Roundup: Talking About History
This is where we excerpt articles about history that appear in the media. Among the subjects included on this page are: anniversaries of historical events, legacies of presidents, cutting-edge research, and historical disputes.
SOURCE: Dissent Magazine (5-5-10)
[Nick Serpe is an editorial assistant at Dissent.]
In a rather peripheral passage in The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt described how Central and Western European Jews in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries gained access to high society and culture:
To live in the aura of fame was more important than to become famous; thus they became outstanding reviewers, critics, collectors, and organizers of what was famous. The ‘radiant power’ [of fame] was a very real social force by which the socially homeless were able to establish a home.
The powerful glow of celebrity, according to Arendt, provided these intellectuals with an entry point into a social life from which they had been previously excluded, and a means to build bridges of criticism and culture between societies.
Before the 1951 publication of Origins, Arendt was a candidate for her own sociological category: a Jewish intellectual inhabiting the...
SOURCE: American Thinker (5-3-10)
[A DC-area attorney and national security strategist, Jim Guirard was longtime Chief of Staff to former U.S. Senators Allen Ellender and Russell Long. His TrueSpeak.org website focuses on truth-in-language and truth-in-history in public discourse.]
On Friday of last week, much of the establishment media reminded us of the awful 35th anniversary of the so-called "End of the Vietnam War" -- on April 30, 1975. This is only partly true, and now we need to know what the late commentator Paul Harvey would correctly call "the rest of the story."
On Friday and throughout the weekend, familiar pictures were shown of American helicopters lifting people off the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon as the South Vietnamese government was collapsing to the invading Communists from the North -- and this was dutifully labeled again as the "first war ever lost by America."
Since this snapshot of so-called "...
SOURCE: NYT (5-3-10)
What was it like? I would ask myself, the years I lived in Berlin. What was it like in the leafy Grunewald neighborhood to watch your Jewish neighbors — lawyers, businessmen, dentists — trooping head bowed to the nearby train station for transport eastward to extinction?
With what measure of fear, denial, calculation, conscience and contempt did neighbors who had proved their Aryan stock to Hitler’s butchers make their accommodations with this Jewish exodus? How good did the schnapps taste and how effectively did it wash down the shame?
Now I know. Thanks to Hans Fallada’s extraordinary “Every Man Dies Alone,” just published in the United States more than 60 years after it first appeared in Germany, I know. What Irène Némirovsky’s “Suite Française” did for wartime France after six decades in obscurity, Fallada does for wartime Berlin. Like all great art, it transports, in this instance to a world where, “...
SOURCE: openDemocracy (5-3-10)
The sudden death of Yegor Gaidar on December 16, 2009 came as surprise to many of his friends, myself included, well aware though I was of his serious health problems. Over some twenty years, I was fortunate to collaborate with Yegor very closely: before he came to government; when, in late 1991, he became the Deputy, and then Acting Prime Minister; and when he came back to academia. I knew Yegor the policymaker, Yegor the politician, Yegor the academic, and, most importantly, Yegor the human being.
An awful lot of words have already been devoted to his role in initiating and carrying out the critical phase of Russia’s economic transition in 1992-1993. Some questions are simply destined to remain unanswered. Such as how complete and consistent the original “Gaidar program” was. Why some of its intended effects – macroeconomic stabilisation and growth – only came...