History Buzz October 18, 2010: Historians Defend Obama at Midterm

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. Her blog is History Musings



  • Simon Schama’s appointment as history tsar an insult, says Mary Beard: The appointment of historian and presenter Simon Schama as the Coalition Government’s new history tsar has been condemned as insincere and insulting by a leading academic. Prof Mary Beard, classics professor at Cambridge University, described the announcement as an example of Michael Gove, the education secretary, “playing to the populist gallery”. She described the idea that a celebrity could be “parachuted” in to solve problems as insulting to British teachers and as an insincere stunt to grab attention. “This is celebrity culture at its most meretricious,” she said…. – Telegraph (UK) (10-8-10)


  • British schoolchildren ‘forced to drop history at 14’: History in schools is being put under threat as thousands of children are allowed to drop the subject at the age of 14 for “trivial reasons”, according to a leading academic. Dr Sean Lang, senior lecturer in history at Anglia Ruskin University, criticised the “absolutely ludicrous” system in Britain that requires pupils to choose subject options half-way through secondary education. He said many children were pushed into abandoning vital components of the curriculum for spurious reasons rarely linked to the academic discipline…. – Telegraph (UK) (10-14-10)
  • Rogers State University offers degree in military history: The class had already reached the Punic Wars by late September, but the students in Rogers State University’s introduction to military history course have a lot of ground left to cover if they are going to get to the Vietnam War by the end of the semester. It’s only the second time the course has been offered at RSU, and yet it has 20 students…. – Tulsa World (10-11-10)
  • Historians Try to Break the Seal on Nixon’s Grand-Jury Testimony: What did Richard M. Nixon tell members of a federal grand jury when he testified before them in June 1975? Hoping to find out, a leading Watergate historian and four historical associations have filed a petition in federal court to make that testimony public. Grand-jury testimony almost always remains sealed. In this instance, the petitioners said, the historical interest justifies opening it.
    Public Citizen Litigation Group, the legal arm of the watchdog outfit founded by Ralph Nader, filed the petition last month on behalf of Stanley I. Kutler, a historian and emeritus professor of law at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, along with the AHA, the American Society for Legal History, the Organization of American Historians, and the Society of American Archivists. A number of historians contributed declarations of support for the motion. So did one of the few still-living players in the Watergate scandal, John W. Dean III, Nixon’s White House counsel from 1970-73…. – CHE (10-7-10)


  • Professor Phyllis Chesler: Anti-Semitism Cannot be Equated with Islamophobia: Even as Chancellor Angela Merkel pronounces the failure of “multiculturalism” in Germany, the English-language German newspaper reporter, Marc Young, writing for the English-language German news at The Local, proclaims that “bigotry towards Muslims is the new anti-Semitism.”
    As the author of a book with the title The New Anti-Semitism (with an edition in German), allow me to remind Mr. Young that one of the things that is “new” about this most ancient of hatreds is that it is pandemic in the Islamic world and in Muslim communities in the West and that the multicultural relativists in the world’s universities, media, and political leadership, are collaborating with it in the name of “political correctness.”
    Thus, what both Young and those who run the state-subsidized Center for Research on Anti-Semitism at the University of Berlin have learned from the Nazi Holocaust is that Europeans should not discriminate against Muslims as they once did against Jews…. – Arutz Sheva, 10-19-10
  • Alan Brinkley: ‘Mad Men,’ A Conversation (Season Four Finale): …I think there are two major themes that have run through this last season, and indeed through the entire run of the show. One is the changing role of women, and the other is the struggling identity of Don Draper.
    The show has not been particularly good in dealing with some of the most important issues of the mid-1960s. For example, there’s been very little about race and only a few references to the counter culture. But it has been excellent in the way it portrays women. It provides examples of women who, as in The Feminist Mystique, have struggled and failed to find a role in the world (Betty, Midge, to some degree Joan) smart, powerful women who feel trapped and unfulfilled; and it provides examples of women who are moving forward into a feminist world and becoming professionally successful, but are doing so at a price (Peggy and Faye most prominently). In some ways, the show is more about women than about men, and it is one of the great strengths of the show…. – WSJ, 10-18-10
  • Greg Schneider: Right to Work = Economic Growth: From 1935 until 1947, it was legal for closed shops to exist. If you wanted a job in a unionized factory, you had to join the union. Congress then passed the Taft-Hartley Act, restricting the power of union political action committees and allowing states to pass right-to-work laws. Taft-Hartley has been the law governing labor relations ever since.
    Labor unions have been trying to repeal Taft-Hartley since 1947, but they have been unable to do so as a coalition of Southern Democrats and Republicans blocked repeal. Sherman’s new legislation can be seen as a continuation of that cat-and-mouse game in Congress…. – Daily Caller (10-13-10)
  • Michael B. Oren: An End to Israel’s Invisibility: NEARLY 63 years after the United Nations recognized the right of the Jewish people to independence in their homeland — and more than 62 years since Israel’s creation — the Palestinians are still denying the Jewish nature of the state. “Israel can name itself whatever it wants,” said the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, while, according to the newspaper Haaretz, his chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said that the Palestinian Authority will never recognize Israel as the Jewish state. Back in 1948, opposition to the legitimacy of a Jewish state ignited a war. Today it threatens peace.
    Mr. Abbas and Mr. Erekat were responding to the call by the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, enabling his government to consider extending the moratorium on West Bank construction….
    The core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been the refusal to recognize Jews as a people, indigenous to the region and endowed with the right to self-government. Criticism of Israeli policies often serves to obscure this fact, and peace continues to elude us. By urging the Palestinians to recognize us as their permanent and legitimate neighbors, Prime Minister Netanyahu is pointing the way out of the current impasse: he is identifying the only path to co-existence…. – NYT (10-14-10)
  • Mark Leccese: Controversy over Doris Kearns Goodwin’s appearance in Ken Burns’s “Tenth Inning”: Two weeks ago, a handful of bloggers wrote scathingly about Ken Burns’ use of former Boston Globe columnist Mike Barnicle and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin — two prominent writers who have faced credible plagiarism and fabrication charges that you can read about here, here and here — as prominent interview subjects in Burns’ most recent documentary about baseball, “The Tenth Inning.”… – Boston Globe (10-12-10)
  • NYT hosts “Room for Debate” roundtable on Woodrow Wilson with historians: The regular NYT feature “Room for Debate” hosted a roundtable of historians on October 13 to discuss why Woodrow Wilson sparks such animosity within conservative circles today…. – NYT (10-11-10)


  • Beverly Gage on Jeffrey Owen Jones and Peter Meyer: Under God . . . or Not: THE PLEDGE A History of the Pledge of Allegiance Today’s conservatives often describe themselves as strict constructionists, seeking the “original meaning” of the nation’s founding texts. In the case of the Pledge of Allegiance, a much ­fetishized if not legally binding document, this approach is unlikely to yield the desired political result. As Jeffrey Owen Jones and Peter Meyer note, the original author of the pledge was a former Christian Socialist minister who hoped to redeem the United States from its class and ethnic antagonisms. Interpretations of its meaning have been growing more conservative, not more liberal, ever since…. – NYT, 10-17-10
  • Steven R. Weisman: The Professor Goes to Washington: DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN A Portrait in Letters of an American Visionary Like a relic from another era, Moynihan, for much of his public life, wrote long, substantive letters. These were neither gossipy notes nor dishy character sketches. Though a skilled writer, Moynihan didn’t have a literary mind. He was in the Oval Office shortly after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and his description of the scene there was terse and uninformative. Instead, his letters recorded the evolving intellectual adventure of a restless mind. Moynihan explored the grand themes of history and tried to understand the times in the most ambitious of ways: the cultural implications of the shift from the industrial to the post-industrial society, the disaffection of the intellectual class, the foreign policy implications of ethnic tension in a post-Communist world.
    Those letters have now been collected by a team led by Steven R. Weisman, once a colleague at The New York Times before he moved to the Peterson Institute for International Economics. The letters make for absorbing reading because Moynihan’s grand ideas were always driven by his own internal tensions. It was as if he were writing an intensely personal memoir…. – NYT, 10-17-10
  • Between ‘kindred’ enemies: Book provides new interpretation of War of 1812: A prominent U.S. historian is urging a radical rethink of the War of 1812, casting the conflict as less of a battle between nations and more of a civil war that tore families apart along the U.S.-Canada border, exploited the divided loyalties of First Nations and threatened to split the young U.S. republic just decades after it gained independence from Britain.
    Pulitzer Prize-winning history writer Alan Taylor, author of the just-released book titled The Civil War of 1812, argues that upcoming bicentennial commemorations of the battle for North America should highlight the internal tensions created in both Canada and the U.S. by a war often seen as a far-flung sub-plot of Napoleonic-era struggles for global dominance among European empires.
    Taylor, a professor of Canadian and American history at the University of California, begins his narrative with the travails of 19-year-old Ned Myers, a Quebec-born, Halifax-raised emigrant to New York who fully embraced his new American identity and rushed to join the fight against British-Canadian forces when war broke out in 1812…. – Montreal Gazette, 10-18-10
  • Condoleeza Rice: Not a Hint of the Storms in the Offing EXTRAORDINARY, ORDINARY PEOPLE A Memoir of Family Condoleezza Rice’s memoir, “Extraordinary, Ordinary People,” ends where most readers would probably rather it began: with the 2000 election, the recount in Florida and the Supreme Court ruling that put George W. Bush in the White House. There’s nothing about the toxic events on the near horizon — 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the rippling policy misadventures that reverberated from each — events in which the author played crucial and controversial roles. That’s all for later and perhaps more invigorating books. (Ms. Rice is scheduled to deliver a policy memoir in 2012.) “Extraordinary, Ordinary People” is instead an origins story, a minor-key memoir mostly about Ms. Rice’s upbringing in Birmingham, Ala., during the early years of the civil rights movement. Her parents, both teachers, were striving and selfless members of that city’s black bourgeoisie. They sacrificed nearly everything so that their talented only child could become a sleek, heat-seeking, success-driven missile…. – NYT, 10-13-10Excerpt
  • Condoleeza Rice: A Life Between: EXTRAORDINARY, ORDINARY PEOPLE A Memoir of Family As of 2005, the United States had a black, female secretary of state, and yet black America has largely observed this more than celebrated it. There is a tacit sense “out there” that Condoleezza Rice isn’t black in the “real” way, as we might put it. Not with” us, perhaps…. Yet there is more to it than that. Rice’s public self-presentation is distinctly impersonal. Unethnic, for one, but shading into outright ineffability. One grapples for an adjective to describe her personality, even after reading her autobiography, “Extraordinary, Ordinary People.”… – NYT, 10-15-10
  • Three books on British royals: A Royal Passion: The Turbulent Marriage of King Charles I of England and Henrietta Maria of France, by Katie Whitaker
    Elizabeth’s Women: Friends, Rivals, and Foes Who Shaped the Virgin Queen, by Tracy Borman
    Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen, by Anna Whitelock
    Long before the term “glass ceiling” was coined, strong, inspired women were making their mark on history, despite a dizzying array of obstacles. Of course, it helps to have a privileged background like the people presented here, but the formidable determination of these royals serves as a model to women of all stations…. – WaPo, 10-1-10
  • In Bob Woodward’s ‘Obama’s Wars,’ Neil Sheehan sees parallels to Vietnam: In another of his superbly reported insider accounts, “Obama’s Wars,” Bob Woodward recounts how a new president may well have embroiled himself in a war that could poison his presidency — just as his predecessor, George W. Bush, destroyed his with a foolhardy war in Iraq and Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were ruined by the war in Vietnam…. – WaPo, 9-30-10
  • Stephen Breyer’s “Making Democracy Work,” reviewed by David Fontana: MAKING OUR DEMOCRACY WORK A Judge’s View Supreme Court justices are rarely seen in public, and even more rarely seen in public talking about how the Supreme Court should handle controversial constitutional cases. But since the release of his new book, “Making Our Democracy Work,” Justice Stephen Breyer has been hard to miss doing precisely that, on shows such as “Charlie Rose” and “Larry King Live” and at places such as the National Archives in Washington. Five years ago Breyer wrote a book about the Constitution, but “Making Our Democracy Work” is a more sweeping attempt to articulate a progressive vision of that document to compete with the vision articulated by conservative jurists such as Justice Antonin Scalia. Breyer wants courts to interpret the Constitution by considering many factors, including how to make judicial decisions workable. The complexity of this pragmatic constitutional theory makes it compelling, but that same complexity makes Breyer’s approach difficult for the public and politicians to accept…. – WaPo, 10-1-10
  • Roger Moorhouse’s “Berlin at War,” reviewed by Jonathan Yardley: Moorhouse, a British writer for BBC History magazine as well as the author of “Killing Hitler: The Plots, the Assassins, and the Dictator Who Cheated Death” (2006), tells the story of Berlin’s war thoroughly and fairly. He focuses as much as possible on ordinary citizens rather than Nazi kingpins and apparatchiks, and he leaves little doubt that this was a war few Berliners had wanted and by which all of them suffered. Probably the groundbreaking book on the subject is Antony Beevor’s powerful “The Fall of Berlin: 1945” (2002), but Moorhouse covers a far longer period of time and in that sense is more ambitious, though the few paragraphs he devotes to atrocities committed by Soviet soldiers on German women at the war’s end pale in comparison with Beevor’s passionate and painfully detailed account. Still, there is more than enough pain in “Berlin at War” to satisfy all but the most masochistic readers. It tells the story of a civilized and cultured city gradually sinking into the depths of degradation, almost completely helpless before the onslaught of Allied ground troops and bombers as well as the incompetence and greed of the Nazi leadership…. – WaPo, 10-1-10
  • Steven R. Weisman: Moynihan in His Own Words: DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN A Portrait in Letters of an American Visionary Daniel Patrick Moynihan, adviser to three presidents, a four-term United States senator from New York and a prolific author, posthumously reveals his insights into personalities and public policy in thousands of pages of intimate and candid correspondence that has been culled from the Library of Congress to produce “Daniel Patrick Moynihan: A Portrait in Letters of an American Visionary,” which PublicAffairs is to publish next month.
    Excerpts from the book, edited by Steven R. Weisman, a former reporter for The New York Times who is the editorial director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, appear this week in New York magazine…. – NYT, 9-20-10


  • ‘Culture of Poverty’ Makes a Comeback: For more than 40 years, social scientists investigating the causes of poverty have tended to treat cultural explanations like Lord Voldemort: That Which Must Not Be Named.
    The reticence was a legacy of the ugly battles that erupted after Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then an assistant labor secretary in the Johnson administration, introduced the idea of a “culture of poverty” to the public in a startling 1965 report. Although Moynihan didn’t coin the phrase (that distinction belongs to the anthropologist Oscar Lewis), his description of the urban black family as caught in an inescapable “tangle of pathology” of unmarried mothers and welfare dependency was seen as attributing self-perpetuating moral deficiencies to black people, as if blaming them for their own misfortune.
    Moynihan’s analysis never lost its appeal to conservative thinkers, whose arguments ultimately succeeded when President Bill Clinton signed a bill in 1996 “ending welfare as we know it.” But in the overwhelmingly liberal ranks of academic sociology and anthropology the word “culture” became a live grenade, and the idea that attitudes and behavior patterns kept people poor was shunned. Now, after decades of silence, these scholars are speaking openly about you-know-what, conceding that culture and persistent poverty are enmeshed.
    “We’ve finally reached the stage where people aren’t afraid of being politically incorrect,” said Douglas S. Massey, a sociologist at Princeton who has argued that Moynihan was unfairly maligned…. – NYT, 10-17-10


  • Garry Wills’ Adventures As An ‘Outsider Looking In’: Journalist and historian Garry Wills is a professor emeritus at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. He says he’s currently reading John Spike’s Young Michelangelo and Garry Trudeau’s 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective. “Most of the good things that have happened in my life happened because of books,” says Pulitzer Prize-winning author, journalist and historian Garry Wills — and that includes meeting his wife. They met on a plane — he was a passenger, she was a flight attendant. She took one look at his book and told him that he was too young to be reading French philosopher Henri Bergson.
    “I was a bookworm from the very beginning and to this day,” Wills tells NPR’s Robert Siegel. “There’s practically no minute of the day that I don’t have a book in hand.” Wills has written many books of his own — about Richard Nixon, Abraham Lincoln, the Declaration of Independence, Christianity and more. His latest work is a memoir called Outside Looking In: Adventures of an Observer…. – NPR, 10-19-10
  • Philip Goff: IUPUI Professor Serves as Historian/Consultant for PBS’ “God in America” Series: Despite this country’s tradition of separating church and state, Americans have historically believed that our country was created for a divine purpose. “The debate has been over just what that divine purpose has been – and that’s where politics has played a role,” says Philip Goff, executive director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, part of the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Goff is one of several religious historians interviewed for “God in America,” the first TV production to explore “the tumultuous 400-year history of the intersection of religion and public life in America,” according to PBS. The six-hour series will air on PBS Oct. 11, 12 and 13, 2010…. – IUPUI News Center (10-11-10)


  • Further Fed Easing Could Alarm ‘Bond Market Hawks,’ Historian Meltzer Says: Allan Meltzer, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and a historian of the U.S. Federal Reserve, discusses the central bank’s monetary policy. Meltzer speaks with Betty Liu on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop.” The Federal Reserve’s efforts to boost the economy by expanding its balance sheet probably won’t succeed while increasing the chances of higher long-term inflation, said Allan Meltzer, a historian of the central bank. “Sooner or later the bond market hawks are going to say, ‘How are they going to get rid of that $2 trillion of excess reserves?’ and the answer is they don’t know,” Meltzer, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, said today in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop with Betty Liu.”
    “They can’t do much about the near term but they can do a lot about the longer term. But they ignore that,” said Meltzer, author of a history of the Fed…. – Blomberg, 10-12-10
  • Douglas Brinkley makes the case for Obama: For many progressives, the presidency of Barack Obama has been deeply disappointing. To hear some prominent lefties tell it, the New Jesus of the campaign trail has morphed into the New Judas of the Oval Office. “He loves to buckle,” MSNBC host Cenk Uygur declared in a July segment called “Losing the Left.” “Obama’s not going to give us real change — he’s going to give us pocket change and hang a ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner.”…
    From the outset, it was inevitable that Obama’s transcendent campaign would give way to an earthbound presidency — one constrained by two wars, an economy in free fall and an opposition party bent on obstruction at any price. “Expectations were so sky-high for him that they were impossible to fulfill,” says presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. “Obama’s partly to blame for this: People were expecting a progressive revolution. What the president has delivered instead is gritty, nuts-and-bolts, political legislative work — and it’s been rough.”… – Rolling Stone (10-28-10)
  • Robert M. Citino wonders why an Ohio congressional candidate dresses up like a Nazi: But Robert M. Citino, a military historian and professor at the University of North Texas, told Mr. Green that the Nazi division’s role in the Second World War was far from heroic:
    The entire German war effort in the East was a racial crusade to rid the world of ‘subhumans,’ Slavs were going to be enslaved in numbers of tens of millions. And of course the multimillion Jewish population of Eastern Europe was going to be exterminated altogether. That’s what all these folks were doing in the East. It sends a shiver up my spine to think that people want to dress up and play SS on the weekend…. – NYT (10-11-10)


  • Top Historian Views 111th Congress as One of The Most Productive: In this Part One of a two-part ‘ Power Breakfast’… assessing the productivity – and/or lack thereof – of the 111th Congress. The director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, American University Professor James Thurber, takes the long view. He views the session’s economic stimulus package, health care overhaul and financial regulatory reform legislation to be some of most monumental accomplishments since LBJ or FDR…. – Capitol News Connection, 10-19-10
  • Krugman, Niall Ferguson Renew Debate Over U.S. Stimulus: Nobel Prize-winning economistPaul Krugman and Niall Ferguson, author of “The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World,” clashed anew today over how to revive the U.S. economy. Krugman, 57, a Princeton University professor, is urging the Obama administration to undertake a second round of fiscal stimulus, while Harvard University historian Ferguson, 46, warns such a course may trigger a “debt spiral” in the world’s biggest economy. “The risk is that at some point your fiscal policy loses credibility in the eyes of investors,” Ferguson said at the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul. “Then, very quickly, you will find yourself in a debt spiral of rising rates, widening deficits, crumbling credibility and yet more rising rates.” The debate comes as minutes of the Federal Reserve policy makers’ meeting on Sept. 21 show they were prepared to ease monetary policy “before long” as growth slows and the jobless rate remains near a 26-year high. “We actually never did significant fiscal expansion,” Krugman said at today’s forum, appearing beside Ferguson. “What does a trillion dollars of borrowing do to the U.S. long-run fiscal position? The stimulus right now makes almost no difference.”… – Bloomberg, 10-13-10
  • The Israel-Arab Time Bomb: Interview with Elie RekhessJerusalem Post (10-14-10)
  • Julian Zelizer On Jimmy Carter: Rethinking Jimmy Carter: Most historians believe President Jimmy Carter was doomed to fail because he was a tone deaf moralist who lacked political skills. Princeton historian Julian Zelizer says Carter’s formidable strengths could have made his presidency more successful. We take a closer look at the Carter presidency with Julian Zelizer. – KUOW, 10-12-10 Real Audio Mp3 Lo Mp3 Hi Download
  • NPR: If You’re Just Joining Us, The Republicans Are Dangerously Extremist: Perhaps the people at National Public Radio are worried that a new Republican Congress could threaten the lavishness of its federal subsidies again. Or maybe NPR is just a sandbox for the Left. But on Wednesday, the show Fresh Air spent most of its hour suggesting the Republican Party was dangerously infested with extremists. The guest was Princeton professor Sean Wilentz, who has written that George W. Bush practiced “a radicalized version of Reaganism.” Host Terry Gross was promoting Wilentz’s article in The New Yorker on Glenn Beck and the Tea Party…. – Newsbusters.org, 10- 17-10


  • Library of Virginia awards announced: Novelist Barbara Kingsolver, historian Woody Holton and poet Debra Nystrom are the top winners of the Library of Virginia’s annual Literary Awards. The awards were announced last night at a gala celebration at the library for which novelist Adriana Trigiani served as host…. – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10-17-10
  • Bangor University (UK) commemorates medieval historian J. E. Lloyd: A historian who changed the face of modern Welsh history is to be commemorated with a biennial Public Lecture in his name at Bangor University. The inaugural J. E. Lloyd Lecture will discuss J.E. Lloyd’s own reinterpretation of Welsh history. The Lecture takes place at 6.15 on Friday 22 October at Bangor University’s Main Arts Lecture Theatre and is open to all Medievalists.net (10-13-10)
  • British historian Peter Hennessy appointed to House of Lords: A LEADING authority on contemporary British history who has taught generations of students at Queen Mary’s Mile End campus has been elevated to the House of Lords…. – East London Advertiser (10-10-10)
  • Finalists announced for 2010 Cundill Prize in History: The finalists for McGill University’s Cundill Prize in History, the largest award for historical non-fiction in the world, were announced on Thursday….
    Giancarlo Casale for The Ottoman Age of Exploration
    Diarmaid Macculloch for A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years
    Marla R. Miller for Betsy Ross and the Making of AmericaNational Post (10-8-10)
  • Retired UCR professor to be honored by Queen Elizabeth II: A retired UC Riverside professor is set to be honored by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. Henry Snyder, UC Riverside professor of history emeritus, will be presented with the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire medal Oct. 16 in Los Angeles, for his 32 years of work on the English Short-Title Catalogue…. – Southwest Riverside News Network (10-9-10)
  • Diane Ravitch named one of Atlantic’s 19 “Brave Thinkers”: When Diane Ravitch decided that reform ideas like robust testing, charter schools, and No Child Left Behind were imperiling rather than saving American education, she managed to break with her former Republican allies and start a fight with Obama Democrats, all at once….
    Teachers unions and some civil-rights groups sounded these alarms before Ravitch did. But her sharp writing and mastery of history (she’s an education professor and historian at New York University) mean that no one makes the case more forcefully…. – The Atlantic (11-1-10)


  • James Loewen to open Filson conference in Louisville He’ll tackle the lies about secession: The Filson Institute Academic Conference:
    When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, with opening address by James Loewen; 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Friday; and 8:30 a.m.-2:15 p.m. Saturday.
    Where: Filson Historical Society, 1310 S. Third St.
    Loewen will give the opening address of the three-day conference, which begins Thursday at the Filson Historical Society. The conference topic, “Secessions: From the American Revolution to the Civil War,” coincides with the 150th anniversary of South Carolina’s secession from the Union and will explore moments in U.S. history when Americans threatened or acted upon a perceived right to secede from state or national authorities.
    Andrew Cayton, distinguished professor of history at Miami University in Ohio; Manisha Sinha, an associate professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; and historian Jon Kukla are among the conference’s 27 scholars who will present papers and comments about secession issues between 1783 and 1865…. – Louisville Courier-Journal, 10-18-10
  • Prominent University of Chicago historian will deliver annual W. Bruce Lincoln Lecture: Historian Ramón Gutiérrez — an award-winning author and director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago — will visit Northern Illinois University later this month to deliver the seventh annual W. Bruce Lincoln Lecture. The lecture, titled “Thinking About Race in a Post-Racial America: From Plessy v. Ferguson to Barack Obama,” will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, in the Altgeld Hall Auditorium. The event is free and open to all. It is sponsored by the NIU History Department and the W. Bruce Lincoln Endowment…. – NIU, 10-15-10
  • THE NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY MAKES ITS MOST IMPORTANT COLLECTIONS RELATING TO SLAVERY AVAILABLE ONLINE: Rich trove of material becomes easily accessible at www.nyhistory.org/slaverycollection The New-York Historical Society is proud to announce the launch of a new online portal to nearly 12,000 pages of source materials documenting the history of slavery in the United States, the Atlantic slave trade and the abolitionist movement. Made readily accessible to the general public for the first time at www.nyhistory.org/slaverycollections, these documents from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries represent fourteen of the most important collections in the library’s Manuscript Department….
  • Understanding the Iran-Contra Affairs,” is the only comprehensive website on the famous Reagan-era government scandal, which stemmed from the U.S. government’s policies toward two seemingly unrelated countries, Nicaragua and Iran. Despite stated and repeated denials to Congress and to the public, Reagan Administration officials supported the militant contra rebels in Nicaragua and sold arms to a hostile Iranian government. These events have led to questions about the appropriateness of covert operations, congressional oversight, and even the presidential power to pardon…. – irancontra.org
  • Thousands of Studs Terkel interviews going online: The Library of Congress will digitize the Studs Terkel Oral History Archive, according to the agreement, while the museum will retain ownership of the roughly 5,500 interviews in the archive and the copyrights to the content. Project officials expect digitizing the collection to take more than two years…. – NYT, 5-13-10
  • Digital Southern Historical Collection: The 41,626 scans reproduce diaries, letters, business records, and photographs that provide a window into the lives of Americans in the South from the 18th through mid-20th centuries.


  • Professor offers a look into the life of migrant laborers: Professor of Mexican History at North Dakota State University, Dr. Jim Norris, visited UCF on Thursday to offer a peek into a year in the life of migrant laborers in the United States. Before Norris began his lecture, creative writing major Colby Pryor admitted he was there for extra credit, but he expected an interesting lecture. “I hope it is a little entertaining, Pryor said…. – Central Florida Future, 10-




  • Robert M. Poole: On Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington National Cemetery, (Paperback), October 26, 2010
  • Robert Leckie: Challenge for the Pacific: Guadalcanal: The Turning Point of the War, (Paperback), October 26, 2010
  • Manning Marable: Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, (Hardcover), November 9, 2010
  • Elizabeth White: The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevik Russia: The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1917-39, (Hardcover), November 10, 2010
  • Elizabeth White: The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevik Russia: The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1917-39, (Hardcover), November 10, 2010
  • G. J. Barker-Benfield: Abigail and John Adams: The Americanization of Sensibility, (Hardcover), November 15, 2010
  • Edmund Morris: Colonel Roosevelt, (Hardcover), November 23, 2010
  • Michael Goldfarb: Emancipation: How Liberating Europe’s Jews from the Ghetto Led to Revolution and Renaissance, (Paperback), November 23, 2010


  • Former history professor Rhys Isaac dead at 72: Rhys Isaac, former Distinguished Visiting Professor of Early American History at the College, has died of cancer. He was 72. Isaac, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for his book “The Transformation of Virginia, 1740 -1790,” enjoyed an exemplary career in teaching and research, most especially in his scholarship on Colonial North America. He remains the only Australian historian ever to win a Pulitzer…. – William & Mary News (10-7-10)
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