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.
Those who believe that the need for such a force size will abate as troops are drawn down in Iraq should consider the larger pattern of American operations over the past generation. Since its creation in 1983, the U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for operations in East Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, has demanded an ever-increasing American presence, a presence which has changed from being largely air and maritime to boots on the ground. That's the war we are in.
Repairing and reshaping the active Army is also key to restoring the Marine Corps to its traditional and still essential role as a sea-based contingency force. And it is critical in order to return the Army National Guard to a proper place as a national strategic reserve, and an operational force with state responsibilities. The Army is the keystone in the arch of America's land-force structure.
The Army brigade also needs to be reworked. Under a plan initiated in the late 1990s--and embraced by Mr. Rumsfeld as part of his program of defense transformation to "lighten" the Army by creating a larger number of smaller, "modularized" brigades--the personnel strength of an Army brigade was reduced to about 3,500. Yet in practice in Iraq and Afghanistan, as units scramble to secure additional mission-enabling capabilities, the total climbs to about 5,000--roughly the strength of a premodularized unit. The current Bush expansion plan will not remedy the problem of having more but weaker units.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (5-30-08)
Prof Mary Beard said she also made her third-year pupils read tabloid newspapers and transcripts of the notorious "Squidgygate" and "Camillagate" tapes, which revealed intimate details of the princess and the Prince of Wales's extra-marital affairs, for a course about ancient Roman history.
The revelation comes just days after the pop lyrics of Amy Winehouse featured in a Cambridge exam paper.
Prof Mary Beard admitted some of her colleagues were "a bit dubious" about the academic value of the history course, which ran for three years.
SOURCE: Ascribe (5-29-08)
When those three came together in the studio, "BackStory with the American History Guys" was born. "It was like electricity," said Wyndham, media program director for the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
"Sometimes academics can come across as ivory tower-type presences," he said. "But these guys are approachable and have a really good vibe because they are friends. The show is basically three guys sitting around the kitchen table, talking. It's an invitation to pull up a chair and join in the conversation. They may know a lot, but they come across as real people who have a lot to share with you and hope you will share with them."
In each hour-long episode, the program explores the historical context of current events. The hosts take an issue and explore the connections between past and present through interviews with historians and newsmakers and call-ins from listeners. Twelve episodes of the program will begin airing weekly on Virginia public radio stations in June, with 12 additional episodes airing in the fall - and public radio content providers are reviewing the show for national distribution. Among the first topics covered by the program are newcomers in American politics, environmental crises, debt, the American family and controversial wars.
Together the hosts provide a comprehensive and passionate understanding of American history. Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation professor of history at the University of Virginia, is an expert on the federal period. Ayers, president of the University of Richmond and a scholar of 19th-century U.S. history, was the former Hugh P. Kelly Professor of History and dean of U.Va.'s College of Arts & Sciences. Balogh, associate professor of history at U.Va., studies the 20th-century experience in America and is co-chairman of the Governing America in a Global Era Program at the Miller Center of Public Affairs.
Despite the hosts' distinguished academic credentials, the radio show is more a conversation with friends than a lecture. The "BackStory" guys approach the study of history with intelligence, but also a refreshing amount of irreverence.
The distinctly unpredictable and unreserved style of the hosts was evident at a recent recording session. Amid light-hearted verbal jabs, the three discussed controversial wars in American history. As the "BackStory" guys compared public opinion of the Iraq War with home-front attitudes during previous American conflicts, the discussion led to some surprising suggestions and questions: Has there ever been a non-controversial war? Was American participation in seemingly justifiable wars, such as World War II, ever divisive? Why are some wars remembered with nostalgia and others with disdain?
Improvisation is a common theme in the studio, as the American History Guys resist their scripts and, on occasion, direction from the show's producers.
"What I love most is I never know what is going to happen, aside from some technical problems which are becoming pretty predictable," Balogh joked during a break in recording while producers adjusted the volume level in the hosts' headsets.
"The camaraderie and opportunity to question easy assumptions about history, in a public context, really drew me to this project," said Onuf. "First, we do no harm - and, who knows, we might even do some good. In any case, it's a lot of fun to tease out the present meaning of the past with these guys, our producers and callers."
While "BackStory" producer Tony Field and associate producer Rachel Quimby often end up the targets of the History Guys' banter, they also bring considerable radio experience to the program and have turned the idea of a history-themed radio show into a reality.
"The two of them have the production skills, creative brilliance and intellectual commitment to take the 'BackStory' project to a whole new level," Wyndham said. "And they are doing so with aplomb, developing the program with a richness and variety that will make it highly appealing to public radio programmers and listeners."
Field worked as an associate producer at NPR's Peabody Award-winning show "On the Media," based at WNYC Radio in New York City. He has also produced for NPR's Radio Lab and WBUR News in Boston and has edited The New Yorker magazine's "Campaign Trail" podcasts. Quimby, who when she was a student created "Grey Matters," a half-hour program on psychology-related issues, for Columbia University's WKCR-FM, recently completed her study of radio production at Maine's Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. New to the staff is research assistant Catherine Moore, a recent graduate of the University of Montana's MFA program in creative writing who has worked in archives at Harvard University, the University of Montana and the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.
According to Field, "BackStory" brings something new to the public radio content due to its unique premise.
"Public radio and television have good historical specials, but there isn't really any regular space in the programming lineup to pause, look backward and ask, 'How did we get to this point?'" Field said. "And I think that's something people are hungry for, wherever they fall on the ideological spectrum. We're a nation of forgetters, and we know it."
Ayers, who has written and edited 10 books, including "The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction," which was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, stressed the importance of exploring the present through the perspective of the past.
"If you only know what's on the front page today - if you have no idea what the backstory is - you're like flotsam, just pushed by whatever currents come along. You don't have any perspective, any farther point on the horizon to triangulate your position. You're lost. This is really a way of giving depth to the things we are dealing with today," said Ayers, who also created The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War, a Web site that has attracted millions of users and won major prizes in the teaching of history.
"BackStory" will air at 3 p.m. on Sundays on Radio IQ (starting June 1), and at 3 p.m. on Saturdays on WMRA (starting June 7). By the end of the year, the show will be aired nationally on a number of NPR stations, according to Fields.
Although "BackStory" will not be broadcast live, the producers encourage listeners to participate as callers on the program. Upcoming topics are posted on the show's Web site (http://www.BackStoryradio.org). Listeners can also subscribe to the show's weekly podcast.
"It is going to be pretty heavily Web-based," Quimby said of the show. "We are developing interesting ways to engage the public online."
Individuals who e-mail the show's producers with reactions, observations and questions on the issues may be invited to share their comments on the air.
Major production support for "BackStory with the American History Guys" was provided by the David A. Harrison Fund for the President's Initiatives at the University of Virginia; the Perry Foundation Inc.; Cary Brown-Epstein and the W. L. Lyons Brown Jr. Charitable Foundation; Caroleen Feeney; Marcus and Carole Weinstein; Trish and David Crowe; Jay M. Weinberg; Dr. Anna Magee; and an anonymous donor.
- - - -
CONTACTS: Contact Andrew Wyndham at 434-924-6894 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for MP3 files of several programs soon to be aired. Tony Field and Rachel Quimby may be reached at 434-924-8922 (email@example.com) and 434-243-5530 (firstname.lastname@example.org). For media assistance, contact Rebecca Arrington, 434-924-7189, email@example.com
SOURCE: Boston Globe (5-29-08)
The Worcester school recently named a Turkish historian to be chairman of Armenian genocide studies.
Taner Akçam, who was imprisoned in Turkey in the 1970s for his work on the slaughter of Armenians at the end of the Ottoman period in Turkey, was selected over several candidates of Armenian descent to hold the Armenian genocide studies post and to become an associate professor in the history department.
Despite a century of friction between Turks and Armenians, Akçam's appointment has sparked little concern in the state's vocal Armenian community.
"My appointment is a sign of change, with symbolic meaning," said Akçam, who is leaving a post as a visiting professor of history at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
"It is not important, the ethnic origin of the individual in this position; what is important is the approach of the individual to the historic wrongdoing," Akçam said. "The position should not be an issue between Turks and Armenians; this is an issue between those who violated human rights and scholars and human beings who fight against abuses of human rights."
Some local Armenians lamented that Akçam does not support Armenian claims to Turkish land and that there are not enough positions in academia to be filled by more scholars of Armenian descent.
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (5-29-08)
The Second World War intervened and Tomory soon joined the Royal Navy, into which he was commissioned and served for five and a half years, part of the time on patrol along the North African coast and also on the Murmansk run. In 1946 he started as an undergraduate at Edinburgh University, and by a close scrutiny of the university regulations managed to make art history his major subject.
Tomory's visit to Munich and his knowledge of Peter Thoene's Penguin Modern German Art were to serve him well on graduation, as they impressed Hans Hess, the formidable curator of York City Art Gallery, where Tomory began as Assistant Curator in January 1950. He was thrown in at the deep end, being given immediate responsibility for organising the exhibition "Masterpieces from Yorkshire Houses", the gallery's contribution to the Festival of Britain in 1951.
On his appointment, Hess told Tomory that he did not expect him to stay more than two years; at the same time he made sure that Tomory had a thorough grounding in all aspects of museum management, and as a result he was appointed to a more senior post at Leicester Art Gallery at the end of 1951. Hess knew the leading figures in the worlds of contemporary art and of art history, many of whom came to York, and this laid the foundation of the wide range of contacts which Tomory built up. In the middle of 1954 he moved on to the Arts Council in London, working on touring exhibitions, and in 1956 he took up the post of director of Auckland City Art Gallery.
SOURCE: Bill Steigerwald at Frontpagemag.com (5-29-08)
Q: What’s the greatest book on war ever written?
A: I think Thucydides' "Peloponnesian War" is the most astute. It’s the second-earliest history of war and it’s not only a testament to the use of source material and the ability to provide a coherent narrative, but it's analytical and it becomes almost philosophical in its dissection of human nature.
Q: Has everyone else been trying to rise to those standards ever since?
A: Yes, I think so. The adjective "Thucydidean" is pretty much a standard brand now that people understand that ideally a historian would have three components in a successful history: One would be that they would use source materials in an analytic rather than prejudicial manner; and two, they would be able to draw together a lot of sources and provide an engaging narrative; and then three, that their history would speak to readers in terms of philosophy beyond just the particular history or period or era they are narrating.
Q: What was the best book about World War II?
A: I think Gerhard Weinberg’s “A World at Arms” (1994: Cambridge University Press). It’s a single-volume (1,208-page) history of World War II. What’s so good about it is, he looks at it in a holistic fashion, so we understand for the first time how the Balkan uprising affected German war plans. Or what was going on in the Japanese empire in places like Korea or Taiwan or Mainland China and how that affected the war with the British. Or what were people in the Nazi Party talking to Hitler about in terms of alternate plans rather than what actually happened. He understands source material very well and he has an eye for trying to give us a world at war other than just Britain, Germany and the United States. It shows how their ideas filtered out into so many different theaters and how the ultimate result of that is how lucky we were to win.
Q: What’s the best anti-war book?
A: There was a whole genre of anti-war books that followed the First World War. There are novels such as “All Quiet on the Western Front” or memoirs like Robert Graves’ “Good-bye to All That,” or poetry by people like Siegfried Sassoon that came out of the World War I experience in Europe. Europe had never experienced anything like that before. There are other things that have been written, like “The Red Badge of Courage,” and plays going back to the Greeks, like “The Trojan Women” or Aristophanes' comedy “Lysistrata,” that were anti-war in nature. But it seems to me that World War I and the advent of industrial war created entire new genres of novels, poetry and memoirs that started with the premise that there was nothing at all possibly glorious about war.
Q: Would you agree with that last phrase you uttered?
A: To an extent. I am not one of these people that is common now who see World War I as a tragedy in the sense that there was no moral or ethical difference between Germany of 1914 and France and England. If one were to look at the nature of German aggression in Europe, the nature of German colonies overseas, or what the German agenda was, it seems to me that it was very different than the liberal tradition in France and England that prevailed. It’s a tragedy that it had to end in a war like that, but given the superiority of the German Wehrmacht in 1914, I don’t know any other way how anybody would have stopped it. In terms of artillery, in terms of personal arms, in terms of general staff, railroads, communications, esprit de corps, it was so far superior to the colonial armies of France and England. The ambitions of the German Kaiser were so ambitious, I don’t know how anybody could have done anything other than what they did. They would have either had to appease them or capitulate. It was a tragedy. But I do think there was a qualitative difference in the fact that the Allies won. It had a profound effect on Europe. The tragedy of World War I, it seems to me, is how the Versailles Treaty ended and the Allies were not willing to remain vigilant, because given their enormous losses in the war there was sort of a utopian pacifism that followed.
Q: You’ve been reading books about the war in Iraq by various participants. They’re all sort of pointing fingers of blame at each other for various reasons. Which book so far do you find to be the most informative and the most credible?
A: I think the most recent that I read, (former undersecretary of defense) Douglas Feith's “War and Decision,” is the most informative. And I think it’s the most credible for one reason – that it’s the best documented. More importantly, he has deliberately avoided or promised not to use a technique that has been very common in other books like Tom Rick’s “Fiasco” or Trainor and Gordon’s “Cobra II.” By that I mean he has not had anonymous sources in the footnotes. So we don’t see “senior Pentagon official” or “junior American diplomat” cited after a direct quotation. Nor do we see, as we see in Bob Woodward’s books, conversations repeated verbatim inside a room with three people and we don’t know who gave him that information. That means the information can never be checked.
Whereas in the case of Feith, he not only cited things, he put it on his Web site and a person can go to the Web site and click on the footnote and see whether the footnote reflects accurately what it is supposed to. And I don’t think he was trying to get even. Part of the problem with that genre is that, a), it’s right in the middle of a war; and b), when Paul Bremer writes he’s going to blame Feith and he’s going to blame Gen. Sanchez. When Gen. Sanchez is going to write, he’s going to blame Bremer and Feith. Gen. Tommy Franks is going to say I did a great job and I left and everything was right. Gen. Sanchez is now going to blame Bremer … once you get into that cycle it’s unending.
I think if you read carefully what Feith wrote, a), he didn’t do that, and b), he takes some of the blame himself. It’s an apology in a sense for the idea that the Pentagon had a war plan, had people listened to then rather than the State Department, things would be better than they are now. It’s not “My brilliant war was ruined by somebody else’s lousy occupation.” That’s pretty much the subtext of every other (book).
Q: How many years after a war does a historian need to get a proper perspective?
A: I think it takes a half century.... It takes the death of people, and that’s usually 50 years. In the case of World War II, we had a radical change of heart once Eisenhower passed away and once Gen. Omar Bradley passed away, because they were icons of the American military. If we were to say Bradley was not as good a general as George Patton, that would have been heresy. Patton died right after the war and was caricatured as an uncouth bigmouth. But after Bradley died and there was not the Bradley core of scholars – clients, so to speak – in the military and also in the civilian world, then people began to look at World War II with a fresh start. So you can see that the last two or three biographies of Patton have been very sympathetic. They have started to say that it was Bradley who was responsible for the Falaise Gap (in Normandy); it was Bradley who didn’t have a good plan to restore the Bulge; it was Eisenhower who was naïve about Czechoslovakia and Berlin. These questions were not even raised before, because of the enormous stature they held while they were alive. That’s true of every war; you really can’t question in a disinterested fashion because the principals who are still alive have their various spheres of influence. I don’t think we’ll know about Iraq until all the major players are gone.
Q: Some people have said Iraq is the worst blunder in the history of American foreign policy. What do you say when you hear that statement?
A: Two things come to mind: One, people must not know things that we’ve done in the past. I’m not saying it was a blunder, but you could easily have used that terminology when we armed the Soviet Union and it killed 30 million of its own people to stop Hitler; we went to war to ensure that Eastern Europe was liberated from Nazi totalitarianism and we ended up assuring that Eastern Europe was subjected to Soviet totalitarianism and we empowered an empire that was every bit as bad as Hitler. But that was something that a prior generation accepted…. On a tactical level, Iraq is not even close to World War II. Putting pilots in Devastator torpedo bombers; or trying to sell the idea that the Sherman tank, for all of its strengths about maintenance, was going to be anywhere near comparable to a German tank; and the thousands of people who found out with the cost of their lives that wasn’t true … I could go down the line.
Whether it’s the Civil War, or the First World War, or the Second World War, or the status of American armed forces in August of 1950, we’ve made so many more blunders and we reacted so much more slowly to correct them than anything we have seen in Iraq. So I just don’t think anybody has any historical comparison.
That being said, is Iraq a fiasco or a blunder? If we were to get out and were to lose, I would concede that it would be. But if we stay and we are successful in creating a constitutional government, then you can see that that would be an amazing achievement. It would not only make Saddam Hussein’s Iraq an ally rather than an enemy that attacked its neighbors, but it would have a very deleterious effect on Iran. We can talk in terms of Iran undermining Iraq – that’s true. But if Iraq was to win that struggle, then it would be -- by its very presence as a constitutional state -- undermining Iran as well as putting pressure on other countries who don’t have our interests at heart. All we did by going into Iraq was raise the ante; great good can come of it or great evil depending upon how we prevail. As far as the losses, I don’t quite understand it. I don’t like to be heartless, but in six years we’ve lost about the same amount of soldiers we lost in two or three days in a major campaign in World War II. During an eight-year period of the Clinton administration, when the military was two or three times larger and not nearly as adept in its training, I think we lost almost twice as many as we’ve lost in Iraq in peacetime accidents. I think in the eight years of the Clinton administration we lost over 7,000 dead in accidents. So if you look at the rate of casualties this month, for example, we’re averaging about less than one a day. It was always pretty much a standard figure that we would lose three soldiers a day in the military in the 1980s and 1990s – it was well over a thousand a year. It’s not happening in the military in general and it’s not happening in Iraq. It doesn’t mean it’s not tragic we are losing people, but given the stakes, I’m always amazed at how well the military does.
Q: If you were to write a book about the war in Iraq now, after six years -- and I know you’d probably say it’s too early to write one -- what would it focus on?
A: I think I would concentrate on two issues: One is how victory or defeat would affect the position of the United States in a geopolitical sense. That would touch on everything from the price of oil to the nuclear arming of Iran or to the weapons of mass destruction programs that we know took place under Saddam but more importantly in places like Pakistan, Libya and Syria. I’d make the argument that a victory would discourage proliferation of all these weapons and encourage reform and a defeat would make things much worse than they were before.
The second thing, I would be concentrating on how the military evolved; an artillery-armor-rapid-moving column that won the war and then in a bureaucratic sense was static in the occupation had to adjust and the degree to which it adjusted faster than the insurgents did. I think we’re going to see in the next round of Army promotions a whole new cadre of colonels who are more versed in counterinsurgency than they are in armor, artillery or air support.
Q: What lessons has the war in Iraq taught future historians?
A: It’s a reminder that there are new lessons in war. No war turns out as one predicts. So those who were arguing after the three-week victory that we’d have a constitutional government up and running in six months given the euphoria of the pretty brilliant victory were wrong, just as people have been wrong about the Civil War lasting one summer or World War I being over in September. And then those who thought that the insurgency had won and it was hopeless; the United States could never go into the heart of the Caliphate and know what they were doing; the idea that Arabs could ever vote in a peaceful or orderly fashion among themselves was impossible – they’re wrong, as well. I think it reiterates that the strengths of the United States’ system – civilian control of the military, reliance on high technology, logistics and most importantly consensuality among the ranks so that people who have different ideas or different strategies are allowed to be heard – for all the problems we’ve had in Iraq, if we have enough patience, will finally come into play. We get somebody like Gen. Petraeus and he turns around the theater and the unheard of and the impossible starts to happen -- that being that suddenly a Shia-dominated government is attacking Shia radicals that are surrogates of Iran while appealing to Sunnis to join them and to do their part in routing al-Qaida and Wahhabi insurgents. Nobody in their right mind would have believed that was possible just a year and half ago. But with patience, we get the right kind of people in such a system that can change things around. I think that’s happened.
SOURCE: Inside Higher Ed (5-29-08)
The Israel resolution is based on criticism of the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians. The union also passed resolutions criticizing the governments of the United States (over Cuba policy), Sudan (over the genocide in Darfur), Myanmar (over political repression), and Zimbabwe (political repression as well), but none of those resolutions called for British academics to consider whether they should maintain ties to academics in those countries.
SOURCE: Meet the Press transcript (5-25-08)
Unidentified Man: When the time comes, will you be willing to consider everybody who is a possible help to you as a running mate, even if his or her spouse is an occasional pain in the butt?
SEN. OBAMA: I, I--well, look. Well, look, look, look. The--we've got a little more work to do. So I don't want to jump the gun. I will tell you, though, that my goal is to have the best possible government. And that means me winning. And so I am very practical-minded. I'm a practical-minded guy. And, you know, one of my, one of my heroes is Abraham Lincoln. And a while back there was a wonderful book written by Doris Kearns Goodwin called "Team of Rivals," in which--talked about how Lincoln basically pulled in all the people who had been running against him into his Cabinet because whatever, you know, personal feelings there were, the issue was how can we get this country through this time of crisis? And I think that has to be the approach that one takes.
MR. RUSSERT: Who did Lincoln take into his Cabinet?
MS. KEARNS GOODWIN: Lincoln took all of his chief rivals into his Cabinet--Seward, Chase and Bates. He also took Stanton in, who had called him an ape, who had said terrible things about him, much worse than Clinton has ever said about Obama. But what it showed--and I think that's what Obama is suggesting--is that he was big-hearted enough, he was confident enough not to have to have just people who would be his personal supporters and not question his authority. And I think what Obama is saying is if this person can help me win this election, fit the jigsaw puzzle pieces together, she has one part of the map, I have another, I can rise above those personal feelings. But I suppose--and Lincoln put it in noble fashion, he said, "Look, people are wondering why have I done this? First of all, the country's in peril. These are the strongest and most able men in the country. I need them by my side." But perhaps my old buddy Lyndon Johnson might have put it in less noble fashion, "better to have your enemies inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in."
MR. RUSSERT: I just heard the beep. Like keep your enemies closer?
MS. KEARNS GOODWIN: Keep your enemies closer.
MS. DOWD: Both of them?
MR. MEACHAM: I like the way Doris says it.
SOURCE: Press Release--Unite Here (5-27-08)
Each winner is provided travel to the awards presentation, a statuette, and a $5,000 prize.
Submissions were judged by a distinguished panel including Hendrik Hertzberg, senior editor, The New Yorker; Susan Meiselas, independent photojournalist; Harold Meyerson, columnist, Washington Post, Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor, The Nation, and Rose Arce, an award-winning producer at CNN. Past award winners include author Barbara Ehrenreich, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, The Wall Street Journal, CBS News correspondent Ed Bradley, NPR, Business Week, and Time magazine.
The Sidney Hillman Foundation has been granting awards since 1950 to journalists whose work explores and exposes the pertinent issues of our time, providing the evidence and inspiration to spur action and movement toward a more just society. Each year, the foundation also grants the UNITE HERE Officers’ Award to a public figure or organization which has made a difference. And it awards the Sol Stetin Award for Labor History to a labor historian whose work furthers our understanding of the working-class experience in America.
The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity
Knopf Publishing Group
The New York Times
“Death in the Energy Fields”
High Country News
Bill Moyers and Kathy Hughes
“Buying The War”
Bill Moyers Journal
“The Marlboro Marine: Two lives blurred together by a photo”
Los Angeles Times
Faiz Shakir and Amanda Terkel
A project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund
UNITE HERE Officers’ Award
Writers Guild of America, East
Writers Guild of America, West
For their historic victory and the solidarity it inspired
Sol Stetin Award for Labor History
Professor of History Emeritus
University of California, Davis
SOURCE: http://www.projo.com (5-29-08)
But that same illness ---- diagnosed last year as bipolar disorder ---- may have pushed Renehan to steal and sell rare letters written by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, a federal crime that could send him to jail or force him to pay up to $250,000 in fines.
In federal court in Manhattan last week, Renehan admitted to stealing the letters from a New York vault. He sold the letters through Swann Galleries for $97,000. Prosecutors said he stole them from the Theodore Roosevelt Association in Oyster Bay on Long Island between January 2006 and October 2007.
"When I look back at what a madman I was … I'm stunned at what I did," said the 51-year-old author, who works in a book-crowded basement in his ranch house in North Kingstown. "The manic [bi-polar] behavior is your enemy, but it's also who you are.".
Renehan was the acting director of the association when he stole one letter handwritten by President Lincoln on March 1, 1840, and two letters by President Washington, one written on Aug. 9, 1791, and another on Dec. 29, 1778, said New York U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia.
The critically acclaimed biographer faces a fine and up to 30 months under federal sentencing guidelines, said his lawyer, Peter Brill. He will also have to pay restitution. Sentencing is set for Aug. 21.
Brill yesterday said he will seek leniency.
Renehan's condition, combined with family issues and other stresses , clouded his judgment, he said. The author has no prior record.
"We don't really think jail is appropriate under the circumstances," said Brill. "This was a single aberrant act in an otherwise honorable life." Renehan apologized during his plea and told his family, friends and colleagues he was sorry....
Renehan, a freelance book reviewer, has written pieces for The Providence Journal, including a recent review of Manic: A Memoir, a look at bipolar disorder by Terri Cheney, a Beverly Hills entertainment lawyer."For someone who was wrestled with the same demons, Cheney's book reeks with scary deja vu," Renehan wrote in February."It's all here: The sudden, unexpected, rapid-cycling flights into sadness, fits of rage, or mad schemes."
As a result of his new medication, Renehan said he no longer writes with the same confidence and bravado he once did.
"I'm more reflective now," he said,"which may be a good thing."
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (5-28-08)
The Minerva program, which will offer grants to universities to study topics of interest to the Pentagon, has been condemned by some scholars and praised by others.
In her letter, the association’s president, Setha M. Low, writes that “it is of paramount importance for anthropologists to study the roots of terrorism and other forms of violence.” But Ms. Low, who is a professor of environmental psychology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, argues that it would be better for such research to be financed by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Endowment for the Humanities because, she says, those agencies are more familiar with anthropology and have established structures for peer review.
SOURCE: Editor's note in Historically Speaking (March/April 2008) (4-1-08)
The following contributions to "Do You Need a License to Practice History?" are posted here in full:
Adam Hochschild, "Practicing History without a License"
Responses to Hochschild:
Joseph J. Ellis
The print version includes other responses to Hochschild's piece by:
H. W. Brands
James Goodman and Louis Masur: A Correspondence
Joyce Lee Malcolm
Wilfred M. McClay
Garbo had been in retirement for many years, but she was still remembered as the greatest of the film actresses. One day I had a telephone call from Jane asking if I would take Garbo to the theatre. Of course I eagerly accepted. The play was “The Diary of Anne Frank.”
Before the play Garbo hardly spoke and during the intermission she covered her face with the program. We left just before the play ended to avoid being noticed. After emerging from the theatre, we waited briefly for a taxi. The drivers of passing cars halted their vehicles for a better look at the famous face.
I saw Garbo once again, at Jane’s house. Another guest was R. K. Narayan, the great Indian writer. Garbo sat at the end of a sofa not saying anything. Looking at her I could not help but be aware that she was no longer beautiful. I remember particularly that her lipstick was smeared. (Jane told me that Garbo could not bear looking at her face in the mirror.)
But when Narayan began to speak of his conversations with his late wife in the world of the dead, Garbo’s interest was awakened, and for a while we saw again the face that had captivated the world.
SOURCE: Lee White at the website of the National Coalition for History (NCH) (5-23-08)
The Presidential memorandum designated the National Archives as responsible for overseeing and managing the implementation of the CUI framework.
The new CUI policy is an attempt by the Bush administration to standardize procedures for the treatment of what is referred to as “Sensitive But Unclassified” (SBU) information. The memorandum issued by the president adopts, defines and institutes “Controlled Unclassified Information” as the new standard for the treatment of such information. There are currently over 100 different markings for sensitive information that has led to over-classification. The new CUI policy would reduce that to three categories....
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (5-30-08)
But almost immediately, other scholars began to take issue with the interpretation of [Marvin] Meyer and the rest of the National Geographic team. They didn't see a good Judas at all. In fact, this Judas seemed more evil than ever. Those early voices of dissent have since grown into a chorus, some of whom argue that National Geographic's handling of the project amounts to scholarly malpractice. It's a perfect example, critics argue, of what can happen when commercial considerations are allowed to ride roughshod over careful research. What's more, the controversy has strained friendships in this small community of religion scholars — causing some on both sides of the argument to feel, in a word, betrayed.
The story of how the Gospel of Judas was found, and of the many years it spent languishing in the antiquities underground, has received almost as much attention as what the text actually says. Yet much of that story remains muddled, and considering that those who know the truth are either dead or not talking, it is likely to remain so.
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (5-27-08)
"Raise your cup," Paula Stern, a Jewish American who blogs from Israel, wrote last November. "Joseph Massad will not remain at Columbia University."
But six months later, Mr. Massad—an associate professor of Arab politics in Columbia's embattled department of Middle East and Asian languages and culture—is still a professor at the university. His third book, Desiring Arabs (University of Chicago Press), just won the prestigious Lionel Trilling Book Award, given by a committee of undergraduates at the university. And Columbia has made no announcement about his tenure status.
So what happened?
Administrators at Columbia won't say, citing the privacy and confidentiality of tenure cases. Prominent professors in the department of Middle East and Asian languages and culture—or Mealac, as it is known—and other departments would not speak publicly about the process. Mr. Massad, too, declined to comment.
But other faculty members, both inside Columbia and out, who have knowledge of the tenure case say Alan Brinkley, the university's provost, did indeed turn down the professor's tenure bid last fall.
The provost's decision followed what professors describe as a narrow vote in favor of Mr. Massad by an ad hoc committee of five scholars who judged his tenure file. When the provost subsequently rejected the bid, professors say, the decision prompted an angry letter from senior faculty members at Columbia who support Mr. Massad. They apparently have persuaded the provost to reconsider the case and give the professor the unusual opportunity of a second chance at tenure at Columbia.
SOURCE: Family obituary (5-24-08)
Born Bruce Duncan Phillips on May 15, 1935 in Cleveland, Ohio, he was the son of labor organizers. Whether through this early influence or an early life that was not always tranquil or easy, by his twenties Phillips demonstrated a lifelong concern with the living conditions of working people. He was a proud member of the Industrial Workers of the World, popularly known as "the Wobblies," an organizational artifact of early twentieth-century labor struggles that has seen renewed interest and growth in membership in the last decade, not in small part due to his efforts to popularize it.
Phillips served as an Army private during the Korean War, an experience he would later refer to as the turning point of his life. Deeply affected by the devastation and human misery he had witnessed, upon his return to the United States he began drifting, riding freight trains around the country. His struggle would be familiar today, when the difficulties of returning combat veterans are more widely understood, but in the late fifties Phillips was left to work them out for himself. Destitute and drinking, Phillips got off a freight train in Salt Lake City and wound up at the Joe Hill House, a homeless shelter operated by the anarchist Ammon Hennacy, a member of the Catholic Worker movement and associate of Dorothy Day.
SOURCE: Newsday (5-26-08)
Besides four letters previously publicized, the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch recovered two books and a letter by Roosevelt that had been consigned to auction houses by Renehan and sold.
Renehan's attorney concedes the letter belonged to the association but insists the books were owned by Renehan. Nonetheless, federal officials said the three items would be returned to the TRA.
SOURCE: Gary Nash email to HNN (5-26-08)
It is puzzling that in her description of the National History Standards controversy in 1994-96, Susan Jacoby relies on the deliberate disinformation campaign mounted at the time by right-wing cultural warriors (Historians and the Dumbing Down of Public Discourse, HNN, 12 May 2008). Having appreciated Jacoby’s book-length contribution to our understanding of American secularism, I am inclined to believe that her deeply distorted account of the standards controversy was written without actually reading the standards in U.S. and World history or perusing History on Trial: Culture Wars and the Teaching of the Past (1999), which I co-authored with Charlotte Crabtree and Ross Dunn. Instead, her account reads like a version of the fusillades of Lynne Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, and their ilk more than a decade ago. Perhaps Jacoby’s account can be charged to sloppy research rather than conscioius obfuscation and misrepresentation. Nonetheless, let’s get the record straight so that HNN readers are not misled. Here are some particulars.
Jacoby avers that “many distinguished conservative and liberal historians were appalled” by the National History Standards. Here, she argues by assertion without a shred of proof. I do not know of any liberal historians who expressed such dismay (though some had suggestions for additional material or rephrasing, which was to be expected in documents of this kind) and even conservative historians with reservations were selective in their criticisms. The fact is that the standards were approved overwhelmingly by historians, as well they might, for several hundred were involved in constructing the standards and nearly every historian recognized that the standards were built on the scholarship of this generation.
SOURCE: U. of Mich. Press website (5-26-08)
The method for achieving this finding is grounded in comparative politics, where the analyses of institutions and political behaviors are standard approaches. The author presents the conceptual difficulties involved in the project of racial reconciliation by comparing South African Truth and Reconciliation and the demand for reparations in the United States.
Ronald W. Walters is Distinguished Leadership Scholar and Director, African American Leadership Program, and Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland.
SOURCE: Deseret News (5-24-08)
Richard Turley is one of three authors employed by the LDS Church who has spent the past six years writing a book about the 1857 massacre of 120 Arkansas wagon train emigrants in southern Utah. He told participants at the annual conference of the Mormon History Association on Saturday his conclusion, "based on the totality of evidence, is that Brigham Young did not order the massacre."
The book is scheduled for release sometime this summer or fall.
"He did not order it. Instead, local (church) leaders in the charged environment of the Utah War made a series of horrible decisions" that "led to the murder of 120 men, women and children, not one of whom deserved to die," Turley said.
The question of Young's potential culpability has "haunted our dreams and pressed itself upon our memories" the past six years, Turley said, as the authors worked with "several dozens and maybe hundreds" of researchers that examined documents from archives across the country, looking for any evidence related to the murders.
SOURCE: http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com (5-19-08)
From the start, the show struggles a little with tone -- the audience initially is lectured on its ignorance and insensitivity, but gradually you realize Downing is talking to himself. He comes across at times –- especially early on –- as superior and not that likable, but by the time he’s dirty dancing at the prom he has the audience howling (and I’m still chuckling at Alexis de Tocqueville’s sideburns from one early transparency).
Downing’s problem, and it’s a pretty significant one, is he doesn’t appear to be a trained actor or storyteller. (He’s a UCF history professor by day.) It would be interesting to see his writing in the hands of somebody who was.
SOURCE: Andrew Preston in the Globe and Mail (Canada) (5-24-08)
Although he is mentioned only briefly, Fukuyama is Kagan's foil. In 1992, Fukuyama published the provocative The End of History and the Last Man. Like all grand, influential ideas, Fukuyama's "end of history" thesis was deceptively simple: The end of the Cold War marked the final triumph of liberal democratic capitalism. Its rivals, from premodern monarchy and theocracy to ultramodern fascism and communism, had all failed. After 1989, history would no longer be marked by the struggle between competing systems of government; instead, it would be shaped by the inexorable spread of democracy. Thanks to the United States, humanity had reached its end point in a nirvana of political and economic freedom.
Fukuyama's post-Cold War triumphalism became the accepted wisdom for U.S. leaders across the political spectrum. Under Bill Clinton, the dynamic concepts of globalization, free trade and the "democratic peace" replaced the rather static Cold War priorities of containment, deterrence and mutual assured destruction. Not even spasms of ethnic cleansing in the Balkans or violent protests in Seattle and Genoa could deflect the spread of free markets and democracy around the world.
Then came 9/11. History may have appeared to be ending from the comfortable perspective of Washington, but around the rest of the world it continued to rumble along as usual, only to explode, literally, in the political and economic centres of the United States.
As its title suggests, The Return of History and the End of Dreams tries to make sense of what followed 9/11. Kagan portrays a world Fukuyama would scarcely recognize, where autocracy is on the rise and democracy on the defensive. Old-fashioned, great-power politics have returned at the expense of the democratic peace. Kagan dismisses post-Cold War hopefulness as "a mirage." Instead, the world is now entering "an age of divergence."...
SOURCE: http://www.monstersandcritics.com (5-23-08)
Finkelstein landed at Ben Gurion international airport near Tel Aviv in the early morning and was told by a representative of the ministry of interior that he would not be allowed into the country on 'security' grounds, attorney Michael Sfard told dpa.
'This usually means a 10-year ban on entry,' Sfard added.
Finkelstein, who is Jewish and the son of Holocaust survivors, has written critical books on Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories and on what he called 'exploitation' of the Jewish tragedy during World War II.
Finkelstein has received with the fierce disapproval of some authors and academics, while others have praised his controversial works.
SOURCE: http://www.chieftain.com (5-24-08)
To say the man is a radical bent on espousing his unpopular ideas, would be an understatement. Some would call him a historical heretic or revisionist who questions and challenges many of this nation's most revered truisms.
For example, he doesn't believe Columbus discovered America. According to him, Columbus was a come-lately who had no idea he had discovered a new continent. He also theorizes that people from Africa, China and Iceland, to name only a few, beat Columbus in reaching the American Continent.
This recent visitor to our town told a roomful of people that racism and slavery were the true cause of the Civil War and the notion of states' rights was cooked up years later to make secession of the Southern States more justifiable. He claims that racism against African Americans peaked long after the Civil War and Reconstruction. Between 1890 and 1940, a period he called "the nadir of American race relations," the KKK flourished and lynching and floggings were common. Whole towns, known as sundown towns, declared themselves to be for "whites" only and blacks were not allowed after dark.
I refer to James W. Loewen, a retired professor and author of the bestselling "Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your History Book Got Wrong." Loewen, who holds a doctorate in sociology from Harvard University, was invited here as part of the Voices of America lecture series sponsored by Colorado State University-Pueblo and School District 70 and funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Loewen spoke to about 150 people at the Occhiato Ballroom of the university student center on May 12. Earlier in the day, he provided lectures or workshops to area history teachers.
Loewen taught race relations for 20 years at the University of Vermont and previously taught at predominantly black Tougaloo College in Mississippi. During his career as a professor, he found that many of his students had seriously flawed views of American history. He spent two years at the Smithsonian surveying 12 leading high school textbooks of American history...
SOURCE: Press Release--Emory University (5-23-08)
Two Emory University professors, Michael Broyde and Deborah Lipstadt, brought the problem of libel tourism to the attention of federal lawmakers in a co-written New York Times opinion piece (Oct. 11, 2007). Broyde, an expert in comparative and Jewish law, helped draft the federal bill. He and Lipstadt are drafting a follow-up opinion piece designed to support the bill's passage.
The bill would prohibit U.S. courts from recognizing or enforcing foreign defamation judgments that are inconsistent with the First Amendment.
The bill's authors contend that libel tourism "threatens to undermine our nation's core free speech principles, as embodied in the First Amendment. U.S. law places a higher burden on certain defamation plaintiffs in order to safeguard First Amendment-protected speech. Other countries, including those that generally share our legal tradition, provide no such protection…"
Broyde and Lipstadt wrote the op-ed in response to billionaire Saudi businessman Khalid bin Mahfouz's 2004 lawsuit against Rachel Ehrenfeld, an American author who wrote "Funding Evil: How Terrorism Is Financed and How to Stop It." The 2003 book argues that bin Mahfouz has financed Osama bin Laden and other terrorists. Bin Mahfouz sued Ehrenfeld for libel in Britain, where libel laws place the burden of proof on defendants. She lost the case and was ordered to apologize, destroy all copies of the book and pay bin Mahfouz $230,000 in damages.
Lipstadt faced a similar legal battle when Holocaust denier David Irving sued her in Britain for her 1994 book, "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory," which asserted Irving had deliberately distorted Holocaust facts. Although Lipstadt won, her case lasted four years and cost more than $1 million in legal fees.
Broyde is a professor of law and a senior fellow in Emory's Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR), and Lipstadt is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies and a CSLR associated faculty member.
Contact: Elaine Justice at 404-727-0643 or firstname.lastname@example.org