HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP
By Bonnie K. Goodman
Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.
HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP
- American Historical Association’s (AHA) 125th Annual Meeting / Conference: Daily Recaps — History Musings
- Producers already pitch Kennedy project elsewhere: After the History channel said it would not air a controversial miniseries on the Kennedy family, producers were already seeking another television home.
The Showtime pay cable network has been approached to air the eight-part series, a spokesman said on Saturday. Eight years ago, Showtime aired a movie about President Reagan that CBS had made but decided not to broadcast when it faced pressure from some of that former president’s family. Showtime won’t make a decision about the Kennedy miniseries until its executives have a chance to see it, spokesman Richard Licata said….
A concerted effort was made to quash the series. Liberal filmmaker Robert Greenwald collected 50,000 petitions urging History not to air it, and he produced a short film condemning the project on a website, stopkennedysmears.com. He had been given an early script, which included one scene where President Kennedy tells his brother Robert about his need to have sex with other women. Former Kennedy aide Theodore Sorensen also harshly condemned the film, saying scenes in the script where he was depicted didn’t actually occur. History also likely felt corporate pressure. The network is owned by the A&E Television Networks, which itself is owned jointly by NBC Universal, the Walt Disney Co. and the Hearst Corp…. – AP, 1-8-11
- History network pulls plug on Kennedy project: The History Channel will not air a controversial miniseries it produced about the Kennedy family, saying the multimillion project that had become the network’s most expensive on record did not fit the “History brand.”
The eight-part series had already been completed, and starred Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes as President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie. But during its production, critics like former Kennedy administration aide Theodore Sorenson attacked the scripts as inaccurate. The role of producer Joel Surnow, a political conservative, also drew suspicion from fans of the Kennedy family.
“We have concluded this dramatic interpretation is not a fit for the History brand,” the network said in a statement late Friday. History, in its statement, said the decision was made after viewing the series in its totality. “We recognize historical fiction is an important medium for storytelling and commend all the hard work and passion that has gone into the making of the series, but ultimately deem this as the right programming decision for our network,” History said in a statement…. – AP, 1-8-11
- ‘Kennedys’ gets pulled: A&E Television Networks will not broadcast the miniseries “The Kennedys’’ on the History Channel this spring. The network has canceled the series starring Greg Kinnear as John F. Kennedy and Katie Holmes as Jackie Kennedy, concluding it was “not a fit’’ for the History Channel, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Upon completion of the production of ‘The Kennedys,’ History has decided not to air the eight-part miniseries,’’ a rep for A&E told the trade publication. The multimillion dollar project has been the subject of controversy since it was announced in December 2009. Developed by Joel Surnow, the conservative co-creator of “24,’’ the project was criticized by some Democrats and Kennedy historians. The miniseries is still set to air in Canada on March 6, and will still be broadcast internationally. – Boston Globe, 1-8-11
- History Channel Pulls ‘The Kennedys’; Says Controversial Miniseries ‘Not a Fit’: Ambitious miniseries was set to air this spring; stars Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes, and producer Joel Surnow were told today of cancellation.
In a surprise move, A&E Television Networks has canceled plans to broadcast The Kennedys, the ambitious and much- anticipated miniseries about the American political family that was set to air this spring on the History channel….. – The Hollywood Reporter, 1-8-11
- Virginia Historian Denies Changing Date on Lincoln Pardon Document: It was seen as one of President Abraham Lincoln’s last official acts before he was assassinated. The date of a pardon for a civil war union solider is being called into question. Federal officials believe the date on the document was changed to reflect the pardon was signed before Lincoln was murdered at Ford’s theater. The Archives said Monday that historian Thomas P. Lowry, 78, of Woodbridge, has acknowledged that he used a fountain pen with special ink to change the date on a presidential pardon issued by Lincoln to a military deserter, making it appear that Lowry had uncovered a document of historical significance. Federal officials say Lowry admitted to erasing the ‘4’ in the document and replacing it with a ‘5’. But when FOX 5 spoke with Lowry by phone on Tuesday, he said he had not changed the document. He says he was bullied into signing a confession by federal authorities who visited his home in Woodbridge…. – MyFoxDC, 1-25-11
- Va. Board Of Ed Wants To Improve Book Review Process: The Virginia Board of Education will review two error-filled textbooks to determine whether they’re fit to be used in the state’s schools.
At its Thursday meeting, the board directed Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia Wright to come up with a process to help the board decide whether the two books, both published by Connecticut-based Five Ponds Press, should be included on a list of approved books. The board adopted the directives as a motion made by board member David Foster of Arlington.
The board also asked Wright to ask experts to review all Five Ponds textbooks included on the approved books list and seek potential remedies from the publisher for school divisions that purchased the books. The books are the fourth-grade textbook, “Our Virginia: Past and Present” and the fifth-grade book, “Our America: To 1865.” – WY Daily, 1-15-11
- Va. withdraws approval of textbooks: The Virginia Board of Education on Thursday withdrew its approval of two elementary school history textbooks, which a panel of historians found to have dozens of errors. On Thursday, the Board of Education also ordered a review by experts of any other approved textbooks published by Five Ponds Press. The company currently has four world history books which are approved for use in the state’s classrooms. Those books passed the state’s textbook review process, in which panels of reviewers, often elementary school teachers, verified that the books cover each of the Standards of Learning themes. Experts in particular subject matters also sometimes review books…. – WaPo, 1-13-11
- Virginia Textbook Controversy: Publisher Will Replace VA Textbooks For Free — Board of Education Withdraws Approval: The publisher of this textbook will replace it at no cost to school divisions, due to errors found in two books. In response to criticism of errors found in its textbooks, Five Ponds Press announced Tuesday it intends to replace all copies of “Our Virginia” and “Our America: To 1865” for free…. – Williamsburg Yorktown Daily, 1-13-11
- Business Metaphor Still Ascendant at AHA: it was difficult to escape the conclusion, during the American Historical Association’s annual meeting here over the weekend, that higher education is in the throes of a crisis. Panels used the word “crisis” to describe the state of the job market for historians, the state of public universities, and the state of higher education in general. And the enemy was consistently identified as the ideology and analytical tools of business…. – Inside Higher Ed (1-11-11)
- Turns Out, Jobs for Historians Are…History: While Wednesday’s ADP number for December was surprisingly strong, skeptical strategists emphasize that this US labor market remains in a state of disarray.
How about the well educated among us? How are our PhD-carrying comrades navigating this lousy labor market? Interestingly, it depends on the area in which they specialize. According to a new report by Inside Higher Ed, historians have it rough: During the 2009-10 academic year, the number of positions listed with the American Historical Association dropped by 29.4%. That follows a 23.8% drop the year before. Last year, the association announced that the number of listings it received — 806 — was the smallest in a decade; this year’s total of 569 marks the smallest number in 25 years…. – Minyanville, 1-6-11
- Historians Continue to Face Tough Job Market: The job market for historians continued to deteriorate last year, although there is reason to hope it may be poised to rebound somewhat, according to a report released on Monday by the American Historical Association. The report, published in the group’s Perspectives on History, a newsletter, in advance of its annual conference this week, said the number of jobs posted with the association fell by more than 29 percent—from 806 to 569—during the 2009-10 academic year. Since two years ago, when the association posted an all-time high of 1,059 job openings, the number of jobs advertised with it has dropped by more than 46 percent, to the lowest level in 25 years.
The report does contain a glimmer of hope: Looking at the current academic year, it found that the number of job advertisements posted as of December 1 was up by more than 21 percent from the same period a year earlier. The report also offers an important caveat to its findings: Not all of the jobs available in the discipline are listed with the association, and some “are advertised only in The Chronicle of Higher Education or H-Net, for instance.”… – Chronicle of Higher Education, 1-3-11
- Historians Expose Error-Filled Virginia Textbooks: In the version of history being taught in some Virginia classrooms, New Orleans began the 1800s as a bustling U.S. harbor (instead of as a Spanish colonial one). The Confederacy included 12 states (instead of 11). And the United States entered World War I in 1916 (instead of 1917). These are among the dozens of errors historians have found since Virginia officials ordered a review of textbooks by Five Ponds Press, the publisher responsible for a controversial claim that African-American soldiers fought for the Confederacy in large numbers during the Civil War.
Our Virginia: Past and Present, the textbook including that claim, has many other inaccuracies, according to historians who reviewed it. Similar problems, historians say, were found in another book by Five Ponds Press, Our America: To 1865. A reviewer has found errors in social studies textbooks by other publishers as well, underscoring the limits of a textbook-approval process once regarded as among the nation’s most stringent…. – AP, 1-3-11
- Carol Sheriff: Virgina History Textbook Inaccuracies Controversy: It’s a textbook case of getting it wrong. A Virginia elementary school textbook will soon be history after a college professor and parent, caught more than one mistake in it. Turns out the errors she spotted were not the only ones. Some of the glaring errors had to do with African-Americans and the Civil War. These and dozens of other errors can be found in the textbook handed out to thousands of Virginia fourth graders. Problems with the book ‘Our Virginia: Past and Present’, published by Five Ponds Press, first surfaced last October, as reported by the Washington Post, when the mother of one student, a college history professor, spotted several lines on page 122.
“It was particularly jarring when I got to this one passage that was so at odds with what historians have been saying about who participated in the Civil War,” said William & Mary Professor Carol Sheriff, a parent of one student.
The book says thousands of southern blacks fought in the confederate ranks, something not supported by mainstream Civil War scholarship. But it’s the next line that’s just plain wrong: “including two black battalions under the command of Stonewall Jackson.” The textbook actually, does note that it wasn’t ’til 1865 that African-Americans could legally serve in the confederate army. It also tells children that Stonewall Jackson died in 1863. The error about blacks serving in the confederate army was outrageous to many in academia… – CNN, 12-30-10
- James McPherson: Battle Over the Battlefields: One hundred and fifty years after the start of the Civil War, we’re still fighting. This time it’s development vs. preservation—and development’s winning. The Battle to Preserve History “There has to be a reasonable balance,” says James McPherson, the foremost living Civil War historian and professor emeritus of history at Princeton. “If you preserved every square foot of battlefield in Virginia, there wouldn’t be much land left. There’s a tendency among preservationists to want to save everything, but realistically there have to be compromises.”
One place McPherson isn’t willing to compromise, however, is the Virginia Walmart, a 140,000-square-foot supercenter the company wants to build in Orange County on a parcel that’s been zoned for commercial use for 37 years. The bloody May 1864 encounter fought there was the beginning of the end for the Confederacy. In Grant’s first battle since becoming chief of the U.S. Army, he pounded Lee and began driving him south toward Richmond. Historians say his army’s “nerve center,” including his own headquarters, was located on and near the Walmart site, which is also across the street from the entrance to the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park…. – Newsweek, 1-13-11
- AnneMarie Luijendijk: A flax merchant from Egypt! Owner of 4th century New Testament papyrus identified: A Princeton University researcher has identified the owner of a New Testament papyrus that dates to the time of Constantine the Great…. “It is the first and only ancient instance where we know the owner of a Greek New Testament papyrus,” writes Professor AnneMarie Luijendijk in an article recently published in the Journal of Biblical Literature. “For most early New Testament manuscripts, we do not know where they were found, let alone who had owned them.”… – Unreported Heritage News, 1-2-11
- After 130 years, will Billy the Kid finally get a governor’s pardon?: Outgoing New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is considering a pardon for celebrated outlaw Billy the Kid. An informal e-mail poll shows support. But time is running out.
Public perception regarding the Kid is split into two camps, says Paul Hutton, a history professor and Old West expert at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque: “people who see him as this homicidal maniac and [others] who see him as a romantic character fighting for justice against a corrupt New Mexico system.”
Hutton says most historians agree that Billy the Kid’s life was not as violent as the legend suggests and that he was a product of his unwieldy times of government corruption and vigilante justice. “He certainly felt solving problems with a gun was the way to go, but that was the world in which he lived in,” he says. “The forces of authority in 1877 New Mexico were nothing to brag about.”… – CS Monitor, 12-29-10
- DISUNION: One-hundred-and-fifty years ago, Americans went to war with themselves. Disunion revisits and reconsiders America’s most perilous period — using contemporary accounts, diaries, images and historical assessments to follow the Civil War as it unfolded…. – NYT, Disunion
- James Loewen’s “5 Myths about why the South seceded” Washington Post’s Most Viewed: James Loewens’ op-ed in the Washington Post “5 Myths about Why the South Seceded,” published last Sunday, has become the most viewed article at their website, garnering more than a half a million views as of Monday, and combined with print views, now more than a million views:
One hundred fifty years after the Civil War began, we’re still fighting it – or at least fighting over its history. I’ve polled thousands of high school history teachers and spoken about the war to audiences across the country, and there is little agreement even about why the South seceded. Was it over slavery? States’ rights? Tariffs and taxes? As the nation begins to commemorate the anniversaries of the war’s various battles – from Fort Sumter to Appomattox – let’s first dispense with some of the more prevalent myths about why it all began…. – WaPo, 1-9-11
- Ron Reagan: MY FATHER AT 100: Now, on the occasion of what would have been the former president’s 100th birthday, his youngest son, Ron Reagan, has written a deeply felt memoir — a memoir that underscores the bafflement his own children often felt about their father, a man the younger Mr. Reagan describes as an inscrutable, “paradoxical character,” “warm yet remote,” “affable as they come” but with “virtually no close friends besides his wife,” a man who “thrived on public display yet remained intensely private.” – NYT, 1-28-11 — Excerpt
- Branko Milanovic: Thy Neighbor’s Wealth: THE HAVES AND THE HAVE-NOTS A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality Who needs to keep up with the Joneses? What people really care about is keeping up with the Rockefellers. That’s the main theme of “The Haves and the Have-Nots,” an eclectic book on inequality that attempts to document the long history of coveting by the poor, and the grim consequences of that coveting… – NYT, 1-28-11
- Irving Kristol: Irving Kristol’s Brute Reason: THE NEOCONSERVATIVE PERSUASION Selected Essays, 1942-2009 Edited by Gertrude Himmelfarb. Foreword by William Kristol
Irving Kristol, who died in 2009, is sometimes called the “godfather” or even “father” of neoconservatism, and the patriarchal honorific, like a well-worn hat, sits comfortably atop “The Neoconservative Persuasion: Selected Essays, 1942-2009.” The book is strictly a family enterprise. It has been lovingly edited by Kristol’s widow, the historian Gertrude Himmelfarb, and carries a prefatory funeral eulogy by their sorrowful son, the Republican journalist William Kristol. Even the selection of essays reflects a uniquely familial degree of intimacy…. – NYT, 1-27-11
- Patrick Wright: Yardley reviews “Passport to Peking”: PASSPORT TO PEKING A Very British Mission to Mao’s China The delegations from Britain, in other words, traveled to a China almost unrecognizable to those of us who now know of it as an economic giant that somehow managed to emerge from the wasteland that was Mao’s legacy. Beyond that, as Wright says, “the book is far more about post-war Britain and its inherited perspectives than it is about the reality of China, either now or then. It is partly for this reason that I have . . . retained the old system of romanized spellings as opposed to the more recently introduced pinyin, and partly in order to acknowledge that, whatever lens it may be viewed through, the walled city that was ‘Peking’ in 1954 really is not the same city as the ‘Beijing’ of the early twenty-first century.”… – WaPo, 1-21-11
- Stephen Talty: Review of four books by and about the Dalai Lama: ESCAPE FROM THE LAND OF SNOWS The Young Dalai Lama’s Harrowing Flight to Freedom and the Making of a Spiritual Hero Of recent attempts to provide insight into the Dalai Lama, the most ambitious is popular writer Stephan Talty’s “Escape from the Land of Snows.” Talty has actually written three books in one: a biography of the young Dalai Lama up to his 24th year (1959), a history of recent Tibet and a hair-raising tale of daring and escape. The last of these makes Talty’s story come alive – and made the Dalai Lama the man he is today…. – WaPo, 1-21-11
- Peter L. Bergen: Determined to Strike: THE LONGEST WAR The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al-Qaeda For years, I tried to read every new novel about how 9/11 affected our lives. Some were very thoughtful, but I always came away unsatisfied, feeling that the authors had worked hard but had somehow fallen short. As I read the stunning first section of Peter L. Bergen’s new book on the war between the United States and Al Qaeda, I realized I had been looking in the wrong genre. None of the novels were as effective or moving as “The Longest War,” which is a history of our time.
Bergen, a national security analyst for CNN, impressively covers it all: Al Qaeda’s aspirations and its 9/11 attack, the Bush administration’s panicky response, the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the crucial and continuing unhelpful role of Pakistan, and the terrorist episodes in London and Madrid. Other books, most notably Bob Woodward’s series on the wars as viewed from Washington, have bitten off big chunks of this story, but Bergen’s, to my knowledge, is the first to credibly cover the global sweep of events over the last 10 years, exploring not just American views but also Al Qaeda’s…. – NYT, 1-16-11
- PSYCHOLOGY REVIEW BY STEVEN F. HAYWARD: Putting George W. Bush on the psychologist’s couch: Dan P. McAdams, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University, offers one of the first comprehensive psychological profiles of Bush in “George W. Bush and the Redemptive Dream.” To his credit, McAdams tries not to pre-judge Bush, and he avoids making moral or political judgments about the president’s major decisions. McAdams will further disappoint Bush-haters in his measured rejection of several pop-psych themes, such as that Bush was in thrall to an Oedipal rivalry (though he does think a desire to avenge his father in Iraq was a factor). But in the end, McAdams’s framework sinks into a mire of professional jargon that tells us more about contemporary theory than about the former president…. – WaPo, 1-14-11
- Chappaqua’s Kenneth Jackson is the executive editor of the second edition of “The Encyclopedia of New York City,” which boasts some 5,000 entries spanning 1,561 pages: Chappaqua’s Kenneth Jackson was first approached about assembling a New York City encyclopedia in 1982. The late Edward Tripp, a former editor-in-chief for Yale University Press, pitched the idea. “I thought it would be fun, and I was teaching New York City history,” says Jackson, a historian at Columbia University and the book’s executive editor. “It took a little while to get it going.” Officially, it took about 13 years, as the first edition of “The Encyclopedia of New York City” hit bookshelves in 1995. Heaped with critical acclaim, it sold out its first printing before it was published, and seven more printings followed. Some 75,000 copies have been sold to date. But a lot’s happened since then. New stadiums have been built for the Yankees and Mets. AirTrain and E-ZPass have become transportation norms. And the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, changed everything…. – LoHud, 1-16-11
- Peter L. Bergen: Determined to Strike THE LONGEST WAR The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al-Qaeda As I read the stunning first section of Peter L. Bergen’s new book on the war between the United States and Al Qaeda, I realized I had been looking in the wrong genre. None of the novels were as effective or moving as “The Longest War,” which is a history of our time.
Bergen, a national security analyst for CNN, impressively covers it all: Al Qaeda’s aspirations and its 9/11 attack, the Bush administration’s panicky response, the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the crucial and continuing unhelpful role of Pakistan, and the terrorist episodes in London and Madrid. NYT, 1-16-11 — Books of The Times: ‘The Longest War’ (January 18, 2011)
- Ann M. Blair: Review of Ann Blair’s ‘Too Much to Know,’ the evolution of reference works: TOO MUCH TO KNOW Managing Scholarly Information Before the Modern Age There’s no disguising the fact that Ann M. Blair – Harvard professor of history, author of “The Theater of Nature: Jean Bodin and Renaissance Science” (1997) and MacArthur fellow – has written a deeply scholarly book. It focuses, after all, on Latin reference works compiled mainly during the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the early modern era. Nonetheless, “Too Much to Know” is a fascinating account of the traditions, ideals and practices of early “information management,” in particular “the collection and arrangement of textual excerpts” in the centuries before our own computer age.
While “Too Much to Know” does eschew academic jargon, it isn’t by any means folksy, nor does it engage in the kind of human-interest anecdote made popular by those bestsellers about how the ancient Greeks or the Irish saved civilization. You’ll need to pay attention while you read. Blair does translate virtually all her Latin, however. Best of all, though, she packs her pages with lots and lots of facts. If you like to know things, even in a world in which there is already too much to know, Blair’s book is a mini-library in itself…. – WaPo, 1-12-11
- Dark Tales Illuminate Haiti, Before and After Quake: “Haiti Noir,” released last week, has taken on new resonance amid the first anniversary of the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake that killed 300,000 people and left over one million homeless. While only 3 of the 18 stories deal with the earthquake directly, Edwidge Danticat, the volume’s editor, said many were filled with reminders of what was lost.
“I had this fear that the stories would lose their relevance,” said Ms. Danticat, the most widely known contemporary writer to come from Haiti. “But the post-earthquake neighborhoods have a new intrigue. Some of these stories are elegies to lost, broken and destroyed neighborhoods.”… – NYT, 1-10-11
- An American turning point: Review of Jim Murphy’s ‘The Crossing’: THE CROSSING How George Washington Saved the American Revolution (Juvenile History) George Washington was not the world’s most confident leader in June 1776. He turned to Patrick Henry after the Continental Congress voted for his appointment and said, “From the day I enter upon the command of the American armies, I date my fall, and the ruin of my reputation.” Fortunately, he guessed wrong, as author Jim Murphy clearly explains in “The Crossing.” By focusing on Washington’s initial self-doubt and tactical mistakes, the book makes his boldness and leadership in December 1776 all the more impressive. Amid mass desertions, foul weather and lack of equipment (including adequate shoes), Washington devised a plan to surprise the enemy and deliver a victory to the beleaguered Revolutionary cause… – WaPo, 1-5-11
- Alan Riding: Review: Alan Riding’s ‘And the Show Went On’: AND THE SHOW WENT ON Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris Like Tuchman’s “The Proud Tower” and “The Guns of August” – her portraits of European society and politics in the years leading up to World War I – Riding’s account of “cultural life in Nazi-occupied Paris” is actually larger than its announced subject. As he writes in his preface, “How, I wondered, had artists and intellectuals addressed the city’s worst political moment of the twentieth century? Did talent and status impose a greater moral responsibility? Was it possible for culture to flourish without political freedom?” Riding’s triumph lies in refusing to affirm any simplistic answers. Instead, he plunges the reader into the French cultural scene of the 1930s and ’40s and shows us how real men and real women dealt with the devil…. – WaPo, 1-5-11
- Alan Riding: Nazi occupation, when the City of Light had its darkest hour: AND THE SHOW WENT ON Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris “And the Show Went On” deserves a comparable success. It is certainly one of the finest works of serious popular history since the heyday of Barbara Tuchman…. – WaPo, 1-5-11
- Boastful and bullying to the end: Reading Edmund Morris’s “Colonel Roosevelt” is a rewarding journey, as it must also have been for its author, who concludes his three-volume saga begun in 1980 with publication of “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt.” “Theodore Rex” (2001) covered the middle years. “Colonel Roosevelt” begins with the ex-president in Africa, having, in 1908, installed in office his acolyte William Howard Taft. Roosevelt was prevented from running again by a pledge he had made in the 1904 campaign. Taft’s mission was to advance Roosevelt’s progressive blueprint…. – WaPo, 1-2-11
- Tony Judt: Elegy for England, Book Review – The Memory Chalet – By Tony Judt: THE MEMORY CHALET Tony Judt ranges back over his life, particularly his youth in England, in these autobiographical fragments.
“The Memory Chalet” bears little resemblance to the densely researched works of history that preceded it, but some of its preoccupations were hinted at in “Ill Fares the Land,” Judt’s post-illness overview of the state of contemporary politics. His trenchant analysis was supported, naturally, by statistics and citations, but there were a couple of places where the book moved into warmly personal focus. One was where he reflected on the diminishing importance of “visual representations of collective identity”: London’s black taxis, school uniforms, postmen’s uniforms…. – NYT, 1-3-11 — Excerpt
- Samuel Moyn: The Last Utopia traces the history of human rights policy: Human rights—the notion that the protection of the immutable rights and freedoms of every individual on the planet supersedes all other concerns—did not always enjoy this prominent place in our political debate. Most historians have located the ideology’s origins in previous eras, from the ancient Greeks and Hebrews to the Enlightenment to post-World War II. In his erudite new book, The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History, Samuel Moyn proposes a more recent source. He argues that it was only in the 1970s, when other utopian ideologies—socialism, anti-colonialism, and anti-communism—fell by the wayside that human rights assumed its stature as the ultimate moral arbiter of international conduct.
As Moyn tells it, human rights might trace its philosophical lineage to earlier times—few ideas emerge from the intellectual womb as orphans—but its dominant role was not assured until a particular point in time. He takes issue most forcefully with the belief that human rights’ ascension was an answer to the extermination of European Jewry. “Contrary to conventional assumptions, there was no widespread Holocaust consciousness in the postwar era, so human rights could not have been a response to it,” he writes…. – Slate, 1-1-11
- ‘The King’s Speech’: For some critics, factual disputes get in the way: Some of those finding fault with ‘The King’s Speech’ have griped about the use of the wrong kilt tartan, while others charge that the film whitewashes Nazi sympathies on the part of the king…. – CS Monitor, 1-31-11
- Son Suggests Reagan Had Alzheimer’s as President: Ronald Reagan’s son suggests in a new book that his father suffered from the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease while he was still in the White House. The memoir quotes excerpts from Ron Reagan’s book “My Father at 100,” published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA)….
But Reagan says the issue of his father’s health should not tarnish his legacy as the nation’s 40th president. “Does this delegitimize his presidency? Only to the extent that President Kennedy’s Addison’s disease or Lincoln’s clinical depression undermine theirs,” Reagan writes. “Better, it seems to me, to judge our presidents by what they actually accomplish than what hidden factors may be weighing on them.” He continues: “That likely condition, though, serves as a reminder that when we elect presidents, we elect human beings with all their foibles and weaknesses, psychological and physiological.”… – AP, 1-15-11
- Journey to Remember: Stepping onto the platform of a Victorian-era train station here, you wouldn’t know you are standing over the foundation of Harpers Ferry’s original armory and arsenal buildings…. In April 2011, our country marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Sumter, which most historians consider to be the start of the Civil War (although, technically, the first shots were fired at Sumter in January 1861).
One can argue, however, that Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry really was the first shot, says James McPherson, Civil War historian and professor emeritus of history at Princeton University. “It vastly intensified Southern fears of Northern anti-slavery forces, and Brown’s martyrdom by hanging increased anti-slavery sentiments in the North,” McPherson says….
“What happened here in 1859 caused a panic across the country,” says Caroline Janney, a Purdue University history professor. “While the majority of white northerners denounced Brown’s actions, there was enough mixed reaction (church bells ringing in his honor, newspapers praising him) to cause a stir among white southerners.”
A massive slave rebellion long had been one of the South’s great fears. “As the 150th anniversary of the war approaches, we should seek to avoid the pitfalls that beset the Civil War’s centennial, which was mired in racism and Cold War politics,” Janney says. That does not mean we should avoid controversial topics such as slavery….. – Town Hall, 1-16-11
- Robert Caro remembers the moment when he could finally start writing his biography of Robert Moses: [A] reporter invited Mr. Caro to join her for a sneak peek at the budding musical, “Robert Moses Astride New York,” a work in progress that will have its world premiere in a one-night-only free performance at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the World Financial Center in Lower Manhattan….
To be sure, the musical is considerably less comprehensive than Mr. Caro’s 1,286-page 1974 book, “The Power Broker,” which follows Moses’ career as city parks commissioner and chairman of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. “Robert Moses Astride New York” moves through major chapters of history in just a few stanzas, and the piece to be performed Saturday is only a sampling of what the composer, Gary Fagin, ultimately hopes will become a full-fledged production featuring additional characters like the neighborhood activist Jane Jacobs and Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia…. – NYT, 1-13-11
- US historian: Millions of Turks suffered during Ottoman Empire’s collapse: A map prepared by Justin McCarthy, professor of history at the University of Louisville in the United States, shows that the breakup of the Ottoman Empire set thousands upon thousands of forlorn refugees on the move — including Ottoman Muslims.
Since most Western chronicles of this era focus only on those of the Christian faith who suffered, the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA), which is based in Washington, D.C., has published an annotated map displaying the travels of 5 million Ottoman Muslims who were displaced from the Balkans. the Caucasus and Crimea from 1770-1923. The map also records and provides historical context for the 5 million Ottoman Muslims who died from 1864-1922 in the wars that were fought to dismantle the Ottoman Empire…. – Todays Zaman, 1-13-11
- Bill Betts: Indiana historian tells story of Armstrong County namesake: From his career as a surveyor for the Penn family to becoming the “Hero of Armstrong County,” retired Indiana University of Pennsylvania English professor and history author Bill Betts of Indiana provides a comprehensive view of the life and accomplishments of Gen. John Armstrong in a biography of Armstrong published by Heritage Books being released this month. “Rank and Gravity, The Life of General John Armstrong of Carlisle” will soon be available for purchase online at Heritage Books of Westminster, Md, and at Amazon.com.
“The book is the first, and long overdue, biography of this very important colonial figure, one of the most notable and consequential of 18th-century Pennsylvania,” said Betts. “I think it will be of great interest to the people of Armstrong County, especially in Kittanning.”…. – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 1-15-11
- Baby Boomers rocked our pop culture, says Steve Gillon: When historians at the end of the 21st century look back at the impact of 20th-century Baby Boomers on entertainment and the arts, two things will stand out: TV and rock and roll….
Steven Gillon, resident historian at the History Channel and a professor at the University of Oklahoma, says, “We still have episodes of ‘Leave It to Beaver’ playing in our heads – it accounts for our desire to re-create a world that was always imaginary…. – Arizona Republic, 1-2-11
- Stanley Harrold: Prof examines role of border states in Civil War: A South Carolina State University professor goes beyond the traditional understanding of the Civil War’s causes in his new book. History professor Stanley Harrold explores the conflict and bloody violence over slavery in the border states in his latest book, “Border War” (University of North Carolina Press)…. – The Times and Democrat, 12-21-10
- Joe Crespino and Matt Payne: Professors Offer New View of History: History professors Joe Crespino and Matt Payne related their personal experiences discovering history and current events from a new perspective in a lecture titled “History in the News” on Sunday.
The event, part of a series for this year’s Founders Week, opened with a speech titled “Struggling with Strom: How I Came to Write About One of America’s Most Colorful and Controversial Politicians” by Crespino, an associate professor of history.
His interest in Strom Thurmond, who was notorious for his fight against civil rights legislation, began as he was writing his dissertation at George Mason University, Crespino said….
Payne, an associate professor of history, also spoke on the importance of looking at history from a different angle and a wider perspective. His lecture, “Adventures in Absurdistan: Trying to Make Sense of the History of the ‘Stans,” dealt with the American treatment of Afghanistan…. – Emory Wheel, 1-31-11
- Dale Blair: Generally speaking, the very model of a modern war historian: While Blair has written articles about the Civil War, he made his name in Australia with a challenging analysis of the Anzac myth called Dinkum Diggers, which was actually his PhD. Released in 2001 by Melbourne University Press, the book was received in serious circles as a welcome dose of reality at a time when the myth of the Anzac as bronze superman was gaining fresh purchase in the public imagination. Blair’s thesis touched on the taboos of human frailty and even cowardice. He says now: “It looked at the universal truths of soldiering.”… – The Age (AU), 1-30-11
- Rodolfo Acuña: Cal State Northridge professor caught in Arizona controversy: Rodolfo Acuña’s Mexican American history book, first published four decades ago, has become fuel for Arizona politicians targeting ethnic studies programs…. – LAT, 1-13-11
- William Fitzhugh: The Concord Review — Journal Showcases Dying Art of the Research Paper: William H. Fitzhugh publishes The Concord Review, featuring research papers written by high school students. “Most kids don’t know how to write, don’t know any history, and that’s a disgrace,” Mr. Fitzhugh said. “Writing is the most dumbed-down subject in our schools.”
His mood brightens, however, when talk turns to the occasionally brilliant work of the students whose heavily footnoted history papers appear in his quarterly, The Concord Review. Over 23 years, the review has printed 924 essays by teenagers from 44 states and 39 nations.
The review’s exacting standards have won influential admirers. William R. Fitzsimmons, Harvard’s dean of admissions, said he keeps a few issues in his Cambridge office to inspire applicants. Harvard considers it “something that’s impressive,” like winning a national math competition, if an applicant’s essay has appeared in the review, he said…. – NYT, 1-8-11
- Jonathan Earle: Kansas’ messy racial history dates to its founding: During the prelude to the Civil War, Kansans fought on the side of what was right, seeking to keep the scourge of slavery out of the state and help the enslaved. As Kansas celebrates its 150th birthday Saturday, those who have devoted their careers to studying the period want to fill people in on something: Most of the settlers who fought to ensure Kansas entered the union as a free state initially wanted to ban blacks from the state entirely.
“They were hardly abolitionists who shared our 21st century racial views,” said Jonathan Earle, a history professor at the University of Kansas, located in the former abolitionist stronghold of Lawrence. “They didn’t want anything to do with these people. They didn’t like slaveholders really.”… – LJWorld.com, 1-29-11
- Obama speech recalls Reagan: “It was different than Clinton at Oklahoma City or Reagan after the Challenger crash, but it was equally important for his presidency,” said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, who has written books on Reagan as well as Presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and both Roosevelts. “Remember, he took some shots when he first took office, and that has bred caution in his speechwriting,” added Brinkley. “The Oval Office speech on the BP spill was boilerplate. Even the Fort Hood eulogy, while heartfelt, was pretty unmemorable. But this was a great presidential speech. This was a serious, transformational moment in his presidency.”… – Politico, 1-14-11
- Bernanke Saved the World From Another Great Depression, Niall Ferguson Says: U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke saved the global economy from falling into a great depression by presiding over an historic increase in the size of the central bank’s balance sheet, said Harvard’s Niall Ferguson. “He turned the Fed into the biggest hedge fund in history,” said Ferguson, an historian at Harvard University, in a speech delivered at a conference in Copenhagen hosted by the Skagen Fund. “He bought stuff that no central bank has ever bought before. He bought utter garbage and in doing so, I believe he saved us from a great depression.”… – Bloomberg News, 1-12-11
- Brian Black: Oil Spill Commission report could shape industry’s future: Brian Black, a professor of history and environmental studies at Penn State Altoona, also views the spill and the study as a turning point in taming the oil industry. “I hope that when I teach about this event in 10 years, I will cite the commission and then trace how our energy transition picked up steam from 2010 forward, and Big Oil was brought under more regulation and monitoring than ever before,” Black said. “The problem is that being in the eye of such change often makes its overall trajectory hard to discern.”… – NOLA.com, 1-10-11
- Joseph Palermo: U.S. assassination attempts not that rare: Joseph Palermo, an expert on political history at California State University in Sacramento, said the struggling U.S. economy, combined with the polarizing hype created by the 24-hour news cycle, means conditions were ripe for the shooting of a congresswoman in Arizona on Saturday. “People are very quick to try and pretend that the political assassination is very rare,” he said in an interview with Postmedia News. “Sadly, the truth is, it’s a very common element of any society, especially the United States.”… – Montreal Gazette, 1-11-11
- E.J. Dionne Jr. Quotes Gordon Wood in Washington Post op-ed: Yet as Gordon Wood, the widely admired historian of the Revolutionary era has noted, we “can recognize the extraordinary character of the Founding Fathers while also knowing that those 18th-century political leaders were not outside history. . . . They were as enmeshed in historical circumstances as we are, they had no special divine insight into politics, and their thinking was certainly not free of passion, ignorance, and foolishness.”… – WaPo, 1-3-11
- Niall Ferguson Says China ‘Threatening Rival’ for U.S. Economy: Niall Ferguson, a history professor at Harvard University, discusses the outlook for emerging markets in Asia and the global economy. Ferguson, speaking with Bloomberg’s Tom Keene at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, also talks about the sovereign debt crisis in Europe. – Bloomberg/WaPo, 1-27-11
HISTORY AWARDS & APPOINTMENTS:
- Lendol Calder: Reception honors Augustana’s Illinois Professor of the Year: Calder’s appointment celebrates his accomplishments both as a historian and a leader in reforming higher education. In 2006, Calder published a groundbreaking article in The Journal of American History that examined the problem of “coverage” in introductory history classes. This article was the first that the journal had ever published on the scholarship of teaching and learning.
Calder models his vision of higher education through his work as a classroom history professor. He provides students with firsthand documents, competing historical accounts and opportunities for class discussion to help them construct a meaningful story of the past. “Teaching for me is both scholarly work and soul work,” Calder said. “In my courses, I work to help students develop both the language of their hearts and the language of their minds.”…- Quad-Cities Online, 1-27-11
HISTORY ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS CALENDAR:
- UT Austin launches new website “Not Even Past”: The History Department at UT Austin is launching an informative, interactive history web site today, January 10. Not Even Past provides current historical writing to a popular audience. For history buffs who want reading recommendations and short, interesting, digestible stories every day, the website offers a meaningful, dynamic, and ongoing conversation about History in the form of text, audio, and video histories on subjects that span the globe. The site is designed for anyone who is interested in history, from an avid reader of history to a history film aficionado. The content and “picks” are written by the department’s 60-person faculty with additional input from the graduate students. Notevenpast.org is rich with book and film recommendations, video interviews, podcasts, online commentary, and even virtual classes (free) every semester. You can learn from exceptional faculty and dialog with other history aficionados and Texas Exes, enrolled globally…. – Notevenpast.org
- Readex to Launch Ethnic American Newspapers from the Balch Collection, 1799-1971: Ethnic American Newspapers from the Balch Collection, 1799-1971, will be released by Readex, a division of NewsBank, in spring 2011. Featuring more than 130 fully searchable newspapers in 10 languages from 25 states—including many rare 19th-century titles—this online collection will provide extensive coverage of many of the most influential ethnic groups in U.S. history. With an emphasis on Americans of Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Jewish, Lithuanian, Polish, Slovak and Welsh descent, this unique resource will enable students and scholars to explore often-overlooked aspects of this nation’s history, politics and culture…. – Readex Press Release, 1-5-11
- Bruce Catton papers now indexed online at the University of Wyoming: An inventory of papers and correspondence of Bruce Catton, widely regarded (along with Shelby Foote) as the most popular of America’s Civil War historians, is now accessible online through the University of Wyoming American Heritage Center. There are no access restrictions on the materials for research purposes, and the collection is open to the public…. A description and inventory for this collection [is now] accessible at http://rmoa.unm.edu/docviewer.php?docId=wyu-ah04032.xml/ – University of Wyoming, 12-20-10
- Black history catalogued at new U. of C. website: ….On Friday at the University of Chicago’s Joseph Regenstein Library, researchers unveiled a new website intended to make it easy for the public and scholars alike to locate these African-American artifacts as well as a host of others in the city from the same period in history…. The website is the “cutting edge portal into discovering primary source materials to study and know black Chicago’s history from the 1930s to the 1970s,” said Jacqueline Goldsby, a former U. of C. professor who headed up the three-year project…. – Chicago Sun-Times, 12-11-10 — uncap.lib.uchicago.edu
- Camelot’s archives, available with the click of a mouse: “Access to a Legacy,” as the project is called, marks the first time a presidential library established in the paper age has fully committed itself to the digital era. The amount of material to be posted online in January is huge — 200,000 pages of text, 1,500 photos, 1,250 files of audio recordings and moving images, and 340 phone conversations totaling 17 1/2 hours — but represents just a small portion of the collection….
Presidential historian Robert Dallek, who has made liberal use of the Kennedy archives, said the primary payoff is reaching the largest possible international audience. “What this means is, people in Japan or Germany can have access to [JFK’s] office files, and that’s a splendid step forward.” Other presidential libraries will probably follow suit, he added, “because they don’t want to expire, so to speak. Plus, there’s still tremendous interest in subjects like World War II, Vietnam, and the New Deal.”… – Boston Globe (11-28-10)
- 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.
- ‘Lincoln vs. Jefferson’ focus of event: The Stephen Dill Lee Institute is bringing a half dozen authors and historians in for “Lincoln vs. Jefferson: Opposing Visions of America” at the Francis Marion Hotel on Friday and Saturday.
“The conference will be a great history of the different economic and political philosophies of the two presidents,” said Brag Bowling, director of the Lee Institute. “Jefferson was a proponent of decentralized government, while Lincoln was for big government and high taxes. We will have some of the best scholars in the country to address the issue.”… – Charleston Post and Courier, 1-31-11 — www.stephendleeinstitute.com
- American Historical Association’s (AHA) 125th Annual Meeting / Conference: Daily Recaps — History Musings
HISTORY ON TV:
- C-SPAN2: BOOK TV Weekend Schedule
- PBS American Experience: Mondays at 9pm
- History Channel: Weekly Schedule
HISTORY BEST SELLERS (NYT):
- NYT Non-Fiction Best Sellers List – January 30, 2011
- NYT Non-Fiction Best Sellers List – January 23, 2011
- NYT Non-Fiction Best Sellers List – January 16, 2011
- NYT Non-Fiction Best Sellers List – January 9, 2011
- NYT Non-Fiction Best Sellers List – January 2, 2011
UPCOMING HISTORY BOOK RELEASES:
- T. Harry Williams: Lincoln and His Generals, (Paperback), January 11, 2011
- Robert Wright: Our Man in Tehran: The Truth Behind the Secret Mission to Save Six Americans during the Iran Hostage Crisis and the Ambassador Who Worked with the CIA to Bring Them Home, (Hardcover), January 11, 2011
- Jay M. Shafritz: Classics of Public Administration, (Paperback), January 14, 2011
- Petra Pertici: Battle of San Romano: A Day in History, (Paperback), January 16, 2011
- Alan Bennett: Captain Roy Brown: The Definitive Biography, Including His Encounter with the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen, (Hardcover), January 16, 2011
- Douglas Brinkley: The Quiet World: Saving Alaska’s Wilderness Kingdom, 1879-1960, (Hardcover), January 18, 2011
- Lawrence Goldstone: Inherently Unequal: The Betrayal of Equal Rights by the Supreme Court, 1865-1903, (Hardcover), January 18, 2011
- Michael G. Long: Marshalling Justice: The Early Civil Rights Letters of Thurgood Marshall, (Hardcover), January 18, 2011
- Edward G. Lengel: Inventing George Washington: America’s Founder, in Myth and Memory, (Hardcover), January 18, 2011
- Ron Reagan: My Father at 100, January 18, 2011
- Deborah Blum: The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York, (Paperback), January 25, 2011
- Peter N. Stearns: World Civilizations: The Global Experience (New Edition), (Hardcover), January 28, 2011
- Barbara F. Stokes: Myrtle Beach: A History, 1900-1980, (Paperback), January 28, 2011
- Donald A. Clark: The Notorious “Bull” Nelson: Murdered Civil War General (1st Edition), (Hardcover), January 31, 2011
- Michael D. Coe: The Maya (Eighth Edition), (Paperback), January 31, 2011
- Molly Caldwell Crosby: Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic That Remains One of Medicine’s Greatest Mysteries, (Paperback), February 1, 2011
- Jonathan Gill: Harlem: The Four Hundred Year History from Dutch Village to Capital of Black America, (Hardcover), February 1, 2011
- Amy Louise Wood: Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940, (Paperback), February 1, 2011
- David Eisenhower: Going Home to Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961-1969, (Hardcover), February 2, 2011
- Frederick Brown: For the Soul of France: Culture Wars in the Age of Dreyfus, (Paperback), February 8, 2011
- Donald Rumsfeld: Known and Unknown: A Memoir, (Hardcover), February 8, 2011
- Holger H. Herwig: The Marne, 1914: The Opening of World War I and the Battle That Changed the World, (Paperback), February 8, 2011
- Christopher Corbett: The Poker Bride: The First Chinese in the Wild West (Reprint), (Paperback), February 8, 2011
- Justin Fox: The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street, (Paperback), February 8, 2011
- Julia P. Gelardi: From Splendor to Revolution: The Romanov Women, 1847–1928, (Hardcover), February 15, 2011
- Lucy Moore: Anything Goes: A Biography of the Roaring Twenties, (Paperback), February 22, 2011
- Sarah Rose: For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World’s Favorite Drink and Changed History, (Paperback), February 22, 2011
- David Strauss: Setting the Table for Julia Child: Gourmet Dining in America, 1934-1961, (Hardcover), February 26, 2011
- G.J. Meyer: The Tudors: The Complete Story of England’s Most Notorious Dynasty, (Paperback), March 1, 2011
- Jack Weatherford: The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire, (Paperback), March 1, 2011
- Bruce S. Thornton: The Wages of Appeasement: Ancient Athens, Munich, and Obama’s America, (Hardcover), March 1, 2011
- Miranda Carter: George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I, (Paperback), March 8, 2011
- John D. Plating: The Hump: America’s Strategy for Keeping China in World War II (General), (Hardcover), March 9, 2011
- David Goldfield: America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation, (Hardcover), March 15, 2011
- Matt Spruill: Decisions at Gettysburg: The Nineteen Critical Decisions That Defined the Campaign, (Paperback), March 16, 2011
- Adrienne Mayor: The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy, (Paperback), March 22, 2011
- Michael O’Brien: Mrs. Adams in Winter: A Journey in the Last Days of Napoleon, (Paperback), March 29, 2011
- Dominic Lieven: Russia Against Napoleon: The True Story of the Campaigns of War and Peace, (Paperback), March 29, 2011
- Rudy Tomedi: General Matthew Ridgway, (Hardcover), March 30, 2011
- Kim Wilson: Tea with Jane Austen (Second Edition), (Hardcover), April 1, 2011
- Nick Bunker: Making Haste from Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World: A New History, (Paperback), April 5, 2011
- Nell Irvin Painter: The History of White People, (Paperback), April 18, 2011
- Christopher I. Beckwith: Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present, (Paperback), April 21, 2011
- Andrew F. Smith: Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine, (Paperback), April 22, 2011
- Barbara Frale: The Templars: The Secret History Revealed, (Paperback), May 1, 2011
- Alison Plowden: The Young Victoria (New), (Paperback), May 1, 2011
- Bill Morgan: The Typewriter Is Holy: The Complete, Uncensored History of the Beat Generation, (Paperback), May 1, 2011
- Rebecca Skloot: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, (Paperback), May 3, 2011
- Lynne Olson: Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour, (Paperback), May 3, 2011
- Jane Ziegelman: 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement, (Paperback), May 31, 2011
- Jonathan R. Dull: The Age of the Ship of the Line: The British and French Navies, 1650-1815, (Paperback), June 1, 2011
- Jasper Ridley: The Freemasons: A History of the World’s Most Powerful Secret Society, (Paperback), June 1, 2011
- David Howard: Lost Rights: The Misadventures of a Stolen American Relic, (Paperback), June 8, 2011
- Kelly Hart: The Mistresses of Henry VIII, (Paperback), July 1, 2011
- Christopher Heaney: Cradle of Gold: The Story of Hiram Bingham, a Real-Life Indiana Jones, and the Search for Machu Picchu, (Paperback), July 5, 2011
- Eric Jay Dolin: Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America, (Paperback), July 5, 2011
- Edward P. Kohn: Hot Time in the Old Town: The Great Heat Wave of 1896 and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt (First Trade Paper Edition), (Paperback), July 12, 2011
- Robert Griffith, 71, chair of American University history department: Historian Robert Griffith, of American University, died on January 25, 2011. A gifted administrator and scholar, he served the American Historical Association as co-moderator of the department chairs’ listserv and as chair of the Local Arrangements Committee for the 2004 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. The Organization of American Historians awarded him the Roy Rosenzweig Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions as treasurer from 2008–10. Griffith was chair of the department of history at American University from 2004–10 and was provost from 1995–97. He was committed to increasing the presence of women and minorities on the faculty and staff and increasing the use of information technology on campus. He was also a staunch supporter of public history… – AHA Today, 1-28-11
- Oleg Grabar: Historian Who Studied Islamic Culture, Dies at 81: Oleg Grabar, a historian of Islamic art and architecture whose imposingly broad range and analytical subtlety helped transform the Western study of Islamic culture, died Saturday at his home in Princeton, N.J. He was 81… – NYT, 1-12-11
- Kevin Mark Britz, 56, dies of cancer: Center of Southwest Studies Director Kevin Mark Britz died after a yearlong battle with cancer Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, at his home in Durango. He was 56…. – Durango Herald, 1-11-11
- In Memoriam – Norman Cooke, RIC emeritus professor: Norman H. Cooke of Glocester, associate professor emeritus of history, died at the Philip Hulitar Center on Dec. 26. He was 86. Cooke began at RIC as an assistant professor in 1961, and retired in 1986…. – Rhode Island College, 1-6-11