This page includes, in addition to news about historians, news about political scientists, economists, law professors, and others who write about history. For a comprehensive list of historians' obituaries, go here.
SOURCE: Economist (8-25-05)
But he has done no such thing. On the contrary, Mr Schama has deployed his celebrity in the service of an episode which did not even rate a footnote in his earlier work—the noble but half-baked attempt to plant a colony of freed American slaves in Sierra Leone at the end of the American war of independence in 1776. Anyone who felt that his “A History of Britain” skipped a little lightly over the empire's adventures overseas (leaving some ugly national skeletons unrattled in the process) now knows why. Like a stealthy chef, Mr Schama was pocketing truffles for his own later use.
He was also returning to the form of vibrant and cosmopolitan narrative which entitled him to write “A History of Britain” in the first place. His first book, “The Embarrassment of Riches” (1987), was a meticulous and witty account of Holland's artistic golden age in the 17th century; “Citizens”, his next work, was a storming narration of the French revolution, a bloodbath which generations of abstract ideologues had managed to drain of blood. Now, once again, his articulate intelligence plays elegantly over a saga full of grim twists. There are heroes and cowards, fools, chancers and baffled victims. The doomed migration from Nova Scotia to Africa (just as resonant as the Australian odyssey described by Robert Hughes in “The Fatal Shore”) is gripping and vivid. It stinks of putrid flesh and maggots, tar and rope, chains and broken promises.
The story of the freed American slaves is not quite unknown, but neither is it well known. British history has rarely dwelt on the loss of its colonies across the Atlantic (preferring to celebrate victories), and until recently has been happy to draw a veil over the horrors of slavery (“ghastly business—less said about it the better”). But this terrific story straddles some very large contemporary concerns: the roots of transatlantic racism, and the ugly wrench that inspired the special relationship.
SOURCE: Virginia Marsh in the Financial Times (London) (8-26-05)
It is not the friends he has lost or the hatred he has aroused that seem to bother him most. It is that he has been sucked into what he says is a relatively parochial, Australian issue when he would much rather be writing about the history of western civilisation and the Enlightenment.
Before Fabrication appeared, Windschuttle was a little-known publisher and historian who planned to write books for the American market from Sydney."The trouble is this damned Aboriginal issue came up," he says."I thought, 'I'll write a couple of articles on this,' but it's taken control of my life. The last thing I wanted to do was spend what's going to be six to 10 years writing four huge volumes." ...
"Academia didn't live up to my expectations," he says, eating the first of his oysters."I got tired of leftwing theories and very tired of leftwing people, quite frankly, and, at the same time, the universities filled up with leftwing people. By the 1980s, to teach humanities you had to be on the leftwing or no one would even consider you. People say the politics of academia are the worst in the world apart from the church. People literally hate each other. I thought, why am I wasting my time?"
So, in the early 1990s, he left and set up a printing house, Macleay Press, to publish his own work and those of fellow conservatives. The American market was an obvious target:"Conservatism is much more institutionalised and a lot richer in the US than in Australia," he says.
"I knew (Fabrication) would be unpopular in Australia. The issue has been a big one because it has been the issue of the moral foundation of the colony of Australia. Are we a legitimate society or not? The people who argue that we need to do something about the Aboriginals argue that this won't be a legitimate society until we have reconciliation. I don't believe that. Nonetheless, that's been the accepted view, so coming out with an argument that there isn't all that much to apologise for is bound to be unpopular.
"The problem with Australian history for Australian historians," he continues,"is that it has really been a pretty dull society - we've had no foreign invasions, no civil wars, no revolutions. The worst constitutional crisis we had was when the governor-general (in 1975) dismissed the prime minister and called an election. I mean 'shock horror'.
"So, to make their story interesting, historians have had to invent some drama, and the great drama in Australia has become relations between blacks and whites."
SOURCE: Guardian (8-30-05)
SOURCE: Solomonia (Blog) (8-30-05)
"I've got to tell you about the dream I had last night..."
I'm in the passenger seat of Richard Landes' car. We're running a quick errand before we sit down for our interview.
"I'm driving along in my car and I pull into a parking garage where I don’t have a permit...suddenly I notice there's something moving all over the floor...It's rats! The floor is covered with rats. And suddenly, I realize I'm not in my car, I'm on a motorcycle. They're all around me, climbing on me and when I try and pull them off I can’t."
He's clearly been giving his new project, in which, he, a medieval historian, is parking in the media’s garage, a lot of thought.
We're heading over to an office to deliver a video tape of a debate the professor has just participated in. He leans over to me, this self-described Man of the Left, and says in a confiding tone, "Of the three participants...I was the right-winger." He rolls his eyes.
That's the state of things in 2005, where a guy who simply wants the truth to be told, who wants a little fairness -- fairness for the Jews, for Israel, for America...and for the Palestinians, too -- can be considered "right wing."
"I'm not about truth per se," he's quick to correct me. "I'm for honesty -- that's something different. Look, the post-modern argument is that there is no such thing as objective truth. Right? Everybody's got a story. Ultimately in a sense they're right, because if you're only going to say things that are objectively true, that are not contested, that are not dependent on people's perceptions, then you're only going to say, for instance, 'the man died.' You can't even say, 'that man killed him,' much less, 'he murdered him.' OK? You could say, 'he killed him,' if, say, you got a picture of him slicing the other guy's head off. If you say, 'he killed him,' we're still in the realm of objective truth. Everyone's going to agree. But murder? That's motive, and motive is a judgment call.
So 'objective truth' means we pass no judgments. Now I personally think that if you can't pass judgments, you're not going to last long. It doesn't say much about you as a moral being."
"I had a student who came to me the other day during office hours. He's doing a paper on the Nazis. He's writing a bibliographical essay and there's a book he's describing, and his summary says something along the lines of, 'This was a very interesting book, but it's pretty biased and I don't know how much I can rely on it, but there are still some facts I can use even though most of it is biased.'
What's its bias, I ask him? 'Well, it's very critical of the Nazis.'" Landes laughs and shakes his head.
"Where did we go wrong?"
"The point is that objectivity is a trap. There have to be judgments. We have to pay attention to different narratives and so-on, yes. I'm post-modern in that sense, but I don't think that because there's no objectivity, there can't be any honesty.
And honesty is what's gone out. The radical-relativists say, 'Hey, the Palestinians have their story.' Well I say, sure they have their story, and by all means listen to it. But how accurate is it? Just because you need to listen to it, doesn’t force you to believe it."
We stop the car to drop off the video tape. We're in the elevator and he asks me, "Did you ever think it would get this bad? The anti-Semitism?" I shake my head.
"I think it's amazing the kind of explosion of anti-Semitism you've been seeing," he continues, "and not just in the Arab World. I mean, you know, everyone knew it was there. Everyone knew belief in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the like was wide-spread, but the outpouring and the hysteria that's been happening, and the resonance they've gotten in Europe has been really..." He trails off.
"You know you can date things that way. Before the year 2000, Alan Dershowitz was writing about the disappearance of the American Jew partly because anti-Semitism was over -- people were saying that anti-Semitism was fading. In 1998 or 1999 very few Jews would say that our existence was threatened...but since 2000...it's different.
Suddenly it's hitting home to a lot people who never thought about it before. No, it's not just hitting home, it's hitting! Most people had no idea there was this much resentment, that the Brits and the French were only waiting for an excuse..."
[NOTE: This interview continues.]
SOURCE: First Post (8-30-05)
Schama found that the gentry - Washington, Jefferson et al - had actually taken up arms because the Brits offered freedom to slaves joining the Loyalists. "I don't want to start a fight, I'm a peaceful man, but the War for Freedom turns out to have been a War for Slavery!" he sputtered.
It was also a war for rum, not the tea famously dumped in Boston harbour. Ian Williams, the author of Rum, A History of the Real Spirit of 1776, says that if today's wars are all about oil, New Englanders of old fought over sugar, which they used to distil rum. But, rather than buy British Caribbean sugar, they saved a packet by trading with the French, then at war with King George.
"The colonists made low-grade rum, but even used it to buy slaves," says Williams. "What would teetotal Bush, the freedom crusader, make of this?"
SOURCE: Times-Picayune (6-7-05)
Historian Douglas Brinkley, dressed in a suit and tie, runs around the house in his sock feet, one shirt button undone, as he waits for the latest fax. Anne, his wife, supervises a housekeeper and a nanny and the carpenters who are installing remarkable custom bookcases for the curving hall downstairs.
Only the children -- daughter Benton, almost 18 months, and son Johnathan, almost 6 months -- sleep peacefully, as does Maxie the dog, who has staked out a place near the front door, next to the bike and the stroller. Books and papers are everywhere, and the carpet is impossibly white. It's family life at its daily, complex best.
Brinkley switches off the big-screen TV, filled with cartoon images, and sinks into a chair as he holds a grapefruit soda. It's the lull before the book tour, and while celebrity is nothing new to the head of the newly created Theodore Roosevelt Center for American Civilization at Tulane University, it's still as demanding as it is gratifying.
He describes the media circus that was part of the origin for his most recent book, "The Boys of Pointe du Hoc: Ronald Reagan, D-Day, and the U.S. Army 2nd Ranger Battalion."
"I was in Normandy last June, working with CNN on their coverage of the D-Day anniversary," he said. "I was in a little Normandy village with Wolf Blitzer, and we were in this little car and suddenly the phone rang, and the producer answered it, and she said, 'Reagan's dead.' And that changed a lot of the coverage. We were spending the night in this cemetery and over the water in the Channel they were doing a lot of fireworks and there was this kaboom! kaboom!, and all along the white crosses and stars of David there was this eerie red glow. And all the coverage became centered on the Pointe du Hoc speech."
In a nutshell, these are Brinkley's gifts -- to be on the scene, to describe it in vivid detail, and to see the possibilities within a given moment. Listening to the replays of one of Reagan's most important speeches, Brinkley became interested in how that speech had come about -- and as a biographer of both Jimmy Carter and John Kerry, he knows the importance of public oratory and the complex process of creating it. As he began doing research at the Reagan Presidential Library, what was originally conceived as a magazine article grew into a book, and with Brinkley's characteristic speed, it's being published a year later.
Some readers might be surprised that Brinkley would move from Kerry to Reagan, but he follows his passions.
"You know the history of World War II appreciation, which we've all been a part of here, really began in 1984, when Time put it on the cover and Lance Morrow did this incredible piece and Reagan did the Pointe du Hoc speech," he said. "Communities began to recognize, 'Oh my God, we've got a Normandy veteran.' And the men didn't talk at that age, they were just hitting the 60s, just getting into the senior bracket, and Reagan talking about them at Normandy made it somehow OK to talk about yourself in that way.
"And then it snowballed. And (UNO historian Stephen) Ambrose was next in line to catch that wave. He didn't like Reagan that much, politically, but he recognized that those speeches were just unbelievable, like a trigger point. And that's when the Eisenhower Center started, interviewing all those veterans from '84 to '94. Steve saw Pointe du Hoc. You can't go there and not be moved. More moving than the Alamo or Mount Rushmore."
. . . . . . .
Ambrose, founder of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans and of the National D-Day Museum, was an important mentor for Brinkley. Ambrose died in 2002.
"I think about him every day," Brinkley said. "I miss his voice. It was so direct and wise. I learned about a work ethic from him -- he was an extraordinarily disciplined guy. And I learned that curiosity was the great gift to have as a historian, that it wouldn't be work if you were curious, because you couldn't stand not knowing. I had that, but he brought that out in me. . . . And he taught me that D-Day is the turning point in 20th-century history. There's a debate whether it's D-Day or Hiroshima/Nagasaki; those two events were very transformative.
"Reagan and Ambrose, more than anybody, turned our country from recognizing D-Day rather than Pearl Harbor as the biggest World War II anniversary. Before 1984, the big date everybody knew was Dec. 7. But Pearl Harbor was about our poor naval preparedness and it's hard to build a World War II triumphalism out of that."
SOURCE: BBC (8-27-05)
Professor Tariq Ramadan, who lives in Geneva, was named as one of the 21st Century's great innovators by Time Magazine last year for his work.
But he was unable to take up a position teaching at Notre Dame University in the US when the Dept of Homelands Security revoked his visa in July 2004.
St Antony's College says he is due to begin a Visiting Fellowship in October.
Professor Ramadan, 38, is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, who founded the prominent Islamic movement the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928.
He has been accused of supporting attacks in Israel and Iraq. He publicly condemned the 11 September and London attacks and says he is against the taking of innocent life.
Shortly after the London bombings The Sun newspaper ran a front page story criticising a decision to invite him for a conference - entitled Meet Islamic Militant Professor Tariq Ramadan.
Professor Ramadan called on Muslims to condemn the attacks on London "with the strongest energy".
He said: "Criminals, no doubt, will continue to kill, but we shall be able to respond to them by demonstrating that our experience of human brotherhood and mutual respect is stronger than their message of hate."
SOURCE: Boston Globe (8-28-05)
\"I got up and said, `Is there anything I could to do to help you,\'\" Donald, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, explained during a recent interview.
\"`We are from Ohio,\'\" he quoted the woman as saying, \"`And we are in New England on a tour of great American authors\' homes. We just finished in Concord. We went to Emerson\'s house and Hawthorne\'s house and Alcott\'s house and on our way back we thought we should stop in Lincoln and visit your house.\'\"
The 84-year-old scholar, mild in voice and manner, giggles self-consciously, tickled by the memory. Unless you\'re David McCullough or Stephen Ambrose, the historian\'s life is generally a private affair, confined to the regard of your peers. But Donald is sought out by the known and the unknown, presidents and common readers.
Fame, like a stranger in his yard, has come to him.
He has won Pulitzers for biographies of abolitionist Charles Sumner and novelist Thomas Wolfe, but his books on Abraham Lincoln are his true legacy. Presidents, from Kennedy to Bush, have summoned him for White House lectures and receptions. Many fellow scholars acknowledge him as the leader in the field. There\'s even an award named after him, the David Herbert Donald Prize for \"excellence in Lincoln studies.\"
Last spring, Donald was the first honoree....
In 1996, Donald published \"Lincoln,\" widely considered the best one-volume work on the president and so popular that both presidential candidates that year, Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, claimed they were reading it. Some scholars had hoped for a more expansive account of the president, but critics and fellow authors praised him for a thorough, yet readable book.
\"His book on Lincoln is not only a classic in the field ... it is a treasured resource,\" said Doris Kearns Goodwin, who lives near Donald and has her own Lincoln book, \"Team of Rivals,\" coming out this fall.
\"When I first began working on my Lincoln book, nearly a decade ago, he generously invited me to his home so I could peruse his fabulous Lincoln library. He sat with me for hours, suggesting which sources were the most important to begin my journey.\"
Donald said he\'s fortunate that he never met Lincoln and risked getting too close to his favorite subject. But he has had the chance to meet some contemporary leaders, starting in the early 1960s when he was invited to the White House by President Kennedy.
\"The president was sitting in his rocking chair, with a yellow pad, taking notes while I talked,\" Donald recalled.
Other presidential encounters followed: a White House visit with Lyndon Johnson (\"a difficult man,\" Donald said), a talk on Lincoln for the first President Bush. Inscribed copies of former President Clinton\'s \"My Life\" and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton\'s \"Living History\" lay on the mantel in Donald\'s living room....
SOURCE: NYT (8-24-05)
The cause was complications of Shy-Drager syndrome, a neurodegenerative disease, according to the University of California, Berkeley, where Dr. Shively was emeritus professor of East Asian languages and cultures. Dr. Shively had also taught at Harvard University for many years.
An authority on the popular culture of the Tokugawa period (1603-1868), Dr. Shively was best known for his translation of "The Love Suicide at Amijima," a domestic tragedy by the renowned Japanese dramatist Monzaemon Chikamatsu (1653-1725). Dr. Shively's translation, originally published in 1953, was re-issued by the University of Michigan in 1991.
SOURCE: Independent (8-24-05)
Christopher Durston was an outstanding historian whose research interests, focused on the effects of the 17th-century revolution on the lives of English people, resulted in an impressively wide-ranging yet well-integrated body of work.
He published The Family in the English Revolution (1989), together with several essays on the failure of Puritan attempts to achieve a more thorough reformation of attitudes and behaviour, including a substantial and wide-ranging chapter in a volume of essays, The Culture of English Puritanism, that he co-edited with Jacqueline Eales (1996). Two dispassionate and readable accounts, James I (1993) and Charles I (1998), in the well-known series of "Lancaster pamphlets" are perhaps his most widely consulted publications.
His most notable monograph is, however, Cromwell's Major-Generals: godly government during the English Revolution (2001). The importance of the major- generals had long been appreciated, but the task of writing a proper account of them had defeated some eminent scholars. Durston rose to this challenge with confidence, and his study of the under-funded and ill-supported efforts of these earnest, conscientious soldiers was acknowledged as a masterpiece.
SOURCE: NYT (8-21-05)
Nor is it the odd symmetry that links this maisonette, built in 1925 as part of an apartment house on the site of the old Beekman estate - east of First Avenue, near 51st Street - to Ms. Mirrer's current job as president of the New-York Historical Society. The Beekmans were founding members of the society in 1804, and descendants have been on its board for most of its history.
No, the most telling and piquant fact about this maisonette, which Ms. Mirrer shares with her husband, the sociologist David Halle, and their three children - one of whom, Philip, 23, is off at law school - is that there are practically no paintings on the walls.
Two small pieces are hung in a by-the-way manner under the stairs: a pastel portrait of the couple's younger son, Malcolm, 16, painted by Mr. Halle's "patron," the artist LeRoy Neiman, and a caricature of Mr. Halle giving a lecture, also by Mr. Neiman. Ms. Mirrer used the word patron to describe Mr. Neiman because Mr. Halle, a professor at U.C.L.A., works there in the LeRoy Neiman Center for the Study of American Society and Culture. (He commutes home each weekend.) Also, she and Mr. Halle collaborated on a monograph about Mr. Neiman called "Prints of Power" published by Knoedler in 1991. But we digress.
The reason for the almost painting-free environment harks back to Mr. Halle's 1996 book, "Inside Culture: Art and Class in the American Home," published by the University of Chicago Press. In it, he explored the homes of upper-middle- and working-class New Yorkers and analyzed what they hung on their walls. His conclusion was that most people, regardless of their place in society, hang the same stuff - and that stuff, in his view, is pretty banal, mostly landscapes and family portraits.
"So he sort of banned art at home," Ms. Mirrer explained. "And for a while we became personae non gratae in everyone else's home because they were afraid their choices would be pronounced banal. As it turns out, it's only my taste that was banal."...
SOURCE: Michael Oren, the Middle East historian, in the WSJ (8-23-05)
SOURCE: Independent (8-19-05)
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (8-16-05)
SOURCE: Washington Times (8-16-05)
She began her career as a reporter for The Washington Post and wrote for The Los Angeles Times in Washington and Los Angeles before becoming an independent film writer, producer and publicist.
Her 1997 documentary "Colors Straight Up" was nominated for an Academy Award. She wrote "And the Children Shall Lead," about racism in the South, which aired in 1985 as part of the PBS "Wonderworks" series and produced the short documentary "Marching Into the Millennium," an overview of black Angeleno history, for the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department.
SOURCE: OAH Newsletter (8-11-05)
Born in Scotland in 1922 and raised in the U.S., Betty Miller Unterberger began her college career at Syracuse University on a forensics scholarship. Bored to death with the speech curriculum, she took a citizenship course from Marguerite J. Fisher, the only woman professor she ever had. From Fisher, Betty developed an interest in political science and history. At Syracuse and later at Radcliffe College (now Harvard) where she went for her Master’s degree, Betty took American, British, Russian, and East Asian history. When she finally decided to go into American history, she had the background that made the history of American foreign relations a logical choice.
Betty was at Harvard during the Second World War and she took a course in diplomatic history from Thomas A. Bailey, who was visiting from Stanford. Bailey, a “fabulous lecturer” who “was like a combination of Saint Paul and Saint Vitus,” became one of Betty’s “lifelong heroes.” It was from Bailey that she first learned about American troops in Russia at the end of World War I. Intrigued by this little known episode in Russian-American relations, she went on to write her Ph.D. dissertation on the subject, which became the basis for her first book. America’s Siberian Expedition, 1918-1920: A Study of National Policy won prizes from both Duke University and the Pacific Coast Branch of the AHA.
Joel received his BA, MA, and PhD from the University of Chicago, and wrote his dissertation with Professor Richard C. Wade. He taught at Roosevelt University and the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle, as well as Brooklyn College, before teaching for over 30 years at Montclair. He also chaired the Columbia University Seminar on the City and taught a course at Columbia's School of Architecture. In addition to numerous articles and reviews, he wrote The New York Approach (published by Ohio State University Press in a series edited by Zane Miller) and contributed a lengthy section to The Empire State, edited by Milton Klein for Cornell University Press. He most recently compiled "An illustrated Guide to Public Housing" for the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives Photo Exhibit, on the Internet, which has been the subject of articles in The New York Times and Daily News.
He is survived by his wife of thirty-five years, Bonnie Fox Schwartz, a historian of the New Deal, and two children, Marjorie Schwartz Poulos and David J. Schwartz.
The funeral will be private. A memorial service is planned for September 11, 2005, at 4 PM at the Riverside, 180 West 76th Street, New York City. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the College Fund of the University of Chicago, in memory of Joel Schwartz. Send to the University of Chicago, 5801 S. Ellis Avenue, Suite 7, Chicago, IL 60637.
SOURCE: The Washington Post (8-7-05)
On the Democratic side, the number of candidates could easily double to six by next month. Three Montgomery County residents -- a historian, a psychiatrist and a wealthy businessman -- all say they are on the verge of making decisions about whether to join the fray.
The latest possible entrant is Allan J. Lichtman, an American University historian. Lichtman, who has made a career of commenting upon candidates, last week said he is thinking of becoming one.
"I see an opening here," said Lichtman, whose side gigs include political commentary for CNN and a weekly column for the Gazette newspapers.
Lichtman, who lives in Bethesda, would join a Democratic field that includes former congressman Kweisi Mfume (whose candidacy Lichtman argues has been wounded by allegations of favoritism while leading the NAACP) and Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (whom Lichtman argues the Democratic establishment has been too quick to rally around). "I don't believe in inevitability candidates," Lichtman said. "I think that's a bad thing for the country."
Cardin and Mfume both hail from Baltimore, as does A. Robert Kaufman, a self-described socialist and community activist also in the race.
Normally the dim but loquacious Juan Cole is not worth the time of day. But this time, it's personal. Commenting on a TV series made by the Israeli journalist Haim Yavin, Cole states:
The Guardian summarizes some of his findings: ' Some settlers tell Yavin that the Palestinians must be given a deadline to leave the occupied territories or be forced out. "Otherwise we should just bomb and kill them," says one woman. '
This fascist point of view is privately shared by many of the strident Zionist organizations that are so influential with the press and the US Congress in the United States. David Steinmann of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs has stridently denounced anyone who supported the Oslo peace accords. JINSA in turn has been important in politically forming Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith and Bush's nominee as UN ambassador, John Bolton. If you want to know what is behind Campus Watch, the Middle East Forum, the David Project, Frontpagemag and other shadowy organizations that have mobilized to attack US academic specialists in the Middle East that don't toe the Settler line, this is it.
Now hang on, did he just call us fascists? Shadowy is one thing, that's just silly. But fascist? This is libelous. Or maybe it's slanderous. One of those two. It is certainly a monstrous distortion of the facts and more importantly, of the idea of fascism.
Fascism, originally of the left but more typically of the right, engages in the forcible and sometimes violent suppression of political opposition, exalts the nation, engineers social and economic regimentation, and is a totalitarian system that seeks to control every aspect of social, political, and economic life. I fail to see how Campus Watch fits this definition in any respect (although in a future blog I shall make clear our demands for global economic reforms based on the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition). I also fail to see how we or the David Project (or Douglas Feith or John Bolton for that matter) have anything to do with the "Settler line." And, last time I checked, opposition to the Oslo Accord (particularly in retrospect) was neither a sign of fascism nor of unqualified endorsement of "settlers."
Perhaps more telling is the very title of Cole's little calumny "The Good Israelis." Call me oversensitive, but is this a variation on "Good Germans"? Nah, couldn't be. Flirting with Godwin's law is certainly not like Cole. But honestly.Overall I think this latest nonsense proves that Cole is injudicious in his analogies and thoughtless with language, misinformed and abusive of history, and monomaniacal about Israel. In short, a perfect president for MESA and exemplar of the new Arabists, dumb, defeatist, and destitute. At least the old Arabists knew something and seemed genuinely fond of the peoples they advocated for.
The only thing worse is the hysterical posterboy for latter-day Saidianism, Joseph Massad, whose latest ranting, with its predictable denunciations and self-important lamentations, is hardly worth wasting bandwidth over: "The university, with all its limitations, is one of the few remaining spaces, if not the only remaining one, where critical intellectuals can still live the life of the mind. What the witch- hunters want us to do is to live the life of servitude to state power, as technocrats and as ideologues. This we refuse to do."
People still talk like this?
Robin Lane Fox, in the Australian (July 14, 2004):
BIG movies are notorious for trampling on history; I have recently given the year's biggest movie the chance of trampling on a historian. In November, Oliver Stone's film about Alexander the Great will burst on the world.
I have been the film's historical adviser and in September last year I galloped on my stallion across the Moroccan desert at the head of Oliver's cavalry charge. We were filming the battle of Gaugamela, Alexander's greatest victory over the Persians.
Both advising and acting roles came as a result of my book about Alexander and my lifelong study of him. Charging across the desert gave me a unique opportunity for some first-hand historical research. Can we really understand the horse-bound charges that were essential to Alexander's famous victories if we have never tried to carry one out? It was also a fantasy and spectacularly good fun....
When Stone invited me to London two years ago to discuss Alexander with him, perhaps I should have asked for millions of dollars and a film credit for my book. No doubt he would have found somebody else to advise him among the dozens of more prudent historians who also engage with this subject around the world. Before our meeting, however, I had arranged my priorities in case the relationship went well. I decided to ask for two rewards: a place in the first 15 of every major cavalry charge to be filmed in Alexander's company and the words "and introducing" in front of my name in the credits.
Even Stone was taken aback by this request. He pointed out that "and introducing" would be impossible because there is a professional hierarchy in such matters. My request to ride in the cavalry charge caused him consternation too, until I assured him that I have ridden for 45 years and risked every bone, still unbroken, in my body in the yearly pursuit of English foxes. There would be health and safety problems, he hardly needed to tell me, but, "OK, I'll tell them to do it, if I possibly can .. we'll have a rebel on horseback ... you're mad; you're a cross between Peter Sellers and Ian Fleming."...
My colleagues told me that for historians, Stone was supposed to be like Satan,
perhaps because they had seen his film of Nixon and I had not. Like the poet
John Milton, I have to say I quickly became very fond of Satan. Anyway, the
claim that Stone has no historical sense is completely untrue. ...
John W. Dean, former counsel to the president, in findlaw.com (April 23, 2004):
On April 8, the U. S. Senate received the President's nomination for a new Archivist of the United States -- historian Allen Weinstein. For most Americans, this is an obscure post. But the Weinstein nomination has rightly been gathering increasing attention.
Indeed, within the archival and historical communities, the nomination has sent sirens screaming and bells clanging. No fewer than nine professional organizations that deal with government records have expressed concern -- faulting Weinstein for his excessive secrecy.
As I have argued in my latest book, President Bush has had a problem with excessive secrecy for quite awhile. As Governor of Texas, he made sure to block any later access to his gubernatorial records. As President, he has tried to seal off the government from scrutiny in numerous ways.
Such secrecy is not a partisan matter. Rather, it is an issue of good government versus bad government -- and secrecy smells of bad government.
Why is President Bush so eager to switch archivists? Bruce Craig of the National Coalition for History explains that the Administration is likely motivated both by "the sensitive nature of certain presidential and executive department records expected to be opened in the near future," and also by "genuine concern in the White House that the president may not be re-elected."
Craig also notes that "in January 2005, the first batch of records (the mandatory 12 years of closure having passed) relating to the president's father's administration will be subject to the Presidential Records Act (PRA) and could be opened."
Finally, Craig (like many others) also reports that there is White House concern about the release of the 9/11 Commission records.
Bush's Earlier Texas Trick To Hide His Gubernatorial Records
Texas has one of the nation's strongest public information laws. But Governor Bush wanted to keep his papers secret anyway. Accordingly, in 1997, he sought and obtained a change in Texas law to help him do so.
The new law allows the governor to select a site for his papers other than the Texas State Library -- as long as it is in Texas. But the governor must first consult with the state's library and archives commission to make certain any alternative arrangement satisfied the state's open access law.
When Bush became president-elect, however, he simply sent his papers and records with no consultation whatsoever to his father's presidential library at Texas A&M University -- known as the most secretive of all the existing presidential libraries.
The result was, in effect, to federalize the papers and records, placing them in a legal limbo where no one could have access. Bush Senior's presidential library is run by the Federal Government -- specifically, the National Archives And Records Administration (NARA).
But Peggy Rudd, Director and Librarian of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, refused to accept Bush's designation of his father's library as the repository for his papers. Eventually, she procured a ruling by the Texas attorney general, making Bush's gubernatorial papers subject to the Texas Public Information Act -- whereupon they were sent to Austin for processing.
Soon, however, Texas Governor Perry -- Bush's friend and hand-picked successor -- and the new attorney general found new exceptions in the state's information law that they claim give them the keys to the relevant filing cabinets. Good luck to those seeking access.
Now it appears Bush is doing what he did in Texas, on a national level.
Gutting the 1978 Presidential Records Act
This effort began on November 1, 2001, when Bush issued Executive Order 13233. The Executive Order drew loud objections from not only historians and archivists, but also members of Congress -- who were highly critical of the Order in hearings. In the end, however, the Republican leaders quelled the grumbling, and Congress took no action.
The Executive Order gutted prior law -- specifically, the 1978 Presidential Records Act. The Order granted all former presidents, as well as any persons selected by them, an unprecedented authority to invoke executive privilege to block release of their records. In addition, it granted the power to invoke executive privilege to present and former vice-presidents as well.
Moreover, it shifts the burden to the requester to establish why he or she seeks the presidential records. (In contrast, the 1978 law properly put the burden on the former president who seeks to withhold them.) And Bush's Order empowers a current president to block release of a former president's records even when the former president wishes to release them. Finally, it makes the Department of Justice available to represent, in litigation, any incumbent or former president seeking to withhold information.
The public interest group Public Citizen filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Both sides have filed for summary judgment. So far, the court has not ruled.
Bush should lose the suit. A President should not be able to overturn a statute with an Executive Order -- especially when he is doing so in a self-interested bid to protect the secrecy of his own records.
Bush's Move To Appoint A New Archivist Again Ignores The Law
Bush's earlier moves to ensure records secrecy bring us to the most recent such bid: The President's nomination for Archivist of the United States. The Archivist will head NARA, which administers the 1978 Presidential Records Act -- so even if Bush loses in his attempt to protect his Executive Order in court, he may still preserve his records' secrecy if he manages to appoint a sympathetic enough Archivist.
The Archivist is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. A 1985 law makes NARA an independent agency within the executive branch.
That law says that an "Archivist may be removed from office by the President" when he "communicate[s] the reasons for any such removal to each House of the Congress." But President Bush seems to have effectively removed the incumbent Archivist, John Carlin, without following this procedure.
Carlin was appointed by President Clinton. Carlin had long given the impression that he planned to remain in his post for at least ten years -- that is, until at least 2005. Yet in December 2003, Carlin resigned -- apparently due to Bush Administration pressure. However, he has said he will stay until his successor is confirmed, so there is no vacancy.
The law also says that the President must appoint the Archivist "without regard to political affiliations and solely on the basis of the professional qualifications required to perform the duties and responsibilities of the office of Archivist."
Clinton didn't follow this provision: Carlin was a former Democratic governor of Kansas with no archival experience. Neither has Bush. Allen Weinstein is hardly a political neutral. Although he is a registered Democrat, he has close ties with conservative Republicans, and has become something of a champion of their Cold War views.
Both Presidents ought to be faulted for politicizing our nation's archival records and our history. And Clinton's wrong does not create a precedent for Bush to follow.
The U.S. Senate Should Withhold Its Consent
Just as no president could fill a Supreme Court vacancy this close to an election, similarly, President Bush should not be able to now fill the Archivist post -- particularly given Bush's record as the most secretive president this nation has ever had.
Under the rules of the U.S. Senate, any Senator can place a hold on a nomination. Hopefully, one (or more) will do just that -- insisting that this post be filled only after the election, and then demanding that the president comply with the law in filling it.
If Bush should lose, a lame duck president's appointments, obviously, are easily rejected. But should Bush win reelection, the Senate still must require the president comply with the law -- and make a non-political selection of a qualified future Archivist. Not only does our past require it, so does our future.
John M. Glionna, in the LAT (March 30, 2004):
The boxes of confidential FBI documents lie scattered about author Gerald Nicosia's kitchen like so many unopened prizes. Twelve feet high when stacked, they are a monument, he says, to democracy gone wrong. They are also his cross to bear.
For weeks now, the documents have created havoc in the historian's staid suburban life. Instead of shepherding the kids between school and baseball games while he works on his newest project -- a book about racism and the death penalty -- Nicosia has been pulled into the mystery surrounding the U.S. government's spying on its citizens more than a generation ago.
Twenty thousand pages in all, detailing FBI surveillance of Vietnam War protesters in the 1970s, the files were obtained by Nicosia in 1998 following an 11-year battle with the agency over their release. Nicosia had sought the documents during the research for his 2002 book, "Home to War," a chronicle of the antiwar movement, including the group Vietnam Veterans Against the War. But the FBI released the files too late for Nicosia's use in his book.
So the 54-year-old historian, poet and fiction writer stored them away in his garage, largely unopened, and moved on to other projects.
Until recently that is, when Sen. John F. Kerry, a former VVAW leader whose name appears frequently in the files, emerged as the presumed Democratic nominee for president.
Nicosia suddenly realized he was sitting on a historical treasure trove that told the story of how a presidential candidate became the subject of a government monitoring campaign as a young protester. Long before he became a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, Kerry was considered a possible threat to national security by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI for his outspoken protests against the war.
Not only did Nicosia possess evidence of a time warp of sorts -- a snapshot of an early chapter in the life of an emerging politician -- but the documents also offered hints about a nation under siege both abroad and at home. They were files that Kerry himself had never seen.
While he had barely perused the papers, Nicosia recently allowed a Times reporter to review a portion of them for a story on Kerry's past. That's when the author's life went haywire.
Television camera crews materialized, clogging up his quiet dead-end street. His phone rang constantly with interview requests from newspapers and TV and radio talk shows. He got crank phone calls and mysterious hang-ups.
Then came an even stranger turn: Nicosia discovered last week that three of the boxes were missing. He had returned home to find several inside doors ajar and other valuables, including a camera, left untouched. He reported the burglary to police, who say they are investigating the case as a home break-in.
Now neither Nicosia nor his family sleeps well at night. He suspects the intruders wanted more than the three file boxes but were interrupted, perhaps scared off by a neighbor's barking dog. Nicosia is no conspiracy theorist. But he is a product of the Watergate era who understands the allure of political sabotage.
And he worries the burglars might come back.
Benny Morris, reviewing A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples by Ilan Pappe; in the New Republic (subscribers only) (March 22, 2004):
lan Pappe and I walked a stretch together in uneasy companionship, but we have now parted ways. In the late 1980s and early 1990s we belonged to a group dubbed the "New Historians" of Israel, which also included Avi Shlaim and Tom Segev. This group, contrary to the conspiratorial image projected by our critics, was never a close-knit or monolithic school of intellectuals who plotted together around the table at Friday-night meals. Some of us barely knew one another. Each, in different institutions and different cities and different countries (indeed, only Pappe was on the faculty of an Israeli university), had plied his craft alone and reached his conclusions on his own. But we had all written histories focusing on Israel and Palestine in the 1940s, and they had all appeared, mostly in English, in the late 1980s, and taken together they had shaken the Zionist historiographic establishment and permanently undermined the traditional Zionist narrative of the Israeli-Arab conflict.....
From the first Pappe allowed his politics to hold sway over his history. Initially he was rather restrained. His first book, Britain and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1948-51, published in 1988, was bland and flat in tone. Perhaps this was due to its origins as a doctoral dissertation; perhaps there were other reasons. In any event, the book avoided blunt iconoclasm, and its innovations are extremely hesitant (unlike Avi Shlaim in his Collusion Across the Jordan, published the same year, where it was trenchantly argued that the Yishuv--the Jewish community in Palestine--and the Hashemite rulers of Jordan had colluded to limit their war in 1948 and to nip in the bud the emergence of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, as endorsed by the U.N. partition resolution of November 1947). In his second book, The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1947-1951, which appeared in 1992, Pappe allowed his politics more leeway, and they are apparent in his descriptions and in his interpretations; but here, too, there is an effort toward objectivity and accuracy.
In both books Pappe in effect tells his readers: "This is what happened." This is strange, because it directly conflicts with a second major element in his historiographical outlook. Pappe is a proud postmodernist. He believes that there is no such thing as historical truth, only a collection of narratives as numerous as the participants in any given event or process; and each narrative, each perspective, is as valid and legitimate, as true, as the next. ....
Since so much of the debate about the New Historians is political, I should add that Pappe and I differ not only in our methods but also in our politics. We are both men of the left; but whereas since the late 1960s I have consistently voted Labor or Meretz (a Zionist party to the left of Labor), Pappe, so far as I know, has always voted the Israel Communist Party ticket (under its different names) and has figured repeatedly in the party's list of Knesset candidates. During the past few years Pappe has veered even further leftward. Although his party still advocates a two-state solution, Pappe, like his mentor Edward Said, believes that the only solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict is a single bi-national state in all of Palestine. (I shall return to this theme.)...
As for Pappe, the outbreak of the Palestinian revolt has thrust him into academic and political prominence as one of the most outspoken Israeli advocates of a Western boycott of Israel's universities. During the past three years, many pro-Palestinian academics in the West have campaigned (not very successfully) to persuade their universities to cut off contact with their Israeli counterparts and to block research and investment funds from reaching Israel's universities; academic journals have refused to consider or to publish papers by Israelis; a handful of academics have refused to supervise Israeli postgraduate students; and scholars, such as Eugene Rogan, head of the Middle East Centre at Oxford's St. Antony's College, have refused to give lectures in a country governed by Ariel Sharon (presumably they would give lectures in countries run by the likes of Bashar al-Assad and the Ayatollah Khamenei). Pappe has been at the forefront of this effort....
This has been Pappe's political evolution. A History of Modern Palestine is a milestone in his evolution as an historian. He sets out to tell the story of Palestine, which he far less frequently also refers to as the Land of Israel, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, starting with Napoleon's invasion in 1799. It is mainly the story of two peoples--Arabs and Jews--and the interaction between them. Needless to say, a great many pages are devoted to the development of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; but Pappe is at pains, as he tells us in his foreword, not to confine himself to the usual tale of high politics and military history--to the thoughts, the words, and the actions of leaders and generals. In keeping with the politically correct norms of the profession in the contemporary West, he focuses, rather, on "the victims" of "the invasions, occupations, expulsions, discrimination and racism" to which Palestine has been subject. His "heroes," he says, are the "women, children, peasants, workers, ordinary city dwellers, peaceniks, human rights activists"--and his "'villains' ... the arrogant generals, the greedy politicians, the cynical statesmen and the misogynist men."
It goes almost without saying that Pappe's "victims" are primarily Palestine's Arabs; and all, or almost all, of the "greedy" and the "cynical" are Israelis. In fairness I should add that he does dish up some "misogynist" Palestinians, which is not surprising, given the fact that in Arab and Islamic societies women are by tradition, and often by law, third-class members, who often lack basic rights (in some countries they have no vote, in others they cannot drive cars, and so on). In this respect, Palestinian society is similar to Syrian or Jordanian or Egyptian society, but Pappe papers this over by repeatedly pointing to the continuously "improving" nature of Palestinian women's status at certain points in time--for example, during the two Palestinian intifadas or rebellions against Israel.
Unfortunately, much of what Pappe tries to sell his readers is complete fabrication. In trying to demonstrate women's growing political involvement (and, incidentally, Israeli beastliness), he tells us at one point that "one third of the overall [Palestinian] casualties [in the intifada of 1987-1991] were women," and that "rural women" took "a central role, boldly confronting the army." Among urban women, the proportion of participants in the intifada was even higher, he says. All of this is pure invention. In fact, women constituted about 5 percent of the Palestinian casualties in the first intifada. According to B'Tselem, the Israeli human rights group, eleven hundred Palestinians died at the hands of Israeli army and security personnel during that uprising, and of these, fifty-six were women. Even a cursory glance at film footage of the intifada's riots shows that there were generally no female participants. Women did make an appearance, in small numbers, when pleading with soldiers not to take away arrested men for questioning or when mourning male casualties lying bloodied in the streets; but the women remained remarkably absent from the front lines of the intifada--as they remained, and still remain, absent from the front lines of the current intifada and from the coffee shops of the West Bank and Gaza and other venues where serious matters in the Arab Middle East are discussed, and sometimes decided. Indeed, the recent surge in Islamic fundamentalism in Palestinian society has restricted women even more firmly to hearth and home than was the case before the 1970s. Arafat, with his good sense for public relations, inducted two women--Hanan Ashrawi and Umm Jihad--into the political elite, and Arafat's Fatah has dispatched a handful of female suicide bombers into Israel's cities, but these are token representations of a gender that is essentially disempowered in Palestinian society....
In Pappe's account, there is no faulting the Palestinians for regularly assaulting the Zionist enterprise--in 1920, 1921, 1929, 1936-39, 1947-48, the late 1960s and early 1970s, 1987, and 2000--as there can be no criticizing them for rejecting the various compromises offered by the British, the Americans, the Jews, and the world community in 1937, 1947, 1977- 1978, and 2000. The Palestinians are forever victims, the Zionists are forever "brutal colonizers." To his credit, Pappe wears his heart on his sleeve. There is no dissembling here. He even tells us in his acknowledgments--as if he cannot wait to inform his readers of his loyalties-- that while his "native tongue is Hebrew," "today [he] converses more and more in Arabic," and his "love of the country [Palestine]" is matched only by his "dislike of the state [Israel]." ...
The multiplicity of mistakes on each page is a product of both Pappe's historical methodology and his political proclivities. He seems to admit as much when he writes early on that
my [pro-Palestinian] bias is apparent despite the desire of my peers that I stick to facts and the 'truth' when reconstructing past realities. I view any such construction as vain and presumptuous. This book is written by one who admits compassion for the colonized not the colonizer; who sympathizes with the occupied not the occupiers; and sides with the workers not the bosses. He feels for women in distress, and has little admiration for men in command.... Mine is a subjective approach....
For those enamored with subjectivity and in thrall to historical relativism, a fact is not a fact and accuracy is unattainable. Why grope for the truth? Narrativity is all. So no reader should be surprised to discover that, according to Pappe, the Stern Gang and the Palmach existed "before the revolt" of 1936 (they were established in 1940-1941); that the Palmach "between 1946 and 1948" fought against the British (in 1947-1948 it did not); that Ben-Gurion in 1929 was chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive (he was chairman from 1935 to 1948); that the Arab Higher Committee was established "by 1934" (it was set up in 1936); that the Arab Legion did not withdraw from Palestine, along with the British, in May, 1948 (most of its units did); that the United Nations' partition proposal of November 29, 1947 had "an equal number of supporters and detractors" (the vote was thirty-three for, thirteen against, and ten abstentions); that the "Jewish forces [were] better equipped" than the invading Arab armies in May, 1948 (they were not, by any stretch of the imagination); that the first truce was "signed" on June 10, 1948 (it was never "signed," and it began on June 11) ....
Brazen inaccuracy similarly marks Pappe's treatment of the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939. Pappe writes that the Arab Higher Committee had tried to "negotiate a principled settlement with the Jewish Agency" (it did not); that in "October 1936" the AHC "declared a general strike" (it was declared in May, 1936 and ended in October); that "in August " Palestinians assassinated "Major Andrew," the British acting Galilee district commissioner (his name was Lewis Andrews, he was a civilian, and he was assassinated in September); and that "quite a few" of the Palestinian dead in the 1936-1939 rebellion were women (there are no accurate figures, but there can be no doubt that only a handful of the three thousand to six thousand Palestinian dead were women, who generally took no part in the rioting and the fighting).
Pappe writes that "in the 1969 election, the moderate Eshkol could not prevail against the more inflexible Golda Meir" (Eshkol simply died in office, and his party, Mapai, selected Meir as his successor, and later, in the general elections of 1969, the incumbent prime minister Meir, heading the Mapai list, ran against, and beat, a collection of right-wing, religious, and left-wing parties); that there were one million Palestinians living outside Palestine by the end of the 1948 war (the number was no more than three hundred thousand); that "the fida'iyyun [literally, self-sacrificers or guerrillas] ... activities initially consisted of attempts to retrieve lost property" (this was probably true of infiltrating Palestinian refugees, but the fida'iyyun, set up by Egypt only in 1954-1955, from the first were engaged in intelligence and terrorist activities, not in property retrieval); that "Lebanon was destroyed in [Israeli] carpet bombing from the air and shelling from the ground" in 1982 (Lebanon was not destroyed, though several neighborhoods in a number of cities were badly damaged, and there was no "carpet bombing"). Again, the list is endless....
This truly is an appalling book. Anyone interested in the real history of Palestine/Israel and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would do well to run vigorously in the opposite direction.
Kerry Howe, Professor of History at Massey University and author of The Quest for Origins: Who First Discovered New Zealand and the Pacific Islands?, in the New Zealand Herald (April 3, 2004):
Michael King's death this week led to an amazing outpouring of sympathy and accolade. It is indicative of fundamental changes in national sensitivities that a historian rather than a sportsperson can now be widely regarded as a great New Zealander.
King's work has not only been received in this changing context - a kind of national metamorphosis in taste from Lion Red to chardonnay, from rugby to arts festivals - but he has helped to bring about this change by encouraging a national awareness of New Zealand's past.
How has a historian - one of a breed hardly prevalent as iconic figures - managed to achieve an elevated personal status and to reveal us empathetically to ourselves?
It results from a complex mix of his talent as a very good historian, his insistence that history should not be written simply for other historians but should engage the wider community, and his particular time and place.
King cut his baby historical teeth in the later 1960s, a time of nascent "isms", such as internationalism, feminism, environmentalism, and, above all, post-colonialism.
New Zealand history for the first time became a popular subject at university, and particularly an interest in Maori-Pakeha relations. Research on culture contact flourished. That was due to pioneering work by Sinclair, Sorrenson, Binney and others, and also reflected the broader international trend of examining the experience of colonised peoples - crossing to the other side of the frontier, as it was called.
It was also a time when the Maori voice, in protest and co-operative endeavour, was heard loudly for the first time since the 19th century.
In the 1970s, King established himself as a key interpreter for Pakeha (and probably for most Maori) of the Maori historical experience in his writings (such as Moko, Te Ao Hurihuri, Tihe Mauri Ora) and on television with the Tangata Whenua series.
His reputation was consolidated with his biography of the King Movement leader Te Puea (1977). It was as notable for his level of understanding of a Maori world as for the remarkable story that it was, one that for many Pakeha was simply eye-opening.
In the public monocultural world that was then New Zealand, he sensitively revealed matters Maori in a way which no modern Pakeha historian had done to that point.
King also popularised history at a time when that was not fashionable. Moreover, unlike many of those who do popularise the subject, he was technically an excellent historian who did the hard yards of research. Even his critics acknowledged that.
But the public success of this work brought about an early downfall. Certain Maori voices began to oppose his alleged gatekeeping of Maori history - for all his linguistic and cultural skills in a Maori context he was not Maori.
It was a time when the dreaded accusation of white academic imperialism was heard in New Zealand and elsewhere. A public debate took place in the Listener in 1978.
King defended his right to write about the shared New Zealand past but, along with a generation of young Pakeha historians, bowed to pressure and went in search of less stressful historical topics. ...
Bruce Craig, in the newsletter for the Coalition for History (April 8, 2004):
HISTORIAN ALLEN WEINSTEIN SLOTTED BY BUSH ADMINISTRATION TO BE NEXT ARCHIVIST OF THE UNITED STATES On 8 April 2004, the White House announced that President George W. Bush intends to nominate historian Allen Weinstein to become the ninth Archivist of the United States. Weinstein currently works at the International Foundation for Elections Systems as Senior Advisor for Democratic Institutions and Director of its Center for Democratic Initiatives. Along with former Archivist of the United State Don W. Wilson, Weinstein is also a trustee of the Boston based Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity, which is affiliated with the Christian Science church.
Earlier in his career, Weinstein was a Professor at Boston University (1985-89), Georgetown University (1981-1984), and Smith College (1966-1981) where he served as a Professor of History and Chair of Smith's American Studies Program. He earned his bachelor's degree from Columbia College and his master's and Ph.D. from Yale University.
In 1985 Weinstein created and served as president of The Center for Democracy, a non-profit foundation located in Washington, D.C. The foundation seeks to promote and strengthen the democratic processes and played an active role in promoting democracy in former Soviet republics following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Weinstein's international awards include the United Nations Peace Medal (1986) for his "efforts to promote peace, dialogue and free elections in several critical parts of the world" and he was twice awarded (1990 and 1996) The Council of Europe's Silver Medal which was presented by its Parliamentary Assembly for Weinstein's "outstanding assistance and guidance over many years."
Weinstein is well-known as a historian of espionage. His most recent book (1999)
is "The Haunted Wood Soviet Espionage in America -- The Stalin Era."
It is considered a controversial work that was co-authored with a Russian journalist
Alexander Vassiliev, a former KGB agent. Weinstein's book "Perjury - The
Hiss-Chambers Case" is, in many circles, considered the "definitive"
work establishing that Alger Hiss was a Soviet spy. Weinstein has also written
more broadly with such books as "Freedom and Crisis: An American History,"
"Between the Wars: American Foreign Policy From Versailles to Pearl Harbor,"
and "Prelude to Populism: Origins of the Silver Issue" among his credits.
Weinstein's articles and essays have appeared in a wide range of scholarly and
popular publications. (For more on Weinstein tap into: http://www.centerfordemocracy.org/awbio.html
Ben Johnson, in frontpagemag.com (April 22, 2004):
Sleepy Muhlenberg College leapt to national prominence when the Allentown, Pennsylvania, university became only the fourth college in the nation to pass a resolution condemning the Patriot Act. On January 23, 2004, the faculty senate passed the measure without dissent, by a vote of 100-0. The two-page resolution paints an Orwellian picture of the controversial homeland security act, alleging, among other things, that the bill allows campus police to search rooms and offices without notification to the suspects or college administration.
The only trouble is, the Patriot Act grants no such authorization. In fact, the resolution makes numerous spurious claims about the Patriot Act all of which went unchecked by the faculty senate before that august body set its imprimatur to the motion. However, their knee-jerk anti-American reaction should come as no surprise, given the abundant left-wing activism sponsored by this Lutheran church (ELCA)-affiliated college. From urging students to attend violent protests at a U.S. military base to hosting a lesbian who defiles the Stars and Stripes as part of her on-stage performance, Muhlenberg has become a model of the unpatriotic university....
Muhlenberg Colleges Patriot Act debacle is more easily understood when one investigates the resolutions sponsor, History professor Anna Adams. Adams, who admits never having read the Patriot Act, has acknowledged she was merely acting as a water-carrier for the Left. Dr. Adams told the colleges official newspaper, The Muhlenberg Weekly, that the leftist Bill of Rights Defense Commitee contacted her, asking her to introduce an anti-Patriot Act amendment. The BRDC exists for the sole purpose of getting governments to pass similar resolutions. As of this writing, four states and 285 cities and counties have followed suit, although only three other colleges have picked up this banner: Stanford University, California State University and Appalachian State University. The BRDC website links to the far-left National Lawyers Guild, the ACLU, People for the American Way and the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, which has coordinated campus antiwar rallies with the Young Communist League.
After Adams began to get negative feedback for offering the fib-filled resolution, she claims her comrades called to tell her, You should know that you are considered a hero in the ACLU offices in Washington.
Dr. Adams connections to leftist organizations go beyond the ACLU. She signed International ANSWERs outlandish Statement Supporting Cuba Against Bushs Attacks. International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) is a front group for the Workers World Party, which has ties to North Korean Communists and Slobodan Milosevic. This blatant piece of pro-Communist propaganda took Fidel Castros claim that the Bush administration was trying to topple him at face value and sided with Castro. Among the gems found in it:
Over the past 43 years Cuba has suffered the loss of 3,478 of its citizens
from numerous acts of terrorism, invasions, assassinations, assassination attempts,
biological warfare and blockade. The government of one country has perpetrated
these illegal acts against Cuba: the government of the United States.
The trial of the 75 Cuban individuals arrested in March (2003) uncovered the directing role of the U.S. Interests Section in guiding, financing, and organizing subversive actions against the Cuban government. This reference is to Fidel Castros brutal repression of dissidents, including many supporters of the Varela Project, which seeks a national referendum to recognize freedom of speech and the press a motion allowed by the Cuban constitution. These dissenters, like thousands before them, received show trials and were sent off to the gulags. And the credulous Dr. Adams signed a petition urging Castro to throw away the key.
The statement further alleges Bush wants to topple Castro and install a puppet regime, and calls Castros barbaric longevity a testament to the popular support of the Cuban government. The Marxist rant closes by insisting Bush end the economic embargo against Cuba and free the Cuban Five for trying to stop Miami-based terrorism against their people. (According to the Associated Press, the Cuban Five were arrested in 1998 for trying to infiltrate U.S. military bases and Cuban exile groups in South Florida.)
Adams has a soft spot for Iraqi madmen, as well. She, along with 50 other Muhlenberg faculty members (including Lisa Perfetti), signed an article in The Muhlenberg Advocate (the campus alternative newspaper) entitled, Would You Fight, Kill and Die to Overthrow Saddam Hussein in Iraq? In this open letter to their own students, Adams and company state flatly, President Bush is using the death, tragedy, and sorrow of September 11, 2001, as a pretext for invading Iraq. The war on Iraq constitutes a clear violation of international law. In the event of our occupation, Muhlenbergs leftist Cassandras warn, The likelihood of future terrorist attacks here will increase sharply. Moreover, many, many Iraqi civilians will die as a result of the U.S. militarys use of overwhelming force primarily aerial bombing from such an altitude that it is impossible to hit only military or strategic targets.
Adams did not let the issue go. Writing in the official school paper The Muhlenberg
Weekly, just a week after the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Adams relates
that while traveling abroad, I felt ashamed to be an American. Does this
make me unpatriotic? She went on to remove all doubt, telling her trusting
In order to protect its economic interests, the U.S. has often used the concepts of democracy and freedom as justification for foreign interventions that undermined freedom and democracy Communism is dead, but the U.S. has found a new enemy to justify its military buildup and desire to control the world's resources.
Adams screed was made to look sensible only in contrast to another essay that appeared the same day, written by Dr. Giacomo Gambino, Associate Professor of Political Science. (What else?) Gambino asserted this war, waged to preserve U.S. military hegemony in the world, will confirm the Presidents messianic ambitions and generate resentment by making U.S. GIs an occupying army. Gambino then scribbled the ultimate in moral equivalency: Last week's opening salvos on Baghdad have now revealed the twin specters of our new age terrorism and the crusade to eradicate it at any cost. Gambino and Adams clearly drink from the same poisoned wells.
Dr. Anna Adams also confesses bringing her anti-American bias into the classroom. In her course Human Rights and the Americas, which she team teaches with Dr. Joan Marx, Adams concentrates on countries that are notorious human rights abusers, such as Chile (and) Guatemala..., said Adams. Additionally, some focus will be given to the United States' role in violations of human rights in the Americas. Apparently, Adams could not find abusers in Cuba, Nicaragua or Grenada, just beleaguered pro-American nations locked in a mortal struggle with Marxism. And in Adams world, all these outrages ultimately redound to the Great Satan, the United States of America....