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: WSJ (10-31-05)
The foundation of all main nuclear suitcase stories is a string of interviews given by Gen. Lebed in 1997. Lebed told a visiting congressional delegation in June 1997 that the Kremlin was concerned that its arsenal of 100 suitcase-size nuclear bombs would find their way to Chechen rebels or other Islamic terrorists. He said that he had tried to account for all 100 but could find only 48. That meant 52 were missing. He said the bombs would fit "in a 60-by-40-by-20 centimeter case"--in inches, roughly 24-by-16-by-8--and would be "an ideal weapon for nuclear terror. The warhead is activated by one person and easy to transport." It would later emerge that none of these statements were true....
Still, Graham Allison puts his faith in Lebed's story. How does Mr. Allison account for the high-level rebuttals? He makes two brief arguments. "Moscow's assurance that 'all nuclear weapons are accounted for' is wishful thinking, since at least four nuclear submarines with nuclear warheads sank and were never recovered by the Soviet Union." (One was recovered by the U.S. in 1974.) This is true, but beside the point; the subs were carrying nuclear missiles, not nuclear suitcases.
Mr. Allison's more pointed rebuttal is this:
The Russian government reacted to Lebed's claim in classic Soviet style, combing wholesale denial with efforts to discredit the messenger. In the days and months that followed, official government spokesmen claimed that (1) no such weapons ever existed; (2) any weapons of this sort had been destroyed; (3) all Russian weapons were secure and properly accounted for; and (4) it was inconceivable that the Russian government could lose a nuclear weapon. Assertions to the contrary, or even questions about the matter, were dismissed as anti-Russian propaganda or efforts at personal aggrandizement.
Mr. Allison is unfairly summarizing the official Russian view. There is no contradiction between points (1) and (2) because (1) refers to suitcase nukes, a journalist term for a weapon that never existed. The portable nuclear devices--the special mines that filled three footlockers and weighed hundreds of pounds--were destroyed as required by U.S.--Russia treaties.
We don't have to take Russia's word for this; the disposal and destruction of these weapons were supervised by expert American officials like Ms. Gottemoeller. So point (2) checks out. As for points (3) and (4), Russia's claims have been independently verified by U.S. officials. If Mr. Allison has specific evidence of misplaced nuclear suitcases, he doesn't provide it in either the hardcover or paperback edition of his book or in his speeches to the Council on Foreign Relations or elsewhere....
SOURCE: NYT (10-31-05)
The historian's conclusion is the first serious accusation that communications intercepted by the N.S.A., the secretive eavesdropping and code-breaking agency, were falsified so that they made it look as if North Vietnam had attacked American destroyers on Aug. 4, 1964, two days after a previous clash. President Lyndon B. Johnson cited the supposed attack to persuade Congress to authorize broad military action in Vietnam, but most historians have concluded in recent years that there was no second attack.
The N.S.A. historian, Robert J. Hanyok, found a pattern of translation mistakes that went uncorrected, altered intercept times and selective citation of intelligence that persuaded him that midlevel agency officers had deliberately skewed the evidence.
Mr. Hanyok concluded that they had done it not out of any political motive but to cover up earlier errors, and that top N.S.A. and defense officials and Johnson neither knew about nor condoned the deception.
Mr. Hanyok's findings were published nearly five years ago in a classified in-house journal, and starting in 2002 he and other government historians argued that it should be made public. But their effort was rebuffed by higher-level agency policymakers, who by the next year were fearful that it might prompt uncomfortable comparisons with the flawed intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq, according to an intelligence official familiar with some internal discussions of the matter.
SOURCE: Jonathan Yardley in the Wa Po Book World (10-29-05)
That Franklin takes justifiable pride in these and many other achievements is evident throughout Mirror to America , but it is pride tinged with disappointment and bitterness. Franklin is African American and has experienced too much of the bigotry to which black Americans even to this day are routinely subjected. He also has experienced tokenism and its many variations and offshoots, causing him to wonder at times whether all the advances he made were due to his own accomplishments and abilities or whether some were extended to him by whites and/or white institutions who wanted to use him as window-dressing -- whether he was hired not because he was the best but because, to borrow Stephen L. Carter's term, he was the "best black."
That this haunts Franklin even at this late hour of his life is understandable, but it is also regrettable, for his work stands confidently on its own, without benefit of patronizing or favoritism. Not merely is his scholarship exemplary by any standard -- by the highest standard -- but he has repeatedly demonstrated that, as he puts it, "an African American scholar could work in the mainstream of American history rather than be confined exclusively to subjects dealing with African Americans." More than just scholarship distinguishes his career. The "scholar in society" has been a lifelong concern of his, as envisioned and defined by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his seminal essay "The American Scholar," to wit:
"From the very beginning of my own involvement in the academy, the goal I sought was to be a scholar with credentials as impeccable as I could achieve. At the same time I was determined to be as active as I could in the fight to eradicate the stain of racism that clouded American intellectual and academic life even as it poisoned other aspects of American society. . . . I always believed that if I could use my knowledge and training to improve society it was incumbent on me to make the attempt. Thus, in addition to teaching and writing, I served as an expert witness in cases designed to end segregation in education, most notably at the behest of Thurgood Marshall, and I marched in Montgomery to make common cause with those who sought in other ways to destroy racial hatred and bigotry."
Franklin came by his ambition, determination and activism honestly. His parents, Buck and Mollie Franklin, were accomplished -- his father was a lawyer, his mother a schoolteacher -- and set examples of "integrity and . . . high moral standards" by which all four of their children lived. Oklahoma in the 1920s and '30s was as segregated as any other place in the country (the Franklins moved to Tulsa not long after the deadly race riots of 1921), but the elder Franklins refused to knuckle under and repeatedly stressed to their children that the color of their skin had nothing to do with their abilities or aspirations.
Still, bigotry was an inescapable presence. When Franklin was at Fisk, a ticket agent "almost leaped through the ticket window and shouted to me that no 'nigger' would tell him how to make change." In Alabama in 1945, doing research at the state's archives, he was greeted by the chief archivist: "You don't look like a Harvard nigger to me!" Traveling the upper Midwest in 1953 with his wife and young son, he discovered that "I could not secure accommodations for my family anywhere in the state of Michigan" and had to cross into Canada, where the first motel at which they stopped had a room for them. Trying to buy a house in Brooklyn in the late 1950s, he was repeatedly rebuffed by realtors "unwilling to be the first to damage the 'integrity' of the neighborhood by selling a home to an African American." Even in 1995, the night before receiving his Medal of Freedom, after giving a dinner for a few friends at the Cosmos Club (of which he is a member), "a white woman called me out, presented me with her coat check, and ordered me to bring her coat."...
SOURCE: San Jose Mercury (10-29-05)
"It's my favorite haunt," the historian says as he steps inside the hothouse, gray gravel crunching underfoot. "I come out here three or four times a day - not necessarily to work, but just to look and see and enjoy."
The humid air is alive with lacy ferns, spiny bromeliads and cascading streptacarpella. But they are only window dressing to his true passion - his collection of more than 300 orchids. Hanging from a piece of cork is an Aerangis, an orchid from Madagascar whose pale beige blossom is the size of a small spider. Nearby, a vanilla plant snakes 7 feet up a wooden support.
And then there are his pride and joy: Phaelanopsis Aurelia Franklin, a diminutive yellow orchid, "long-suffering and tolerant," named for his late wife; and Laeliocattleya John Hope Franklin, a long-stemmed, lavender-blossomed hybrid that he says is like himself, "big and ungainly."
Franklin fell in love with orchids because "they're full of challenges, mystery" - the same reasons he fell in love with history.
"To grow orchids, you have to be persistent, patient," he says, picking a dead, yellow bloom from a plant. "And to do the right kind of history, the kind of history I think is worth doing, of course, you have to be persistent AND patient and work hard."
His autobiography, "Mirror to America," which comes out this week, reveals a man who has been as much a participant in history as a chronicler of it.
Franklin helped Thurgood Marshall on the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. He became the first black historian to assume a full-professorship at a white college, and chaired President Clinton's Initiative on Race.
But it is his works, more than his deeds, that have earned the 90-year-old historian 137 honorary degrees ("obscene, don't tell anyone"), the NAACP's Spingarn Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. His landmark "From Slavery to Freedom," published in 1947 has sold more than 3.5 million copies and remains required reading in college classrooms.
"I would compare him to Carter Woodson and W.E.B. Du Bois," says Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Leon Litwack, who served as a graduate assistant when Franklin taught at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1956, and has remained a fast friend.
"What he did was to demonstrate to a very skeptical and rather sometimes indifferent profession ... that the history of black Americans was a legitimate field for scholarly inquiry and investigation."
SOURCE: Ralph Luker at Cliopatria (10-25-05)
SOURCE: Ralph Luker at Cliopatria (10-26-05)
SOURCE: Newsweek (10-31-05)
Wilentz, 54, is gregarious, curious and eclectic: on the walls of his book-lined office, portraits of Andrew Jackson and Bob Dylan stare at each other from opposite walls (in his spare time, Wilentz is the "historian in residence" at BobDylan.com). He has a reporter's obsession with facts, with getting it right—and with fighting what he calls "the immense sanctimony of posterity that we impose on the past. We always think we know better. But you have to try and walk in other people's shoes." As a result, he spends as much time creating the context for his characters as he does writing about their deeds. So we see Jackson, for example, as an Indian killer and a slaveholder, but also as a child who grew up in a frontier milieu where dueling over matters of honor was perfectly acceptable. We also see him as the man who singlehandedly invented the modern presidency, validated the idea of an inviolate Union (Lincoln would later look to Jackson for inspiration) and took the notion of majority-rule democracy further than it had ever been taken before. "The hard thing for people to realize," Wilentz says, "is that these are human beings, not just actors with wooden swords, so they're going to be flawed. And they had ideas, and those ideas mattered."...
SOURCE: Los Angeles Times (10-28-05)
With Hurricane Katrina bearing down on the Gulf Coast, the 44-year-old Tulane University professor decided to stay in New Orleans not to bear witness to a national tragedy -- although that's precisely what happened -- but simply to avoid getting stuck in bumper-to-bumper evacuation traffic.
Along with his wife and their two children, then both younger than 2, Brinkley's plan was to "evacuate vertically" into a riverfront high-rise -- designed by his father-in-law -- that was built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. And there from the 15th floor, the telegenic historian, a popular guest on cable news programs, watched as his adopted home became the news story of the year.
The stranded "would be panicking and suddenly the lightbulb would go on," recalled Brinkley, a prolific author of popular works on such diverse subjects as John Kerry, Rosa Parks and Henry Ford. "They were like, 'Get me out of here, get me out of here.... [Hey, are you] Sean Penn?' I think it actually reassured them."
It all sounds like a movie, but actually it's going to be a book.
Analysis and oral histories
It's called "The Great Deluge" and Brinkley expects it to hit the bookstands around Aug. 29, 2006, the one-year anniversary of Katrina's hitting New Orleans. Published by William Morrow, the book will be filled with hundreds of oral histories as well as a critical analysis of the local, state and federal response to the crisis.
"There's going to be a cottage industry of books about Katrina almost like a Gettysburg or an Antietam," said Brinkley, who put aside a project on Theodore Roosevelt and conservation to focus exclusively on the upcoming book. "It will be reinterpreted in books for decades, even centuries.
"There's no way it's going to be definitive," added Brinkley about his upcoming book. "But hopefully it might be an opening salvo in the scholarship."
[Editor's Note: This is a short excerpt from a much longer piece. Please see the LA Times for more.]
SOURCE: Independent (London) (10-28-05)
A variety of means is brought into play to effect the transmission of historical memory and to affirm its continuing vitality: education, religious liturgy, social institutions, dress, even food. When the study of a Talmudic tractate is completed, the event is customarily marked with a celebratory meal. And what would the Friday night inauguration of the Sabbath be without the traditional chicken soup? Even more important, however, in the process of transmission . . . of historical memory is its remembrancer, chronicler and scribe, in other words, its historian.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (10-28-05)
His first study, Greek Science in Antiquity, published in 1955, set out the broad themes of his academic career, providing an overview of the origins of Greek scientific knowledge in medicine, biology, mathematics, physics and astronomy and its flowering in the Hellenistic period, in which scholars such as Archimedes, Euclid and Apollonius lived and worked. He then explored the way in which Greek scientific ideas were transmitted, interpreted, used and abused by scholars in the Roman and medieval periods.
SOURCE: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (10-27-05)
By "us," I mean you readers who were living in this area during Dr. Thompson's formative years. I wasn't. I grew up in the Midwest and, like Dr. Thompson, graduated from high school in 1980, but I've spent the 25 years since then clearly not working my way toward a $500,000 genius grant.
So perhaps it's a good idea to ponder what the Shaler area and the North Hills in general contributed to the molding of an honored scholar. The Web site for University of California at San Diego describes Dr. Thompson as a historian of "technology in the United States in the early twentieth century." Here's where we could go for the easy joke and say that if the technology in question was widespread in the early 20th-century, then it would have been cutting edge in the Pittsburgh region in the 1960s.
But let's not go for the easy -- OK, lame -- jokes, especially when fame and fortune are at stake. There are plenty of parents out there financing their children's endless pursuit of higher education who would like to figure out how someone managed to turn the "history of sound" into a half-million-dollar prize. Perhaps it began with the sounds of Shaler.
Please rest assured that I'm not making fun of Dr. Thompson's field of endeavor. As a classical musician by training, I think it's pretty cool, really, to contemplate what life used to sound like and how people responded to new noises like car engines and jazz. Imagine a time when people drove up and down McKnight Road, whether by Model T or horse and buggy, without passing a pulsating, four-wheeled sound studio capable of causing other drivers' hearing loss!
We can only daydream about those days, and frankly my attention span is exactly suited to such shallowness of thought, but a scholar uses such observations as the launching pad to greatness.
Was the Shaler North Hills Library Dr. Thompson's incubator? Ground was broken for the library on Pearl Harbor day -- Dec. 7, 1941 -- so a young scholar of the 1970s could have been nurtured there. Back in those days, before desk-top computers and the rapid-fire typing of instant-messaging teens, the only sound in libraries was the occasional hubbub of voices -- people actually talking to one another -- and the librarians' mythic shushing. Against this near-silent backdrop, every noise pops.
But Dr. Thompson, reached by phone Monday in San Diego, said, "I wasn't really a scholar growing up." ...
SOURCE: NYT (10-26-05)
He spent more than a month in the hospital recently after several minor falls followed by infections and minor strokes, said his wife, Louise, but she could not point to a single cause of death.
Mr. Johnston, who for two decades was a professor and administrator at the Rochester Institute of Technology, worked in digital imaging to tease out ancient text, often minute fragments of individual characters, that had not been seen for as long as 2,000 years. This involved manipulating technology first used for medical diagnosis and enhancing pictures taken from military satellites.
Along with the Dead Sea Scrolls, texts from the time of Christ, Mr. Johnston decoded parts of a 10th-century parchment copy of a famous treatise by the Greek mathematician Archimedes that had been used as the fabric for a 13th-century prayer book, among other projects.
Mr. Johnston's team often extracted only tiny but critical bits. Examining a red-ink scroll of the Old Testament book of Samuel yielded only one previously unknown character. The team found only 18 new characters in their examination of color photographs of the Temple Scroll, which at 28 feet is the longest of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Some goatskin scrolls had disintegrated into 100,000 fragments, some as small as a baby's fingernail. Sometimes all that could be seen was a dark-red scrap of material. But once it was digitalized and the background lightened,"the characters just pop out," Dr. Johnson said in 1993 in an interview with The Globe and Mail, the Toronto newspaper.
Hitherto, Churchill had sought danger and political excitements and had then written about his experience; placing it in the context of larger themes, to be sure, but with his own figure prominent in the foreground. Hence a delicious remark of the former Prime Minister Arthur Balfour, when yet a further volume of The World Crisis appeared, '1 am immersed in Winston's brilliant Autobiography, disguised as a history of the Universe.'
The Life of the Duke of Marlborough, by contrast, represented an enterprise different in its nature and it was for this that Mr. Deakin had been recruited. The events of more than two centuries earlier must be re-created in the imagination and reconstructed; vast archives, at The Hague and Vienna no less than Blenheim, must be trawled. Churchill was bent upon the rescue of his great ancestor's reputation from the ravages inflicted upon it by Macaulay. For his literary assistant, an academic historian accustomed to appraise sceptically, this situation held an immanent conflict. But as Bill once put the point, soon after Churchill's death, he had 'surrendered without terms long ago to the magic of the man.' To be close to Churchill was a privilege for which it was worth paying the price, which Bill observed for the rest of his life, was one of strict loyalty and discretion, the dividend beyond calculation. Possessing the accomplishments ofa scholar, he soon acquired something still rarer; for in the study at Chartwell, starting late at night and not ending until 3 or 4 in the morning - after which he would drive across country to Oxford and teach at Wadham from 9 - Bill learned 'vastly more of the sense of history than my formal education as a student, and later as a teacher, ever taught me.' The point was no doubt apparent to his academic colleagues from an early date; we must doubt whether it brought them much joy.
In such research and discussion at Chartwell Deakin saw, and helped Churchill to appreciate, the conduct of coalItIon warfare in the hands of a master. Soon both of them were to witness the process in its modem guise. Churchill discovered that the Duke had possessed immense patience, without which allies could not be coaxed along and great designs executed. Insofar as his tempestuous nature allowed, Churchill had absorbed the lesson.
One day early in 1939, Bill said to Mr. Churchill (for in those formal days, they invariably addressed each other as 'Mr. Churchill' and 'Mr. Deakin'), 'You know I have never asked you for anything on my own behalf, but now I want to make a request. I'm anxious to join the Territorials. Would you write me a letter of recommendation to the Oxfordshire Hussars? After all,' he added brightly, 'I'm only asking for a chance get killed.'...
SOURCE: Steven Plaut at frontpagemag.com (10-24-05)
Noble teaches at York University in Toronto, Canada’s third-largest school. Originally a graduate from the University of Florida, Noble is today a full, tenured professor of “social and political thought” in the Faculty of Arts at York. Interestingly, he is the ONLY professor in that department. Evidently, after recruiting him Noble was such an embarrassment that York had to build a one-man separate department to house him, removing him from his previous position in its history department. Noble has built a career mainly upon his obsessive opposition to all forms of technology. He is literally a 21st century Luddite and he is quite proud of that fact. (Don’t bother trying to look up his personal web page or his email address because he ideologically opposes such things!)
Noble embodies a strange hybrid of Marxism and crackpot Luddism. He proudly proclaims himself to be a “critical historian,” which is PC Newspeak for “Marxist.” Among other things, he has published Progress Without People: In Defense of Luddism and Forces of Production: A Social History of Industrial Automation, both books devoted to the theme that technology is an evil plot by the “capitalist class” to oppress workers. Machines are simply things used to force down the wages of the worker. Noble’s conclusions in these books are that the best defense of workers is to suppress modern technology altogether. Noble dismisses all anti-Luddist people, and if you are reading this on a computer screen then I regret to inform you that YOU are one of those blinded “technophiles” and “technozealots”.
Now if you are anything other than a devout member of an Amish sect, you might find all this a bit confusing. I would bet a month of my own technology-enhanced wages that there is nearly a perfect POSITIVE correlation between the number of machines around and the wage level of workers. That is - the more machines, the higher the wage rates of workers! Similarly, I venture to guess that there is almost a perfect correlation between the number of technological innovations and the level of wages. Moreover, a wonderful thing about technology in one country is that it raises wages even in other societies where few technological innovations are being created (such as when measured by patent registrations).
In Noble’s theories, much of the blame for the curse of technology is assigned to Christianity. According to him Christianity, going back to the Middle Ages, did not have enough good sense to oppose technology. It should have prevented scientists from setting themselves up as demigods of technology. Moreover, Christian thinkers actually had the temerity to suggest that machines and innovations could be used to better mankind and might even be part of God’s master plans. Part of Noble’s “proof” that it was “all Christianity’s fault,” by the way, is his claim that Werner von Braun from NASA was a born-again Christian. Noble’s anti-Christian ideas are expounded at length in one of his other books, The Religion of Technology: The Divinity of Man and the Spirit of Invention. He also blames Christianity for the relative dearth of women in science. And now, in his latest book, he more even-handedly blames both Christianity and Judaism for “globalization,” his current bogeyman.
In another Noble book, Forces of Production, he claims to explain how technology is often instigated, connived, and shaped by the military, corporations, universities, and other “mighty institutions.” Noble claims that “capitalists” are plotting to impose their views coercively upon students via institutions of higher education. How exactly this works is not clear. Noble seems to be unaware of the hegemony of leftists over most North American institutions of higher learning. So if those evil “capitalists” are plotting to brainwash hapless students by means of their “commercializing” higher education, as Noble insists over and over, they are doing a darned lousy job of it!
Back in 1983, Noble co-founded the National Coalition for Universities in the Public Interest, together with Ralph Nader (and Al Meyerhoff), to try "to bring extra-academic pressure to bear upon university administrations who were selling out their colleagues and the public in the pursuit of corporate partnerships." Noble claims his aim has been to “have chronicled and fought against the commercialization and corporatization of higher education.” He also claims he is fighting “commodification” of higher education. We have no idea what “corporatization” and “commodification” are supposed to mean. Like most leftists, the principal methodology of analysis used by Noble is the manufacture of senseless polysyllables.
One would think that most mainstream leftists and liberals would seek to distance themselves from Noble’s anti-technology crackpot views. But for someone who dismisses universities as captives of the evil business class, Noble gets an awful lot of invitations to speak on assorted campuses. Many among the chic chattering classes seem to adore him. When he got canned from MIT, a group of 44 British academics rushed out, publicly defended and endorsed Noble. However, not everyone on the Left appreciates him. Even Noble’s supporters often describe him as polemical in his writings and abrasive in his manner. After Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of far-leftist The Nation, commissioned Noble to write a piece for the magazine, she had the uncharacteristic good sense to refuse to run it.
*A bit ironically, there is another David F. Noble, who writes books singing the praises of technology and computer word processing, but the two should not be confused....
SOURCE: THE DAILY TELEGRAPH(LONDON) (10-22-05)
Freeman, who grew up on a farm in East Anglia, had a boyhood obsession with aircraft which developed into a historical interest in the airmen and operations of the Eighth Air Force, a force with some 3,500 bombers and almost 1,000 fighters occupying some 60 airfields in the area.
During the early post-war years Freeman researched the history of the Eighth when farming allowed. After almost 25 years research, he managed to interest a publisher in his compilation, although publication was dependent on a declared American interest, since "few people in the UK will be interested in what the Yanks did".
The Americans were persuaded; although, with the printing presses ready to roll, they expressed reservations about Freeman's title, which they thought too prosaic. Freeman was given an hour to come up with something more pithy, and lit on The Mighty Eighth. The book was an instant success, and became the first of a trilogy on the Eighth Air Force's operations mounted from Britain. They have become standard works, with a worldwide circulation and translations into several languages.
The son of a farmer, Roger Anthony Wilson Freeman was born at Ipswich, Suffolk, on May 11 1928, and educated at Colchester High School. When he proved a poor student, his parents withdrew him and he began working on the family farm aged 15.
His enthusiasm for aircraft was ignited when a number of airfields were built in his local area, one of them (Boxted, in June 1943) next to the Freeman farm. Long-range escort fighters flew from Boxted, and the Freemans were given permission to carry out haymaking and other agricultural activities on the airfield. Roger delighted in raking hay while surrounded by the hefty Thunderbolt long-range fighters of the 56th Fighter Group, known as the "Wolf Pack", which provided escort for the armada of bombers.
With his teenage friends, he cycled hundreds of miles to watch and record the activities of the aircraft at other airfields. He always knew where to go, thanks to schoolboys' word of mouth. On one occasion towards the end of the war Freeman recalled seeing more than 30 formations of bombers, totalling more than 1,000 aircraft, head for Germany.
Roger Freeman died on October 7. He married, in 1956, Jean Blain, who survives him with two daughters and a son; two sons died in infancy.
SOURCE: The Gazette (Montreal) (10-23-05)
She was 85.
In the preface to Gubbay's last book, A View of Their Own, The Story of Westmount, the city's former Mayor Peter Trent described her writing as "a delicate work of love" that "deftly limns the city's gentle history and modestly allows places, characters and buildings to speak to the reader directly. "
Marilynn Vanderstaag, a columnist with the Westmount Examiner said Gubbay was "a great, gracious graceful lady, so detail oriented."
"She not only wrote, but she published, photographed and promoted her books," Vanderstaag said,
"She always carried her books in the trunk of her car. She was a photographer and always had darkrooms to develop her pictures in her house."
A silk merchant's daughter, Alice Helfer was born in Alexandria, Egypt on June 20, 1920. Her mother was Turkish, her father, a Russian Jew from Georgia.
SOURCE: THE DAILY TELEGRAPH (LONDON) (10-24-05)
In his book The Worm in the Bud (1969, the title a quotation from Twelfth Night: "But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud, Feed on her damask cheek") Pearsall investigated the often seamy reality behind the Victorian "whited sepulchre" ideal of sexuality.
Pearsall' investigated what went on behind the lace curtains and suggested that repressive attitudes created a climate in which the fetishistic, the illicit and the depraved thrived. He examined Ruskin, his erotic nightmares, unconsummated marriage and preoccupation with young girls; Swinburne's predilection for flagellation; the cult of the corset ("tight lacing produced a very close simulacrum of hysteria and could result in certain erotic sensations"); the buccaneering trade in pornography, and the orgies that took place at grand country houses.
But he emphasised that even in the twilight world of illicit sex, conventional Victorian social heirarchies still prevailed. In a chapter on prostitution, Pearsall noted that Henry Mayhew, the Victorian sociologist, divided prostitutes into six broad categories, their status mirroring the class of their clientele.
Far from being a marginal activity, Pearsall noted, prostitution was an important element in the capital's economy. One contemporary authority estimated that around pounds 8 million a year was spent on prostitutes and that, out of a London population of two and a half million, there were about 80,000 women plying their trade. As a result of high levels of illegitimacy and infanticide, Pearsall reported, "dead babies in the Thames were so common that attention was not drawn to them".
Pearsall was particularly fascinated by the thriving underground trade in erotic books and discovered a "private case" in the British Museum that contained hundreds of examples of 19th-century pornography, mainly from the collection of Henry Spencer Ashbee, a Victorian businessman and erotomaniac who under the "scatological pseudonym" of "Pisanus Fraxi", privately printed three bibliographies that established him as Britain's leading authority on pornography.
Ronald Pearsall married, in 1983, Josephine Casassa; she died in 1993. Pearsall died on September 27 and is survived by two stepsons.
SOURCE: Paul Johnson in the NYT Book Review (10-23-05)
This Greek civil war, between Athens and her allies and Sparta and her allies, lasted 27 years, from 431 to 404 B.C., and ended with the capitulation of Athens and its occupation by Sparta. Its interest for Hanson is in comparing Athens to the United States. At the outset of the war, Athens was the richest city in the world and, within Greece, the sole superpower, with an omnipotent navy. Athens was also a democracy, anxious to export her political system and way of life throughout the Greek world, if necessary by force. The war was fought because Sparta, a military oligarchy, feared Athenian imperialism and cultural dominance, and persuaded other Greek cities to join with it in an attempt to cut Athens down to size. Hanson sees the United States as sharing Athenian hubris and inviting nemesis by trying to export democracy to countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. The fact that Hanson himself supports American policy gives his book an ironic twist.
My old tutor at Oxford, A. J. P. Taylor, always insisted, "The only lesson of history is that there are no lessons of history." He would have laughed at Hanson's book: "Such learned nonsense!" But Taylor was, characteristically, exaggerating. History has many lessons to teach, provided we don't push the comparisons too far. In the 19th century, the English ruling classes, educated at Oxford and Cambridge, were obliged to study Athens in detail, in the original Greek texts, to discover what lessons could be learned in the management of Britain's enormous world empire, and indeed in the conduct of the parliamentary democracy. There were some, even in the 18th century, who foresaw America's greatness and drew parallels with fifth-century B.C. Greece even then. Hanson quotes Thomas Paine: "What Athens was in miniature, America will be in magnitude."...
SOURCE: Randy Boswell in canwest.com (10-20-05)
Simon Schama's Rough Crossings, now on sale in Britain and to be published in North America next spring, aims to demolish the "myth" that the United States was founded on a bedrock of freedom and was instead founded on the "rhetoric of liberty and the reality of slavery."
He even suggests that fear of a slave rebellion, as much as anger over British taxation, can be found at the roots of the 13 colonies' revolt.
And the author, inviting what one critic predicts will be a "storm of abuse" from American historians, admits he was driven to write the book partly by his festering resentment "that freedom was thought to have been brought into the world the moment the Brits left" the newborn U.S.
His story of the escaped slaves who fought for the British against American independence -- and then settled as citizens in Nova Scotia to embrace their own new freedom -- showcases an unsung cast of Canadian characters, black and white, several of whom Mr. Schama claims should now be celebrated as heroes in the history of human rights.
Among them is Canada's postwar governor, Sir Guy Carleton -- best remembered in this country for his tolerant treatment of the conquered French, but praised by Mr. Schama for staring down George Washington to protect the rights of thousands of freed blacks and ensure their safe passage to Canada.
At the centre of the story is a freshly researched account of the remarkable back-to-Africa odyssey of about 1,200 Nova Scotia and New Brunswick blacks, led by Peters. Fed up with the hardships they endured in Birchtown, Preston, Africville and other black Loyalist settlements in the Maritimes, they sailed across the Atlantic in 1792 and founded the aptly named Freetown, a British-sponsored colony that today is the capital of Sierra Leone.
"However awkward for the orthodox history of the Founding Fathers and their revolution, the genesis of African-American liberty is, then, inseparable from the British connection during and after the war," Mr. Schama writes.
SOURCE: Network of Concerned Historians (10-20-05)
PEN first learned of this case in June 2005, and exact details remain difficult to confirm. International PEN seeks confirmation of the charges and sentence against him, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release if held in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory. International PEN is seriously concerned at reports that Ayatollah Rastgari is in poor health and held incommunicado without access to his family. PEN seeks immediate assurances that he is being given any necessary medical treatment in prison, and demands that his basic rights in detention are respected.
According to PEN's information, Grand Ayatollah Yasub al-Din Rastgari was arrested in his home city of Qom on 27 April 2004 after the publication of his book, The Reality of Religious Unity. His two sons were also arrested with him and the book's publisher closed down. He is accused of "insulting Islam" and "causing schism" in the book, which is allegedly critical of the policies of some historic characters and "denigrates the sanctity" of some Wahhabi sect personalities. The book is reportedly addressing points raised in another published book. It is thought that Grand Ayatollah Rastgari has been secretly charged, convicted and sentenced to four years in prison by the Special Court for the Clergy, which is known to violate internationally recognised standards of fairness to which Iran is a state party. Further information on the Special Court for the Clergy in general and human rights violations against Shi'a religious leaders in particular have been documented in detail by Amnesty International (www.amnesty.org).
Grand Ayatollah Rastgari is said to be a highly respected and renowned Muslim scholar who has written over 100 works. He is aged 78 and said to be in frail health, suffering from diabetes and heart disease. He is thought to be held by the secret service in the city of Qom although his exact whereabouts, charges against him or sentence have not been confirmed. He has reportedly been previously detained on several occasions, most recently in 1996, when he was sentenced to three years in prison and a period of internal exile for his activities against the regime.
SEND APPEALS TO AUTHORITIES:
**expressing serious concern about the detention of leading Shi'a religious leader and scholar Ayatollah Rastgari, apparently for publishing a book on Islamic history;
**seeking details of the charges and sentence against him, and urging that he is immediately and unconditionally released if held in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory;
**seeking assurances that he is receiving all necessary medical treatment and urging that his basic rights in detention are respected.
Head of the Judiciary
**His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi **Ministry of Justice **Park-e Shahr **Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
**E-mail: email@example.com (mark "Please forward to HE Ayatollah Shahroudi")
If possible please send a copy of your appeal to the diplomatic
representative for Iran in your country.
For further information, contact Cathy McCann at the WiPC, International PEN, 9/10 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London
EC1M 7AT, U.K., tel: +44 207 253 3226, fax: +44 207 253 5711, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Internet: http://www.internationalpen.org.uk
SOURCE: Boston Globe (10-21-05)
SOURCE: Minneapolis Star Tribune (10-20-05)
He was 97.
About 1946 and '47 he worked for an organization that was a predecessor of the CIA, said Raymond Ploetz of Maple Grove, a retired colonel in the Army Reserve.
"His cover story was that he was an interrogator for the State Department. I deduced that he was actually hunting Nazi war criminals," said Ploetz, who had served in the Army Reserve's 483rd Strategic Intelligence Detachment, which Loehr commanded from the mid-1950s to 1963.
At one point he was pursued by assailants, but didn't tell his comrades who they were. "He actually fled for his life at one point" and used a safe house and a change of clothes to elude his pursuers, Ploetz said.
Loehr, who was born in Albert Lea., Minn., misled others about his age when he was 14 and enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard, serving for seven years, said his grand-nephew Steve Loehr of Edina.
Loehr earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1938 and became an American history professor there that year.
In 1942, he was commissioned as an Army officer and became historical officer for the unified high command that eventually became the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington.
He attended the Yalta Conference in February 1945, when Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin decided which superpowers would control various parts of the globe.
During the late 1940s and early '50s, Loehr returned to the Army and worked on relaunching banking operations in Germany.
SOURCE: NYT Book Review (10-16-05)
Yet today Froude is nowhere, his once admired books gone from most library shelves. One reason, surely, is that Protestant-Catholic disputations have lost their central place in intellectual life. Froude argued the Reformation case with great skill, and his 12-volume history of Tudor England, completed in 1870, might have had as its subtitle: "How England pulled free from Rome, and a good thing too." As one who chronicled and celebrated the dispersal of Anglo-Saxon settlements and institutions to the four corners of the globe, Froude was later excoriated as a glorifier of imperialism; to top it all, he regarded Ireland as unready for home rule.
For these reasons and others, Froude can today seem a remote figure, a circumstance rather confirmed by this new biography. Julia Markus, a professor of English at Hofstra, makes high claims for her subject: Froude is "perhaps the greatest prose writer of the 19th century," and the life he wrote of his close friend Thomas Carlyle "is, arguably, the most significant pre-Freudian biography in the English language." (Am I the only one whose heart sank on seeing that "pre-Freudian"?) But Markus treads lightly over the great public themes in Froude's work, instead choosing to explore (in energetic and jargon-free, if not always profound, style) the psychological and inward aspects of his life.
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Education (10-20-05)
Linda S. Schilcher, who was an untenured professor of history in the Middle East-studies program until the university dismissed her, in 1999, alleged in the lawsuit that she had been fired because she is not Arab and because she spoke out about problems within the program.
Charles Kester, Ms. Schilcher's lawyer, said, "We're pleased that, after all these years, everyone was finally able to get this amicably resolved."
The payments consist of $160,802 in damages for the professor's alleged emotional distress and physical illness and $54,198 in lost wages. In the settlement, Ms. Schilcher agreed not to disparage the university, its programs, or people named in the suit, while the university agreed not to disparage her.
In the lawsuit, Ms. Schilcher said officials had made disparaging comments about her gender and race (she is white). She also asserted that an official had ordered that a favorable review of her be made less positive, and that another official had put a false letter in her personnel file. She is now a goatherd in California.
Gwenn Okruhlik, a former associate professor of Middle East studies at Fayetteville, made similar complaints of discrimination. She charged in a separate lawsuit against the university that male colleagues had made discriminatory comments about her. A jury awarded her $351,000 in 2002, but the verdict was later overturned.
SOURCE: The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon) (10-19-05)
Josephy titled his 2000 memoir "A Walk Toward Oregon." It was the last book the noted historian and advocate for Native American rights published before his death at age 90, although "Lewis and Clark Through Indian Eyes," an anthology he edited, is scheduled for publication next year.
Josephy owned a ranch in Joseph at the foot of the Wallowa Mountains and spent part of each year there for more than four decades. He was a founder of the Fishtrap writers' gathering at Wallowa Lake and often hosted events at his ranch.
Josephy's life is full of extraordinary events -- he was a war hero, a reporter who interviewed Leon Trotsky in Mexico, a screenwriter in Hollywood, an editor at Time magazine and American Heritage -- but he is best known as the author of numerous books about Native American history and culture. His many books include "The Patriot Chiefs," "The Indian Heritage of America" and the epic "500 Nations: A History of North American Indians."
When he was an editor at Time magazine in the 1950s, Josephy was in Idaho looking for a story and learned about Chief Joseph and the flight of the Nez Perce from the U.S. Army in the 1870s. In an interview with The Oregonian, conducted on Sept. 11, 2001, Josephy said Chief Joseph's story changed his life.
"I knew nothing about it when I started," Josephy said. "I just knew it was a great story, the most dramatic story of the early West. I spent 12 years learning about it, and when I started, there weren't too many other people writing about Indians. Books about Indians were shelved in the natural history section of the bookstore, along with books about snails and dinosaurs, that sort of thing. I couldn't believe it."
"The Nez Perce Indians and the Opening of the Northwest" made Josephy a national authority on Native American history and won him the admiration of many tribal leaders. He went on to become involved in the Native American rights movement of the 1960s and '70s and edited "Red Power: The American Indians' Fight for Freedom" (1971), one of the first books about the American Indian Movement. It was updated in 1999.
Josephy was proud of his involvement with the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. He was founding chairman of the museum and its director, W. Richard West, said "We feel his presence every day . . . his imprimatur is on every aspect of the museum."
SOURCE: The Dominion Post (Wellington, New Zealand) (10-19-05)
While growing up in Australia, she heard stories from her grandparents who fled Mussolini's fascist dictatorship in Italy in the early 1920s.
Studying history at Melbourne University, her interest in humanitarian issues encouraged her to delve into what happened during the Holocaust and why.
Now a history lecturer at Victoria University, Dr Gigliotti researches and teaches about Hitler's Final Solution and its consequences.
In a world where those such as British historian David Irving deny the Holocaust ever happened -- or claim there was never a plan to exterminate Jews -- Dr Gigliotti said her research had left her in no doubt.
"I believe it happened. I believe the Nazis had an intentional strategy to persecute and marginalise Jews by any means possible."
She supports the Government's 2004 decision to deny Irving a visa to speak at the National Press Club.
"I think David Irving has no place in Holocaust history. He is part of a marginal group."
The frequently quoted figure of six million Holocaust deaths was no exaggeration, said Dr Gigliotti.
Many perpetrators are provocateurs who are not necessarily those who pull the trigger. But race and racism are essential ingredients, she said. And with race-based conflicts festering throughout the world, Dr Gigliotti is not confident that genocide can be consigned to the dustbin of history.
"Unfortunately, genocide is a growth area of study."