NEW BLOG: : A complete roundup of what Historians are saying about the campaign this week.
BIGGEST STORIES:

BIGGEST STORIES: Quebec’s 400th

BIGGEST STORIES:

BIGGEST STORIES: American Voters

HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

    On This Day in History….

  • 07-10-14/07/1822 Slave revolt in SC under Denmark Vesey/Peter Poyas
  • 07-10-14/07/1845 Fire in NYC destroys 1,000 homes and kills many
  • 07-10-14/07/1945 Battleship USS South Dakota is 1st US ship to bombard Japan
  • 07-10-14/07/1946 Mass murder on Jews in Kielce Poland
  • 07-10-14/07/1976 Jimmy Carter wins Democratic pres nomination in NYC
  • 07-10-14/07/1987 Lt Col Oliver North concludes 6 days of Congressional testimony
  • 07-10-15/07/1099 – 1st Crusaders capture, plunder Jerusalem
  • 07-10-15/07/1662 – England’s King Charles II charters Royal Society in London
  • 07-10-15/07/1815 – Napoleon captured and surrendered and is later exiled on St Helena
  • 07-10-15/07/1830 – 3 Indian tribes, Sioux, Sauk and Fox, signs a treaty giving the US most of Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri
  • 07-10-15/07/1870 – Hudson’s Bay and Northwest Territories transferred to Canada
  • 07-10-15/07/1948 – Pres Truman nominated for another term (Phila)
  • 07-10-15/07/1958 – Pres Eisenhower sends US troops to Lebanon; they stay 3 months
  • 07-10-15/07/1971 – Pres Nixon announces he would visit People’s Rep of China
  • 07-10-15/07/1987 – John Poindexter testifies at Iran-Contra hearings
  • 07-10-15/07/1991 – US troops leave northern Iraq
  • 07-10-16/07/1429 – Joan of Arc leads French army in Battle of Orleans
  • 07-10-16/07/1790 – Congress establishes District of Columbia
  • 07-10-16/07/1861 – Battle of Bull Run, the 1st major battle of the Civil War, is fought
  • 07-10-16/07/1945 – 1st atomic bomb detonated, Trinity Site, Alamogordo, New Mexico
  • 07-16-1969 Apollo 11, carrying 1st men to land on Moon, launched
  • 07-16-1980 Ronald Reagan nominated for Pres by Republicans in Detroit
  • 07-17-1821 – Spain cedes Florida to US
  • 07-17-1861 – Congress authorizes paper money
  • 07-17-1898 – Spanish American War-Spaniards surrender to US at Santiago Cuba
  • 07-17-1929 – USSR drops diplomatic relations with China
  • 07-17-1936 – Military uprising under Gen Franco/begins Spanish civil war
  • 07-17-1945 – Potsdam Conference (FDR, Stalin, Churchill) holds 1st meeting
  • 07-17-1980 – Ronald Reagan formally accepts Republican nomination for president
  • 07-17-1981 – Israeli bombers destroy PLO/al-Fatah headquarters in Beirut
  • 07-18-1768 – Boston Gazette publishes “Liberty Song,” America’s 1st patriotic song
  • 07-18-1853 – Completion of Grand Trunk Line, trains begin running over 1st North American railroad between Portland, Maine and Montreal
  • 07-18-1864 – President Lincoln asks for 500,000 volunteers for milt service
  • 07-18-1940 – Democratic Convention nominates FDR for a 3rd term
  • 07-18-1947 – President Truman signs Presidential Succession Act
  • 07-18-1947 – British seize “Exodus 1947” ship of Jewish immigrants to Palestine
  • 07-18-1964 – Race riot in Harlem (NYC); riots spread to Bedford-Stuyvesant (Bkln)
  • 07-19-1866 – Tennessee is 1st to ratify 14th Amendment, guaranteeing civil rights
  • 07-19-1867 – Reconstruction enacted
  • 07-19-1941 – British PM Winston Churchill launched his “V for Victory” campaign
  • 07-20-1749 – Earl of Chesterfield says “Idleness is only refuge of weak minds”
  • 07-20-1861 – Confederate state’s congress began holding sessions in Richmond, Va
  • 07-20-1944 – Pres FDR nominated for an unprecedented 4th term at Democratic convention
  • 07-20-1949 – Israel’s 19 month war of independence ends
  • 07-20-1982 – Bombs planted by Irish Republican Army explode in 2 London parks
IN THE NEWS:

IN THE NEWS:

REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

  • DAVID OSHINSKY on Ted Widmer: Democracy’s Keeper ARK OF THE LIBERTIES America and the WorldNYT, 7-13-08
  • David Maraniss: Passing the Torch ROME 1960 The Olympics That Changed the World NYT, 7-13-08
  • Andrew X. Pham: My Father’s War THE EAVES OF HEAVEN A Life in Three WarsNYT, 7-13-08
  • Jane Mayer: Collateral Damage According to Jane Mayer, the United States has succeeded in creating an American gulag THE DARK SIDE The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American IdealsWaPo, 7-13-08
  • T.J. English: HISTORY | CUBA Before the Revolution An account of the mob’s attempt to turn Havana into a gambling paradise HAVANA NOCTURNE How the Mob Owned Cuba — and Then Lost It to the Revolution WaPo, 7-13-08
  • Peter Pringle: HISTORY | SCIENCE Planting Ideology How Soviet leaders resisted the study of genetics and destroyed a great scientist THE MURDER OF NIKOLAI VAVILOV The Story of Stalin’s Persecution of One of the Great Scientists of the Twentieth CenturyWaPo, 7-13-08
  • Peter Demetz: Under Siege A Czech-born historian’s personal chronicle of a great city under the yoke of occupation PRAGUE IN DANGER The Years of German Occupation, 1939-45 WaPo, 7-13-08
  • Carl Degler: Surfaces to dispute claim that the struggle for civil rights ended with Reconstruction – Letter sent to the Editor of the NYT Book Review, 7-13-08
OP-EDs:

OP-EDs:

PROFILED:

PROFILED:

INTERVIEWS:

INTERVIEWS:

FEATURES:

FEATURES:

QUOTED:

QUOTED:

  • Richard Norton Smith “Historian points to Ford Administration complexities”: “We’re in the very early stages of forming historical impressions about Ford and the Ford presidency. It’s the perfect time to ask questions about alternative ways of thinking about this president. The danger is the Ford presidency may be defined by his first month. It was not a coda to the Nixon White House, but a curtain raiser to subsequent events…. I want to call into question some of the assumptions about Gerald Ford. It’s about time we see him as a historical figure who somehow transcends a particular period. This is not a guy who should be walled off with Pet Rocks and leisure suits…. He’s relevant to the current campaign, and he’s relevant to the question of what kind of president do you want?… Jerry Ford was an Eagle Scout. In some ways, that’s all you need to know.” But he also was a shrewd political operative who knew how to get things done and could be calculating and manipulative when necessary. Gerald Ford deserves to be seen as more than the man who pardoned Richard Nixon, more than the man who healed the country,” Smith said. Nothing would do Gerald Ford a greater disservice than to make him into something he wasn’t or rob him of his humanity. He deserves more than that….” – Grand Rapids Press, 7-12-08
HONORED / AWARDED / APPOINTED:

HONORED, AWARDED, APPOINTED:

EXHIBITS / WEBSITES:

EXHIBITS / WEBSITES:

SPOTTED:

SPOTTED:

CALENDAR:

CALENDAR:

  • May-September 2008: Elizabeth Brand Monroe, Deborah A. Lee, Lectures Showcase Leesburg’s History for 250th Anniversary – WaPo, 1-18-08
ON TV:

    ON TV: History Listings This Week

  • History Channel: “The Exodus Decoded,” Tuesday, July 15, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld: Underground Apocalypse ,” Tuesday, July 15, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld: Hitler’s Last Secret,” Tuesday, July 15, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld: Maya Underground,” Tuesday, July 15, @ 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Ancient Discoveries: Ships,” Tuesday, July 15, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mega Disasters: Atlantis Apocalypse,” Tuesday, July 15, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Plot to Kill Jesse James,” Wednesday, July 16, @ 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark Knight,” Wednesday, July 16, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mega Disasters,” Marathon, Saturday, July 19, @ 2-5pm ET/PT
SELLING BIG (NYT):

SELLING BIG (NYT):

  • David Maraniss: ROME 1960 #14 — (1 week on list) – 7-20-08
  • Patrick J. Buchanan: CHURCHILL, HITLER, AND “THE UNNECESSARY WAR,” #21 – 7-20-08
  • T. J. English: HAVANA NOCTURNE #31 – 7-20-08
  • Thurston Clarke: THE LAST CAMPAIGN #33 – 7-20-08
  • Douglas A. Blackmon: SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME #35 – 7-20-08
FUTURE RELEASES:

FUTURE RELEASES:

  • William Marvel: Lincoln’s Darkest Year: The War in 1862, July 16, 2008
  • Trevor Royle: Lancaster Against York: The Wars of the Roses and the Foundation of Modern Britain, July 22, 2008
  • Jonathan Harris: The Split in Stalin’s Secretariat, 1939-1948, July 28, 2008
  • Noah Andre Trudeau: Southern Storm: Sherman’s March to the Sea, August 5, 2008
  • Lorri Glover: The Shipwreck That Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America, August 5, 2008
  • Fred E. Haynes: The Lions of Iwo Jima: The Story of Combat Team 28 and the Bloodiest Battle in Marine Corps History, August 5, 2008
  • Patrick Desbois: The Holocaust by Bullets, August 19, 2008
  • Robert Dallek: Harry S. Truman (REV), September 2, 2008
  • Mary C. Henderson: The Story of 42nd Street: The Theatres, Shows, Characters, and Scandals of the World’s Most Notorious Street (First Edition), September 2, 2008
  • Paul Douglas Lockhart: The Drillmaster of Valley Forge: The Baron de Steuben and the Making of the American Army, September 9, 2008
  • Jeffry D. Wert: Cavalryman of the Lost Cause: A Biography of J. E. B. Stuart, September 23, 2008
  • Harold Holzer: Lincoln: President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Winter of Secession, 1860-1861, October 7, 2008
  • David Hackett Fischer: Champlain’s Dream, October 14, 2008
  • Carlo D’Este: Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill at War, 1874-1945, November 11, 2008
DEPARTED:

DEPARTED:

  • John Simon: Tireless Editor of Grant’s Papers, Dies at 75 – NYT, 7-10-08
  • Richard Frederic Evans; Historian of the D.C. Area – WaPo, 7-11-08

Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 1:10 AM

July 7, 2008

CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

  • NEW BLOG: : A complete roundup of what Historians are saying about the campaign this week.
BIGGEST STORIES:

BIGGEST STORIES: Jess Helm’s Legacy

  • David Goldfield on “Historians Disagree About Helms’ Legacy”: “The Republican Party co-opted and took over George Wallace’s program,” said David Goldfield, a professor of Southern history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “Jesse Helms was probably one of the leaders in doing this. George Wallace was a little bit raw in his appeal. Republicans cleaned it up and used code words like busing and welfare queens. But everyone knew what was being talked about.”…. But Goldfield, the professor at UNC-Charlotte, argues that Helms helped sweep away the myths and shed a more realistic light on the state. “North Carolina is more progressive the further way you get away from it,” Goldfield said. “Jesse Helms helped place North Carolina squarely in the South, rather than this idea of North Carolina as a progressive oasis in a sea of reaction. Jesse Helms’ prominence had that kind of impact on our image nationally.” – The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 7-5-08
  • Lee Edwards on “Historians Disagree About Helms’ Legacy”: “Jesse Helms was absolutely indispensable,” said Lee Edwards, a historian at the Heritage Foundation who has written about the conservative movement…. “It was fractured,” said Edwards, the author of “The Conservative Revolution: The Movement that Remade America.” “It’s looking around for alternatives. It’s talking about a third party. Who is going to be our standard bearer? They needed someone here in Washington, D.C. Jesse Helms always took a point position. No pale pastels for Jesse. It was all bright, primary colors.”… “If he had lost, that would have been the end of it,” Edwards said. “Jesse Helms and his organization were absolutely key.” “At that point, Jesse Helms became somebody who was going to make sure we (conservatives) didn’t slip back,” Edwards said, “that we would not compromise too much in search for a majority. He still played a role, but not as public as he played before.” – The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 7-5-08
  • Julian Pleasants on “Historians Disagree About Helms’ Legacy”: “He understood the climate was changing,” said Julian Pleasants, a historian now living in Chapel Hill, N.C., who has written extensively about Tar Heel politics. “It was never a liberal state, despite people like Terry Sanford and Frank Graham. It was always conservative, and he knew that.” – The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 7-5-08
  • Ernest Furgurson on “Historians Disagree About Helms’ Legacy”: Ernest Furgurson, Helms biographer and a Civil War historian in Washington, D.C., said Helms emerged as other Southern demagogues such as Bilbo, the Talmadges and Wallace were disappearing. But Helms brought modern political techniques to the galluses-snapping crowd. “It was an overlap of their last days and his first days on the national scene,” Furgurson said. “Instead of fading along with them, he continued the tradition. He didn’t use the N-word like Wallace, but he didn’t have to. Everyone understood it.” – The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 7-5-08
  • George Tindall on “Historians Disagree About Helms’ Legacy”: The late George Tindall of Chapel Hill, the dean of Southern historians, compared Helms to Thurmond and I. Beverly Lake Sr., the two-time gubernatorial candidate who ran on a segregationist platform in the sixties. “I don’t think it was just race,” Tindall said. “He spoke a blunt straightforward language that would have broad appeal among working people.” Tindall said Helms’ success distorted North Carolina’s image, making the state appear more conservative than it was. Tindall said Helms was a fortunate politician, winning races in 1972 and 1984 because of Republican landslides, beating a weak opponent in 1978 and twice defeating an African-American in a time when no black was elected to the Senate. “Jesse Helms is one of the luckiest politicians of his generation,” Tindall said. – The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 7-5-08
BIGGEST STORIES:

BIGGEST STORIES: Lincoln Bicentennial

  • Vanished Lincoln Bust Baffles Historians – AP, 7-5-08
BIGGEST STORIES:

BIGGEST STORIES: Independence Day

HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

    On This Day in History….

  • 07-07-1456 – Twenty-five years after her execution, Pope Calixtus III annulled the heresy charges brought against Joan of Arc.
  • 07-07-1846 – Commodore John D. Sloat occupied Monterey and declared California annexed to the United States.
  • 07-07-1898 – The United States annexed Hawaii.
  • 07-07-1946 – Italian-born Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini was canonized, becoming the first American saint.
  • 07-07-1981 – President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor for the Supreme Court.
  • 07-07-2005 – 52 people were killed and hundreds injured in London when terrorists bombed subways and a bus.52 people were killed and hundreds injured in London when terrorists bombed subways and a bus.
  • 07-08-1776 – The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence was given in Philadelphia, Pa.
  • 07-08-1777 – Vermont became the first colony to abolish slavery.
  • 07-08-1889 – The Wall Street Journal began publication.
  • 07-08-1950 – General Douglas MacArthur was named commander-in-chief of the United Nations forces in Korea.
  • 07-08-1958 – The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) awarded the first official gold album. It was for the Oklahoma soundtrack.
  • 07-09-1816 – Argentina formally declared independence from Spain.
  • 07-09-1850 – Zachary Taylor, the 12th president of the U.S., died after only 16 months in office.
  • 07-09-1872 – The doughnut cutter was patented by John F. Blondel of Thomaston, Me.
  • 07-09-1896 – William Jennings Bryan delivered his “cross of gold” speech at the Democratic National Convention.
  • 07-09-1900 – The British Parliament proclaimed that as of Jan. 1, 1901, the six Australian colonies would be united at the Commonwealth of Australia.
  • 07-09-1974 – Former U.S. chief justice Earl Warren died in Washington, DC.
  • 07-09-2002 – Baseball’s All-Star Game ended in a tie after 11 innings. Both sides had run out of pitchers.
  • 07-10-1890 – Wyoming became the 44th state in the United States.
  • 07-10-1940 – The Battle of Britain began.
  • 07-10-1951 – Armistice talks to end the Korean War began at Kaesong.
  • 07-10-1973 – The Bahamas became independent from Great Britain.
  • 07-10-1985 – The Coca-Cola Company announced that it was bringing back the original Coke and calling it Coca-Cola Classic.
  • 07-10-1991 – President Bush lifted economic sanctions against South Africa.
  • 07-10-1991 – Boris Yeltsin was sworn in as Russia’s first elected president.
  • 07-10-2003 – Spain opened its first mosque (in Granada) since the Moors were expelled in 1492.
  • 07-11-1533 – Pope Clement VII excommunicated England’s King Henry VIII.
  • 07-11-1804 – Former vice president Aaron Burr fatally wounded former secretary of the treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Hamilton died the following afternoon.
  • 07-11-1864 – Confederate general Jubal A. Early and his troops attacked Washington, DC. They retreated the next day, ending the Confederate threat to occupy the capital.
  • 07-11-1914 – Babe Ruth made his major league baseball debut as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.
  • 07-11-1977 – The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work to advance civil rights.
  • 07-11-1995 – The United States and Vietnam established full diplomatic relations.
  • 07-12-1543 – England’s King Henry VIII married his sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr.
  • 07-12-1690 – Protestant William of Orange defeated Roman Catholic James II at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland.
  • 07-12-1862 – Congress authorized the Medal of Honor.
  • 07-12-1984 – Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale became the first major-party candidate to choose a woman as a running mate when he announced his choice of Geraldine Ferraro.
  • 07-13-1793 – French revolutionary Jean Paul Marat was stabbed to death in his bath by royalist sympathizer Charlotte Corday.
  • 07-13-1863 – The draft riots, protesting unfair conscription in the Civil War, began in New York City.
  • 07-13-1865 – P. T. Barnum’s American Museum, which had featured Tom Thumb and the original Siamese twins Chang and Eng, was destroyed by fire.
  • 07-13-1930 – The first World Cup soccer competition began in Montevideo, Uruguay.
  • 07-13-1943 – The Battle of Kursk, the largest tank battle in history—involving some 6,000 tanks, 2,000,000 troops, and 4,000 aircraft—ended in German defeat.
  • 07-13-1977 – A 25-hour blackout hit New York City, engendering widespread rioting and looting.
  • 07-13-2003 – Iraq’s interim governing council was inaugurated.
IN THE NEWS:

IN THE NEWS:

REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

  • Paul Fisher: The Dysfunctional Jameses HOUSE OF WITS An Intimate Portrait of the James FamilyNYT, 7-6-08
  • Paul Fisher: HOUSE OF WITS An Intimate Portrait of the James Family, First Chapter – NYT, 7-6-08
  • Peter Clarke: Out of the Midday Sun THE LAST THOUSAND DAYS OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE Churchill, Roosevelt, and the Birth of the Pax Americana NYT, 7-6-08
  • David M. Kennedy on Ted Widmer: FOREIGN POLICY Restoring America’s Ideals A Democrat laments Bush’s foreign policy but embraces the goal of spreading liberty ARK OF THE LIBERTIES America and the World WaPo, 7-6-08
  • Daniel Mark Epstein: The Real Lincoln Bedroom: Love in a Time of Strife – THE LINCOLNS Portrait of a Marriage NYT, 7-3-08
  • George Rippey Stewart’s Names on the Land republished – Matt Weiland in Slate, 6-30-08
  • Biographer claims biography is in decline – Kathryn Hughes in the Guardian, 6-28-08
  • John Hatcher: The Black Death was unthinkable The Black Death: an Intimate HistoryTelegraph, 6-28-08
  • JOHN STEELE GORDON on Walter Nugent: Exploring What Lies Beyond Manifest Destiny HABITS OF EMPIRE A History of American ExpansionNYT, 6-26-08
OP-EDs:

OP-EDs:

  • David Greenberg: How the Republicans Claimed the “Patriotism” Mantle in Presidential Politics – Slate, 7-2-08
  • Jeffrey Herf: Maryland historian links roots of radical Islam with Nazi propaganda – Jerusalem Post, 7-1-08
BLOGS:

BLOGS:

PROFILED:

PROFILED:

INTERVIEWS:

INTERVIEWS:

FEATURES:

FEATURES:

  • David Watt: What’s in a Name?: The Meaning of ‘Muslim Fundamentalist’ – Origins, Ohio State, 7-08
  • Adam Goodheart: In A Crumbling House, A Trove Of Everyday History – NPR, 7-3-08
  • Iraqi Files in U.S.: Plunder or Rescue? – NYT, 7-1-08
  • Jacob Riis: Shedding Light On NYC’s ‘Other Half’ – NPR, 6-30-08
QUOTED:

QUOTED:

  • Jung Byung-joon on “US wavered over S. Korean executions”: “The most important thing is that they did not stop the executions,” historian Jung Byung-joon, a member of the 2-year-old commission, said of the Americans. “They were at the crime scene, and took pictures and wrote reports.” – AP, 7-6-08
  • Richard Brookhiser, Draws Upon Washington To Illuminate Presidency: “We’re a very verbal culture,” Mr. Brookhiser explained. “Maybe Washington falls behind because of that…. He had the confidence to employ smart people.” – http://www.thebulletin.us, 6-24-08
HONORED / AWARDED / APPOINTED:

HONORED, AWARDED, APPOINTED:

EXHIBITS / WEBSITES:

EXHIBITS / WEBSITES:

SPOTTED:

SPOTTED:

CALENDAR:

CALENDAR:

  • May-September 2008: Elizabeth Brand Monroe, Deborah A. Lee, Lectures Showcase Leesburg’s History for 250th Anniversary – WaPo, 1-18-08
ON TV:

    ON TV: History Listings This Week

  • ‘History Detectives’ Comes To Hartford For Investigation – Harford, Courant, 6-30-08
  • PBS: History Ditectives, PBS – Monday, July 7, 2008 @ 9pm ET
  • History Channel: “Street Gangs: A Secret History: Street Gangs: A Secret History,” Monday, July 7, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Making a Buck”, Monday, June 23, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “History’s Mysteries: Five Points Gangs”, Monday, July 7, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Fort Knox: Secrets Revealed”, Monday, July 7, @ 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld: 09 – Freemason Underground”, Monday, July 7, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Crude,” Tuesday, July 8, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Man, Moment, Machine: Saddam Hussein & The Nerve Gas Atrocity,” Tuesday, July 8, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mega Disasters: Glow Train Catastrophe,” Tuesday, July 8, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Special: An Alien History of Planet Earth,” Wednesday, July 9, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “UFO Files: The Pacific Bermuda Triangle,” Wednesday, July 9, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Modern Marvels: Engineering Disasters,” Thursday, July 10, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Investigating History: Mountain Massacre,” Thursday, July 10, @ 11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mysteries of the Freemasons,” Friday, July 11, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Weird U.S.: Weird Underworld,” Friday, July 11, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Surviving History,” Marathon, Saturday, July 12, @ 2-5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Hillbilly: The Real Story,” Saturday, July 12, @ 10pm ET/PT
SELLING BIG (NYT):

SELLING BIG (NYT):

  • Douglas A. Blackmon: SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME #16 — (1 week on list) – 7-13-08
  • Patrick J. Buchanan: CHURCHILL, HITLER, AND “THE UNNECESSARY WAR,” #18 – 7-13-08
  • Thurston Clarke: THE LAST CAMPAIGN #27 – 7-13-08
  • Ted Sorensen: COUNSELOR #35 – 7-13-08
FUTURE RELEASES:

FUTURE RELEASES:

  • Lewis Lehrman: Lincoln at Peoria, July 4, 2008
  • Linda Porter: The First Queen of England, July 8, 2008
  • William D. Hart: Black Religion: Malcolm X, Julius Lester, and Jan Willis, July 8, 2008
  • William Marvel: Lincoln’s Darkest Year: The War in 1862, July 16, 2008
  • Trevor Royle: Lancaster Against York: The Wars of the Roses and the Foundation of Modern Britain, July 22, 2008
  • Jonathan Harris: The Split in Stalin’s Secretariat, 1939-1948, July 28, 2008
  • Noah Andre Trudeau: Southern Storm: Sherman’s March to the Sea, August 5, 2008
  • Lorri Glover: The Shipwreck That Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America, August 5, 2008
  • Fred E. Haynes: The Lions of Iwo Jima: The Story of Combat Team 28 and the Bloodiest Battle in Marine Corps History, August 5, 2008
  • Patrick Desbois: The Holocaust by Bullets, August 19, 2008
  • Robert Dallek: Harry S. Truman (REV), September 2, 2008
  • Mary C. Henderson: The Story of 42nd Street: The Theatres, Shows, Characters, and Scandals of the World’s Most Notorious Street (First Edition), September 2, 2008
  • Paul Douglas Lockhart: The Drillmaster of Valley Forge: The Baron de Steuben and the Making of the American Army, September 9, 2008
  • Jeffry D. Wert: Cavalryman of the Lost Cause: A Biography of J. E. B. Stuart, September 23, 2008
  • Harold Holzer: Lincoln: President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Winter of Secession, 1860-1861, October 7, 2008
  • David Hackett Fischer: Champlain’s Dream, October 14, 2008
  • Carlo D’Este: Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill at War, 1874-1945, November 11, 2008
DEPARTED:

DEPARTED:

Posted on Sunday, July 6, 2008 at 10:23 PM

June 30, 2008

CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

  • NEW BLOG: : A complete roundup of what Historians are saying about the campaign this week.
BIGGEST STORIES:

BIGGEST STORIES: Independence Day

HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

    On This Day in History….

  • 06-30-1520 – Spanish retreat from Aztec capital
  • 06-30-1775 – Congress impugns Parliament and adopts Articles of War
  • 06-30-1876 – Soldiers are evacuated from the Little Big Horn by steamboat
  • 06-30-1936 – Gone with the Wind is published
  • 06-30-1950 – Truman orders U.S. forces to Korea
  • 07-01-1863 – The Battle of Gettysburg begins
  • 07-01-1867 – Canadian Independence Day
  • 07-01-1916 – Battle of the Somme begins
  • 07-01-1997 – Hong Kong returned to China
  • 07-02-1839 – Mutiny on the Amistad slave ship
  • 07-02-1863 – The second day of battle at Gettysburg
  • 07-02-1881 – President Garfield shot
  • 07-02-1937 – Amelia Earhart Disappears
  • 07-02-1964 – Johnson signs Civil Rights Act
  • 07-03-1608 – Samuel de Champlain founded the city of Quebec.
  • 07-03-1775 – Commander in chief George Washington took command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Mass.
  • 07-03-1863 – The Battle of Gettysburg ended.
  • 07-03-1890 – Idaho became the 43rd state in the United States.
  • 07-03-1930 – The U.S. Veterans Administration was created by Congress.
  • 07-03-1962 – Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • 07-03-1962 – Algeria became independent after 132 years of French rule.
  • 07-04-1776 – The U.S. declared independence from Great Britain.
  • 07-04-1826 – Former presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died.
  • 07-04-1831 – Former president James Monroe died.
  • 07-04-1884 – The Statue of Liberty was presented to the United States in Paris.
  • 07-04-1895 – Katharine Lee Bates published America the Beautiful.
  • 07-04-1939 – Lou Gehrig, stricken with ALS, made his farewell at Yankee Stadium.
  • 07-04-1976 – The United States celebrated its bicentennial.
  • 07-05-1811 – Venezuela became the first South American country to declare independence from Spain.
  • 07-05-1865 – William Booth formed the Salvation Army in London, England.
  • 07-05-1946 – Larry Doby signed with the Cleveland Indians, becoming the first African American player in the American League.
  • 07-05-1954 – Elvis Presley recorded “That’s All Right,” his first commercial record.
  • 07-05-1975 – Cape Verde became independent after 500 years of Portuguese rule.
  • 07-05-1975 – Arthur Ashe became the first black man to win a Wimbledon singles title when he defeated Jimmy Connors.
  • 07-05-1996 – Dolly, the first sheep cloned from adult cells, was born.
  • 07-06-1535 – Sir Thomas More was beheaded after refusing to join Henry VIII’s Church of England.
  • 07-06-1885 – Louis Pasteur successfully treated a patient with a rabies vaccine.
  • 07-06-1942 – Anne Frank and her family sought refuge from the Nazis in Amsterdam.
  • 07-06-1944 – A fire caused by inept fire-eaters in the main tent of the Ringling Brothers Circus in Hartford, Conn., killed over 160 people.
  • 07-06-1957 – Althea Gibson won the Wimbledon women’s singles tennis title. She was the first black person to win the event.
  • 07-07-1456 – Twenty-five years after her execution, Pope Calixtus III annulled the heresy charges brought against Joan of Arc.
  • 07-07-1846 – Commodore John D. Sloat occupied Monterey and declared California annexed to the United States.
  • 07-07-1898 – The United States annexed Hawaii.
  • 07-07-1946 – Italian-born Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini was canonized, becoming the first American saint.
  • 07-07-1981 – President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor for the Supreme Court.
  • 07-07-2005 – 52 people were killed and hundreds injured in London when terrorists bombed subways and a bus.52 people were killed and hundreds injured in London when terrorists bombed subways and a bus.
  • 07-08-1776 – The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence was given in Philadelphia, Pa.
  • 07-08-1777 – Vermont became the first colony to abolish slavery.
  • 07-08-1889 – The Wall Street Journal began publication.
  • 07-08-1950 – General Douglas MacArthur was named commander-in-chief of the United Nations forces in Korea.
  • 07-08-1958 – The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) awarded the first official gold album. It was for the Oklahoma soundtrack.
IN THE NEWS:

IN THE NEWS:

REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

  • Daniel Mark Epstein: The Real Lincoln Bedroom: Love in a Time of Strife – THE LINCOLNS Portrait of a Marriage NYT, 7-3-08
  • David M. Kennedy on Ted Widmer: FOREIGN POLICY Restoring America’s Ideals A Democrat laments Bush’s foreign policy but embraces the goal of spreading liberty ARK OF THE LIBERTIES America and the World WaPo, 7-6-08
  • Biographer claims biography is in decline – Kathryn Hughes in the Guardian, 6-28-08
  • George Rippey Stewart’s Names on the Land republished – Matt Weiland in Slate, 6-30-08
OP-EDs:

OP-EDs:

BLOGS:

BLOGS:

PROFILED:

PROFILED:

INTERVIEWS:

INTERVIEWS:

FEATURES:

FEATURES:

  • David Watt: What’s in a Name?: The Meaning of ‘Muslim Fundamentalist’ – Origins, Ohio State, 7-08
  • Adam Goodheart: In A Crumbling House, A Trove Of Everyday History – NPR, 7-3-08
  • Jacob Riis: Shedding Light On NYC’s ‘Other Half’ – NPR, 6-30-08
  • Iraqi Files in U.S.: Plunder or Rescue? – NYT, 7-1-08
QUOTED:

QUOTED:

  • Richard Brookhiser, Draws Upon Washington To Illuminate Presidency: “We’re a very verbal culture,” Mr. Brookhiser explained. “Maybe Washington falls behind because of that…. He had the confidence to employ smart people.” – http://www.thebulletin.us, 6-24-08
HONORED / AWARDED / APPOINTED:

HONORED, AWARDED, APPOINTED:

EXHIBITS / WEBSITES:

EXHIBITS / WEBSITES:

SPOTTED:

SPOTTED:

CALENDAR:

CALENDAR:

  • May-September 2008: Elizabeth Brand Monroe, Deborah A. Lee, Lectures Showcase Leesburg’s History for 250th Anniversary – WaPo, 1-18-08
ON TV:

    ON TV: History Listings This Week

  • History Channel: “Ben Franklin,” Friday, July 4, @ 8am ET/PT
  • History Channel: ” The Revolution: 01 – Boston, Bloody Boston,” Friday, July 4, @ 10am ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Revolution: 02 – Rebellion to Revolution,” Friday, July 4, @ 11am ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Revolution: 03 – Declaring Independence,” Friday, July 4, @ 12pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Revolution: 05 – Path to World War,” Friday, July 4, @ 1pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Revolution: 05 – Path to World War,” Friday, July 4, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Revolution: 06 – Forging an Army,” Friday, July 4, @ 3pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Revolution: 07 – Treason & Betrayal,” Friday, July 4, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Revolution: 08 – The War Heads South ,” Friday, July 4, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Revolution: 09 – A Hornet’s Nest,” Friday, July 4, @ 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Revolution: 10 – The End Game,” Friday, July 4, @ 7pm ET/PT
  • C-Span2, BookTV: History The Execution of Willie Francis: Race, Murder and the Search for Justice in the American South Author: Gilbert King – Friday, July 4 @ 10:45am ET – C-Span2, BookTV
  • C-Span2, BookTV: History 2008 Virginia Festival of the Book – African American Revolutionaries Panel Authors: Paul Alkebulan; Wesley Hogan; Patrick McGilligan – Friday, July 4 @ 1:30pm ET – C-Span2, BookTV
  • C-Span2, BookTV: History Liberty’s Blueprint: How Madison and Hamilton Wrote the Federalist Papers, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe for the World Author: Michael Meyerson – Friday, July 4 @ 2:30pm ET – C-Span2, BookTV
  • C-Span2, BookTV: History Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America Author: Walter Borneman – Friday, July 4 @ 7:00pm ET – C-Span2, BookTV
  • C-Span2, BookTV: History Throes of Democracy: The American Civil War Era 1829-1877 Author: Walter McDougall – Saturday, July 5 @ 6:00am ET – C-Span2, BookTV
  • C-Span2, BookTV: History Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America Authors: Jill Tietjen; Charlotte Waisman – Saturday, July 5 @ 7:30am & 5:15pm ET – C-Span2, BookTV
  • C-Span2, BookTV: History This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War Author: Drew Gilpin Faust – Saturday, July 5 @ 12:00pm ET – C-Span2, BookTV
  • C-Span2, BookTV: History The Bloody Shirt: Terror After Appomattox Author: Stephen Budiansky – Saturday, July 5 @ 1:15pm ET – C-Span2, BookTV
  • C-Span2, BookTV: History African American National Biography Authors: Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham; Henry Louis Gates, Jr. – Saturday, July 5 @ 7:00pm ET – C-Span2, BookTV
  • C-Span2, BookTV: History Liberty’s Blueprint: How Madison and Hamilton Wrote the Federalist Papers, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe for the World Author: Michael Meyerson – Sunday, July 6 @ 7:00pm ET – C-Span2, BookTV
  • C-Span2, BookTV: Encore Booknotes No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin – Sunday, July 6 @ 10:00pm ET – C-Span2, BookTV
SELLING BIG (NYT):

SELLING BIG (NYT):

  • Patrick J. Buchanan: CHURCHILL, HITLER, AND “THE UNNECESSARY WAR,” #14 — (4 weeks on list) – 7-06-08
  • Thurston Clarke: THE LAST CAMPAIGN #30 – 7-06-08
FUTURE RELEASES:

FUTURE RELEASES:

  • Lewis Lehrman: Lincoln at Peoria, July 4, 2008
  • Linda Porter: The First Queen of England, July 8, 2008
  • William Marvel: Lincoln’s Darkest Year: The War in 1862, July 16, 2008
  • Lorri Glover: The Shipwreck That Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America, August 5, 2008
  • Fred E. Haynes: The Lions of Iwo Jima: The Story of Combat Team 28 and the Bloodiest Battle in Marine Corps History, August 5, 2008
  • Patrick Desbois: The Holocaust by Bullets, August 19, 2008
  • Robert Dallek: Harry S. Truman (REV), September 2, 2008
DEPARTED:

DEPARTED:

Posted on Friday, July 4, 2008 at 12:05 AM

History Doyens: William Hardy McNeill

HISTORY DOYENS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

William Hardy McNeill, 7-31-08

What They’re Famous For

William H. McNeill is Robert A. Milikan Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Chicago. He taught at the university from 1947 until his retirement in 1987. McNeill is also a past president of the American Historical Association (1984-1985). McNeill has authored over thirty books; his most influential works brought world history to the forefront of academic study. His “seminal” book is The Rise of the West A. History of the Human Community (1963). The book was awarded the National Book Award in 1964 and was “later named one of the 100 best nonfiction books of the twentieth century by the Modern Library.” McNeill was one of “the first contemporary North American historians to write world history, seeking a broader interpretation of human affairs than that which prevailed in his youth.” Some of his other books include Venice: The Hinge of Europe, 1097-1797 (1974); Plagues and Peoples (1976); The Metamorphosis of Greece since 1945 (1978); The Human Condition: Art Historical and Ecological View (1980); Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force anal Society since 1000 A.D. (1982); Mythistory and Other Essays (1986); Arnold J. Toynbee, a Life (1989), and The Global Condition: Conquerors, Catastrophes, and Community (1992).

More recently, McNeill is the author of The Human Web: A Bird’s-Eye View of World History (2003) with his historian son J. R. McNeill, and The Pursuit of Truth: A Historian’s Memoir (2005). His memoir The Pursuit of Truth has been hailed as “A candid, intellectual memoir from one of the most famous and influential historians of our era. The Pursuit of Truth charts the development of McNeill’s thinking and writing over seven decades. At the core of his worldview is the belief that historical truth does not derive exclusively from criticizing, paraphrasing, and summarizing written documents, nor is history merely, a record of how human intentions and plans succeeded or failed.”

Discussing the role of the historian, McNeill has written, “We have an enormous fixation on, what seems to me to be, the naïve idea that truth resides in what somebody wrote sometime in the past. If it’s not written down, it isn’t true. And that’s absurd. But it’s the way historians are trained: you have to have a source, and if you don’t have something you can cite from an original source, in the original language, then you’re not a really good historian, you’re are not scientific, you’re not true.” While he described his role as a professor stating “My job is to bore you and let the hardness of your seat and the warmth of your robe prepare you for what is to come.”

Personal Anecdote

I recognize three critical learning experiences that shaped that work. First was the day I casually picked three bright green newly published volumes of Toynbee, A Study of History from the shelves of Cornell University library in 1940. I was then a graduate student and had more free time for reading than ever before. As a result, I spent the next week enthralled by Toynbee’s world-wide reach. History as previously taught to me shrank into no more than a small part of the human past, and the big book I had set my heart on when still an undergraduate suddenly needed to expand and become a real world history.

Second came in 1951-52 when I spent two years at Chatham House, London under Toynbee’s supervision writing a history of Allied relations 1941-46. I had wangled that appointment in hope of discovering how he went about writing his Study of History, hoping to imitate him. But through frequent lunch time conversations I soon discovered that he was using notes taken years before to compose the later volumes of his magnum opus, and, straining to finish that task, could not afford to pause to learn anything new. That turned me off; and my own experience of writing a 600-page book, America, Britain and Russia: Their Cooperation and Conflict, 1941-46 showed me how to write without taking notes on the basis of the few published memoirs then available and a collection of newspaper clippings maintained by a staff of skilled young women. Simply by asking for appropriate cartons of clippings and spreading them out before me, I could write about the Yalta Conference and other episodes with no time wasted on note taking.

Third came in 1954 when a Ford Foundation grant allowed me to begin writing my projected world history. This required me to decide what really mattered in the human past; and taking notes on what others had said seemed futile. I decided to fall back on reading first and writing afterwards as I had done at Chatham House. I soon discovered that I could remember where I had seen something important for about six weeks, so made it a rule to stop reading for each new chapter after six weeks and start to write with fifty or so books piled on my desk available to consult whenever a footnote seemed appropriate. Without relying on memory so completely, and devoting almost the whole of my waking hours to the task, I could not have written The Rise of the West as quickly as I did. Another grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York made that possible, freeing me from teaching for two quarters for five years, 1957-62, during which time I completed the book.

William McNeill 1964 National Book Award  JPGI should also confess that another serendipitous experience contributed greatly to my actual achievement. In 1955, Gustav von Grunebaum invited me to join him in a seminar at the University of Frankfurt, Germany. The seminar was conducted in German so I had to learn the language as never before, and during the three months I spent in Frankfurt a learned teaching assistant, Fraulein von Dechend guided me through pre-war German scholarship about pre-history and the history of steppe peoples. This required rewriting the first chapters of my book when I got back home and resumed work. In this instance I did use notes taken in Frankfurt so cannot say I dispensed with note- taking entirely.

Finally, I spent a whole year revising and shortening the original manuscript to make it fit into a single volume. I was convinced that multi-volume books are usually consulted, not read through and wanted mine to be read from beginning to end, so the shape of the whole human past, as I understood it, might emerge. Even though, when cutting it back by about 20%, I often felt I was hurting the smoothness and readability of the book, I believe many readers have in fact labored through its 812 pages. So still, believe my butchery was worthwhile, fifty-five years after its initial publication it is still in print and sells several hundred copies a year. It has also been translated into about a dozen different languages, so by any standard it has been a real success, however outmoded it is now becoming.

Quotes

By William Hardy McNeill

  • What such a vision of the future anticipates, in other words, is the eventual establishment of a world-wide cosmopolitanism, which, compared with the confusions and haste of our time, would enjoy a. vastly greater stability. A suitable political frame for such a Society might arise through sudden victory and defeat in war, or piecemeal through a more gradual encapsulation of a particular balance of world power within a growingly effective international bureaucracy. But no matter how it comes, the cosmopolitanism of the future will surely bear a Western imprint. At least in its initial stages, any world state will be an empire of the West. This would be the case even if non- Westerners should happen to hold the supreme controls of world-wide political-military authority for they could only do so by utilizing such origin Western traits as industrialism, Science, and the public palliation of power through advocacy of one or other of the democratic political faiths . Hence “The Rise of the West” may serve as a shorthand description of the upshot of the history of the human community to date.’ Historical parallels to such a stabilization of a confused and chaotic social order are not far to seek. The Roman empire stabilized the violences and uncertainty of the Hellenistic world by monopolizing armed might in a single hand. The Han in ancient China likewise put a quietus upon the disorders of the warring states by erecting an imperial bureaucratic structure which endured, with occasional breakdown and modest amendment, almost to our own day. The warring states of the twentieth century seem headed for a similar resolution of their conflicts , unless, of course, the chiliastic vision that haunts our time really comes true and human history ends with a bang of hydrogen nuclei and a whimper from irradiated humanity.The burden of present uncertainties and the drastic scope of alternative possibilities that have become apparent in our time oppress the minds of many sensitive people. Yet the unexampled plasticity of human affairs should also be exhilarating. Foresight, cautious resolution, sustained courage never before had such opportunities to shape our lives and those of subsequent generations. Good and wise men in all parts of the world have seldom counted for more; for they can hope to bring the facts of life more nearly into accord with the generous ideals proclaimed by all-or almost all-the world’s leaders.The fact that evil men and crass vices have precisely the same enhanced powers should not distract our minds. Rather we should recognize it as the inescapable complement of the enlarged scope for good. Great dangers alone produce great victories; and without the possibility of failure, all human achievement would be savorless. Our world assuredly lacks neither dangers nor the possibility of failure. It also offers a theater for heroism such as has seldom or never been seen before in all history.

    Men some centuries from now will surely look back upon our time as a golden age of unparalleled technical, intellectual, institutional, and perhaps even of artistic creativity. Life in Dernosrhenes’ Athens, in Confucius’ China, and in Mohammed’s Arabia was violent, risky, and uncertain; hopes struggled with fears; greatness teetered perilously on the brim of disaster. We belong in this high company and should count ourselves fortunate to live in one of the great ages of the world. — William H. McNeill in “The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community”

  • Still, what seems wise and true to me seems irrelevant obfuscation to others. Only time can settle the issue, presumably by outmoding my ideas and my critics’ as well. Unalterable and eternal Truth remains like the Kingdom of Heaven, an eschatological hope. Mythistory is what we actually have-a useful instrument for piloting human groups in their encounters with one another and with the natural environment.
    To be a truth-seeking mythographer is therefore a high and serious calling, for what a group of people knows and believes about the past channels expectations and affects the decisions on which their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor all depend. Formal written histories are not the only shapers of a people’s notions about the past; but they are sporadically powerful, since even the most abstract and academic historiographical ideas do trickle down to the level of the commonplace, if they fit both what a people want to hear and what a people need to know well enough to be useful.
    As members of society and sharers in the historical process, historians can only expect to be heard if they say what the people around them want to hear-in some degree. ‘[hey can only be useful if they also tell the people some things they are reluctant to hear-in some degree. Piloting between this Scylla and Charybdis is the art of the serious historian, helping the group he or she addresses and celebrates to survive and prosper in a treacherous and changing world by knowing more about itself and others.
    Academic historians have pursued that art with extraordinary energy and considerable success during the past century. May our heirs and successors persevere and do even better! — William H. McNeill in “Mythistory, or Truth, Myth, History, and Historians”
  • “Its study, shares the ambiguity of events to the full, and often magnifies uncertainties and ignorances into learned arguments between rival schools. Yet such irritating imprecision is inescapable, for it a history were so simple, logical, and straightforward as to make everything that happened fully intelligible, it could not be true. Logical simplicity can only be attained by arbitrarily leaving things out. . . . [Historians] bring gradual modification to their learned tradition more by intuition and usage than by deliberate invention of an interpretive scheme or ideal model. Such an unphilosophic habit of mind, systematically distrustful of elaborately logical categories, makes it hard for the professional historian to answer such deceptively simple but philosophically difficult questions as ‘What is history?”‘ — William H. McNeill in “Arnold J. Toynbee, a Life”
  • “WHY should anyone bother learning about things that happened far away and long ago? Who cares about Cleopatra, Charlemagne, Montezuma or Confucius? And why worry about George Washington, or how democratic government and industrial society arose? Isn’t there quite enough to learn about the world today? Why add to the burden by looking at the past? Historians ought to try to answer such questions by saying what the study of history is good for, and what it cannot do. But since no one can speak for the historical profession as a whole, this essay is no more than a personal statement, commissioned by the American Historical Association in the hope of convincing all concerned that the study of history is indeed worthwhile and necessary for the education of effective citizens and worthy human beings. Historical knowledge is no more and no less than carefully and critically constructed collective memory. As such it can both make us wiser in our public choices and more richly human in our private lives.[The] study of history may . . . enlarge individual [and] direct experience [so] as to allow some men to become wise; and all men may hope to profit in some degree from a study that enlarges knowledge of the variety of human potentiality and circumstance so directly as history does. . . . Other disciplines and branches of knowledge, of course, have great importance in any practical application of knowledge to society or to individual lives. Historical wisdom more often acts as a brake and moderator than as a motor or guide line for deliberate efforts to change personal and social life. But this constitutes practical wisdom, the fine flower of experience and knowledge, which grows best in a mind that has reflected upon and mastered at least some portion of the vast historical heritage of man-kind.” — William H. McNeill on “Why study history?” American Historical Association, 1985— William H. McNeill, author and historian, spoke about the history of man at the 18th Annual Humanities Festival.About William Hardy McNeill
  • William McNeill, author of The Rise of the West, Plagues and Peoples, and much else, has turned his attention to “the muscular, rhythmic dimension of human sociality” (p. 156) in aspects that have had little scholarly attention, and especially little from sociologists. Here is true interdisciplinary work, involving, besides sociology, history, physiology, and political science…. Serving purposes evil or good, conservative or revolutionary, overcoming alienation or reinforcing the state, “euphoric response to keeping together in time is too deeply implanted in our genes to be exorcized for long. It remains the most powerful way to create or sustain a community that we have at our command.” It needs more of our attention as sociologists, and we must be grateful to William McNeill for identifying it as a field worthy of study. — Nathan Keyfitz, Harvard University Emeritus reviewing “Keeping Together in Time: Dance and Drill in Human History” in Contemporary Sociology, May, 1996
  • World history is coming. This is the message of the World History Association, formed by young historians in 1982 to take up the cause of world history from older scholars who had been fighting a losing battle within the profession for years. Their idol is William H. McNeill. Those who want to know why should read this little collection of his essays, ranging from a piece from 1961 on his discovery of Arnold Toynbee to his presidential address of 1985 to the American Historical Association on the provocative notion of “mythistory.” The main subject, however, is McNeill himself and his intellectual journey toward world history….
    True believers make the best crusaders. Complete faith in these ideas about world history probably was necessary to McNeill in his fight within an unyielding profession. To him world history is a higher history, involving larger human interests and appealing to the better part of ourselves. His version of it, as he frankly concedes, involves specifically American attitudes as well….
    Never mind. McNeill, most importantly, provides much that is convincing in these shining essays to recommend world history to our profession. The rest, the uplifting language about serving peace and saving history in the schools, can be reconciled as expressions of the moral idealism carried along by world history from its ancient origins in religious thought. High ideas just seem to go with the territory. — Gilbert Allardyce, University of New Brunswick, reviewing “Mythistory and Other Essays” in The American Historical Review, Apr., 1987
  • “Mr. McNeill’s erudition is impressive. His account of the effects of major innovations – the invention of chariot warfare around 1,800 B.C., the development of crossbow warfare in China and in Europe, the introduction of gunpowder in the 14th and 15th centuries, changes in artillery design introduced by the French and new methods of iron manufacturing used by the British in the 18th century, the steamships and railroads built in the 19th – is lively and clear. He is particularly impressive when he describes the invention of the “modern routines of army drill” by Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange, at the end of the 16th century. That technique not only increased the efficiency of armies in battle but also made it easier for monarchs and for aristocratic officers to command and control armies recruited from the lower classes. Mr. McNeill shows how, in various periods of history, latecomers found it easier to adopt new weapons than the great powers of the day which were burdened by huge obsolescent arsenals. He also emphasizes, as earlier historians have done, the impetus given to industry by the wars of the Napoleonic era and by military technology in 19th-century England. He says that is where the first modern military-industrial complex appeared at the end of the 19th century. – STANLEY HOFFMAN reviewing in the New York Times Book Review “THE PURSUIT OF POWER Technology, Armed Force and Society Since A. D. 1000”, November 28, 1982
  • William H. McNeill began observing and analyzing affairs in Greece more than three decades ago. His continuing interest in the development of this nation has resulted in no less than three books on modern Greece, which taken together provide a sustained and unique commentary on the country. The latest reflects both the fund of knowledge about Greece that McNeill has built up these past thirty years and the broad perspective of historical change that has become the trademark of his writing. The appearance of this work is indeed timely. Events in the country these past ten years have brought changes whose ultimate impact will not be clearly manifested in some instances for several more decades….
    From the author’s survey, which combines history and contemporary observation, there emerges a picture of a people full of contradictions. We see the antipodes of food-deficit and food-producing villages; of the heroic versus the calculating, entrepreneurial spirit; of the secular and the devoutly Orthodox individual; the hill and the plains people; and, finally, of the rural and urban world in Greece. By combining these often conflicting tendencies within their culture the Greeks have produced a vigorous society that is both enduring and unique in McNeill’s estimation.
    This is a work that has something to offer even to those most knowledgeable about modern Greek life. It is a luminous example of how interpreting the past can serve to make the present more intelligible and the future less of an enigma. — Gerasimos Augustinos, University of South Carolina, reviewing “The Metamorphosis of Greece since World War II in the The American Historical Review, Oct., 1979
  • “PROFESSOR McNEILL has gained a well-deserved reputation by writing about the big changes that have shaped the world. In his latest volume devoted to this theme, Plagues and Peoples, he draws attention to the undoubted importance of disease in determining human history. The work is based on a very wide reading of the secondary sources, and brings together a huge range of data likely to be instructive to both professionals and amateurs interested in the history of disease. Professor McNeill develops from this data a coherent interpretation of the relationship between parasitic micro-organisms and human populations which is, in general, accurate. He is especially effective in drawing attention to the relationship between the rise and fall of empires and the devastations of epidemic disease.” — John Norris, University of British Columbia reviewing “PLAGUES AND PEOPLES” in Pacific Affairs, Autumn 1977
  • THE title of this work recalls by contrast The Decline of the West by Spengler. Its subtitle, A History of the Human Community, suggests something even more extensive, if less apocalyptic. It ranges from Palaeolithic Man to the present day, and covers a great deal of the world. And it appears to have the approval of Dr. Arnold Toynbee, though the blurb claims that the author ‘challenges the Spengler-Toynbee view that a number of separate civilisations pursued essentially independent careers’. This is a book, it must be admitted, which awakes admiration that it has been written at all, irrespective of its quality; and it would require a committee to review it. The author, who is Chairman of the Department of History at Chicago University, and a modern historian concerned with the twentieth century, reflects a trend of American education: the broad course of culture-history, in relation to which it is felt that it is better to suffer many errors of detail in specialized fields than to have total ignorance of whole tracts of human experience. — R. J. Hopper, University of Sheffield, reviewing “The Rise of the West” in The Classical Review, Dec., 1964
  • THIS work of major significance deserves the attention particularly of those historians who have had reservations about the rationale or feasibility of world history. The fact that a globally oriented history of mankind should have appeared at this particular time is in itself noteworthy. It represents a return to the his.. toriographic tradition of the Enlightenment, when the idea of universal history fitted in with the prevailing views regarding progress. Prior to that period Western historians had been constrained by the need to fit all historical events into a rigid Biblical context….This century is surely witnessing the decline of the West in certain respects, and its triumph in others; indeed the two processes are interrelated and mutually stimulating. McNeill recognizes this in a footnote on his final page. If this book had appeared in 1914, or even in 1939, the process of decline could have been relegated to a footnote. In 1963 it suggests that the author has become the prisoner of his title and that his subtitle might have been a more functional, if less striking, description of his work. Also the banal and frequently confusing pictograms have no place in a study of such sophistication and stature. In conclusion, the significance of McNeill’s contribution must be underscored. World history hitherto has been left largely to amateurs or to philosophers of history such as Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee. In their search for patterns and general laws they treated the rise and fall of “civilizations” as isolated and self-sufficient events. McNeill has provided here an alternative to this ahistorical disregard of time and space and in doing so has demonstrated that world history is a viable and intellectually respectable field of study. — — L. S. Stavrianos, Northwestern University reviewing “The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community” in The American Historical Review, Apr., 1964
  • “THIS is an excellent survey of the crucially important co-operation of the United States, Great Britain, and Soviet Russia against the Axis Powers from December, 1941, to February, 1945, and of the tragic, though seemingly inevitable, breakdown of that co-operation from February, 1945, to December, 1946. The author writes with clarity and liveliness on the military, political, and economic bases of Allied co-operation, and shows great skill in presenting the plans and factors that determined the course of events. He relies exclusively upon published source-materials and the main secondary accounts available in English, French, and Italian. This limits the extent of “inside” revelations that he is able to make, but he has had the benefit of counsel from persons familiar with the events narrated, who remain anonymous, in accordance with Chatham House policy. The influence of Professor Arnold Toynbee’s teachings is acknowledged. Historians will find especially useful his lucid presentation of the complex questions affecting the conduct of the war and the postwar peace settlements. The sketches of the personal characteristics of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, and of various minor figures are vivid and suggestive… — Sidney Ratner, Rutgers University reviewing “America, Britain, and Russia: Their Co-Operation and Conflict, 1941-1946” in The American Historical Review, Jul., 1954

Basic Facts

Teaching Positions:

University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, instructor, 1947-49, assistant professor, 1949-55, associate professor, 1955-57, professor of history, 1957-69, Robert D. Millikan Distinguished Service Professor of History, 1969–, chair of department, 1961-69.

Visiting Appointments:

Member of summer faculty, University of Washington, 1953 and 1969;
exchange professor, University of Frankfurt, 1956;
John H. Burns Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Hawaii, 1980;
George Eastman Professor, Oxford University, 1980-81.
Demos Foundation, president, chair of board of directors, 1980.
Consultant to Education Research Council, Cleveland, 1965–.
Member of Twentieth Century Fund survey team in Greece, 1947.

Military service: U.S. Army, 1941-46;
assistant military attache to Greece, 1944-46; became major.

Area of Research:

Education:

University of Chicago, B.A., 1938, M.A., 1939; Cornell University, Ph.D., 1947.

Major Publications:

  • Greek Dilemma: War and Aftermath, Lippincott, 1947.
  • History Handbook of Western Civilization, University of Chicago Press, 1953, 4th revised edition, 1958.
  • America, Britain and Russia: Their Cooperation and Conflict, 1941-46, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1953.
  • Past and Future, University of Chicago Press, 1954.
  • Greece: American Aid in Action, Twentieth Century Fund, 1957.
  • The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community, University of Chicago Press, 1963.
  • Europe’s Steppe Frontier 1500-1800, University of Chicago Press, 1964.
  • A World History, Oxford University Press, 1967, 3rd edition, 1979.
  • The Contemporary World, Scott, Foresman, 1967, revised edition, 1975.
  • The Ecumene: Story of Humanity, Harper, 1973.
  • The Shape of European History, Oxford University Press, 1974.
  • Venice: The Hinge of Europe, 1081-1797, University of Chicago Press, 1974. Plagues and Peoples, Doubleday, 1976.
  • The Metamorphosis of Greece since World War II, University of Chicago Press, 1978.
  • The Human Condition: An Ecological and Historical View, Princeton University Press, 1980.
  • History of Western Civilization: A Handbook, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1986.
  • Mythistory and Other Essays, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1986.
  • The History of the Human Community: Prehistory to the Present, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1987.
  • The Age of Gunpowder Empires, 1450-1800, American Historical Association (Washington, DC), 1989.
  • Arnold J. Toynbee, a Life, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1989.
  • The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community: With a Retrospective Essay, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1990.
  • Population and Politics since 1750, University Press of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA), 1990.
  • The Global Condition: Conquerors, Catastrophes, and Community, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1992.
  • Toynbee Revisited, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1993.
  • The History of the Human Community: Prehistory to the Present, Prentice Hall (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 1997.
  • A World History. Oxford University Press; 4th edition, 1998.
  • The Pursuit of Truth: A Historian’s Memoir, University of Kentucky Press, 2005.
  • Hutchins’ University: A Memoir of the University of Chicago, 1929-1950, University Of Chicago Press, 2007.

Editor & Joint Author:

  • (With wife, E. D. McNeill and Frank Smothers) Report on the Greeks, Twentieth Century Fund, 1948.
  • editor-in-chief of sixteen world history maps for Denoyer-Geppert, 1956, revised edition, 1963.
  • (Editor) Lord Action: Essays in the Liberal Interpretation of History, University of Chicago Press, 1967.
  • (Editor-in-chief) Readings in World History, ten volumes, Oxford University Press, 1968-73.
  • (Editor with Ruth S. Adams) Human Migration: Patterns and Policies, Indiana University Press, 1978.
  • (With son J. R. McNeill) The Human Web: A Bird’s-Eye View of World History, W. W. Norton & Co, 2003.

Contributer:

  • G. von Grunebaum and W. Hartner, editors, Klassizismus und Kulturverfall, Klosterman (Frankfurt), 1960.
  • E. Gargan, editor, The Intent of Toynbee’s History, Loyola University Press, 1961.
  • Martin Ballard, editor, New Movements in the Study and Teaching of History, Temple Smith, 1970.
  • Kemal Karpat, editor, The Ottoman State and Its Place in World History, E. J. Brill, 1974.
  • Jean Cuisinier, editor, Europe as a Cultural Area, Mouton, 1979.

Also contributor of chapters to numerous other books. Contributor of articles and book reviews to professional journals.

Awards:

  • Fulbright research scholar, 1950-51;
  • Rockefeller grant, 1951-52, and 1976, for The Metamorphosis of Greece since World War II;
  • Ford faculty fellow, 1954-55; Carnegie five-year grant for completion of The Rise of the West, 1957-62;
  • National Book Award in nonfiction, 1964, for The Rise of the West;
  • Guggenheim grant, 1971-72, for Venice;

Josiah H. Macy Foundation grant, 1973-74, for Plagues and Peoples;
recipient of several honorary degrees;
The Erasmus Prize from the Dutch government for his contribution to European culture, 1996.

2009 National Humanities Medal presented by President Barack Obama, February 25, 2010

Additional Info:

President of the American Historical Association, 1985 ;
Vice-Chairman of the Christopher Columbus Quincentenary Jubilee Commission, 1985.
McNeill is a member of the following associations: American Historical Association, American Philosophical Society, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, British Academy, Modern Greek Studies Association, and Phi Beta Kappa.

Sources: For introductory bio, Why Study History? – Essay by William H. McNeill and University of Kentucky Press The Pursuit of Truth: A Historian’s Memoir By William Hardy McNeill.
For basic facts, “William Hardy McNeill,” Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2004.

Posted on Sunday, July 20, 2008 at 11:31 PM

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