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: NYT (8-28-07)
The death was announced by her daughter Amy Samuels.
Mrs. Samuels and her husband, who died in 2002, were art collectors who roamed from auctions to estate sales in search of Western works, became art dealers and then turned their passion into a shared writing career. Neither had formal training in art history. But their first book, “The Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West” (Doubleday, 1976), is considered one of the most authoritative texts on the subject.
In 1982, the Samuels wrote “Frederic Remington: A Biography” (Doubleday), a portrait of the artist famed for his images of cowboys, prospectors and Apache warriors. A New York Times review said the book’s “abundant detail supplies important information and subtleties” about Remington while deflating some of the nostalgia for the frontier. “It is the Samuels’ achievement to have re-created that mood for us and to remind us that once upon a time the fascination with a man on horseback was just exactly that,” the review said.
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Education summary of article in Gender & History (8-27-07)
The historical record shows, she says, that in the late 18th century, most young white women in the northeastern United States engaged in public speaking, and she suggests that historians overlook that phenomenon because they hold to modern conceptions of what constituted "public." While historians today think only of speeches made from podiums, bars, or pulpits, early Americans had a different perspective, she says: "What people in the 18th century most often meant by 'public' was sociable as opposed to solitary (which was 'private')."
At that time, "girls spoke regularly at school 'exhibitions' from Maryland to Maine at least twice a year, no matter how rudimentary the school's curriculum," she notes. Speeches by young women were commonly published in books, magazines, and newspapers of the era. And, she adds, many public discussions took place in "female-governed spaces" like parlors "that fostered practices of sociability not readily classifiable as either strictly public or private."
That all has implications for historical views of early America, Ms. Eastman argues. The evidence "suggests that republican motherhood was by no means the only model for women seeking to define their roles in the post-revolutionary era," she writes. Rather, education also "taught girls that educated and well-spoken women had an important role to play in American culture," she notes....
SOURCE: NYT (8-27-07)
The cause was a degenerative heart condition, said his son, Nik Cohn.
In highly detailed, laboriously researched studies that depended on his knowledge of many ancient languages, Mr. Cohn reached far back into history to illuminate subjects of compelling current interest from totalitarianism to anti-Semitism to repression of minorities.
His gift for seeing old stories with new eyes shone in his book on the development and interpretation of the biblical story of Noah, “Noah’s Flood: The Genesis Story in Western Thought.” His crisp writing drew praise.
SOURCE: Letter to the editor of the NYT Book Review (8-26-07)
But rather than childishly taking offense at what I interpreted as a gentle rebuke, I soon realized how dutiful — brave, even — the reviewer had been in soldiering on after those first five thoroughly nauseating pages. He even kindly illustrated my utter ineptitude by singling out this sentence I had written on the French Revolution: “French grievances were vented in alternating waves of liberation and repression that swept the overwrought masses toward the cauldron of anarchy.” How could I have butchered the English language so grievously?
Suddenly I understood how mistaken the Book Review’s critic had been about my last book, “Ashes to Ashes,” in his highly laudatory review — and how besotted the jurors were who voted it the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction, not usually awarded to wretched writers (I being the fortunate exception). How foolish, I thought, the Times columnist Bob Herbert had been for referring to my “Simple Justice” as a “brilliant and powerful book.” And how blind the former Times reporter Anthony Lukas, a garlanded book author, had been for stating that my book “The Paper: The Life and Death of The New York Herald Tribune” was “probably the best book ever written about an American newspaper ... a brilliant piece of social history.” And how insensitive to hideous prose were the judges who placed both those books among the five finalists for the National Book Award in history for the years in which they were issued.
Here at last, I appreciatively recognized, was a critic astute and forthright enough to do for me what no other reviewer had done before: tell me I am a clown, not a writer. How sad I was for the publisher of my four books of social history, Alfred A. Knopf, which has gained its eminence by bringing out books by similarly dreadful authors. How bad I felt for the four eminent writers and scholars — Joseph Ellis, David Kennedy, Justin Kaplan and Dan T. Carter — who had unaccountably offered admiring words about “Seizing Destiny” for the back of the book jacket. And how insensitive Kirkus was for calling it, in a starred prepublication review, “brilliant.”
Rather than continue writing, I will henceforth devote my energies to mastering one or another percussion instrument (if not the drum, on which your reviewer seems to feel I have a head start). It was an honor to be so subtly awakened from my self-deception by Mr. Brookhiser, who has honed his own skills by laboring for 30 years on the staff of National Review, a beacon of insightful commentary as well as fair and balanced judgment. Thanks, too, to your staff for selecting him. As we say out here in Berkeley, that iniquitous den of bluest liberalism, have a nice day.
SOURCE: Fred Kaplan in the NYT Magazine (8-26-07)
... Yingling’s commander at Tal Afar, H. R. McMaster, documented a similar crisis [of confidence in the armys's leadership] in the case of the Vietnam War. Twenty years after the war, McMaster wrote a doctoral dissertation that he turned into a book called “Dereliction of Duty.” It concluded that the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the 1960s betrayed their professional obligations by failing to provide unvarnished military advice to President Lyndon B. Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara as they plunged into the Southeast Asian quagmire. When McMaster’s book was published in 1997, Gen. Hugh Shelton, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs, ordered all commanders to read it — and to express disagreements to their superiors, even at personal risk. Since then, “Dereliction of Duty” has been recommended reading for Army officers.
Yet before the start of the Iraq war and during the early stages of the fighting, the Joint Chiefs once again fell silent. Justin Rosenbaum, the captain at Fort Knox who asked General Cody whether any generals would be held accountable for the failures in Iraq, said he was disturbed by this parallel between the two wars. “We’ve read the McMaster book,” he said. “It’s startling that we’re repeating the same mistakes.”
McMaster’s own fate has reinforced these apprehensions. President Bush has singled out McMaster’s campaign at Tal Afar as a model of successful strategy. Gen. David Petraeus, now commander of United States forces in Iraq, frequently consults with McMaster in planning his broader counterinsurgency campaign. Yet the Army’s promotion board — the panel of generals that selects which few dozen colonels advance to the rank of brigadier general — has passed over McMaster two years in a row.
McMaster’s nonpromotion has not been widely reported, yet every officer I spoke with knew about it and had pondered its implications. One colonel, who asked not to be identified because he didn’t want to risk his own ambitions, said: “Everyone studies the brigadier-general promotion list like tarot cards — who makes it, who doesn’t. It communicates what qualities are valued and not valued.” A retired Army two-star general, who requested anonymity because he didn’t want to anger his friends on the promotion boards, agreed. “When you turn down a guy like McMaster,” he told me, “that sends a potent message to everybody down the chain. I don’t know, maybe there were good reasons not to promote him. But the message everybody gets is: ‘We’re not interested in rewarding people like him. We’re not interested in rewarding agents of change.’ ”...
SOURCE: WaPo (8-26-07)
They arrive in the city's Ninth Ward to painstakingly gut houses one by one. Their jaws drop as they wander around afflicted zones, gazing at the towering mounds of debris and uprooted infrastructure.
After weeks of grueling labor, they realize that they are running in place, toiling in a surreal vacuum.
Two full years after the hurricane, the Big Easy is barely limping along, unable to make truly meaningful reconstruction progress. The most important issues concerning the city's long-term survival are still up in the air. Why is no Herculean clean-up effort underway? Why hasn't President Bush named a high-profile czar such as Colin Powell or James Baker to oversee the ongoing disaster? Where is the U.S. government's participation in the rebuilding?
And why are volunteers practically the only ones working to reconstruct homes in communities that may never again have sewage service, garbage collection or electricity?
Eventually, the volunteers' altruism turns to bewilderment and finally to outrage. They've been hoodwinked. The stalled recovery can't be blamed on bureaucratic inertia or red tape alone. Many volunteers come to understand what I've concluded is the heartless reality: The Bush administration actually wants these neighborhoods below sea level to die on the vine.....
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune (8-26-07)
Never married, she devoted herself to scholarship, first in the field of education as an Iowa high school teacher and professor at the University of Iowa. Then, in midlife, she moved to the University of Chicago where she wrote "A History of Chicago," the definitive account of the city's first years.
That magisterial, three-volume history, begun in 1929 and completed in 1957, has been a touchstone ever since for anyone writing about early Chicago. It was also a pioneering work in academia, the first scholarly study of a large American city.
Excluding appendixes and indexes, the three books cover 1,395 pages -- and Pierce (pictured at right) wrote all 1,395 by hand.
"I'm not sure I ever saw Bessie type," says Perry Duis, a history professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and one of the last of dozens of research assistants who worked on the project with Pierce over a four-decade period.
Long out of print, "A History of Chicago" is being published next Saturday for the first time in paperback by the University of Chicago Press. The first book, subtitled, "The Beginning of a City 1673-1848," sells for $35. The others -- subtitled "From Town to City 1848-1871" and "The Rise of the Modern City 1871-1893" -- have $39 price tags.
SOURCE: NYT (8-25-07)
Ms. Stern’s executor, Richard Koch, confirmed the death.
With her companion and business partner of many years, Leona Rostenberg, Ms. Stern presided over Rostenberg & Stern Rare Books, run largely from their apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. For more than half a century, the two women were an institution in the world of antiquarian bookselling, scouring the United States and Europe for printed treasures. Ms. Stern was also a founder of the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, held annually since 1960.
In 1942, Ms. Rostenberg, following clues sprinkled in Alcott’s correspondence and other writings, found evidence that Alcott (1832-88), best known for sweet novels like “Little Women,” had also written racy potboilers. Published in popular magazines anonymously or under the pseudonym A. M. Barnard, the stories were the pulp fiction of their day, awash in deceit, depravity and death. “Blood-and-thunder tales,” Alcott dismissively called them.
Starting in the 1970s, Ms. Stern oversaw their publication in assorted volumes. These included “Behind a Mask: The Unknown Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott” (Morrow, 1975); “Plots and Counterplots: More Unknown Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott” (Morrow, 1976); and “Louisa May Alcott Unmasked: Collected Thrillers” (Northeastern University, 1995), all edited and with introductions by Ms. Stern.
SOURCE: Andrew Sullivan at his blog (8-22-07)
In his NRO splutter this morning, military expert Victor Davis Hanson hyperbolized the following:
No one necessarily believes anything in once respected magazines, whether the Periscope section of Newsweek or anything published in The New Republic.
Let me suggest two articles in The New Republic that no one should have believed at the time, two articles that have been debunked by subsequent events, two articles that reveal spectacular misjudgment about the war in Iraq, two articles that should consign the author to irrelevance, unless he has explicitly explained why he was wrong and apologized. The two articles, of course, are by Victor Davis Hanson. Let's roll the tape, shall we? The first is an argument that counter-insurgency works best when American troops stay in their tanks and kill people. It's a June 2004 defense of a strategy not exactly identical with the Petraeus strategy Hanson is now touting. Money quote:
For their part, American troops have discovered that they are safer on the assault when they can fire first and kill killers, rather than simply patrol and react, hoping their newly armored Humvees and fortified flak vests will deflect projectiles.
This is the context for the current insistence on more troops. America's failure to promptly retake Falluja or rid Najaf of militiamen demands more soldiers to garrison the ever more Fallujas and Najafs that will now surely arise. In contrast, audacity is a force multiplier. A Sadr in chains or in paradise is worth more, in terms of deterrence, than an entire infantry division.
There are other advantages to a force of some 138,000 rapidly responding soldiers, rather than 200,000 or so garrison troops. The more American troops, the less likely it is Iraqis will feel any obligation to step up to the responsibilities of their own defense. The more troops, the more psychological reliance on numbers than on performance of individual units. And, the more troops, the higher the profile of culturally bothersome Americans who disturb by their mere omnipresence, rather than win respect for their proven skill in arms.
So Hanson was a key voice arguing against the counter-insurgency strategy now being pursued belatedly and with too few troops in Iraq. But now Bush has signed on, Hanson is on board and busy excoriating the media. Let's not hold our breath for intellectual accountability, shall we? Let's instead go back to February 2005 as well, where Hanson saw the then-strategy, which even Bush has now disowned, as the right one:
The third and best alternative is to continue on the present path of countrywide reconstruction in hopes that the democratic process will begin to create a momentum of its own - as we have seen in the scenes of genuine post-election rejoicing. Soon there will be a psychological shift as Iraqis begin to blame other Iraqis - rather than Americans - for shortfalls of power or gasoline and start to appreciate the difficulties that the United States has faced.
And, contrarily, the praise for establishing the Arab world's first democratically elected nation will empower the reformers, as nationalists will gradually become less vulnerable to charges of collusion with the infidel...
As the United States has refined its tactics and learned more about the terrorists, its losses in recent weeks have fluctuated, but they are not steadily increasing from month to month. Meanwhile, American soldiers are killing or capturing more insurgents than before--15,000 in 2004, according to an estimate by General George Casey--who are now primarily confined to four of 18 provinces. At the same time, the Arab world is beginning to see elections take hold in the Islamic world--in Afghanistan, the West Bank, and now Iraq. And that fact will eventually be fatal for Al Qaeda and Baathists alike. We cannot appreciate these positive symptoms in our despair over the post-invasion period.
Yes, Victor Davis Hanson is right in some respects. Some things that have been published in The New Republic are things that no one should believe. The more ambitious fabulist is not Scott Beauchamp, however. It's Victor Davis Hanson.
SOURCE: Robert Townsend writing at the website of the AHA blog (8-23-07)
Unfortunately, this sets up two competing problems. The taxonomy needs to be open to the emergence of new areas in the discipline, but it also needs to be functional in a variety of contexts—for members trying to identify themselves, historians trying to find a specialist for a meeting panel, or members of staff trying to offer a coherent profile of the membership. With 297 different options in the taxonomy (and an open field for still more specific subjects of “current research”) many members complain that the taxonomy proves quite daunting and unwieldy.
So after a decade of dealing with requests for new categories on an ad hoc basis—and more recently trying to delete a couple categories with only a small representation on a similarly ad hoc basis—the Council adopted the following formal policies for adding and deleting categories in the future, effective June 4, 2007:
Policy for Adding Categories Adding new categories requires a petition from 10 members in good standing requesting the addition of a particular category. Staff will review the membership status of the petitioners and the current selection of related topics in the open “Current Research” field, and submit a recommendation to Council. If a majority of members on Council agree, it will be added to the taxonomy....
SOURCE: SMU newspaper (8-23-07)
Published in 2006, "Blackhawk's Violence over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West" describes the violence and its consequences experienced by the Ute, Paiute and Shoshone residing in what is now Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and California.
Blackhawk will receive the award from SMU's William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies during formal ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, in the DeGolyer Library on the SMU campus. The presentation will be preceded by a reception at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Blackhawk specializes in North American Indian history, culture and identity from U.S. Colonial to 21st century, as well as race and multiculturalism, and comparative colonialisms. His current research and teaching interests include American Indian history, U.S. West, Spanish borderlands, comparative colonialism and race and violence.
The $2,500 Clements Book Prize honors fine writing and original research on the American Southwest. The competition is open to any nonfiction book, including biography, on any aspect of Southwestern life, past or present.
SOURCE: Daily Freeman (8-23-07)
Fulton and crew made the 150-mile trip in the astonishing time of 32 hours, "equal to near five miles an hour," the captain observed.
Unfortunately, New York did not have a resident historian to properly commemorate this occasion. In fact, New York hasn't had a state historian since 2001. Officials blame "budget constraints."
Assemblyman Jack McEneny, D-Albany, lobbying for the reinstitution of the state historian position, called it "very poor form for a state with the greatest history in the country not to have that position filled," according to published reports.
The projected annual salary for state historian is $70,000. Meanwhile, part-time state legislators receive a base salary of $79,500 per year.
SOURCE: Politico (8-23-07)
“They [war supporters] keep on doing this,” said MIT professor John Dower. “They keep on hitting it and hitting it and hitting it and it’s always more and more implausible, strange and in a fantasy world. They’re desperately groping for a historical analogy, and their uses of history are really perverse.”
In a speech on Wednesday, Bush quoted “one historian” as suggesting that foreign policy experts – and, by implication, critics of Bush’s approach to Iraq – aren’t always right. “An interesting observation, one historian put it, ‘Had these erstwhile experts’ — he was talking about people criticizing the efforts to help Japan realize the blessings of a free society — he said, ‘Had these erstwhile experts had their way, the very notion of inducing a democratic revolution would have died of ridicule at an early stage.’ ”
A search of Google books revealed that the “one historian” is Dower. The quote is from his book, “Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II,” which won the National Book Award and the Bancroft Prize, among other awards, in 1999.
Dower was decidedly unhappy with his 15 minutes of fame. “I have always said as a historian that the use of Japan [in arguing for the likelihood of successfully bringing democracy to Iraq] is a misuse of history,” he said when notified of the Bush quote.
He immediately directed me to a November 2002 New York Times op-ed where he outlined 10 reasons why “most of the factors that contributed to the success of nation-building in occupied Japan would be absent in an Iraq militarily defeated by the United States.”
In March 2003, Dower wrote an essay for Boston Review, entitled “A Warning From History: Don’t Expect Democracy in Iraq.”
And what about the specific quote Bush used – that experts on Japan were wrong about the country’s capability for democracy?
“Whoever pulled that quote out for him [Bush] is very clever,” Dower said, acknowledging that “if you listen to the experts prior to the invasion of Japan, they all said that Japan can’t become democratic.”
But there are major differences, Dower said. “I’m not being misquoted, but I’m being misrepresented.”
“In the case of Iraq,” Dower said, “the administration went in there without any of the kind of preparation, thoughtfulness, understanding of the country they were going into that did exist when we went into Japan. Even if the so-called experts said we couldn’t do it, there were years of mid-level planning and discussions before they went in. They were prepared. They laid out a very clear agenda at an early date.”
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said that Bush used Dower’s quote “to in no way endorse his view of Iraq, only his view of Japan.”
SOURCE: Jonathan Dresner at Froginawell.net (8-23-07)
Here we go again.
The American Historical Association has proposed new rules for adding and eliminating membership categories, those “areas of scholarly interest” which allow university presses and conference panel organizers to find us when they need us. The last time they tried to eliminate “psychohistory” they got slammed, and these procedures are a response to that, an attempt to assuage feelings of persecution by creating a “fair procedure.” The process for adding a category is only slightly absurd: ten members in good standing have to sign a petition and, after verifying the good standing of the signatories, the association “staff” will make a recommendation to the Council (our highest muckety-mucks, the ones we vote for) regarding the inclusion of the category in the taxonomy of professional historians.1 The procedure for eliminating a category is a very impersonal one, by contrast: when the number of members picking a category drops below five for several years in a row, and warning people in Perspectives doesn’t change that, then “subject to Council’s final approval, that category will be deleted or consolidated.”
The categories are already a bit odd, frankly: revision wouldn’t be a bad idea. Take my own taxonomic position:
First area of scholarly interest: 258 Meiji Restoration, 1868-1912 (Japan)
Second area of scholarly interest: 710 Demography, Population, and Social Life
Third area of scholarly interest: 250 Japan
The first thing, of course, is that 1868-1912 isn’t the Meiji Restoration, but the Meiji era, and there isn’t a “19c” category to cover the growing scholarship on the transition. Second is that “Demography” is one of many choices I could have made to cover my study of Japanese labor migration to Hawai’i, including
705 - Asian American
726 - Labor
759 - Diaspora Studies
760 - Immigration
711 - Diplomatic/International
I actually was expecting to find a “transnational” category: “708 - Comparative” doesn’t quite cover it, and very little of what I do qualifes as “diplomatic history.” Third, of course, is that you’re only allowed to pick three categories, so my interest in Japanese colonial migration would have to be expressed in one of the following:
259 - Taisho and Early Showa Japan, 1912-1941
260 - Rise of Militarism and World War II (Japan)
275 - Colonial Korea, 1910-1945
There’s no category for “imperialism” or “colonialism” generally.2 Moreover, picking one of those would mean that I’d have no way to indicate “Japan” generally as something I’m interested in: clearly some form of nesting tree structure would make more sense than completely discreet categories.
OK, now let’s take a look at the categories which would be vulnerable to elimination under this system (their list is on the right). Twelve of the twenty-two categories (only seventeen of them are immediately endangered) are Asian, and four are African. Two are Byzantine and there’s Numismatics and Psychohistory (again).
They say that “This is not intended to make a statement about the relative merits of a particular subject or area of inquiry, just to assure that the taxonomy offers a proper reflection of the broad contours of the Association’s membership.” That sounds good, but I have another reading of this, one which goes beyond the grossly outdated database functions the AHA is using to keep track of us. I think that this list indicates that the AHA is failing to actually attract and keep as members those scholars who teach outside of the core Western fields. It’s certainly not done all that well attracting Asianists to the national meeting, though I think they’ve done better lately with the American Historical Review. Nor has the AHA, for all its talk about public history and expanding the definitions of historical practice, attracted archaelogists or other scholars of physical culture. How could numismatics, one of the earliest fields tieing archaeology and history together, be on the cutting block? How could a dozen Asian fields, most of them pretty healthy as scholarly endeavors, be out of the AHA, if the AHA were really working to represent and to serve the entire historical community? Asian studies is not a secondary field, but the study of the bulk of humanity and of some of the most interesting history. When will the American Academy start treating it as such?
- Do I have a better idea? Yes: allow people who pick “599 - Other” to include a short description (I would expect the database could handle a couple of dozen extra characters) and staff could monitor those. When a number of “others” listing something similar reached a certain level, then the Council could consider acting. This would also have the benefit of allowing people whose taxonomies have lapsed to continue listing themselves under their old categories [↩]
- My neologism “Colonialogy” hasn’t caught on yet, but we might be able to correct that [↩]
SOURCE: Letter to NYT Ombudsman, Clark Hoyt (8-23-07)
I am writing in regard to the article by Thom Shanker that appeared on Aug.23rd. The headline says "Historians Question Bush's Reading of Lessons of Vietnam War for Iraq" Mr. Shanker writes that "President Bush is right on the factual record, according to historians. But many of them also quarreled with his drawing analogies[to Vietnam]...to predict what might happen in Iraq should the United States withdraw."
The article suggests that Mr. Shanker spoke to "many" historians. How many did he actually speak to? Are there really no historians, including those in specialized in Vietnam, who hold a different point of view? The answer, as you might expect, is yes. Mr. Shanker obviously chose not to speak to them. The article therefore gives the impression that President Bush's analogy is wrong. I could immediately list a lot of respected academics in history and international affairs who might have a different perspective on that question. The first is Stephen Morris of SAIS, who wrote a book "Why Vietnam Invaded Cambodia" and is a noted specialist on the Vietnamese war and U.S. foreign policy. He might have called Robert J. Lieber of Georgetown University, who wrote a recently published book, "The American Era: Power and Strategy for the 21st Century," Prof. Lieber's well received book is a reevaluation and critical analysis written by a liberal Democrat who nevertheless supports much of what has been called the Bush Doctrine. And why did he not phone the highly respected historian of U.S. foreign policy, John L. Gaddis of Yale University? Is it perhaps because Prof. Gaddis was one of the historians invited to the White House by the President to discuss U.S. policy and to present his insights on history?
As the article appears, it reads more appropriately as yet another Op Ed piece opposed to the President's policies, rather than a "news analysis." The New York Times should be more careful when it runs articles like this.
Prof. Emeritus of History, CUNY
Adjunct Fellow, The Hudson Institute, Washington, D.C.
SOURCE: NYT (8-23-07)
The cause was a metastasized melanoma, his daughter Torrie Lloyd-Masters said.
Mr. Masters, whose jobs ranged from jewelry salesman to lighting executive to cabdriver to stockbroker, was that unusual amateur who succeeds in a professionalized field. He used evenings, weekends and vacations to burrow into 57 archival libraries in the United States and Europe and took an intensive course in Spanish paleography so he could read original documents in the archives in Seville, Spain.
His breakthrough came in 1987 in his favorite haunt, the rare-book room of the New York Public Library. He found a book published in 1719 in London that told of a pirate’s trial in Charleston, S.C., in November 1718. In the book’s appendix was an account of events in Beaufort Inlet off the coast of North Carolina in June 1718, when Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, was lost.
Mr. Masters teamed up with archaeologists from North Carolina and other experts to pursue his hunch, and the eventual result was the discovery, in November 1996, of one of the most complete wrecks of a pirate ship ever found. It appeared to be that of Blackbeard, the self-proclaimed “devil’s brother” who was said to have forced a captive to eat his own ears.
SOURCE: Turkish Daily News (8-21-07)
There is no such thing as a Kurdish Alevi claimed Turkish History Institution chairman, Yusuf Halaço?lu, whose comment prompted a demand for his resignation by the Alevi-Bekta?i institutions and the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP).
At a symposium titled “Av?ars in Turkish History and Culture” Halaço?lu argued that Kurds are Sunni and Alevis are Turkmen: “Kurds who live in Turkey are originally descendents of Turkmens, and Kurdish Alevis are originally Armenian,” he said. “Some of the ones in the eastern Anatolian cities of Tunceli and Sivas, who define themselves as Kurdish Alevis, are originally Armenian. Halaço?lu also claimed that many members of the outlawed Turkish Workers and Peasants Liberation Army (T?KKO) and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) are converted Armenian Kurds....
The DTP's president Ahmet Türk criticized Halaço?lu at a press conference yesterday demanding that the government act against his racist and separatist declarations and remove him from office. “Halaço?lu is unaware of history. Armenians had not been subjected to any suppression until 1914. After that they needed to hide their identities. Yet the roots of Kurdish or Turkish Alevism date back to the 1570s,” Türk said.
SOURCE: Daily Mail (UK) (Click here to see pictures.) (8-22-07)
And he hasn't finished it.
Robert Dunning, 69, began his definitive history of Somerset in 1967 and has been paid up to £38,000 a year since then.
But the work, covering every aspect of the county back to the beginnning of records, is so detailed that he's not reached half way and is handing the project over to an assistant.
In that time he has spent a mind-numbing 50,000 hours on research, visited 380 churches and chapels, inspected 200 stately homes and read millions of documents.
"Some might say it was boring, but for me it was absolutely fascinating," Mr Dunning said yesterday at this home in Taunton.
His work is part of a project called the Victoria County History launched at the end of the 19th century to celebrate Queen Victoria's rule....
SOURCE: http://www.bianet.org (8-22-07)
Historian Yusuf Halacoglu, who is president of the Turkish Historical Society (TTK), has arranged a press briefing in order to defend his controversial comments on the ethnic make-up of Turkey.
Rejecting calls for his resignation, Halacoglu said, "I, Halacoglu, did not do this research because I am president of the TTK. I am a historian. I have not had a phone call from the government."
He emphasised that his comments had been misinterpreted: "I did not reject [the existence of] Kurds, I said the following: 'Some who believe themselves to be Kurds are shown as Turkmens in 16th century records. Is that saying there are no Kurds? I [also] did not say that Kurdish Alevis are Armenians. There are Armenians who pretended to be Kurdish Alevis in order to escape the forced emigration. Being is different, pretending to be is different."
SOURCE: NYT (8-22-07)
The lawyer for the American-Iranian scholar released Tuesday after over three months in jail said the Iranian authorities still held the scholar’s passport, but that by Iranian law, she should be permitted to leave the country.
The scholar, Haleh Esfandiari, 67, said in a brief telephone interview in Tehran that said she was “fine and happy,” but declined to be interviewed.
Her lawyer, the Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, said that Ms. Esfandiari, who had been held on security-related charges, should be allowed to return to her home in Washington but would be legally required to return to Iran for trial.
“She is released on bail now, and legally she can leave the country and return for her trial when the date is set,” Ms. Ebadi said in an interview....
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE) (8-23-07)
Ms. Esfandiari is accused of endangering Iranian national security by trying to foment a “soft” revolution through her work as the director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, in Washington. “The next stage is that a date will be set for the trial,” Ms. Ebadi said.
SOURCE: Tiraspol Times (8-23-07)
Such a deal would involve Russia agreeing to hold its nose over Kosovo independence, with the United States and its allies promising to look the other way while the people of Pridnestrovie and some other unrecognized countries in the post-Soviet space exercise their right to self determination.
The professor, who teaches modern history at Oriel College at Oxford University, is a Balkans specialist who has written extensively on Serbia, Kosovo and the history of the regions. He identifies several potential solutions to the Kosovo problem, including a so-called great agreement between the U.S. and Russia on all unresolved separatist issues.
He added that another would be maintaining the status quo, while a third would involve the West unilaterally recognizing an independent Kosovo, which would directly lead to a proclamation of independence by the north of Kosovo, thus complicating the position of the western countries even further.
" - Therefore, the current unsatisfactory situation is, in some way, at least from the West’s point of view, the least painful option. Whether the Serbs and the Kosovo Albanians feel the same way is another matter," reflected Almond.
SOURCE: Reuters (8-21-07)
In particular, a book by Australian historian Christopher Clark has stirred a debate about Prussia which Germans have vilified since World War Two for representing the militarism, discipline and blind obedience that helped Hitler rise to power.
"The Rise and Downfall of Prussia 1600-1946" challenges the widely accepted negative view of the era in Germany and tries to present a balanced account of the north European territory which grew to be a major 18th and 19th century European power.
The book, printed in English and German, has been on the bestseller list in German bookshops for several months and even inspired the influential Der Spiegel magazine to run a 15-page cover story last week entitled "Prussia's true glory."
SOURCE: Counterpunch (8-22-07)
Raul Hilberg died on August 4. A refugee from Nazi-occupied Austria, Hilberg was the founder of the field of Holocaust studies.
I cannot now remember when I first read Hilberg's magnum opus The Destruction of the European Jews, but it must have been in my early youth. In fact at first I wasn't even sure whether I did plow my way through the first edition, published in 1961 by Quadrangle Books, with its forbidding double columns of text in 10-point font but I just pulled it off the shelf, binding broken, pages loose, and sure enough it was all marked up.
I read the expanded three-volume Holmes & Meier edition published in 1985 many times. Whenever I ventured to write something on the Nazi holocaust I would again peruse all the volumes cover to cover. They provided the psychological security I needed before daring to render a judgment of my own. Wanting to stand on the firmest possible intellectual foundations I reflexively reached for Hilberg. As it happens, in preparation for a statement I was commissioned to write on the Nazi holocaust, I was just in the midst of reading the three-volume third edition published by Yale University Press in 2003 when news of his death arrived.
Hilberg was not pleased with the first edition--a vital table he pored over many weeks to get just right was botched in the cramped composition--but he couldn't do better: no major publishing house expressed interest in his groundbreaking study, and he only managed to find any publisher due to a private benefactor who agreed to defray indirectly some of the costs. (The Israeli Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem had also rejected the manuscript and initially even barred him from its archive.)
In his often acrid memoir The Politics of Memory Hilberg tells the story that when he first proposed studying the Jewish genocide to his advisor at Columbia University, the great German-Jewish sociologist Franz Neumann (author of Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism, a classic study of the organization of the Nazi state), Neumann warned him that "this will be your funeral."
It is hard now to remember that the Nazi holocaust was once a taboo subject. During the early years of the Cold War, mention of the Nazi holocaust was seen as undermining the critical U.S.-West German alliance. It was airing the dirty laundry of the barely de-Nazified West German elites and thereby playing into the hands of the Soviet Union, which didn't tire of remembering the crimes of the West German "revanchists." The major American Jewish organizations rushed to make their peace with Konrad Adenauer's government (the Anti-Defamation League took the lead) while those holding commemorations for the Jewish dead were tagged as Communists, which as a rule they were.
In Eichmann in Jerusalem, published in the mid-1960s, Hannah Arendt could draw on only one other scholarly study apart from Hilberg's on the Nazi holocaust in the English language. Nowadays there are enough studies to fill a good-sized library, although it is perhaps not accurate to grace all these publications with the descriptive "scholarly."
Arendt borrowed extensively from Hilberg's work with less-than-generous attribution. He never forgave her this oversight and--what truly is unforgivable--her condescending references to his study in private correspondence and her recommending against its publication by Princeton University Press. In his memoir Hilberg parries the insult, asserting, wrongly in my opinion, that Arendt's study The Origins of Totalitarianism lacked originality. It is true that Arendt could be lazy about facts, which might account for Hilberg's harsh judgment, but the first part of Origins contains many shrewd insights on the dilemmas of Jewish assimilation and paradoxes of the nation-state.
Hilberg reserved even greater contempt (and loathing) for Lucy Dawidowicz, author of the highly touted The War Against the Jews. Here it can be said that his verdict was faultless. During the heyday of the Holocaust religion in the 1970s-1980s, Dawidowicz was its designated high priestess. The problem was that, as Hilberg brutally demonstrates in his memoir, she got the most elementary facts wrong. I once asked my late mother, who survived Maidanek concentration camp, about Dawidowicz's depiction of all the Jews in the ghettos and camps furtively staying faithful to their religion until their final steps into the gas chambers. "When I first entered my block at Maidanek, all the women inmates had dyed-blond hair," my mother laughed. "They had been trying to pass as Gentiles." The shocking accounts of Jewish corruption that could be found in conveniently forgotten memoirs like Bernard Goldstein's The Stars Bear Witness were deleted in Dawidowicz's fantasy.
Hilberg's reputation for mastery of the primary sources was such that my former coauthor (and an authority in her own right on the Nazi holocaust) Ruth Bettina Birn feared their first meeting: no mortal being, she thought, could have stored so many Nuremberg Tribunal documents in his brain. The magnitude of Hilberg's achievement is hard to appreciate today because the scholarly breakthrough has passed into commonplace. His sequential-chronological account of the steps pressing ineluctably from the Nazi definition of Jews to their expropriation, massacre, deportation and assembly-line extermination has been assimilated into the infrastructure of all subsequent scholarship.
Stylistically Hilberg's study might be said to be the opposite of current Holocaust fare: a sparseness of adjectives and adverbs such that when he reaches for one it packs unusual intensity. Apart from professional discipline his terse rendering was perhaps also meant to capture the desiccated esprit of the bureaucratic--dare I say banal?--process through which millions of Jews were shoved along to their deaths....
SOURCE: MSNBC (8-21-07)
A detained Iranian-American academic was suddenly released from a notorious Tehran prison Tuesday after spending months behind bars on charges of endangering Iranian national security — allegations her family vehemently denies.
Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, had been jailed in Evin prison since early May after months of interrogation. Her 93-year-old mother used the deed to her Tehran apartment to post bail, relatives said.
“I’m very happy. It was unexpected. I thank all those who made efforts to make it possible for me to go home,” Esfandiari told Iranian television. The footage showed her walking out of the prison and meeting family members in a car on a nearby street.
Mohammad Shadabi, an official at the Tehran prosecutor’s office, said Esfandiari had been released on $333,000 bail, but he could not say whether she would be allowed to leave Iran....
[Lee] Hamilton said he was unsure what prompted Esfandiari’s release but added he had recently received a written response from Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s office after sending him a letter appealing for her freedom.
[HNN Editor 8/22/07: The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:
[After her release] Mr. Bakhash spoke to his wife for the first time since May."She sounded delighted that she was finally out of Evin Prison and is obviously looking forward to coming home," he said. Ms. Esfandiari told him that she had been well treated but had lost weight and had been unwell in prison. Her passport had not been returned to her, so her ordeal was not yet behind her."The end will come when she's able to leave the country," Mr. Bakhash said."We really hope they will allow her to join us soon. We still have some concern as long as she's kept in Iran."]
SOURCE: http://www.hometownannapolis.com (8-21-07)
The diaries, or registries, listed 406 children that Annie Hanson Christensen, an immigrant from Denmark, delivered between August 1898 and August 1908. Historian Ginger Doyel, who is including some of the material in a pending book about Eastport, said Christensen went out at all times of day and night, and in all kinds of weather, to deliver babies.
“She doesn’t go into much detail, but I think about that old Eastport bridge she had to cross,” Ms. Doyel said.