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: Reuters (5-16-07)
In fact, he's the one doing the worrying -- about what he describes as the memory loss of a country he suggests may be more interested in the transgressions of celebrities than more substantive affairs such as the politics of the Bush administration, which he characterizes as a"burlesque show."...
Terkel, a legendary Chicagoan, won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1984 book, The Good War, an oral history of World War II.
"We can't make any choices unless we connect the past with the present," he said.
"The thing that horrifies me is the forgetfulness," Terkel said in the famous gravelly voice that charmed generations of radio audiences beginning in the 1950s when he first introduced his interview format on Chicago station WFMT.
"Gore Vidal uses the phrase, the United States of amnesia. Well, I say United States of the big A -- Alzheimer's," he said."Because what happened yesterday is forgotten today."
His new book, The Studs Terkel Reader, My American Century [560 pp; New Press, $16.95], has been timed for release on Terkel's birthday.
SOURCE: Gary Kamiya at Salon.com (5-8-07)
"He wrote me the most charming handwritten letter, said he was very interested in my books, and wanted to know more. He said 'A Savage War of Peace' has been most useful. I was quite stunned," said Horne.
Horne declined to go into details about what they talked about, saying their conversation was off the record. "He was extremely courteous, very cheerful, loves jokes and he couldn't have been more charming. I was very honored," Horne said. "He was very determined. 'We're not going to give up, we're not going to give up,' he repeated from time to time. He was very interested in my book, had obviously read it most thoroughly, as he had my other book, 'The Price of Glory' [about the WWI battle of Verdun]. He had put in a lot of work. Where he finds the time I don't know. We discussed the book in depth. We disagreed about a few points. I didn't entirely agree with his admiration for Tony Blair, but that was a matter of personal predilection."
For Horne, such access to the highest levels of power is not unusual. He was a friend of the Conservative British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, and wrote his biography. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that "A Savage War of Peace" was his favorite bedside reading, and that one of Horne's earlier books, "To Lose a Battle: France 1940," helped him win the 1973 October War against Egypt....
[Horne initially supported the Iraq War. He now opposes the war and ridiculees neoconservatives for getting the US and Britain into it.]
Given that "A Savage War of Peace" is being read as a mirror of the current war, what does Horne think are the parallels between Algeria and Iraq? "The first one is the difficulty of combating insurgents with a regular army," he said. "Too heavy forces, too much collateral damage. The second is porous frontiers. In Algeria, they had Morocco and Tunisia on either side, so the FLN could stage raids and then go back across the border so the French couldn't get them. Now you've got a similar situation in Iraq, with Syria and Iran. The third is the tactic of targeting local police. In Algeria, the insurgents were just a handful compared to what you've got in Iraq. They realized that they couldn't beat the French army, so they attacked the local police who were loyal to the French. This was enormously successful. The French had to take the army back from search and destroy missions to protect the police. So both the police and the army were neutralized. The insurgents in Iraq have copied the Algerian experience to great effect."
Horne turned to the parallel that he feels most passionately about. "The fourth thing, and this is the painful issue, is torture or abuse," he said. "In Algeria, the French used torture -- as opposed to abuse -- very effectively as an instrument of war. They had some success with it; they did undoubtedly get some intelligence from the use of torture. But they also got a lot of wrong intelligence, which inevitably happens. But worse than that, from the French point of view, was that when the news came out in France of what the army was doing, it caused such a revulsion that it led directly to the French capitulation. And not only revulsion in France, but revulsion here. JFK, as a senator, took up the Algerian cause quite strongly partly because of the human rights issue.
"I feel myself absolutely clear in my own mind that you do not, whatever the excuse, use torture, let alone abuse," Horne went on. "In one way, of course, abuse is not as bad as torture, but in another way it's worse because it's senseless. It doesn't achieve anything. Abu Ghraib was just appalling. In the Algerian war, the media was very primitive -- it took about a year to actually get the news into the press in France. There was no television then. With Abu Ghraib, the images were on Al-Jazeera the next day. The impact, across the whole of the Muslim world, is enormous. What do you get for it? Nothing." ...
The fifth parallel Horne saw between Algeria and Iraq is the one that now confronts the Bush administration: an exit strategy. "In Algeria, the war went on for eight years, and the military, rather like the military in Vietnam, had a very good case for saying they were winning it," Horne said. "But de Gaulle decided they had to go. They were negotiating for months with the FLN, like the peeling of an onion. The French lost every bloody thing, including the rights to oil. They had to pull out all 1 million pieds noirs." The pieds noirs, of whom Albert Camus is the most famous, were French colonial settlers, many of whom traced their roots in Algeria back to the French conquest in 1830. "One of the worst things that happened in Algeria was what happened to the Harkis, the Algerians who were loyal to France," Horne explained. As he relates in his book, the Harkis were slaughtered by their vengeful countrymen after the French left, with an estimated 30,000 to 150,000 perishing. "Absolutely appalling. I fear that we're going to have a Harki situation or much worse coming up in Iraq, because of the numbers involved. The savagery in Iraq is worse than what it was in Algeria."
Horne believes that America's exit strategy must take into account an updated domino theory. "When the domino theory was applied to Vietnam, it was much despised. People said it didn't mean a thing. But here I think it does, because an over-speedy exit from Iraq is going to leave a vacuum with possibly terrible consequences," he said. "Take Saudi Arabia. Are we going to have another Iranian revolution there? I would think it's really ripe for it. Even aside from al-Qaida, there's an awful lot of opposition to the Saudi royal family. And then you've got the question of Iran, which could emerge as the most powerful power in the area. So I'm just extremely glad I'm not George W. Bush because I don't know how you can get out gracefully." ...
SOURCE: NYT (5-6-07)
“Doesn’t New York need a new master builder?” people ask. “Don’t we need a new Robert Moses?”
Mr. Caro, 71, sits in his spare writer’s aerie high in a Midtown office building, an owlish man with a faint smile. His answer has the virtue of concision:
Mr. Caro, a man of Ahab-like writerly obsessions, sees no need to rethink, redraw or revise his measure of Moses, despite the prominent critics now baying at him. His 1974 biography, “The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York,” documented many of what he regards as Moses’ transgressions, like acres of sterile public housing towers, parks and playgrounds for the rich and comfortable, and highways that sundered working-class neighborhoods and dispossessed a quarter of a million people. Why say more, he asks; the book speaks for itself.
“We don’t need a new Robert Moses because he ignored the values of New York,” Mr. Caro says. “If anything, I see the city moving today to correct his ravages.”
Unusual in an age when sentence fragments on a blog pass for intellectual argument and “definitive” accounts have half-lives measured in months, Mr. Caro’s 1,246-page tome has for three decades dominated our understanding of modern New York. A tale of hubris and unchecked power, “The Power Broker” was more than a Pulitzer Prize-winning portrait of the man who shaped and misshaped New York. It offered a compelling narrative of the city’s rise and long slide toward the darkness of the 1970s.
Now a powerful revisionist tide is running in. New York has the feel of a boomtown — highways clogged, subways crowded, luxury condo towers rising — and an influential band of historians and planners have argued that Moses, who served as chief of public authorities and confidant to a half-century’s worth of New York’s mayors and governors, had much to do with the rise of the city and little to do with its (temporary) fall....
Mr. Fleming has written more than a dozen books about the American Revolution, including highly praised biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, graphic accounts of key battles such as Now We Are Enemies, (Bunker Hill) and Beat the Last Drum (Yorktown) as well as a compelling narrative of the entire war, Liberty! The American Revolution. Three of Mr. Fleming’s nonfiction books have won the annual award of the American Revolution Round Table of New York as the best book of the year. On October 1, Smithsonian Books, a division of HarperCollins, will publish his latest book, The Perils of Peace, America’s Struggle to Survive after Yorktown.
Mr. Fleming has also written extensively on other periods of American history. These books include West Point, The Men and Times of the U.S. Military Academy, The New Dealers’ War, FDR and the War Within World War II and The Illusion of Victory, America in World War I. He writes frequently for American Heritage, Military History, and MHQ, the Quarterly Journal of Military History, where he a contributing editor.
Fleming’s novels include an eight book series based on a powerful American family, the Stapletons, which takes readers through two centuries of American history. His 1981 novel, The Officers’ Wives, about three West Pointers in the Korean and Vietnam wars, was an international best seller., as was his 1987 novel, Time and Tide, about a U.S. Navy cruiser haunted by her captain’s supposed cowardice in the Pacific during World War II .
Fleming is a former president of the American Center of PEN. He is currently the senior scholar at the American Revolution Center at Valley Forge. In 2002, Boston University gave him its Barack Award for lifetime achievement in American history. His article on West Pointers in the Mexican War won the Army History Foundation’s annual award in 2003. In March of this year, the U.S. State Department invited him to lecture in Vienna on the Civil War as part of its Distinguished Author series. Mr. Fleming lives in New York with his wife, Alice, a noted author of books for young readers.
SOURCE: Informed Comment (Blog) (5-12-07)
May 11, 2007
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
I am writing on behalf of the Committee on Academic Freedom (CAF) of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) to express our dismay over the harassment and subsequent detention of Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Dr. Esfandiari was in Iran to visit her aging mother in December but was prevented from leaving the country and subsequently threatened, pressured, and repeatedly questioned by security authorities. Most recently, on May 8, 2007, she was arrested without charges and taken to Evin Prison.
The Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) was founded in 1966 to promote scholarship and teaching on the Middle East and North Africa. The preeminent organization in the field, the Association publishes the Int ernational Journal of Middle East Studies and has more than 2700 members worldwide. MESA is committed to ensuring academic freedom and freedom of expression, both within the region and in connection with the study of the region in North America and elsewhere.
The confiscation of Dr. Esfandiari's travel documents and her subsequent harassment contravenes Iranian laws and Iran's international commitments which guarantee the right of entry and exit to Iranians and other nationals. Further, her detention violates the constitution of Iran, which explicitly protects the rights of individuals to freedom of thought, opinion, and speech (Article 23). The constitution also explicitly prohibits the exercise of punitive measures against individuals for the exercise of these guaranteed rights (Articles 2, 3). Further, your government's actions are in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Articles 18, 19, 21), to which the Islamic Republic of Iran i s also a state party.
We feel it is urgent that you take steps immediately to explain the reasons for her sudden detention, grant her access to legal counsel and family members, and allow her to return to her family in the United States as quickly as possible.
cc: H.E. Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Ambassador of Iran to the United Nations
Embassy of Pakistan, Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
SOURCE: Scott Jaschik at the website of Inside Higher Ed (5-10-07)
The program committee for the next annual meeting for the American Historical Association liked the idea, too. There was just one little problem: The scholars involved are all men. “Since the AHA has a standing commitment to gender diversity on panels, the Program Committee has decided to require you to find a female participant, perhaps to serve as chair or a second commentator for your session,” said the notification the panel organizer received. Unless an acceptable additional participant is added, “we will be forced to reject your panel.”
The response stunned Manan Ahmed, the organizer, who is preparing for his dissertation defense at the University of Chicago. After venting via e-mail with colleagues and joking about proposing that the panelists all appear in drag, he decided to go public with concerns about the AHA’s policy and blogged about it on Cliopatria. In his post, he said that he didn’t know what to do because he thought it would be insulting to ask a woman to join the panel just because she is a woman.
Ahmed and his fellow panelists have been rescued. Rebecca A. Goetz, an assistant professor of history at Rice University, is a specialist on early North American history. She wouldn’t normally have put herself forward for the panel, but since it appeared that there was only one relevant qualification (in the eyes of the AHA), and she admires the work of the scholars who might otherwise be shut out of the meeting, she has become the chair of the panel.
Ahmed said that he’s a fan of Goetz’s work, too, and has no doubt that she’ll offer some great insights, but when he sent in her name to the AHA, he just gave her name and institutional affiliation — not including any explanation of how her work would fit into the theme of the panel (the kind of explanation provided about the other panelists). No matter — the name “Rebecca” did the trick and the panel was immediately approved, no questions asked....
[AHA President Barbara Weinstein told Inside Higher Ed that it's"healthy" to require women on panels.]
SOURCE: Press Release -- Harvard Business School (5-11-07)
Like no one before him, Chandler, who in the 1950s helped Alfred P. Sloan, the creator of the modern General Motors when it was an industrial colossus, write his famous autobiography My Years with General Motors, investigated the dynamic factors that made the American economy and its businesses succeed so triumphantly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The key factors, as Chandler saw them, were the rise of the railroad, concentrated urban markets, mass production techniques, electrification, the internal combustion engine, and research and development.
He concluded that successful industrial corporations intelligently harnessed and exploited these forces and made the transition from entrepreneurial enterprises to multidivisional, vertically integrated companies. In essence, the creation and development of modern managerial capitalism was the driver of American business success. “What counts are people – their skills, knowledge and experience,” he said.
Chandler’s landmark books and articles influenced generations of scholars in many countries and numerous disciplines, including history, economics, sociology, and management science. While his central ideas about industrial change emerged and evolved in each work, he always examined the same basic set of questions: How were things done at a certain time, how were they done later, and what happened to cause the change.
“Al Chandler created the field of business history and nurtured it at this School with the help of outstanding colleagues who worked closely with him and admired him as a mentor and friend,” said Jay Light, Dean of Harvard Business School. “Through his teaching and research and the comprehensive collection of papers he donated to our library’s historical collections, he has left a lasting mark on scholars and students at HBS and far beyond.”
In Strategy and Structure, published in 1962, Chandler examined four U.S. industrial giants from the 1900s to the 1940s, focusing on the executives who devised the decentralized, multidivisional structure of the large corporation. Through a detailed study of General Motors, DuPont, Exxon, and Sears, Roebuck & Company, he showed that organizational structure is a direct result of strategy. The book helped spawn the field of corporate strategy and made the maxim “strategy precedes structure” a staple of corporate management during the 1960s and 1970s. According to his longtime friend and colleague, HBS historian Thomas K. McCraw, who succeeded Chandler as Straus Professor, “that insight constituted a redefinition of the entire field.”
In The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history in 1977 as well as the prestigious Newcomen Award and Bancroft Prize, Chandler argued that the visible hand of management had replaced the invisible hand of market forces in coordinating and allocating the resources of the economy as a result of the coming of the railroads and the telegraph in the 1800s. Although there was little need for middle managers prior to 1840, Chandler concluded, by the mid-twentieth century, the multiunit, multifunctional enterprise administered by salaried managers had become the “most powerful institution in the American economy.”
In another important work, Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of American Capitalism, published in 1990 and winner of an American Association of Publishers Award and the University of Chicago’s Melamed Prize, Chandler took on a more global view. He compared in extraordinary detail the evolution of managerial capitalism in the United States, England, and Germany by examining the 200 largest corporations in those countries. According to his findings, “the first movers in capital-intensive industries kept their competitive advantage only if they made three key strategic investments: first, in large-scale, high-speed production; second, in distribution; and, third, in a management structure that could plan, coordinate, and monitor the company’s vast operations.”
Chandler continued to do research and write until the very end of his life. In 2001, he wrote Inventing the Electronic Century: The Epic Story of the Consumer Electronics and Computer Industry, which focused on the fall of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and the rise of Sony and Matsushita, as Japan conquered the worldwide consumer electronics market. That volume was followed in 2005 by Shaping the Industrial Century: The Remarkable Story of the Evolution of the Modern Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industries. “Such science-based industries have had as much impact on this country in the twentieth century as railroads did in the last one,” he observed. At the time of his death, he was writing a biography of his maternal grandfather, Major William G. Ramsay, the first chief engineer of the E. I. DuPont de Nemours chemical company, who helped transform that firm from a family company into a global corporation.
Chandler pursued his scholarship with single-minded determination, energy, and passion, making the most of his exceptional ability to analyze comparatively an immense number of facts and figures. “I became committed early in life to the historian’s approach of moving through time longitudinally,” Chandler once said.
“Al Chandler was an extraordinary scholar whose research and publications over five decades exercised a transformational effect far beyond his own discipline in business history,” said Geoffrey G. Jones, the current Straus Professor of Business History. “Although he began his career as a traditional historian who labored long and hard in archives, his resulting insights on the growth of firms and the emergence of modern management were so compelling that he became a major formative influence on many areas of management studies. Al never departed from his central concern to document and understand the history of firms and managers in driving innovation and creating wealth.”
Writing in his 1988 book The Essential Alfred Chandler: Essays toward a Historical Theory of Big Business, Professor McCraw also caught the essence of a man who was universally regarded not only as a true academic giant but as a true gentleman. “Chandler’s most striking trait, in all his personal relations, remains a pronounced lack of pretentiousness. From the beginning of his career, his primary motivation has been an abiding and sometimes obsessive intellectual curiosity. Even after [many decades] as a working historian, he retains a youthful excitability, an infectious enthusiasm about the latest item he has read or piece of evidence he has uncovered. The fires of research have never been banked in Alfred Chandler; and in Scale and Scope, as in Strategy and Structure and The Visible Hand, they light up a landscape that had been only dimly perceived, if at all.”
Alfred DuPont Chandler, Jr., was born in Guyencourt, Delaware, near Wilmington, on September 15, 1918. (Although he was not a blood relation of the DuPonts who had founded the well-known chemical company, his middle name reflected longstanding connections with this prominent family. Beyond Major Ramsay’s important role in the company, Chandler’s paternal great-grandmother was raised by the DuPonts after her parents died of yellow fever when she was a child.)
Chandler spent the first five years of his life in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where his father was working as the representative of an American locomotive company. The family then moved back to Philadelphia and by the time Chandler was 11, they were living in the countryside outside of Wilmington.
According to family lore, Chandler announced his decision to become a historian by the age of seven, inspired by his reading of Wilbur Fisk Gordy’s Elementary History of the United States, a primer designed for sixth graders that had been given to him by his father. He read it from cover to cover nineteen times.
In the midst of the Great Depression, the education of Alfred Chandler continued on board the schooner Blue Dolphin, which embarked on a year-long family excursion, organized by his parents and grandmother for “Alfie” and his four siblings. The vessel island hopped through the Antilles, exploring caves that had once been occupied by the pirate Bluebeard, passed through the Panama Canal, and sailed along the route of Charles Darwin to the Galapagos. Then 15, young Chandler was enthralled.
After returning from this unique adventure, he went off to Phillips Exeter Academy, winning a prize for excellence in history before entering Harvard College, where generations of his family had studied from the eighteenth century on. He received his bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in 1940.
Like his classmate John F. Kennedy (a fellow member of the Harvard sailing team as well), Chandler became an officer in the United States Navy during World War II, interpreting aerial reconnaissance photographs of German and Japanese territory taken before, during and after bombing raids. According to Professor McCraw, this assignment left a lasting impression on the aspiring historian, who would later examine the significance of logistics, industrial production, and change in national economies. After the war, Chandler turned his sights on graduate work, enrolling in a program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Having written a 186-page honors thesis at Harvard College on the gubernatorial election of 1876 in South Carolina, he intended to study southern history.
At Chapel Hill, however, Chandler came under the influence of two prominent sociologists and decided that the study of regional history was not where his future should lie. After a year, he returned to Harvard to continue his graduate work under the great Harvard sociologist Talcott Parsons, who, McCraw explains, “introduced him to the work of Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, and the entire tradition of historical sociology. [This experience] guided [Chandler] toward the broad, systemic generalizations that characterized his work and which the sub-discipline of business history so badly needed.”
Chandler also found himself in a study group with other history graduate students who set the bar very high in terms of standards and expectations. “Chandler was now in very fast company and [knew he] had better work as hard as he could to survive the competition,” writes McCraw. Finally, Chandler was influenced by his participation in Harvard’s Research Center in Entrepreneurial History, launched by the economist Joseph Schumpeter and the economic historian and Harvard Business School librarian Arthur Cole. Once again, Chandler found himself working with and learning from a superb group of historians, sociologists, and economists.
In search of a topic for his doctoral dissertation, Chandler made a fortuitous discovery that would establish his life’s work and ultimately shape the course of business history. He literally stumbled upon the papers of his great-grandfather, Henry Varnum Poor, a founder of Standard & Poor’s Corporation and a well-known nineteenth-century railroad analyst, while cleaning out a storeroom in his great-aunt Lucy Poor’s home in nearby Brookline. Henry Varnum Poor had sketched the histories of more than 100 early American railroad companies and the systems of finance that funded their growth, and his papers were a treasure trove of firsthand accounts of the crucial role railroads played in the development of modern business practices. These materials became the basis of Chandler’s doctoral dissertation, which evolved into a book, Henry Varnum Poor: Business Editor, Analyst and Reformer.
The volume represented nothing less than a comparative history of the great American railroad corporations during their formative years, according to McCraw, and initiated a pattern of research that would remain Chandler’s hallmark -- absorbing prodigious amounts of diffuse data, including company histories, corporate archives, annual reports, trade publications and business memoirs and organizing them into coherent patterns of interpretation.
After earning his master’s degree in 1947 and his Ph.D. in 1952, Chandler taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1950 to 1963 (except for a semester’s leave in 1954 to teach at the Naval War College in Newport, RI). At MIT, besides writing Strategy and Structure, he helped edit four volumes of Theodore Roosevelt’s letters. In the division of editorial labor, he took responsibility for the economic issues of the Roosevelt era and because of his own interest in hunting, for Roosevelt’s time in Africa.
In 1963, Chandler was asked to join the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University, where he chaired the history department and edited the papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had just completed his second term as president of the United States.
After seven years in Baltimore, however, Chandler felt he needed more time to pursue his own research interests. He was even prepared to leave academia to begin work on The Visible Hand, when the then HBS Dean, Lawrence Fouraker, invited him to join the Business School faculty in 1970.
As a member of the active HBS faculty from 1970 to 1989, Chandler not only conducted some of his most important research, but he also made business history one of the School’s most prominent and popular areas, attracting and nurturing a group of younger world-class business historians and with them creating an enormously successful elective in business history that attracted hundreds of students.
In addition to his teaching, course development, and research, Chandler was also editor of Harvard Studies in Business History and on the editorial boards of major historical journals. He served as president of the Economic History Association and the Business History Conference. He was on the council of the Massachusetts Historical Society, which honored him in 2003 with its highest award, the John F. Kennedy Medal, and on the executive board of the Organization of American Historians.
Chandler was a visiting fellow at All Souls College, Oxford; a visiting professor at the European Institute of Washington; and a Guggenheim Fellow from 1958-59. He was also a member of the American Philosophical Society and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. For many years he served as a director of Landmark Communications Inc., the creator of the Weather Channel.
Chandler received numerous honorary degrees from universities around the world, including Harvard, which honored him in 1995.
Usually dressed in a tweed jacket and gray slacks and with a shock of white hair, Chandler was easily recognizable on the HBS campus. Long after his retirement, he continued to attend the School’s Business History Seminars, which brought together historians from HBS, Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, MIT, and other universities in Boston.
When he wasn’t working, however, Chandler liked nothing better than to socialize. Each fall, for instance, he and his wife, Fay Martin Chandler, an accomplished artist whom he married in 1944, hosted a Head of the Charles Regatta party in their apartment, which offered a spectacular view of the Charles River and the boat races below. Lunch at home was always preceded by a glass of sherry before Chandler returned to his work on a desk cluttered with papers and books – but without a computer in sight. He wrote all his work on yellow lined paper in a small, cramped hand, then dictated it for transcription by an HBS assistant who worked with him for decades.
Summers were spent at the family home in Nantucket, Mass., where he brought his work but took time out for surf casting for bluefish and a run (and later in his life, a walk) on the beach. And no matter how cold it got each winter, he enjoyed duck hunting in Rowley, Mass., near the home of his son Alfred III. Indeed, he was fond of saying that although history was his vocation, hunting was his avocation.
In addition to his wife and son Alfred, Chandler is survived by two daughters, Alpine “Dougie” Chandler Bird of Annapolis, MD, and Mary “Mimi” Chandler Watt of Dinas Powys, Wales; a younger son, Howard, of Maharishi Vedic City, IA; two sisters, Nina Murray of Bedford, Mass., and Nantucket, and Sophie Consagra of New York City; five grandchildren and two step-grandchildren; and one great grandchild.
Burial will be private. A memorial service will be held at the Memorial Church in Harvard Yard on Sept. 28, 2007.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Chandler’s memory to any of the following:
The Alfred D. Chandler Fund, c/o Kerry Cietanno, Teele Hall, Harvard Business School, Boston, MA 02163;
The Memorial Church, Harvard University, One Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138;
The Massachusetts Audubon Society, c/o Betsy Watson, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln, MA 01773.
NYT Obituary CNN: Opening the book on business history
SOURCE: UC Berkeley News (5-8-07)
"He's got a great narrative style" and a "compelling story," noted Branden Little, a former graduate-student assistant to Professor Litwack among the sea of undergrads, press photographers, family members, former students, and garden-variety well-wishers. Calling the renowned historian "a great shining beacon" and "a consummate showman," the Ph.D. candidate said Litwack "takes a lot of the dryness out of history, that so many students are accustomed to. It's not a mere recitation of facts and figures; it's really a story."
Litwack’s final lecture — embodying both showmanship and storytelling élan – was no exception. With the Isley Brothers' rendition of "Fight the Power" playing in the background, the protagonist entered, stage left, to deafening applause and shouts of "four more years!"
He then quickly got down to the morning's pedagogic business. For the final session of History 7B, "U.S. History Since 1865" (an introductory survey course he has long insisted on teaching), the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian brought the black odyssey in America up to the present. His narrative spanned from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s to the late 20th century, when "the crisis moved from the South to the nation,” he declared, and the quest to dismantle an "elaborate system of racial inequality … proved to be far more elusive" than ending legal segregation.
A popular-music fan whose play list includes contemporary rap songs, the 77-year-old scholar illustrated his historical theme — black marginalization and disillusionment in the face of white America’s refusal to "face up to the legacy of slavery"— with examples from the music charts. In the 1960s, Litwack said, the black community’s belief in "America's capacity for change" was soulfully expressed by artists who dubbed themselves the Supremes, the Miracles, the Marvelettes, and the Invincibles. "I know that change is gonna come," crooned singer Sam Cooke. Today, in contrast, names like OutKast, Public Enemy, dead prez, and Body Count, and hard-edged rap lyrics that Litwack liberally quoted, signal a far less optimistic mood.
For those who, as long ago as the '60s, had attended Litwack's history lectures — brought to life by quotations and photos reflecting the experiences of everyman — it was a signature touch.
Those who had come to pay homage to Litwack included history department staffer Ellen Thompson, seated near the front with departmental colleagues, who declared the prof "a great person and great friend." Albany resident Nadine Ghammathe recalled as "an honor and a privilege" her years as Litwack's staff assistant in the 1980s and '90s. "He'd bring his lecture and say 'Can you look this over?' or 'Can you help me choose a title for this lecture?' He engaged everyone in the work he was doing, in a way that you felt you were able to contribute as well, to be valued for your own thoughts and experience by someone like Leon."
Litwack ended with an eagerly anticipated moment of personal reflection. When he first came to Cal as a freshman, he said, "I could not imagine going anywhere else .... There’s an old saying: 'Life is a dream; please don’t wake me up.' That’s how I feel about my life and my years at Berkeley. When I leave here," he told his audience, "I’ll cherish most of all my memories of you. More than 30,000 of you I taught here."
The final words of his 43-year Berkeley teaching career: "Fight the power. Go Bears!" The capacity crowd rose as one to salute the great man as the strains of "Joe Hill" swelled from the sound system.
On March 21, Leon Litwack received the 2007 Golden Apple Award for Outstanding Teaching, given annually to a faculty member by UC Berkeley students. See the NewsCenter's coverage of the award, or watch a webcast of Litwack’s April 17 Golden Apple Award lecture.
SOURCE: Scrapbook in the Weekly Standard (5-14-07)
Yet Halberstam's demise has yielded an unexpected chief mourner: Democratic foreign policy guru Richard Holbrooke, who first met Halberstam in 1963 when Holbrooke was a Foreign Service officer in Saigon. Holbrooke wrote an op-ed memoir in the Washington Post about Halberstam's Vietnam reporting ("In long overpowering sentences, he conveyed deep anger and a sense of betrayal") and recounted what he must have assumed was a charming story about Halberstam and fellow journalist Neil Sheehan who, in Holbrooke's word, "despised" the senior U.S. commander in South Vietnam, Gen. Paul Harkins. "After some wine," wrote Holbrooke, "they conducted a mock trial of the four-star general for incompetence and dereliction of duty. In his rumbling, powerful voice, David pronounced Harkins 'guilty' of each charge, after which Neil loudly carried out the 'sentence': execution by imaginary firing squad against the back wall of the restaurant."
Next, Holbrooke turned up in a brief Halberstam essay by George Packer in the New Yorker. Once again, Halberstam's dyspepsia was front and center: He felt a "personal, vengeful rage" against American officialdom in South Vietnam, according to Packer, and at a Fourth of July party at the
ambassador's residence in Saigon--THE SCRAPBOOK could see this coming--"refused to shake hands with General Paul Harkins." Then Holbrooke made an interesting observation: "David changed war reporting forever," he said to Packer. "He made it not only possible but even romantic to write that your own side was misleading the public about how the war was going."
From THE SCRAPBOOK's perspective, this was one of those unintentionally revealing moments, for not only did Holbrooke capture the essence of the Halberstam mythology in one sentence, but he diagnosed everything that has gone wrong with American war journalism in the half-century since Halberstam and Neil Sheehan passed through Saigon.
Of course, it was always possible for American journalists to write critically about their "own side" in wartime--even George Washington had his detractors--but until Halberstam (and others) it was not considered "romantic." Now, alas, such pathology in journalism is not just pertinent to careers, but obligatory for success. It certainly explains the determination of the media to concentrate on failure, to marshal its facts in support of ideology, and to regard its "own side" with suspicion and hostility, no matter the circumstances. As legacies go, David Halberstam's is mixed: "Romantic" it may be--but highly destructive, too.
SOURCE: San Francisco Chronicle (5-13-07)
Karnow is a veteran Time-Life journalist who covered U.S. combat in Vietnam from 1959 and wrote "Vietnam: A History."...
Be wary of withdrawing
Moyar is a scholar at the U.S. Marine Corps University at Quantico, Va., who wrote "Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War 1954-1965."...
Robert K. Brigham:
Negotiate with neighbors
Brigham is a professor of history and international relations at Vassar College and author of "Argument Without End: In Search of Answers to the Vietnam Tragedy" and "Is Iraq Another Vietnam?"...
Map an orderly departure
Berman is a political scientist at UC Davis who wrote "No Peace, No Honor: Nixon, Kissinger and Betrayal in Vietnam," "Foreign Military Intervention: The Dynamics of Protracted Conflict" and "Planning a Tragedy: The Americanization of the War in Vietnam."...
Recognize lost public support
Rose is managing editor of Foreign Affairs magazine and a former staffer on the White House National Security Council during the Clinton presidency. He is researching a book on how U.S. wars come to an end....
SOURCE: Press Release -- defendthehonor (5-11-07)
"We will need enough details before we are able to report back to our community what has changed between this week's announcement and what was said three weeks ago," said Maggie Rivas-Rodríguez, a journalism professor who is a lead organizer of the grassroots network of more than 7,000 individuals and organizations throughout the United States advocating for the inclusion of Latinos in THE WAR. The Defend the Honor campaign, which initiated this effort for Latino inclusion in the WWII documentary, was not included in the negotiations that led to the May 10 announcement by the Hispanic Association of Corporate Responsibility (HACR) and the American GI Forum and Florentine Films, Ken Burns' production company.
PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger stated in an April 20 letter that Burns had agreed to "create new content focused on Latino and Native American veterans" and incorporate it seamlessly within the "footprint" of the existing film. Leaders of the campaign requested specific details on how this would be accomplished to gauge how significant a presence Latino veterans would have in the film and how fairly the subject matter would be treated.
"Dialogue and an 'understanding' between Burns and some Latino groups is a welcome development if it brings us closer to our ultimate goal of incorporating the Latino perspective," said Rivas-Rodriguez, who also directs the U.S. Latino & Latina World War II Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin. This project has videotaped interviews with over 550 men and women across the country, documenting the contributions and unique experiences of various Latino ethnic groups, who often faced segregated public institutions while defending their country.
The Defend the Honor campaign first met with Kerger and PBS officials on March 6, at the PBS headquarters in Arlington, VA. When the PBS response to the campaign was negative, the group enlisted the support of several other organizations. After a series of missteps, PBS and Burns agreed to incorporate Latinos into the WWII documentary on April 17. But in later news stories, Burns appeared to lean away from any substantial changes that would involve changing his documentary.
This week's development indicates Burns has softened his position, but details of the changes he is proposing are vague.
"As we've said before, the devil is in the details," said Marta Garcia, a New York-based representative of the Defend the Honor campaign, and the Co-Chair of the New York Chapter of the National Hispanic Media Coalition.
A letter from the Defend the Honor Campaign's letter to Kerger on Friday, May 11, seeks answers to questions posed then, which Burns and Kerger previously said they needed more time to answer.
THE WAR is scheduled to air beginning September 23, during Hispanic Heritage Month.
SOURCE: Steven Clemons in the Washington Note (5-14-07)
Boston University Professor Andrew J. Bacevich is a brave, thoughtful public intellectual who has tried -- in reserved, serious terms -- to challenge the legitimacy of the Iraq War. He has been one of the most articulate leading thinkers among military-policy dissident conservatives who have exposed the inanity of this war and the damage it has done. He authored the critically-acclaimed book, The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War.
Now his son by the same name who was serving in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom is dead -- announced today by the Department of Defense:
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
1st Lt. Andrew J. Bacevich, 27, of Walpole, Mass., died May 13 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit during combat patrol operations in Salah Ad Din Province, Iraq.He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
To get some insight into the pain Professor Bacevich, who teaches at Boston University, must now feel, read this clip from a moving and important article he wrote titled"What's an Iraqi Life Worth?" [Washington Post, 9 July 2006]:
As the war enters its fourth year, how many innocent Iraqis have died at American hands, not as a result of Haditha-like massacres but because of accidents and errors? The military doesn't know and, until recently, has publicly professed no interest in knowing. Estimates range considerably, but the number almost certainly runs in the tens of thousands. Even granting the common antiwar bias of those who track the Iraqi death toll -- and granting, too, that the insurgents have far more blood on their hands -- there is no question that the number of Iraqi noncombatants killed by U.S. forces exceeds by an order of magnitude the number of U.S. troops killed in hostile action, which is now more than 2,000.
Who bears responsibility for these Iraqi deaths? The young soldiers pulling the triggers? The commanders who establish rules of engagement that privilege"force protection" over any obligation to protect innocent life? The intellectually bankrupt policymakers who sent U.S. forces into Iraq in the first place and now see no choice but to press on? The culture that, to put it mildly, has sought neither to understand nor to empathize with people in the Arab or Islamic worlds?
There are no easy answers, but one at least ought to acknowledge that in launching a war advertised as a high-minded expression of U.S. idealism, we have waded into a swamp of moral ambiguity. To assert that"stuff happens," as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is wont to do whenever events go awry, simply does not suffice.
Moral questions aside, the toll of Iraqi noncombatant casualties has widespread political implications. Misdirected violence alienates those we are claiming to protect. It plays into the hands of the insurgents, advancing their cause and undercutting our own. It fatally undermines the campaign to win hearts and minds, suggesting to Iraqis and Americans alike that Iraqi civilians -- and perhaps Arabs and Muslims more generally -- are expendable. Certainly, Nahiba Husayif Jassim's death helped clarify her brother's perspective on the war."God take revenge on the Americans and those who brought them here," he declared after the incident."They have no regard for our lives."
He was being unfair, of course. It's not that we have no regard for Iraqi lives; it's just that we have much less regard for them. The current reparations policy -- the payment offered in those instances in which U.S. forces do own up to killing an Iraq civilian -- makes the point. The insurance payout to the beneficiaries of an American soldier who dies in the line of duty is $400,000, while in the eyes of the U.S. government, a dead Iraqi civilian is reportedly worth up to $2,500 in condolence payments -- about the price of a decent plasma-screen TV.
For all the talk of Iraq being a sovereign nation, foreign occupiers are the ones deciding what an Iraqi life is worth. And although President Bush has remarked in a different context that"every human life is a precious gift of matchless value," our actions in Iraq continue to convey the impression that civilian lives aren't worth all that much.
That impression urgently needs to change. To start, the Pentagon must get over its aversion to counting all bodies. It needs to measure in painstaking detail -- and publicly -- the mayhem we are causing as a byproduct of what we call liberation. To do otherwise, to shrug off the death of Nahiba Husayif Jassim as just one of those things that happens in war, only reinforces the impression that Americans view Iraqis as less than fully human. Unless we demonstrate by our actions that we value their lives as much as the lives of our own troops, our failure is certain.
Now we must add to the count of this tragic conflict another American son -- and of course, more Iraqi sons and daughters and American daughters.
I had the pleasure of meeting Andy Bacevich at the home of former Congressman Dave McCurdy this last holiday season. We spoke for a bit about the Iraq war as well as the absence of American strategy and dearth of strategists in government today. I had no idea his son was serving until now.
But this young man did serve his nation -- but his death is so incredibly tragic, like the others -- but his even more because his well-respected father has been working hard to end this horrible, self-damaging crusade. It's incredibly sad.
To answer my own question above. Andrew Bacevich's son's life was precious -- and his life and his untimely death matter greatly for just waking up and realizing we are achieving nothing in Iraq today and that responsibility must be borne by the perpetrators of this mess.
My sincere condolences to the Bacevich family.
Son of professor opposed to war is killed in Iraq
SOURCE: Scrapbook in the Weekly Standard (5-21-07)
The literary life just doesn't get any better than this. Admirers of Studs are encouraged to gather in independent bookstores (no chains, please), credit cards in hand, and let the good times roll. You can hear what famous intellectuals think of Studs ("An American treasure"--Cornel West), order free Studs Terkel posters, mix Studs's recipe for gin martinis, listen to Studs's favorite music ("Potato Head Blues"--Louis Armstrong), order a pair of Studs-style red socks ($4.99 plus shipping), and add your voice to celebrity tributes ("Still fighting the good fight"--Victor Navasky).
Best of all, the New Press has chartered a skywriter to fly over Chicago, Studs's adopted hometown, during lunch hour with this message: "Happy 95th B-Day Studs Terkel."
Now, THE SCRAPBOOK enjoys a good party as much as anyone, especially at an independent bookstore, and we like "Potato Head Blues," too. But does a bilious radio DJ who turns a tape recorder on and off, and hires somebody to type up the transcripts, qualify as a "historian," even an "oral" historian? And while we're impressed by Studs's longevity, and love skywriting, it's worth pointing out that 74 of those 95 years were spent extolling the virtues of the Soviet Union, in print and on the air, at the expense of Studs's native country.
No wonder Studs Terkel has won the George Polk Career Award--named in honor of another media icon whose fraudulent past was exposed in the pages of this magazine.
SOURCE: USA Today (5-15-07)
When the archives and the Nixon foundation asked Naftali to apply for the library post, he insisted on a shift to non-partisanship. "I can't run a shrine," Naftali says he told them. "I'm a historian."
Naftali, author of books on the Cold War and counterterrorism, was born in Canada and became a U.S. citizen in 2005. He was 14 when Nixon left office, and never met him. He's a registered independent.
The official transfer of the library, sought for years by Julie Eisenhower, was supposed to happen last year. It is being delayed by problems installing a climate-control system that meets the archives' standards.
Naftali says his goal is "setting a new tone."
A one-sided exhibit on the Watergate scandal is gone. The exhibit had featured a voice-over attempting to explain the "smoking gun" tape, on which Nixon is suggesting that the CIA could block the FBI investigation of the 1972 break-in at Democratic headquarters in the Watergate. New video screens will present "a 360-degree view," Naftali says, by showing interviews with surviving Nixon administration officials and a Democrat on the House committee that voted for Nixon's impeachment.
SOURCE: Alternet (5-15-07)
He waved me over to his customary spot, a rumpled chair in a sun-drenched corner of the living room. Studs was suited up in his trademark red-checked flannel shirt and red socks. A hefty stack of newspapers and magazines spilled over a table nearby. Perched perilously atop it sat the final manuscript of his upcoming (and first) memoir, Touch and Go, just back from his publisher, The New Press.
Studs says much of Touch and Go was dictated over the telephone to Sydney Lewis, an author and his longtime assistant. The book, a tribute to his abidingly sharp and perceptive recall of history, is dedicated to his son Dan, also a writer.
The inexhaustible nonagenarian has penned more than a dozen books, among them Working, Hard Times, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Good War. His oral histories and singular radio interviews chronicle a crazy quilt of stories -- those of celebrity icons, but even more compelling, the tales of ordinary people.
This is Studs' story. Touch and Go spans the 95 years of his life mosaic: vaudeville performer, radio DJ, vaunted storyteller, historian, rooming house denizen and advocate for the downtrodden.
That spring afternoon, he gave In These Times a sneak preview.
Ninety-five. Did you think you'd make 95?
I'm genetically a cardiac case. My father and my two brothers died in the '50s. I have lived 50 years longer than my two brothers and my father. My heart's OK, that's the amazing thing.
When is the book coming out?
It's coming out sometime in September.
Oh, that's not too long. So you have to stick around for that.
This is it.
So this is your life story, finally.
There's an ironic, and very funny, secret to my success: my ineptitude, mechanically. I can't use a machine, or drive a car. And I make mistakes on the tape recorder. Now the tape recorder was important to two Americans, I think, more than anyone else. To myself and Dick Nixon. I call Dick Nixon and me the New Cartesians, as in Descartes [Rene Descartes, the 17th century philosopher and mathematician]. The Latin phrase is cogito ergo sum -- "I think, therefore I am." In the case of Dick Nixon and me, it's, "I tape, therefore I am."
In my place, I tape therefore they are. Now who is the "they?" The "they" are the non-celebrated celebrities, the people who have never been asked about their lives before....
SOURCE: AP (5-14-07)
The money was later repaid.
Janet L. Gallimore, who has headed up fundraising and community outreach at the public- and privately funded Confluence Project in Vancouver, Wash., starts next month in Boise. She replaces Steve Guerber, who quit in November after a state audit showed he banked $5,467.77 in improper reimbursements over a five-year period.
At the Confluence Project, Gallimore worked with Vietnam War Memorial designer Maya Lin on seven art installations along the Columbia River _ including one in Clarkston, Wash, across the river from Lewiston, Idaho. The sites are meant to highlight the Lewis and Clark expedition and its effect on the land and on the American Indians the explorers encountered
SOURCE: PBS NewsHour Interview (5-14-07)
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (5-13-07)
"Did the students ask any questions about your other interests?" I asked. "No," he replied, "that's not part of A levels." Then he paused for a moment, and added: "Not yet." Given the quality of Hutton's work and the passion he devotes to it, as well as the recent academic interest in subjects like the occult, esotericism, and his own patch, paganism, I'd say it was only a matter of time.
Hutton's most recent work, The Druids, a compact and lively account of what historians and other seekers of the past have made of these "appallingly insubstantial figures", could arguably be looked at as a history of the Druids in which no "real" Druid appears. The Druids left no writings, no images and no tombs. Accounts of them, from Tacitus down, are frustratingly inconclusive, and drift from anecdotal, to biased, to forged, to sheer invention. Most of us associate them with mistletoe, megaliths and human sacrifice, and the three turn up often enough; but the fact is that the Druids, at one time or another, have appeared as all things to all men.
Hutton gives us chapters on "The Patriotic Druids", "The Wise Druids", "The Green Druids", "The Demonic Druids", "The Fraternal Druids", "The Rebel Druids" and, perhaps most important to his popular readers, "The Future Druids". Like the Knights Templar, at least in the British Isles, the Druids have been a handy peg on which to hang a backpack of imaginative, insightful, and sometimes half-baked ideas, dealing with national identity, religious revelation, ancient societies, nature and ourselves. When I mentioned that it seemed like a history of what people have thought about the Druids, Hutton eagerly agreed.
"My colleagues would kill me for saying this, but historians are increasingly conscious of the fact that we can't write history. What we can write about is the way in which people see history and think history happens." And turning my remark back at me he continued, "So, is this a book about Druids with no Druids in it, or are the real Druids these amazing characters like William Price, William Stukeley, Iolo Morganwg and the rest?"...
SOURCE: The Progressive (5-11-07)
But after he showed the documentary “Baghdad ER” to his geography class on April 18, his career there was over.
This, despite the fact that in 2006, Baker was one of only 47 teachers in the state to win National Board Certification, according to the Lincoln Journal Star, which broke the story.
Baker tells The Progressive that he cannot talk freely about what happened because he reached an agreement with the school district. Part of that agreement prohibits him from saying anything “disparaging” about it, he says.
But he does acknowledge this: “The morning after I showed the documentary ‘Baghdad ER’ was my last day in class.”
HBO, which aired “Baghdad ER,” describes it this way: “2-time Emmy Award winner producer/director Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill capture the humanity, hardships and heroism of the US Military and medical personnel of the 86th Combat Support Hospital, the Army’s premier medical facility in Iraq. Sometimes graphic in its depiction of combat-related wounds, Baghdad ER offers an unflinching and honest account of the realities of war.”
Even the conservative magazine the National Review gave it a good review, calling it “refreshingly earnest.”
Baker waxes philosophical about his departure. “Teachers that teach against the grain often have difficulties with school systems,” he says. “What has happened to me is certainly not unusual.”
But his supporters are not so circumspect.
Michael Anderson taught with Baker at East High School for eight years. Now he’s the director of the school of education at the University of Wisconsin at Platteville.
“It’s outrageous,” Anderson says of Baker’s departure.
SOURCE: Press Release -- American GI Forum and HACR (5-10-07)
The upcoming 141/2 hour documentary, due to air on PBS in September during Hispanic Heritage Month, tells the story of WWII from the perspective of veterans from four different American towns. “The role of Hispanic American veterans in WWII is one that lends itself to the universality of this film,” said Mr. Burns “and merits being included in my film.”
After listening to the concerns of the Latino community and political leaders about the lack of Hispanic stories, Mr. Burns and his team set out to find personal Latino stories and include them as supplemental material following the documentary. The proposed placement embodied in this approach was, however, universally rejected by Latino groups.
Yesterday in New York, Ken Burns met with Raul Tapia of the Washington, DC-based C2 Group; Mr. Tapia represents the American GI Forum, the largest and oldest Latino veterans group in the United States, and the Hispanic Association of Corporate Responsibility, a coalition of the fourteen largest Latino organizations. At the meeting, Mr. Burns said he had collected interviews with Latino veterans that he considers very powerful and agreed to include their on-camera testimony, personal archives, and combat experiences into “The War.” As he did in the series, Mr. Burns will personally direct and produce the creation of this new material.
“I believe these additional stories will enhance our series and deepen the nation’s understanding of the sacrifices made by so many Americans during the war,” said Mr. Burns. “And I am confident that they can be incorporated in a way consistent with the film’s focus on individual experiences and in a way that means nothing in the film that already exists will be changed. This has never been about changing my vision for the film. It is adding another layer of storytelling that will only enrich what we already have.”
“We appreciate Ken Burns’s filmmaking skills and are pleased that he will apply his talent to include the narrative and voices of Hispanic veterans into his series,” said Antonio Morales, National Commander of the American GI Forum. “Latinos have never been an addendum to American history. They always have been, are and always will be an integral part of our nation’s military.”
Manuel Mirabal, chairman of the board of HACR, said: “Together, corporate America, Latino leaders and visionary artists can leave a lasting imprint on American culture that will resonate with the vast majority of Americans today and for generations to come.”
SOURCE: NYT (5-11-07)
The report is among the initiatives that Drew Gilpin Faust is expected to address when she takes over as president in July....
Columbia is taking the Harvard report into account as it moves through its own review, said Alan Brinkley, Columbia’s provost. “If we’re going to ask some undergraduates to pay as much as $47,000 a year to come to these elite universities,” he said, “then we have an obligation to make sure they get a great education.”
One of the most significant aspects of the report, Dr. Connor said, is the stature of the professors who worked on it. In addition to Professor Skocpol, the group includes Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian; Xiao-Li Meng, the chairman of the statistics department; and Eric Mazur, a physicist who is known for his innovative teaching as well as his research....
SOURCE: Comedy Central (5-9-07)
He was interviewed by Jon Stewart about his new book, Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989.
Click on the SOURCE link above to watch.
SOURCE: Canadian Jewish News (5-10-07)
In a Winnipeg lecture late last month, Lipstadt recalled that her initial reaction to Irving’s libel charge against her was to dismiss it as ridiculous. But then she realized that it could be serious.
“The problem is that in British law, the burden of proof is on the person being sued,” she explained. “If I ignored the matter, he would win by default and his view of the Holocaust – that there was no German plan to annihilate the Jews, there were no gas chambers, that the number of those murdered was greatly exaggerated and that the guilty parties were rogue German officers – would have been vindicated.”
The ensuing trial in London vindicated Lipstadt and left Irving thoroughly discredited and bankrupt. As a result of her courage in standing up to Irving, Lipstadt has been much honoured and has been in great demand as a speaker.
Lipstadt was in Winnipeg April 30 as the guest speaker at the second annual Sol and Florence Kanee Distinguished Lecture series (historian Martin Gilbert was the inaugural speaker last year). She addressed an audience of about 800 people, a Winnipeg Jewish community record for a speaker.
The lecture series was inaugurated by the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada to celebrate Sol Kanee’s 95th birthday. In welcoming the audience, lecture series co-chair Harold Buchwald paid tribute to Kanee, who died on April 23 at 97, as a man who “cast a giant shadow” on world Jewish history in the second half of the 20th century.
Lipstadt, who earlier in the day told her story to more than 500 high school students from six Winnipeg high schools in a program organized by Holocaust survivor and educator Philip Weiss, did not disappoint the crowd.
The book at the centre of Irving’s lawsuit was Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, which Lipstadt had published in 1993.
She noted that she devoted just a few paragraphs in the book to Irving, whom she called one of “the most dangerous of deniers” because he had a reputation as a prolific author of history books covering all aspects of World War II.
“His books all had a whiff of anti-Semitism,” she said. “His theses were that the Axis powers weren’t so bad, the Allies did some things that were wrong and that the Jews got what they deserved.”
It wasn’t until Irving published Hitler’s War in 1978 that he begin to show his true colours and became a champion of Holocaust deniers, she said.
The defence’s strategy at her libel trial was to focus on discrediting Irving rather than try to prove the reality of the Holocaust. They called no Holocaust survivors as witnesses nor did they have Lipstadt take the stand. (Irving acted as his own lawyer.) Rather, they recruited a “dream team” of prominent historians to comb through Irving’s footnotes and check them for accuracy.
Lipstadt listed several examples of their findings where Irving distorted written records by adding people who weren’t there, adding or subtracting words to change the tone of the reports and changing the order of events to further his own agenda.
The defence team was also able to gain access to audio and video of Irving talking to supporters, and even to some passages from his diaries.
The tapes and entries portrayed a man who is bigoted, racist and misogynist, noted Lipstadt, who also gave some examples.
SOURCE: AP (5-9-07)
Haleh Esfandiari, the director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, was sent Tuesday to Evin prison after she arrived at Iran's Intelligence Ministry for questioning, the center said.
Iran has not confirmed that it is detaining Esfandiari, and officials in Tehran could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
''This is extremely disturbing news,'' said Esfandiari's husband, Shaul Bakhash, in a telephone interview from their home in Potomac, Md. ''I never expected they would jail a 67-year-old woman for no reason whatsoever.''
Her arrest comes as Washington and Tehran are locked in a bitter standoff over Iran's disputed nuclear program and involvement in Iraq. Although the two countries ceased diplomatic relations following the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, tensions between them have escalated sharply in the past year.
SOURCE: Joseph Puder at frontpagemag.com (5-11-07)
Professor Lewis, who was recently awarded the Ataturk Peace Award from the Turkish government, began his presentation by illustrating the similarities and differences between Europe and Islam. Europe, he said, defined itself as a civilization known as Christendom, in spite of its current post-Christian self-perception. Islam and Christianity share a prominent feature - triumphalism. Both Christianity and Islam believe that they are the sole recipients of G-d’s latest word. Conversely Jews believe in individual salvation through righteousness.
Christians in the 21st century evolved and, in large measure, left the triumphalist creed behind. Islam, currently in its 15th century, is still deeply entrenched in such beliefs. “Muslims,” Lewis said, “believe that theirs is the only true faith, and it is their duty to bring their faith to the rest of the world.”
In such circumstances, where two similar and yet rival civilizations claim true faith, conflict is inevitable, according to Lewis. Conflict with the Christian West began at the dawn of Islam when Muslim warriors burst out of Arabia and conquered Syria, Palestine and other lands previously held by Christian Byzantium. The Moors conquered Spain, and the Ottoman Turks captured land previously held by Christians, extending their conquest to Europe. In the 17th Century, Ottoman Turkish Corsairs raided Western Europe, and Europe was able to recover some of these lands, and enter the Islamic domain in the 18th and 19th Centuries.
“We are now experiencing a third attempt to bring Islam to Europe,” Lewis pointed out. Unlike the previous attempts that were primarily military in nature, the current Muslim push is through migration and demography. Freedom of expression, economic opportunities and moderate climates encouraged Muslim migration to Western Europe. The contrast between the high birthrates of Arab-Muslims in Europe and the negative rates of native Europeans, who marry late and have fewer children, may finally provide Islam with the chance to Islamize Europe.
The Bin Laden terrorist phenomenon has, according to Lewis, much to do with the perception that Jihad defeated the Red Army in Afghanistan. “The crucial moment” for the rise of Bin Laden, said Lewis, was the defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union. Some regard that as a Western victory; for Bin Laden, however, it was a victory for Islam and Jihad.
According to Lewis, Bin Laden exploited the all too willing Western media. Bin Laden’s argument was that the “ongoing struggle is between the superceded word of G-d and the latest word of G-d.” In Bin Laden’s vision, he was chosen to restore Islam and lead it to victory. Lewis explained that as the Jihadists see it, the end of the Caliphate (1924) following the abolition of the Ottoman Empire Sultanate (1922) by Kamal Ataturk was for Bin Laden the “ultimate humiliation.”
For Bin Laden, it is now the final stage in a three-act play. Having “destroyed the stronger and more deadly superpower,”the Soviet Union, “the effeminate American Empire is not a problem.” Bin Laden attacked U.S. installations in 1998 with impunity. Americans responded with “angry words” followed by “let’s get out of here.” This attitude began in 1983 Beirut after the U.S. Marine compound was destroyed and 241 U.S. Marines were killed, repeated in Somalia in 1994. Bin Laden’s attacks on American interests continued throughout the 1990’s, culminating with September 11, 2001, when Bin Laden opened the third phase - bringing his Jihad to America.
Lewis made an interesting observation when noting “In the Islamic world governments change the elections unlike the U.S. where elections change governments.” There are three groups of governments in the Islamic world. One, like those of Morocco and the Persian Gulf Sheikhdoms, which demands loyalty from its subjects; the second, the Fascist Baathist regimes of Syria and Iraq under Saddam that had no roots in the Islamic past and were influenced by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. And, a third group, that includes Turkey and Lebanon, which has genuine democratic institutions. “Turkey,” Lewis stressed, “became a democracy in 1950 when the government lost an election and the opposition took over.”
The resurgence of Islamism and an Islamic agenda is testing Turkey’s secular nature, Lewis suggested. The Turkish parliament led by the AKP (Justice and Development Party, a moderately Islamic party) is seeking to replace the current secular president with the pro-Islamic foreign minister Abdullah Gul (member of the same AKP party). The secular members of parliament responded by staging a walkout and denying the AKP-led government the necessary quorum. Lewis warned that the next election in Turkey “is crucial.”
Turning to Iraq, Lewis suggests a number of views - one reflected in the media, which is of a “continuing disaster,” and another which comes to Lewis from his personal friends in Iraq who “report positive developments.” A third view, Lewis claims, is that “most of Iraq is functioning rather well.” As he ended his prepared remarks, Lewis surprised everyone by expressing “cautious optimism” regarding Iraq. Lewis credited President Bush for being “tough and consistent” in Iraq and ridiculed the attitudes of congressional Democrats who oppose the Iraq war and who are saying: “Unless we win the war by next Tuesday, we are done.”
SOURCE: George Packer in the New Yorker (4-10-07)
Colonel H. R. McMaster, the commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, is forty-three years old, a small man, thick in the middle, with black eyebrows that are the only signs of hair on a pale, shaved head. His feature are deeply furrowed across the brow and along the nose, as if his head had been shaped from modelling clay; but when he grins mischief creases his face, and it’s easy to imagine him as an undaunted ten-year-old, marching around and giving orders in his own private war. The first time I saw him, he had a football in his hands and was throwing hard spirals to a few other soldiers next to his plywood headquarters, on a muddy airfield a few miles south of Tal Afar....