Robert Dallek: JFK predicted death would protect his legacy, historian claims


History Buzz

‘If anyone’s going to shoot me, it should happen now’: JFK predicted death would protect his legacy, historian claims

Remarks were inspired by assessment of career of Civil War President Abraham Lincoln

President John F Kennedy predicted his assassination would protect his legacy, according to a historian who has examined secret interviews with  his widow Jackie.

Previously unheard conversations involving Mrs Kennedy after her husband’s death in 1963 show he made the assessment after the Cuban missile crisis a year earlier, according to Professor Robert Dallek.

Mrs Kennedy’s interviews reveal the president had declared: ‘If anyone’s going to kill me, it should happen now.’.

US President John F. Kennedy Jacqueline Kennedy Dallas Texas November 22, 1963US President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas, moments before his assassination on November 22, 1963

Professor Dallek, a Kennedy expert, made the revelation after examining Jacqueline Kennedy’s Oral History – conversations the former First Lady had with historian Arthur M Schlesinger Jnr in 1964.

The series of seven undisclosed interviews are to be broadcast in September, as part of events to mark the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy administration.

Professor Dallek said they  revealed JFK’s remarks had been inspired by one of late historian David Herbert Donald’s lectures on Abraham Lincoln.

John Wilkes Booth Abraham Lincoln Coward: John Wilkes Booth shoots Abraham Lincoln in his box at the at Ford’s Theatre, in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865 after the South lost the Civil War

He added: ‘At that lecture, Kennedy asked Professor Donald, if Lincoln had lived, would his reputation be as great as it currently is in the  United States?

‘And predictably, Donald said probably not because he would have had to have wrestled with the problems of reconstruction, the post-Civil  War era.

‘Kennedy, remembering that, said to Mrs Kennedy after his success in the Cuban missile crisis…“if anyone’s going to kill me, it should happen now”.’

JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas.

Political Buzz: Sarah Palin’s “One Nation” Tour or Launching 2012 Presidential Campaign Tour


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.


Damon Winter/The New York Times

Sarah and Todd Palin after a family visit on Monday to the National Archives in Washington.

This past week Sarah Palin has embarked on a tour of the Northeastern US with her family starting in Washington and ending in New Hampshire. Dubbed the “One Nation” Bus Tour, the modern whistle stop trip included stops at historical locations, meeting with the people and the press. The media has been closely monitoring Palin’s tour, speculating the true intention; a trip or a Presidential campaign exploration. Either way, the tour has captured the attention of the press and country, especially with Palin stopping in New Hampshire, the early primary state on the same day at fellow Republican Mitt Romney launched his Presidential campaign also in New Hampshire.

  • Palin Watch – Sarah Palin News Blog Alaska Dispath
  • Photos: Sarah Palin’s “One Nation” Bus Tour: Sarah Palin has been willing to offer but a scrap of information of upcoming destinations, Palin set off from Washington for an East Coast bus tour, telling reporters that her tour might “at some point” go to Iowa, where the 2012 voting begins….. – Denver Post
  • Sarah Palin to collide with Mitt Romney rollout in New Hampshire: Sarah Palin will be casting a long shadow over Mitt Romney’s day in the sun in New Hampshire on Thursday.
    She’s bringing her I-haven’t-made-up-my-mind-yet bus tour across America to the Granite State even as Romney formally declares he’s in the 2012 race.
    Palin will attend a coastal clambake Thursday evening with some key New Hampshire Republicans. According to Politico, she called the timing “coincidental.”
    Palin is spending much of the day in Boston. She visited the Old North Church early Thursday.
    The ex-Alaska governor, who is winding up her weeklong tour, told the assembled media throng that has doggedly followed her every move from the Pentagon parking lot to the Freedom Trail that she still doesn’t know if she’s running for president in 2012.
    “Still looking at the field, knowing there’s going to be a lot of shakeup in that lineup,” Palin said
    Romney will be delivering a speech in Stratham, N.H. Palin said, “Maybe we’ll run into him.”
    Palin hasn’t been going out of her way to make friends in the early primary state. Earlier this week in an interview with CNN, she said that New Hampshire voters aren’t particularly special.
    “I guess that’s that nonpolitician in me not looking at a New Hampshire voter any differently just because they have, you know, an earlier primary than somebody else,” she said…. – LAT, 6-2-11
  • Palin tours Boston, says Romney timing coincidence: Sarah Palin took her tour of the United States, seen by some as a possible warm-up to a run at the Republican presidential nomination, to the Democratic stronghold of Massachusetts on Thursday.
    On a tour through the city’s Revolutionary War-era historic sites, Palin said her trip was not timed to distract attention from Massachusetts ex-governor Mitt Romney’s formal announcement in neighboring New Hampshire of the start of his presidential campaign .
    Palin, a former governor of Alaska, told reporters in the morning that the timing of the trip was “coincidental.”
    She herself was expected to travel next to New Hampshire, traditionally the state with the nation’s first nominating primary, making it a key destination for all potential candidates.
    After visiting sites including the Old North Church and the house of Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere, Palin stopped to talk with onlookers on the cobblestoned streets of the city’s North End…. – Reuters, 6-2-11
  • Sarah Palin Remembers Ronald Reagan At Liberty State Park: Sarah Palin, a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and former Governor of Alaska, visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island today on her “One Nation” bus tour. Last night, Palin went to dinner in Manhattan with real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump.
    Palin’s “One Nation” tour continues to be defined by themes of freedom, liberty and patriotism. The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French and is an internationally recognized symbol of both freedom and democracy. Ellis Island served as the inspection station for the millions of immigrants who came to the United States between 1892 and 1954.
    “What a wonderful day to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island!” said Palin. In what seemed like a veiled reference to her own presidential aspirations, Palin talked about former President Ronald Reagan’s visit to Liberty State Park in 1980. “He spoke of the Americans who passed through Ellis Island and whose first glimpse of their adopted country was the grand statue in New York’s harbor. He talked about our shared values and the common thread of the American dream across an endless mix of backgrounds,” said Palin…. – The State Column, 6-2-11
  • On the Media: News flash — Sarah Palin rides a bus What it means, though, nobody outside of Team Palin knows for sure. But reporters still give chase, just in case: It’s not exactly blockbuster news when Sarah Palin calls the U.S. Constitution an important document, tries to one-up President Obama in praise of the U.S. military or heaps another load of condescension on the media.
    But it is news when Palin does all these things within a few days of one another as part of a tour that has her dancing around a possible run for president of the United States. It’s news, less because Palin might actually run than because this is what politicians do. And the media cover what they do, good bad and indifferent, especially when they are as fascinating and polarizing as Sarah Palin.
    Ever since Palin announced her “One Nation” tour, multiple media outlets have scrambled to follow her bus, with no itinerary or real help from the principal and her team. And plenty of other people have taken to the Internet to denounce the whole spectacle as a publicity stunt and brand-booster for a brand badly in need of a lift.
    Far from the daily schedules and constant updates they are accustomed to on campaign tours, reporters have had to beg sources close to Palin for hints about what will happen next. A reporter for the Times of London incorrectly guessed at a Memorial Day trip to Gettysburg (it came a day later) and only happened on her as he later staked out the road to Mount Vernon.
    Team Palin threw the trailing scribes off the scent again Tuesday, leaving her bus idling outside her Gettysburg hotel while she slipped out to take a tour of the Civil War battlefield in an SUV. Palin is believed to be arriving in New Hampshire, which holds the first presidential primary, by week’s end. But no one outside the Palin bubble knows for sure…. – LAT, 6-1-11
  • The Influence Industry: The fine lines between a Palin vacation and Palin tour: When most families go on a summer vacation, they don’t have a political-action committee to pay the bills.
    Not so for Sarah Palin, the former vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor, who has joined her husband, children and parents in a widely publicized bus tour of East Coast historic sites this week.
    The trip appears to be part vacation, part political rally and part reality show. Fuel, lodging and other expenses are being paid for by SarahPAC, Palin’s political committee, which is also soliciting donations online in connection with the journey.
    “You can show your support for the Fundamental Restoration of America and the ‘One Nation Tour’ by making a generous donation to SarahPAC today,” reads a message on the SarahPAC Web site.
    The arrangement is perfectly legal, campaign-finance experts say. SarahPAC is set up as an unconnected PAC, meaning that the usual restrictions on candidate committees don’t apply. Regular candidate committees, for example, are barred from converting campaign money to personal use.
    As a result, unless Palin decides to formally explore a possible presidential run, she is free to spend the money raised by SarahPAC for “any lawful purpose” under federal law, experts said. That means it doesn’t matter whether the trip is a holiday, a political event or something in between…. – WaPo, 6-1-11
  • Palin tour: campaign prelude or publicity stunt?: Sarah Palin is going rogue again, confounding the press and delighting fans on a family bus tour that could be a prelude to an unconventional White House campaign — or a branding exercise for Palin Inc.
    The 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee has kept reporters scrambling across three states for three days, refusing to publish her schedule while traveling the countryside in a flashy, painted campaign-style bus.
    After announcing the tour of East Coast historic sites last week, Team Palin went silent on the itinerary and refused to accommodate press coverage. It was an unusual strategy for any politician, particularly one considering a White House run in 2012.
    It was hardly surprising for Palin, however, who denounces the “lamestream media” and built her political image around her unconventional style. And it paid immediate dividends with coverage from reporters who chased her like paparazzi after Angelina Jolie…. – Reuters, 5-31-11
  • Palin confirms she’s in LLC that bought Ariz. home: Sarah Palin has confirmed that she is part of a company that purchased a home north of Phoenix, but she said she hasn’t moved from Alaska.
    Safari Investments LLC paid nearly $1.7 million cash for the five-bedroom, 7,900-square-foot home in rural north Scottsdale in May.
    In an interview aired Tuesday night, the former Alaska governor told Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren that she is part of Safari Investments and it “has some property in Arizona now.”
    “You know, many, many Alaskans purchase property in Arizona, Nevada and Texas,” Palin said from her bus that has been touring the East Coast. “I think we do that because not only are we good investors, and it’s a buyer’s market, but we like to thaw out once in a while.”… – AP, 5-31-11
  • Sarah Palin’s bus tour stops at National Archives, Mount Vernon and Baltimore: The former Alaska governor is believed to be headed to Philadelphia next. She continues to insist her patriotic-themed bus is not a campaign bus.
    It’s still unclear whether Sarah Palin’s road trip is an educational family tour of historical America or a dry run for her potential Republican presidential bid.
    But Monday, two things became clear: She will not shy away from unscripted encounters, and she isn’t going let anyone know in advance where she’s going as she wends her way across the country this summer.
    In an impromptu news conference Monday evening in the parking lot of her Gettysburg hotel shortly after taking a four-mile run in steaming heat, Palin said she thought the current crop of Republican presidential contenders is “strong” and that any campaign she might wage “would definitely be unconventional and nontraditional, yes, knowing us, yeah, it would have to be.”
    And that was as far as she would go, leaving the former Alaska governor’s intentions, like much of her bus tour, a mystery. Although she announced her “One Nation” tour with great fanfare on her website, Palin has refused to post information about her schedule, leaving reporters scrambling across the Eastern Seaboard to figure out her stops.
    Her bus tour began for real on Monday after she spent Sunday, the ostensible start day, riding in a motorcycle procession for veterans and surreptitiously visiting Washington monuments. Her patriotic-themed bus, decorated with a blown-up image of the U.S. Constitution, pulled up to the National Archives in Washington at 9:30 a.m. on Memorial Day, half an hour before opening.
    Her party — which included her husband, three daughters and her parents, as well as Greta Van Susteren, a host on Fox News, with whom Palin has an exclusive contract — was ushered into the building for a private look at the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, cloistered in a darkened rotunda under glass.
    By the time she exited the archives half an hour later, a small crowd of reporters and well-wishers had gathered outside.
    “I wish every student in America could get here,” she afterward. “It is heartwarming, and it means so much to so many of us to be able to physically be here and see the foundation of America.”… – LAT, 5-31-11
  • SARAH PALIN: Memorial Day brings out presidential hopefuls: Politicians were in plentiful supply this Memorial Day as the ramp-up to the 2012 presidential election began in earnest.
    Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who began a nationwide bus tour Sunday, generated plenty of buzz, visiting Fort McHenry in Baltimore and Mount Vernon in Virginia on Monday.
    She told CNN on Monday that she plans to take her “One Nation” bus tour to Iowa, the state that votes first in the race for the Republican presidential nomination…. – CNN, 5-31-11
  • Palin Family Hits Road, if Not 2012 Trail: Sarah Palin dropped a fresh hint Monday about her presidential ambitions, telling reporters that her “One Nation” bus tour might “at some point” go to Iowa, where the 2012 voting begins.
    But that scrap of information was about all Ms. Palin was willing to offer to reporters as she spent Memorial Day bouncing among historic locations in Washington, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
    Day 2 of the tour started Monday morning with a visit to the National Archives in Washington, where she and her family took a private moment to look at the Constitution. The family went from there to Mount Vernon, home of George Washington, and to Fort McHenry in Baltimore. A stop at the Gettysburg battlefield in Pennsylvania was also on the itinerary.
    Throughout the day, Ms. Palin continued to play coy with reporters eager to know her itinerary. After the National Archives stop, a reporter yelled out, “Sarah, where are you going next?” She quickly answered, “Mount Vernon,” then added, “Oh — you are a reporter, darn you!”
    Ms. Palin announced her bus tour with great fanfare last week and is using it on her Web site to raise money for her political action committee. Despite that, she is acting as though her family is just like any other on vacation…. – NYT, 5-30-11
  • In Gettysburg, post-jog Palin greets supporters: It’s too hot in central Pennsylvania, according to Sarah Palin, but while it wore out those on her bus tour, she snuck in a jog as reporters and supporters searched for her whereabouts.
    The Palin-crazed media and faithful fans found her late Monday afternoon, as she and her family paused their northbound road trip to rest up at a hotel on the outskirts of Gettysburg.
    National reporters trailed the Palins throughout the day, during their stops at the National Archives, Mount Vernon and Fort McHenry. When her bus was spotted at a hotel minutes from the historic battlefield that she was expected to visit today, reporters flocked and fans posed for pictures next to the Constitution-emblazoned motorcoach.
    Rumors swirled that she would be heading back out later that evening, and with a group gathered watching one hotel exit, she drew stunned looks as she and her daughter Piper walked up from behind the crowd and said hello…. – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5-30-11
  • Palin Appearance at ‘Rolling Thunder’ Feeds Election Speculation Fury: Sarah Palin arrives at the beginning of Rolling Thunder at the Pentagon during the Memorial Day weekend in Washington.
    Sarah Palin could win the Republican nomination and defeat President Obama, Sen. John McCain said Sunday as his former vice presidential running mate fueled 2012 speculation by appearing at the annual Memorial Day rally on the National Mall.
    “Of course she can, she can. Whether she will or not, whether she’ll even run, I don’t know,” McCain, R-Ariz., told “Fox News Sunday.” “She certainly is a major factor. And I believe that she can be very competitive.”
    Palin’s participation in the annual Memorial Day parade in Washington, D.C., has fueled as much noise about a potential presidential candidacy as the thousands of motorcycle-riding veterans participating in the Rolling Thunder ride-along Sunday.
    At the Pentagon parking lot where the mob of veterans and their families pre-positioned for the thunderous two-wheeler march down Constitution Ave, Palin, who did not address the Memorial Day crowd, said she was thrilled to participate.
    “I love that smell of the emissions,” she said, donning sunglasses and a Harley Davidson skullcap-style, black helmet…. – Fox News, 5-29-11
  • Palin swarmed at first bus tour stop: Amid the chaos, there was Sarah Palin. Only one advance staffer was on hand to wrangle the fans and reporters hoping to get close to the former vice presidential nominee, who arrived at Sunday’s Rolling Thunder rally driving her own motorcycle.
    At the first stop on Palin’s bus tour – which so far has a vague itinerary but no other formally announced stops – security and press relations were left to a small group of disgruntled bikers.
    When asked about the tour, Palin offered only, “This is our first stop, we’re very thankful to be here.” A map of the tour’s stops on her PAC’s website remains blank.
    Palin arrived with her daughter Willow on the front of the motorcycle she was driving and her husband Todd and oldest daughter Bristol each on separate bikes. Still, their presence was very small in comparison to the rest of the rally, drawing about 200 people in a swarm around her at an event that drew thousands of veterans. Her husband, wearing a navy blue T-shirt with “Washington, D.C.” printed on the front, worked the crowd with ease – offering fast and short responses to a few reporters and glad-handing the many fans of his wife. They talked happily with those within shouting distance, and they joined the former vice presidential nominee in signing leather vests, posing for the cameras and answering questions to the few reporters who got close enough. She even held a brief availability with reporters in the corner of the parking lot away from the main group.
    Organizers of the annual veterans motorcycle ride were clearly frustrated by the media attention and fuss brought by Palin, and the bikers weren’t as encouraging as the Palins. Yelling, and in a few instances, shoving, they tried to keep away press trying to snap photographs or capture a rare quote…. – Politico, 5-29-11
  • Sarah Palin’s ‘One Nation’ bus tour shrouded in secrecy: 2012 run for President or publicity stunt?: Sarah Palin is hopping aboard a national bus tour this weekend and now the big mystery is whether she’s also switching gears for a White House run.
    The former Alaska governor’s One Nation road trip is shrouded in secrecy, with her political action committee only revealing that she’ll start in Washington and go up through New England to “educate and energize Americans about our nation’s founding principles.”
    Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty shrugged off Palin’s bus tour Friday when asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” if the trip indicated a run for the Oval Office…. – NY Daily News, 5-27-11
  • Palin to Begin Public Tour This Weekend: Sarah Palin will begin a bus tour of the East Coast on Memorial Day weekend, the latest and most significant evidence that the former governor of Alaska is still seriously considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination this year.
    Ms. Palin will begin the series of high-profile public events in the Washington area, starting with the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally and continuing on through the Northeast, according to a statement on her Web site.
    Her purchase of a house in Arizona and recent additions to her staff have prompted renewed speculation about her political intentions even as the field of Republicans who are vying to challenge President Obama has dwindled in recent weeks.
    The bus tour, which will extend beyond the weekend, will take Ms. Palin and her family through the Northeast in a decorated, red-white-and-blue charter bus, heightening comparisons to a campaign whistle-stop tour…. – NYT, 5-26-11
  • Sarah Palin and her ‘One Nation’ bus tour, coming to a town near voters soon: Sarah Palin, who admitted recently that she had the fire in the belly to run for president, now has a bus tour to go with it.
    The Republican former governor, who wandered all over Alaska in a motorhome last year for her Discovery Channel reality series, will do the same starting Sunday at a biker rally in Washington.
    According to Scott Conroy at, an essential daily read for politics fans, the tour will, of course, involve members of the Palin family and first focus on the Northeast. That’s a seemingly unlikely place for RepSarah palin one nation Busublican political kickoffs, unless you can say ‘the first primary state of New Hampshire is a whole lot nicer in June than January.’
    The trips could last for weeks and are guaranteed to attract many media trailing along in the bus exhaust fumes. Like the NASCAR race she attended last year, Sunday’s annual … … Memorial Day Rolling Thunder biker rally at the Pentagon and down the National Mall offers an ideal opportunity for the kind of handshaking, picture-posing, you-betcha retail politicking that Palin loves and is so good at. Among folks who like her…. – LAT, 5-26-11

Sunday: Sarah Palin arrives at the beginning of Rolling Thunder at the Pentagon during the Memorial Day weekend in Washington.


Sunday: Sarah Palin arrives at the beginning of Rolling Thunder at the Pentagon during the Memorial Day weekend in Washington.

  • Sarah Palin: ‘I’m Not the Conventional, Status Quo Politician … the Last Thing I Worry About Is the Mainstream Media’: GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Here’s Governor Palin on her “One Nation” bus tour.VAN SUSTEREN: So Governor, we’re on the bus. Whose idea was this bus?

    SARAH PALIN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR/FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: You know, Todd had this idea. He was reading on an airplane some months ago an article by Thomas Sowell, and in this article, Thomas Sowell was talking about our economy and how to get it back on the right track and how much of the solution has to do with the foundation of America.
    And Todd — he texted me when he landed at the airport and said, You know, we need to remind America about our charters of liberty, about our Constitution, about our Declaration of Independence and how America was built on this idea of individual power within us, and then collectively, how we all work together to create this great union. We need to remind America how important it is to protect all that’s good about America as written out in our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence. Go around the country and start talking about it.

    VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you…

    PALIN: Right on!

    VAN SUSTEREN: You’ve obviously driven the media nuts. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that. But I mean, everybody’s talking about it. Everyone’s trying to find out where you’re going, what are you doing. What do you say about that because it’s — it — everybody’s been talking about it.

    PALIN: Well, you know, I know that many in the mainstream media are looking for kind of a conventional — a campaign-type tour. And I’ve said from the beginning this isn’t a campaign tour, except to campaign on our Constitution, our charters of liberty. And they want kind of a conventional idea of, We want a schedule. We want to follow you. We want you to bring us along with you.
    I’m, like, (A) I don’t think I owe anything to the mainstream media. I think that it would be a mistake for me to become some kind of conventional politician and doing things the way that it’s always been done with the media in terms of relationship with them. Tell them to come on along and then we’ll orchestrate this, we’ll script this, and we’ll basically write a story for you, media, about what we’re doing every day.
    No, I want them to have to do a bit of work on a tour like this, and that would include not necessarily telling them beforehand where every stop is going to be. You know, if they — we’ll do a stop. We’ll do a lot of OTRs, off the records. We’ll meet a lot of great Americans. And then I’ll write about that at the end of the day.
    And it’s not about me. It’s not a publicity-seeking tour. It’s about highlighting the great things about America. And the media can figure out where we’re going if they do their investigative or they are going to keep kind of , as you put it, going crazy trying to figure out what we’re doing…. – Fox News, 5-31-11

Political Headlines: Congress, Boehner Urge Obama to Act Quickly on Budget Agreement


Stephen Crowley/The New York Times


  • Political Headlines: Congress, Boehner Urge Obama to Act Quickly on Budget Agreement: House Republicans arrived at the White House on Wednesday for a meeting with the president to focus on the debt limit.
    Speaker John A. Boehner said Wednesday that Congress and the White House should try to reach an agreement within the next month that would combine an increase in the federal debt limit with deep spending cuts, and he called on President Obama to play a larger role in negotiations.
    In a meeting with reporters after a White House session between House Republicans and the president, Mr. Boehner said a budget deal well in advance of the Treasury Department’s Aug. 2 deadline for raising the debt ceiling could avoid the prospect of adverse market reactions.
    “This really needs to be done over the next month if we are serious about no brinksmanship and no rattling investors,” Mr. Boehner said.
    “The president could engage himself,” he added. “I’m willing. I’m ready. It is time to have the conversation. It is time to play large ball, not small ball.”
    A bipartisan team of lawmakers from the House and Senate has been meeting with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to fashion a budget agreement that could clear the way for a vote to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit, a step Mr. Boehner and other Republicans say they will not take without corresponding spending cuts. The speaker said the group was making marginal progress but at its current pace would brush up against the August deadline.
    Mr. Boehner said he had had no discussions with the White House about involving the president in the negotiations.
    As the Biden negotiations have been unfolding, it was considered likely that Mr. Boehner would have to agree on any package negotiated by lawmakers who included Representative Eric Cantor, the Virginia Republican and majority leader. Aides said Mr. Boehner’s comments were not meant to be critical of the Biden talks…. – NYT, 6-2-11

Political Buzz June 6, 2011: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney Announces He is Seeking the 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination


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.


Mitt Romney announced that he is formally entering the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination in Stratham, New Hampshire, on Thursday.
Brian Snyder/ReutersMitt Romney announced that he is formally entering the race for the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday.


Republican Mitt Romney, a 2008 candidate, made official what has been speculated since the end of the 2008 campaign, that he will make a second presidential bid in 2012. Romney made the official announcement at a farm in Stratham, New Hampshire, stating that President Obama “has failed America.” Romney is currently leading in the polls of all potential 2012 GOP candidates.

  • Romney is tops in poll of Republicans: Among Iowa Republicans, Mitt Romney is tops, but Herman Cain and Sarah Palin are tied for second place, a new survey shows.
    Romney registers at 21 percent, with Cain and Palin at 15 percent, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey released Wednesday.
    Palin, a former Alaska governor and Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s running mate in 2008, has surged 7 points since Public Policy Polling’s last survey six weeks ago…. – Des Moines Register, 6-2-11
  • Live blog of Romney presidential announcement: Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is today publicly launching his second bid for the presidency with an outdoor speech at a farm in the lead primary state of New Hampshire…. – Boston Globe, 6-2-11
  • Mitt Romney kicks off 2012 presidential bid: We will be live blogging Republican Mitt Romney’s formal announcement that he’s running for president. It’s the second try for the White House by the ex-Massachusetts governor.
    1:15 p.m. ET Romney is talking about his father, George, who started out working in plaster and ended up running American Motors.
    1:13 p.m. ET Romney vows to repeal what he calls “Obamacare” and to balance the federal budget. His main focus will be on the economy. “My No. 1 job will to see that America is No. 1 in job creation,” he says.
    1:11 p.m. ET Says he is shaped by his 25 years in government, his work at the Salt Lake Winter Olympics and as governor. “Turning around a crisis takes experience and bold action. For millions of Americans, the economy is in crisis today. Unless we change course, it’ll be a crisis tomorrow.”…. – USA Today, 6-2-11
  • Mitt Romney hammers Obama in today’s speech: Former Bay State Gov. Mitt Romney stressed his economic experience while taking direct aim at President Obama in a sweeping address this afternoon as he announced he’s jumping into the 2012 presidential race.
    “I’m Mitt Romney. I believe in America and I am running for president of the United States,” he said.
    The GOP front-runner in some polls made his candidacy official in New Hampshire as potential rival Sarah Palin pulls out of Boston and heads to the Granite State.
    “Barack Obama has failed America,” Romney said during a noontime speech in Stratham, N.H.
    “It’s time for a president who cares more about American workers than he does America’s union bosses,” Romney said.
    Romney kept the pressure on the president’s poor jobs performance — even questioning Obama’s work history.
    “If you want to create jobs, it helps to have actually had a job and I have,” said Romney.
    Romney added about Obama: “We didn’t know what sort of a president he would make. It was a moment of crisis for our economy, and when Barack Obama came to office, we wished him well and hoped for the best. Now, in the third year of his four-year term, we have more than promises and slogans to go by.”… – Boston Herald, 6-2-11
  • Romney opens presidential bid challenging Obama: Just as Mitt Romney declared Thursday that he’s in, it’s suddenly looking like he’ll have more company in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.
    While Romney made his candidacy official in New Hampshire, political heavyweights Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani caused a stir of their own with visits to the first-in-the-nation primary state. And rumblings from Texas Gov. Rick Perry, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota further undercut Romney’s standing as the closest thing the GOP has to a front-runner.
    “I’m Mitt Romney and I believe in America. And I’m running for president of the United States,” Romney said to cheers on a sunny farm here in Southern New Hampshire.
    The former business executive previewed a campaign message focused on the economic woes that top voters’ concerns: rising gas prices, stubbornly high unemployment and persistent foreclosures.
    “It breaks my heart to see what is happening to this great country,” Romney said. “No, Mr. President, you had your chance.”
    It’s a pitch tailored to the conservatives who hold great sway in picking the GOP’s presidential nominee in Iowa and South Carolina – and the independents who are the largest political bloc in New Hampshire. And it is as much a statement on his viability as it is an indictment of Obama’s leadership.
    “Barack Obama has failed America,” Romney said as he began his second White House bid. “When Barack Obama took office, the economy was in recession, and he made it worse.”… – AP, 6-2-11
  • Romney Kicks Off Presidential Run in New Hampshire: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney made it official Thursday: He’s making a 2012 run for the White House.
    In a speech before a crowd of hundreds at a farm in Stratham, N.H., Romney presented himself as a viable alternative to President Obama, who he said has upped America’s “misery index,” made the recession worse and made it longer.
    “Barack Obama has failed America,” he said.
    Romney, who was introduced by his wife, Anne, said that he holds the keys to a more prosperous America.
    “My generation will pass the torch to the next generation, not a bill,” he said, adding that his administration will restore state powers over dozens of government programs.
    “And that begins with a complete repeal of Obamacare,” he said. “From my first day in office my No.1 job will be to see that America once again is number in job creation.”… – Fox News, 6-2-11
  • Romney makes 2nd presidential bid official: Mitt Romney officially launched another run for president Thursday, choosing a key early voting state to deliver a strong message against the Democratic administration’s handling of the economy.
    Romney made the announcement at Bittersweet Farm, owned by a former speaker of the New Hampshire Legislature, Doug Scamman. New Hampshire was also the backdrop for Romney’s online announcement in April that he was forming a presidential exploratory committee.
    New Hampshire, which is first in the national primary next year, is being described as a must-win state for Romney, who finished second there in his 2008 White House bid to the party’s eventual nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain.
    Mitt Romney is opening his first formal day as a 2012 Republican presidential candidate by pitching himself as the one to heal the economy and says, “Barack Obama has failed America.”
    Romney, a Boston-based businessman who amassed a personal fortune turning around troubled companies, emphasized the need to fix the nation’s economy in a speech delivered near a barn decorated with his campaign slogan, “Believe in America.”
    President Barack Obama, “has failed America,” Romney said, describing a family in Las Vegas who have seen homes in their suburban neighborhood abandoned, “crushed by this Obama economy.”
    He said government has grown too much, calling for spending to be capped and the federal budget to be balanced, warning, “We are only inches away from ceasing to be a free market economy.”
    Romney also promised to insist that Washington “learns to respect the Constitution, including the 10th Amendment,” and said the responsibility for dozens of government programs will be returned to the states beginning “with a complete repeal of Obamacare.”…. – KSL, 6-2-11
  • For Mitt Romney, Chili Comes First: Before he announces he’s running for president, Mitt Romney has a more important task to take care of: doling out portions of his wife Ann’s “world famous” chili.
    Romney and his wife served up the chicken chili on the Bittersweet Farm in Stratham, New Hampshire, just after noon, then moving on to work the crowds, shaking hands and signing autographs.
    One spectator offered Romney an apron, which the soon-to-be presidential hopeful declined despite the supporter’s encouragement, “We don’t want you to get dirty, Mitt!”
    Clutching Ann’s hand through the swarm of cameras and reporters, one bystander asked Ann if she is “ready for round two.”
    “Yes!” she responded.
    Another supporter cheered, “Good luck President Romney! New Hampshire loves you,” just as Romney and his wife disappeared behind hay bales to ready for the big announcement…. – ABC News, 6-2-11
  • Romney to Announce Candidacy in New Hampshire: Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, will make his second bid for the presidency official on Thursday with a broadside against President Obama and a call for a new economic agenda.
    In excerpts released by his campaign, Mr. Romney accuses the president of failing to live up to the promise of economic recovery he made during his 2008 campaign.
    “At the time, we didn’t know what sort of a president he would make,” Mr. Romney will say as he makes his announcement from a family farm in New Hampshire. “Now, in the third year of his four-year term, we have more than promises and slogans to go by. Barack Obama has failed America.”
    The attacks on Mr. Obama promise to be a centerpiece of Mr. Romney’s campaign as he seeks to present himself as the inevitable choice for Republicans eager to reclaim the White House. In his speech on Thursday, he will pledge, without hesitance, to repeal the president’s health care reforms.
    “We will return responsibility and authority to the states for dozens of government programs – and that begins with a complete repeal of Obamacare,” he will say, according to the excerpts. “From my first day in office my number one job will be to see that America once again is number in job creation.”
    Mr. Romney makes his candidacy official at a local family farm, where he invited supporters and media to a “Cookout With Mitt and Ann.” Under clear skies and with tractors and hay bales as a backdrop, Mr. Romney hopes to send the message that he intends to win New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary…. – NYT, 6-2-11
  • Mitt Romney is officially in. Will he do better this time?: Mitt Romney is formally in the presidential race per his announcement Thursday at a hot-dog and chili cookout at a New Hampshire farm. Will he do better in the 2012 election cycle than he did last time around?
    Mr. Romney’s 2008 try for the White House didn’t go that well, after all. The well-funded ex-governor of Massachusetts thought he could burst out of the starting blocks with wins in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. Instead, he finished well behind the surprising Mike Huckabee in the former and lost to eventual nominee Sen. John McCain in the latter. His candidacy was burnt toast within weeks.
    There’s reason to believe he’ll be more successful with this attempt. He’s been the front-runner in almost all preseason polls, hovering at about 22 to 24 percent of the GOP primary vote. Perhaps more important, he’s liked, if not well liked. His Gallup Positive Intensity Score (produced by subtracting the percentage of voters who have a highly unfavorable opinion of him from the percentage who have a highly favorable one) is about 14, which is decent. Minnesota ex-governor Tim Pawlenty and former you-know-what Sarah Palin score about the same…. – CS Monitor, 6-2-11
  • Romney to Announce Candidacy in New Hampshire: Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, will make his second bid for the presidency official on Thursday with a broadside against President Obama and a call for a new economic agenda.
    In excerpts released by his campaign, Mr. Romney accuses the president of failing to live up to the promise of economic recovery he made during his 2008 campaign.
    “At the time, we didn’t know what sort of a president he would make,” Mr. Romney will say as he makes his announcement from a family farm in New Hampshire. “Now, in the third year of his four-year term, we have more than promises and slogans to go by. Barack Obama has failed America.”
    The attacks on Mr. Obama promise to be a centerpiece of Mr. Romney’s campaign as he seeks to present himself as the inevitable choice for Republicans eager to reclaim the White House. In his speech on Thursday, he will pledge, without hesitance, to repeal the president’s health care reforms.
    “We will return responsibility and authority to the states for dozens of government programs – and that begins with a complete repeal of Obamacare,” he will say, according to the excerpts. “From my first day in office my number one job will be to see that America once again is number in job creation.”
    Mr. Romney makes his candidacy official at a local family farm, where he invited supporters and media to a “Cookout With Mitt and Ann.” Under clear skies and with tractors and hay bales as a backdrop, Mr. Romney hopes to send the message that he intends to win New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary.
    The choice of the Bittersweet Farm for his announcement is an interesting one for Mr. Romney, who regularly argues for a smaller federal government that spends less. The rolling green hills of the farm were preserved in recent years in part with $1 million in federal money, according to a recent report in Seacoast Online…. – NYT, 6-2-11
  • Romney to Announce White House Bid, Declare ‘Obama has Failed America’: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will announce today that he’s making his bid for the Republican presidential nomination official, declaring, “Barack Obama has failed America.”
    In excerpts of prepared remarks obtained by ABC News, Romney rails against the president’s handling of the struggling economy and vows to shrink the size of the government.
    “A few years ago, Americans did something that was, actually, very much the sort of thing Americans like to do: We gave someone new a chance to lead; someone we hadn’t known for very long, who didn’t have much of a record but promised to lead us to a better place,” Romney says in his prepared remarks. “Now, in the third year of his four-year term, we have more than promises and slogans to go by.”
    Today marks Romney’s second campaign for the presidency. In 2008, Romney withdrew from the race after being overtaken by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Super Tuesday. McCain got Romney’s endorsement and the GOP nomination.
    Romney is again being pegged as a GOP frontrunner, much as he was the first time he ran for the White House. According to the latest Gallup poll, released last week, 17 percent of those voters who lean toward the GOP said they would vote for Romney. Fifteen percent of those polled said they would cast their ballots for the former GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin…. – ABC News, 6-2-11
  • Can Romney keep going as front-runner?: Media interest in New Hampshire appearances by non-candidates Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani rivals that for Romney’s official campaign announcement today. Republican activists are pleading with prospects from Gov. Chris Christie in New Jersey to Gov. Rick Perry in Texas to jump into the presidential race. Romney’s vulnerabilities, from a stiff public persona to the health care law he signed in Massachusetts, have long been on display.
    Less recognized are Romney’s considerable strengths. With the sort of deliberation reminiscent of Barack Obama’s efforts to avoid being caught in the tumult of the day in 2008, Romney has been building a below-the-radar campaign that reflects lessons learned the hard way four years ago.
    When he formally announces his candidacy at Bittersweet Farm in Stratham, N.H., Romney will be able to boast the biggest war chest and a message honed for the moment: That he’s a savvy business executive with the skills to turn around a battered economy…. – USA Today, 6-2-11
  • Obama ‘failed America,’ GOP’s Romney says Republican to stress the economy, jobs as Democrats counterattack: Mitt Romney is formally kicking off his presidential run Thursday in New Hampshire, opening his bid for the White House with an attack on President Barack Obama’s economic policies, saying the incumbent has “failed America.”
    The former Massachusetts governor, who lost out to Sen. John McCain for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, made the charge in an early-morning blog post on his website, ahead of his formal announcement scheduled noon Eastern time.
    Romney also says that Obama made the recession worse and longer-lasting and that the president’s stimulus package hasn’t kept unemployment below 8%; the April jobless rate stood at 9%.
    House Republicans and Democrats agreed to vote down a measure that would have raised the federal debt ceiling by $2.4 trilion, citing its lack of a link to deficit-reducing plans.
    “This is not just a problem — this is a national crisis,” Romney says…. – Market Watch, 6-2-11
  • Romney seeks 2nd chance with GOP presidential bid: What are the odds of this? A guy gets into a head-on collision, has a police officer write “He is dead” at the scene, and lives to tell.
    Mitt Romney knows a thing or two about second chances.
    After that long-ago highway collision when he was a young missionary serving in France, Romney earned an outsized reputation and millions of dollars as a corporate turnaround artist, fixing bottom lines, cleaning up the scandal-tarred Salt Lake City Olympics and giving various other endeavors a second wind.
    Now he is determined to do that for himself. (And his country, he would say.)
    “I’ve never seen an enterprise in more desperate need of a turnaround than the U.S. government,” Romney says.
    An also-ran to John McCain in the 2008 Republican nomination fight, Romney is the closest thing to a front-runner that the still-jelling GOP presidential field for 2012 has to offer. On Thursday, the former Massachusetts governor makes his candidacy official during an appearance at a farm in Stratham, N.H.
    With his good looks, able fundraising, strong political organization, solid family and business acumen, Romney sounds like a candidate ordered from central casting to run in a time of economic stress.
    But to succeed where he failed four years ago, Romney, 64, will need to convince voters that behind the picture-perfect presentation lurks a human being with a passion to lead and an unshakeable set of convictions…. – AP, 6-2-11
  • Mitt Romney’s announcement speech: It’s the economy, stupid: Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will formally enter the 2012 presidential race today. (Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images) Mitt Romney will formally enter the Republican presidential race today with a speech that sternly rebukes President Obama for his handling of the economy and presents the former Massachusetts governor’s resume as best suited for these trying economic times.
    “Barack Obama has failed America,” Romney will say, according to excerpts of the address obtained by The Fix. “From my first day in office my No. 1 job will be to see that America once again is No. 1 in job creation.”
    Romney will also repeat his call to repeal Obama’s health care law and make a pledge to “return responsibility and authority to the states for dozens of government programs”.
    It’s not clear whether Romney will address the health care plan he signed as governor of Massachusetts, a major sore spot for some Republicans.
    Romney will deliver the speech at 12:30 p.m. in Stratham, N.H. — an indication of the importance of the Granite State to his chances at the Republican nomination. (You can watch a live stream of the speech here.)
    Romney enters the GOP presidential race as its nominal frontrunner — leading in most polls conducted on the race and expected to be, by far, the strongest fundraiser in the field. He raised more than $10 million in a single day last month…. – WaPo, 6-2-11

Anne-Marie Eze: Unique Venetian manuscripts on display at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum


History Buzz

Unique Venetian manuscripts on display at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Source: Daily News Transcript, 6-2-11



Leonardo Bellini-Diedo family arms, 1464.jpg

Contributed photo/Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

An exquisitely detailed inside page of a commissione by Leonardo Bellini from 1464.

Like many grand women, Isabella Stewart Gardner kept private accounts of influential men, the keys to power and portraits of otherworldly beauties.

Now English art scholar and historian Anne-Marie Eze has revealed a rarely seen side of Gardner through a gorgeous exhibit of Venetian manuscripts from her private library never before shown to the public.

Small but full of riches, “Illuminating the Serenissima” showcases seven “commissioni,” elaborately decorated, handmade books that served as contracts for Venetian noblemen elected to serve as ambassadors or administrators for the then great maritime power.

Subtitled “Books of the Republic of Venice,” the show runs through June 19 in the museum’s Long Gallery where Gardner kept some of her 1,500 books in covered cases to protect them from light.

“Not everyone gets to see Mrs. Gardner’s books,” said Eze, postdoctoral curatorial fellow and one of the area’s top experts on illustrated manuscripts. “This is a great opportunity to see works that have been out of public view for many decades.”

From 697 to 1797, “La Serenissima” — the Most Serene Republic of Venice — ruled an empire that reached from mainland Italy to the eastern Mediterranean.

While most visitors come to the Renaissance style palazzo for its extensive collection of European, Islamic and Asian art, this subtly informative show opens a gorgeous window onto a distinctly Venetian art form and Gardner’s sophistication as a bibliophile.

Gardner director Anne Hawley said the exhibition “not only boasts beautiful objects that are usually inaccessible to visitors but further illustrates Isabella Gardner’s passion for Venetian art and history.”

Eze said commissioni were issued in pairs to nobles setting off on 16-month terms of duty in Venice’s provinces. One copy was kept by the government and the other given to the office-holder, who typically treasured it as an emblem of prestige.

Though essentially contracts, she said office-holders regarded them as “status symbols” and had them illuminated and bound according to the evolving conventions of their times.

Eze graduated with a bachelor’s degree with honors in classics and a master’s degree in library studies with a specialization in manuscript studies and historical bibliography from University College London. The focus of her doctoral dissertation was the infamous Venetian priest-turned-art dealer Abbe Luigi Celotti and 19th century illuminated miniatures.

While styles evolved, commissioni often featured artistic conventions such as an elaborately illustrated page with decorative figures and Latin text stating a solemn oath and the statues of the appointee’s service.

Over the course of the three centuries covered in the show, the illustrated pages grew more sophisticated featuring decorative borders, allegorical images and the appointee’s coat of arms.

Eze said the commissioni provide rich sources of information about Venetian history, art and culture.

“Commissioni are important to the study of Venetian art and history because they are dated sources of style about illumination, bookbinding and iconography as well as heraldry, portraiture and biographical information about their owners,” she said. “Though thousands were produced under the Republic, commissioni are intrinsically rare because only two copies of each were ever made.”

Small flashlights are hung near the commissioni and binders to help visitors view their exquisite details without damaging the fragile manuscripts.

To the careful viewer, the images provide a remarkable catalog of Venetian art and history.

Created by the most skilled illuminator of the 16th century, the commissioni of Francesco Donato features a winged lion, the symbol of St. Mark, patron saint of Venice and an image of the Virgin and Child.

Researching the manuscript from 1546, Eze discovered an apparent forgery worthy of a Dan Brown mystery. The manuscript had been signed with a curious T-like mark — apparently added many years later by the owner or a dealer — to mislead potential buyers into thinking it was the work of Tiziano Vecellio, popularly known as Titian.

A 1615 image by an unknown illustrator features a miniature of the appointee, Francesco Contarini and his patron saint worshiping a charming picture of the Virgin and Child.

The exhibit includes three exquisitely crafted binders, or covers, that progressed from goatskin to calfskin to hammered silver, bearing symbolic figures of great craft and artistry.

As the museum proceeds on schedule to complete its new wing, “Illuminating the Serenissima” should remind visitors that Gardner, acting upon advice from thoughtful advisers, appreciated and collected this distinctly Venetian kind of bound and illuminated manuscripts.

The show features seven of the 20 manuscripts Gardner purchased which Eze has been studying along with the founder’s extensive book collection.

She said Gardner purchased her first rare book in 1886, five years before her father’s death which provided some of the inheritance to support further acquisitions.

Eze said Gardner acquired four books in the exhibit and several others from Charles Eliot Norton, Harvard University’s first professor of art history, a friend and fellow member of Boston’s Dante Society. Letters between Norton and Gardner show he sold them to her near the end of his life because he felt confident she would preserve them rather than sell them piece-by-piece like other collectors.


WHAT: “Illuminating the Serenissima: Books of the Republic of Venice”

WHEN: Through June 19

WHERE: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 280 The Fenway, Boston

HOURS: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday

ADMISSION: Adults, $12; seniors, $10; students, $5; $2 off with same day admission from Museum of Fine Arts

INFO: 617-278-5156;

Karen Cox: Gone With The Wind Evokes Strong Feelings


History Buzz

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 6-2-11

“Gone With the Wind” defined Atlanta, the South and the Civil War for millions of people around the world. As the novel turns 75, the conjunction of that event with the 150th anniversary of the war it depicts — inexcusably romanticizes, many would say — is crackling like crossed wires.

Most other best-sellers published in 1936 have been relegated to oblivion (Charles Morgan’s “Sparkenbroke”) or, at best, school reading lists (Aldous Huxley’s “Eyeless in Gaza”).

“Gone With the Wind” can still be read in more than 40 languages and continues to draw thousands of devotees such as Selina Faye Sorrow to fan events. Sorrow, 48, owns 30 copies of the book, including one from Egypt. She makes her own replicas of Scarlett’s dresses and has hundreds of items of “GWTW” kitsch around her Powder Springs home, including the Rhett Butler-Scarlett O’Hara pillows on her king-size bed.

On Saturday, scores of others who share her passion — hoop-skirted women and gray-coated Confederate re-enactors — gathered for a celebration at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta. Other events include a film premiere on the life of Margaret Mitchell and a champagne toast at her grave in historic Oakland Cemetery. To this day, “GWTW” remains an Atlanta brand rivaled only by Coca-Cola and few others.

The book was spotted as a best-seller before the public even saw it. The actual publication date continues to cause confusion and controversy. The first printing of 10,000 copies contained a May 1936 date. But the distribution was delayed until June because the Book of the Month Club chose to feature it, said John Wiley Jr., co-author of “Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind: A Best Sellers Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood.”

To this day, Mitchell’s novel and the successful film remain the most powerful forces in shaping the perception of Southern life before, during and after the Civil War, said Karen Cox, an associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and author of “Dreaming of Dixie: How the South was Created in American Popular Culture.”

“ ‘Gone With the Wind’ eclipsed everything else,” she said. “It cemented that vision of the Old South in the nation’s imagination for years to come.”

However, for many, especially African-Americans, “GWTW’s” portrait of black slaves as happy servants grates upon the nerves.

Edward DuBose, who grew up in Atlanta, remembers the movie being used as an elementary school teaching tool in the ’60s. He also remembers singing “Dixie” in class. “It was a false, soft version of the Civil War,” said DuBose, 53, who now serves as president of the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP. “My understanding of it was you were second-class, not as intelligent as the other students.”

He finds no joy in all this “GWTW” partying.

“For African-Americans, it was a reflection of blacks as slaves,” he said. “I don’t get any enjoyment out of these celebrations.”

However it is regarded today, the publication of “GWTW” caused a sensation seldom matched in American cultural history. By the time the movie was released in 1939, the book had sold more than 2 million copies and the entire nation was engaged in a game of casting the actress who would play Scarlett. The book won the Pulitzer Prize, and the movie won the Oscar for Best Picture.

Emerging as it did in the midst of an industrial century and the depths of the Great Depression, the moonlight-and-magnolia romance offered an appealing alternative for readers in search of escape. The South may have lost the war, but for decades it won, with the help of this story, the battle over the public perception of the era.

Gordon Jones, the senior military historian with the Atlanta History Center, calls the book the dominant example of a particular view of the Civil War era — the vision of charming belles and grand plantations, devoted slaves and noble Confederates — called “The Lost Cause” narrative.

But the explosion of television news after World War II and the issues raised by the Civil Rights movement focused attention on the historical inaccuracies in the story, Jones said.

“Its cultural impact is diminishing,” he said. “It’s become kind of campy, like watching a 1950s horror movie.”

These days, the strongest emotional reaction the story stirs is resentment and outrage among African-Americans over the portrait of slavery, he said.

For fans such as Sorrow, race and politics are beside the point. For her, the story’s appeal endures in the colorful characters, the sweeping spectacle and the portrait — real or not — of a fairy-tale time of charming women, chivalrous men and elegant living.

To those who want to debate the novel’s historical accuracy, she offers a singular response: Fiddle-dee-dee. The only event she wants to re-enact is the movie.

“I do keep it separate,” she said.

However, in some quarters, people still take the story as history, said Cox, the author on Southern life. Her lectures abroad reveal that many Europeans still have a “GWTW” view of the South, she said.

Meanwhile, those old controversies still flare up, especially here in a state where people are debating the flying of the Confederate flag over the Dodge County Courthouse in Middle Georgia.

“In a lot of ways ‘Gone With the Wind’ is accurate,” said Calvin Johnson, 61, of Kennesaw, a member of the Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. “I like the way it shows the South in a respectful way.”

The story has its flaws, said Johnson, who stressed he does not defend slavery. Slaves were not happy servants in some households; but in many they were, he said.

He has no problem with Mitchell’s portrayal of slavery or the war.

“It’s not offensive to me,” Johnson said.

Can you feel that controversy crackling?

Political Headlines: Economy Shadows Obama 2012 Re-Election Hopes


President Barack Obama speaks during Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, May 30, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

President Barack Obama speaks during Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, May 30, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst


  • Analysis: Economy shadows Obama 2012 re-election hopes: Disappointing news on the economy — the issue most important to American voters — has cast a cloud over President Barack Obama’s hopes of re-election next year.
    Polls show the president favored to win the election, with his approval ratings buoyed by foreign policy successes, most notably the killing of Osama bin Laden.
    Obama has also benefited from the Republicans’ failure so far to assemble a field of strong presidential candidates, which has given him a head start on building his campaign apparatus and raising millions of dollars to pay for it.
    But the economy remains the major downside for Obama’s 2012 prospects, with U.S. economic growth at a tepid 1.8 percent annual rate in the first three months of 2011.
    Economists do not foresee a sharp decline in the country’s financial fortunes before the November 2012 election, but a double-dip in home prices, the impact of high gasoline prices on consumers and a slowdown in regional manufacturing are raising concerns the current soft patch could become protracted….. – Reuters, 6-1-11
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