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: Salt Lake Tribune (5-3-08)
The author of nine books on history, Goldberg directs the Tanner Humanities Center and has already garnered plenty of teaching accolades, including being a three-time winner of the U.'s students choice award. ...
His scholarly interests began with social history, but he has branched into the history of American politics and popular culture.
His 2001 book, for example, Enemies Within: The Culture of Conspiracy in Modern America analyzes the saturation of popular culture and cyberspace with conspiracy theories and in 1995 he published a biography of Arizona's Barry Goldwater.
SOURCE: Toronto Star (5-3-08)
The determination of George W. Bush and his administration to invade Iraq, Cheney told a network TV reporter, will one day be vindicated by historians, in the same way that former president Gerald Ford's decision to pardon his Watergate-plagued predecessor, Richard Nixon, is now favourably regarded.
Hmm. Even if we concede there is a possibility, however slim, that hindsight will look kindly upon the 2003 Iraq invasion, that still leaves the other part of the equation. Many observers would take issue with Cheney's assertion Ford's exoneration of Nixon showed "great courage and great foresight."
If it had happened sooner, the Cheney tutorial would have been ripe for inclusion in The Uses and Abuses of History, a relatively short but thought-provoking new book by Margaret MacMillan.
The esteemed Toronto historian makes the argument that historical knowledge is useful, if only to protect us from those who use history manipulatively – like, say, trying to convince an unknowing public that Saddam Hussein posed the same threat to the world security that Adolf Hitler once did.
"It's a funny thing," MacMillan says. "In many ways, people know less and less about the past. But the political leaders say, `History tells us we must do this.' So we really do need a good understanding of history to know that Iraq is not exactly like Germany in the 1930s."
It is always helpful to be reminded that history is not merely a bunch of facts strung together or, as is sometimes wryly observed, "one damn thing after another." It is an interpretation, in which some events are amplified and others are left out altogether. Even in the hands of capable and responsible historians, the past can look entirely different depending on the perspective....
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (5-3-08)
Newton (1643-1727) left behind mountains of manuscript papers, which were subsequently dispersed into a number of public and private collections. These have been periodically studied by scholars ever since the middle of the 18th century, but much that was written about Newton was little better than hagiography (either because Newton was a great British hero, or the founding hero of modern physical sciences). Over the past 50 years, the intense and careful study of these papers has finally revealed the deeper, more complex, and intellectually, theologically and scientifically richer – and more eccentric – character of Newton. The single most prodigious work in these studies is the eight huge volumes of Whiteside's Mathematical Papers of Isaac Newton, published between 1967 and 1982.
Such was the chaos of the papers and the difficulty in studying them that few had even begun to scratch the surface of their content, let alone the story of the development of Newton's thinking, when Whiteside embarked on his work. His doctoral dissertation at Cambridge (published in 1961 as Patterns of Mathematical Thought in the Later Seventeenth Century, and still unique in its breadth and depth) was the perfect preparation, and after a difficult search for financial support, he began his study of Newton's papers.
SOURCE: D. Michael Lindsay in the Chronicle of Higher Ed (5-9-08)
Yet on campuses across the country, evangelicalism is rebounding. Evangelical students make up larger and larger portions of the incoming classes at Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford. ...
At the same time, evangelical scholarship has become part of the intellectual mainstream. Harvard Divinity School now has a privately funded chair in evangelical theological studies. In subjects such as history and philosophy, evangelical scholars have become central figures within their fields. Alvin Plantinga, a graduate and onetime faculty member of evangelical Calvin College, has served as president of the central division of the American Philosophical Association. The historian George M. Marsden won the Bancroft Prize in 2004 for his critically acclaimed biography of Jonathan Edwards. Evangelical scholars have become particularly noticeable in disciplines that address religious questions, but respected scholars in other fields have been coming forward in recent years to talk about their evangelical faith. The most conspicuous example is Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, who wrote the best-selling The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (Free Press, 2006)....
SOURCE: Press Release--Society of American Historians (5-5-08)
William E. Leuchtenburg, the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the first recipient of the Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Award named in honor of the late historian who was also an innovator in giving history a voice in public affairs.
Jean Edward Smith, the John Marshall Professor of Political Science at Marshall University and Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Toronto, received the annual Francis Parkman Prize for his FDR, published by Random House in 2007.
Jessica M. Lepler, recently appointed an Assistant Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire, received the annual Allan Nevins Prize for her dissertation, “1837: Anatomy of a Panic,” defended at Brandeis University in 2007.
William Leuchtenburg is a “uniquely appropriate choice” for the Schlesinger Award “in part because his career as a writer and historian and civic activist so closely parallels Arthur Schlesinger’s own,” states the committee’s citation. “Both historians focused a considerable share of their scholarship on the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt and its continuing significance for his successors and for American society. Both wrote prize-winning works on the New Deal. In addition, Leuchtenburg’s more recent book, In the Shadow of FDR: From Harry Truman to George W. Bush, now in its third edition, shares Schlesinger’s interest in interpreting the past in a way that casts light on the present.” As well, he “has long been committed to bringing the fruits of modern scholarship to a broad public audience in and out of the classroom. As a teacher he has been a witty, engaging lecturer who held generations of students at Smith, Harvard, Columbia, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill spellbound in his courses on twentieth-century American history. Further, as a later co-author of one of the most popular and influential textbook treatments of American history, written originally by Samuel Eliot Morison and Henry Steele Commager, his words have reached several generations of high-school and college students.” The annual $10,000 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Award is given by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and the Society of American Historians.
Jean Edward Smith’s FDR is a “wonderful new biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that provides modern readers with an evenhanded yet sympathetic portrait of one of the towering figures in American history,” declared Parkman committee juror Peter Coclanis, Albert Ray Newsome Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Beautifully written and elegantly paced, FDR is at once a subtle and sophisticated character study and a highly insightful and convincing assessment of the achievements and failures of our thirty-second President. One comes away from reading FDR with both a fresh interpretation of a figure we thought we knew well, and with renewed appreciation of Roosevelt’s profound legacy for us all. Smith’s biography is a model of the historian’s art.” The Parkman Prize consists of $2,500, a certificate and a bronze medal, and becomes a selection of The History Book Club.
Jessica Lepler’s “1837: Anatomy of a Panic,” was chosen as the winner of the Nevins Prize “above all on the analytic and narrative power of Dr. Lepler’s writing. This is a first-rate economic history based on years of research in archives in the United States and the U.K. As she shows us, the Panic of 1837 was a pivotal moment in the emerging culture of capitalism and in America’s economic development. Vividly described are timely similarities that seem to be yanked from today’s headlines: the curtailment of credit at the wrong time, the attempted bailout of failing commercial firms, the depreciation of real estate, runs on banks, unemployment.” The Nevins Prize consists of $1,000, a certificate, and submission for publication by one of the publisher members of the Society; when published, it is considered for adoption by The History Book Club. The publisher members of the Society are: Basic Books, Cambridge University Press, Columbia University Press, Free Press, Harvard University Press, Henry Holt & Company, Hill & Wang, History Book Club, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Knopf Publishing Group, University of North Carolina Press, W. W. Norton, Oxford University Press, Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Yale University Press.
Kendra D. Smith-Howard is the Nevins first runner-up for her dissertation, “Perfecting Nature’s Food: A Cultural and Environmental History of Milk in the United States, 1900-1970” (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2007), an engrossing history of a product we all take for granted and perhaps shouldn’t. The account begins with the Progressive Era and ends with Three-Mile Island. The second runner-up is Michael McCoyer for his dissertation, “Darkness of a Different Color: Mexicans and Racial Formation in Greater Chicago, 1916-1960” (Northwestern University, 2007), a distinctive mixture of history and sociology, this opus examines the changing status of Mexicans in the Chicago area.
The Society of American Historians, whose purpose is to encourage literary distinction in the writing of history and biography, includes among its members both academic historians and professional writers who have published histories or biographies of literary distinction. The organization was founded in 1939 by Allan Nevins and several fellow historians. Its past presidents include Douglas Southall Freeman, Barbara Tuchman, Richard B. Morris, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., David McCullough, and Eric Foner. The Society’s current president is Thomas Fleming. [HNN Editor: The new president of the organization is Mary Beth Norton.] More information may be found at: http://www.sah.columbia.edu
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (5-3-08)
The new law, the Libel Terrorism Reform Act, was introduced in response to a $225,000 judgment in Britain against Rachel Ehrenfeld, director of the New York-based American Center for Democracy.
Ms. Ehrenfeld’s book Funding Evil: How Terrorism Is Financed and How to Stop It (Bonus Books) accuses Khalid bin Mahfouz, a Saudi banker, of channeling money to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Other scholars have made similar accusations, and Mr. Mahfouz has vigorously defended himself. Last year Cambridge University Press reacted to a libel claim filed by the billionaire by destroying all copies of another book that linked him to terrorism.
SOURCE: Ben Fenton in the Financial Times (5-3-08)
The claims, which besmirched the reputation of Britain and its wartime prime minister, were made in a book called Himmler's Secret War by Martin Allen. It was his third book about Britain's relationship with the Nazis. Each challenged the standard version of events. In the case of the latest, it appeared to refute the accepted account of Himmler's death: that the enforcer of the Holocaust committed suicide hours after his capture by British troops on May 23 1945, 15 days after the end of the war in Europe.This claim should not have come as a surprise to me because a fortnight earlier I had heard Allen discussing the ramifications of his claims on Radio 4's Today programme. I paid little attention because, frankly, people are always making outlandish claims about the Nazis. What I hadn't realised, distracted by making breakfast for my children, was that these claims ought properly to have been called "discoveries". The e-mail I was now reading emphasised that Allen, in revealing the brutal behaviour of the British Establishment 60 years before, cited documents he had found in the National Archives....
Textual analysis confirmed that something was wrong with the papers, and this was explained to police by the PRO's own experts: they pointed out that the counterfeit documents contain errors, breaches of protocol and etiquette their supposed authors would not have committed. To take one example, in a letter to the Foreign Office dated October 1943, Victor Mallet (grandfather of the FT's Asia editor), refers to himself as His Majesty's Ambassador in Sweden. But, at the time, Mallet was not an ambassador; he was "Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary". Such a gaffe is highly improbable.
One PRO expert pointed out to the police that another common thread of the forgeries was that "they were found amongst files that bear little or no relation to their own contents".
She added that the inconsistencies on the papers "would lead any serious historian to question their veracity".
With the exception of a single forged document found in the US National Archives in Washington in 1985, and apparently aimed at proving the existence of UFOs, nothing like this had happened before.
Armed with these results, the next day I interviewed Allen by phone. He said he was astonished and "absolutely devastated" by the findings. The Daily Telegraph led with the story the next day, with a separate account of Allen's denial of any involvement in the forgeries....
Things went quiet. I was interviewed by Det Insp Andy Perrott, a local CID man but with experience in the Fraud Squad. He seemed slightly surprised to be investigating such a case, but also fascinated with the details.
Months wore on, as often happens with police investigations of complex frauds. Then, on one bizarre day in 2007, I learned that although suspects had been interviewed, one even arrested, there were to be no charges. The investigation was at an end.
Surprised, I rang the Crown Prosecution Service, and was read a short statement saying that it had been decided that it was "not in the public interest" to prosecute the only suspect questioned by police. It did not name the suspect or give a reason. This was a surprising development because it seemed to suggest that there was no public interest in protecting the integrity of the National Archives. Once I had made a few phone calls and got more background material from the PRO under the Freedom of Information Act, I had a clearer picture of what had happened. After the furore surrounding his latest book, Allen's health problems prevented the police questioning him for nine months. When they did, he told them that he was wholly innocent. Allen said he was an assiduous researcher and had read every file that he could find that might touch on his subjects.
Inevitably, therefore, he was the one who had come across these forgeries, although he had not suspected that any document he used was counterfeit. He thought it might all be a conspiracy. In fact, in the addendum to the American edition of the book (which acknowledged the fact that the "Himmler murder" papers were forged, but nonetheless repeated the allegations they contained), Allen posited his own theory. At some time after he saw the documents, he suggested, they had been removed and replaced with exact replicas, clumsily forged to cast doubt on his discoveries. In the absence of any other public statement by him, this is the only explanation that Allen is known to have put forward.
Perhaps this was the true scenario: Allen, a self-styled "eminent historian", stumbled on the documents during painstaking research that took him to files left untouched by other historians; then, after his books were published and unknown forces read about his discoveries, the only way they (presumably modern British intelligence agents) could discredit him was to substitute forgeries in the files for the genuine "smoking gun" documents.
But the police investigation, relying on Forensic Science Service tests, finally revealed that this had not just happened a few times. In all, there were 29 forged documents, each typed on one of only four typewriters. They were placed in 12 separate files, and cited at least once in one or more of Allen's three books. In fact, according to the experts at the Archives, documents now shown to be forgeries supported controversial arguments central to each of Allen's books ....
SOURCE: John Mearsheimer, writing at Mondoweiss (blog) (5-4-08)
First, he talks about "the dramatically outnumbered Jews," how the Arab armies had "numerical superiority" over the Israelis. This is simply not true. The Zionist/Israeli fighting forces outnumbered the Palestinians between December 1947 and May 1948, and they outnumbered the Arab armies from May 1948 to January 1949, when the fighting stopped. Steve [Walt] and I lay out the numbers on p. 82 of the Lobby book.
Second, and related, he says that "on paper and on the ground, the Palestinians had the edge." This is not a serious argument. The Palestinian fighting forces had been decimated by the British in the 1936-1939 revolt, and they were in no position to put up a fight against the Zionists in 1948. This is why Yigal Yadin, a prominent military commander in 1948, said that if the British had not been present in Palestine until May 1948, "we could have quelled the Arab riot in one month." And it was essentially a riot, because the Palestinians had little fighting power, thanks to what happened a decade before. An excellent source on this matter is Rashid Khalidi's book, The Iron Cage.
Third, Margolick says that "transfer -- or expulsion or ethnic cleansing -- was never an explicit part of the Zionist program." It just started happening in the course of the war, and the "Jewish leaders, struck by their good fortune," pushed it along. This is not true; there is an abundance of evidence that contradicts Margolick’s claim. He ought to read Nur Masalha's Expulsion of the Palestinians and Ilan Pappe's The Ethnic Cleansing of the Palestinians. Plus, the argument fails the common sense test. Given demographics and where the Jews and Arabs lived, there was no way that the Zionists could create a Jewish state without transfer. Not surprisingly, that point was well understood by the Zionist leadership. Consider what Morris told a Ha'aretz interviewer in 2004: "Of course. Ben-Gurion was a transferist. He understood that there could be no Jewish state with a large and hostile Arab minority in its midst. There would be no such state. It would not be able to exist... Ben-Gurion was right. If he had not done what he did, a state would not have come into being. That has to be clear. It is impossible to evade it. Without the uprooting of the Palestinians, a Jewish state would not have arisen here." Although Benny Morris tries to argue that the transfer was "born of war," he provides too much evidence to the contrary in his books and interviews, which is what allowed Norman Finkelstein to undermine Morris's case in Image and Reality (chapter 3).
Fourth, Margolick effectively repeats the myth that one of the main reasons that the Palestinians fled in 1948 was because Arab leaders broadcast messages to them telling them to leave their homes. He writes: "apocalyptic Arab broadcasts induced further flight and depicted as traitors those who chose to stay behind." One would have thought that this myth had been put to rest by now. The truth is that most Arab leaders urged the Palestinian population to stay at home, but fear of violent death at the hands of the Zionist forces led most of them to flee. This is not to deny that some Arab commanders did instruct Palestinian civilians to evacuate their homes during the fighting, either to make sure that they did not get caught in a firefight or to ensure that they were not killed by the Zionist forces engaged in ethnically cleansing Palestinians.
Fifth, he clearly implies that the expulsion was the Arab's own fault. He writes: "The Arabs, it was said, had only themselves to blame for the upheaval: they’d started it. And, Morris notes, the Jews were only emulating the Arabs, who’d always envisioned a virtually Judenrein Palestine." This is an outrageous argument. The Zionist came to Palestine knowing full well that there were an indigenous people there and that they would have to steal their land. Margolick, to his credit, quotes Ben-Gurion saying that the Zionists stole their land. Of course, the Palestinians resisted the Jews. Who could blame them? Again, Ben-Gurion is worth quoting: “Were I an Arab, I would rebel even more vigorously, bitterly, and desperately against the immigration that will one day turn Palestine and all its Arab residents over to Jewish rule."
The Palestinians certainly did not start this conflict. They were simply reacting to an attempt by the Zionists to take away their homes and land, which they eventually did. Furthermore, to talk about a "Judenrein Palestine" is a subtle way of implying that the Palestinians were Nazis, which they were not. It is also worth noting that there were Jews living peacefully in the area we call Palestine before the Zionists began moving there from Europe. Moreover, there was little resistance to the first Jews who came to Palestine in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The resistance appeared when the Arab population came to understand the Zionists' agenda.
Finally, Margolick goes to some lengths to portray Morris as the beacon of reason and light. He writes: "No one is better suited to the task than Benny Morris, the Israeli historian who, in previous works, has cast an original and skeptical eye on his country’s founding myths. Whatever controversy he has stirred in the past, Morris relates the story of his new book soberly and somberly, evenhandedly and exhaustively." He later says: "Deep inside Morris’s book is an authoritative and fair-minded account of an epochal and volatile event. He has reconstructed that event with scrupulous exactitude. But despite its prodigious research and keen analysis, ‘1948’ can be exasperatingly tedious."
Of course, he does not say that there are all sorts of experts on 1948 who disagree with Morris. Nor does he mention Morris's outrageous statements about the Palestinians in his infamous January 9, 2004 interview in Ha'aretz, where he described them as "barbarians" and "serial killers" who are part of a "sick society." He went on to say that: "Something like a cage has to be built for them. I know that sounds terrible. It is really cruel. But there is no choice. There is a wild animal there that has to be locked up in one way or another."
One would think any fair-minded reviewer would at least make mention of the fact that Morris has made such comments. But, of course, The New York Times is rarely fair-minded when it comes to Israel.
SOURCE: NYT Book Review (5-4-08)
A prolific author and reviewer, recognized as a leading Western authority on China, Spence has written books on significant figures in its history from the K’ang-Hsi emperor to Chairman Mao, as well as studies of less prominent but equally revealing lives, as seen in his most recent book, “Return to Dragon Mountain: Memories of a Late Ming Man.”
Spence, who first visited China in 1974, has also written about the profound changes that have occurred in the country since then — changes reflected in the experimental fiction of Mo Yan, whose novel “Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out” he reviews on the cover of this week’s Book Review. Although he’s a historian, Spence remarked in a recent telephone conversation, he feels “at home with Mo Yan’s literary rendering of complex political and social shifts.” The appearance of “novels of this quality,” he added, “suggests that freedoms are being claimed in fiction that are still taboo in political writing.”
SOURCE: NYT (5-2-08)
The cause was lymphoma, said John H. Tucker, a spokesman for Columbia University, where Dr. Tilly was the Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science.
Dr. Tilly mined immense piles of original documents for raw data and contemporary accounts — including municipal archives, unpublished letters and diaries — that he used to develop theories applicable to many contexts. A particular interest was the development of the nation state in Europe, which he suggested was partly a military innovation. In his 1990 book “Coercion, Capital, and European States, AD 990-1990” (Blackwell), he argued that the increasingly large costs of gunpowder and large armies required big, powerful nation states with the power to tax.
SOURCE: http://www.starexponent.com (5-2-08)
The warm air did not move as a captivated crowd of more than 100 hung on his every word, absorbing a message that history is not just politics, war or social issues.
History is also about music and literature, laws and finance, McCullough told the historians, preservationists, and cultural advocates gathered at Thursday afternoon’s annual gathering of The Journey Through Hallowed Ground partnership.
“It’s about life,” he said. “History is human.”
McCullough, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of John Adams, the second president – on which HBO based its recent seven-part documentary – issued a stern challenge: to understand who we are is to study and understand all aspects of our history.
And to understand history, he said, requires reading. It’s what our forefathers did best.
“George Washington never had much education at all,” said the Yale University alum. “He was on his own since the age of 16, yet he was very well-educated because he never stopped reading.”
SOURCE: Press Release--American Enterprise Institute (5-1-08)
After closely analyzing U.S. security interests and strategy, and carefully examining the emerging nature of land warfare, Donnelly and Kagan offer an answer to the essential question of force planning: How much is enough?
The constant, irregular conflicts of the global war on terror cannot be conducted from a distance: America needs an active-duty land force of one million personnel. Furthermore, this new, larger force must have the flexibility to conduct operations across the full spectrum of warfare environments, whether in the shadow of nuclear weapons or in an urban counterinsurgency. Equipment modernization, which has been long neglected, must be accelerated to improve the performance of individual infantry. Components that were once considered secondary--logistics, training, and education infrastructure--must be treated as indispensable to the success of American land power.
In Ground Truth, Donnelly and Kagan argue that:
* The paucity of American land forces remains a fundamental constraint on U.S. military strategy. During the Cold War, the United States maintained an active army of nearly 800,000 troops; in recent years, the number has shrunk to about 500,000. Unfortunately, the Bush administration's plans to increase the Army by 60,000 and the Marine Corps by 20,000 are not enough to solve the staffing problem.
* Policymakers and defense planners must recognize the importance of maintaining a land-force presence across the Islamic world. A fundamental lesson of Iraq is that campaigns are most successful when American troops are present and partnered with indigenous forces. America's military"footprint" should be as small as possible, but as large and constant as necessary. The Army and Marine Corps will enjoy greater efficiency at lower cost if they establish a constant presence along the American security perimeter.
* The Future Combat System--an effort to"network" an entire force by linking it through information systems--is critical to success on today's complex battlefield environments.
* Officer training needs to reflect the new realities of the war on terror. Junior leaders are being called upon to make more important decisions than ever before; the Army and Marine Corps should educate young and noncommissioned officers to prepare them for these new responsibilities.
* The cost of building a new land force over the next decade--a little over 1 percent of U.S. GDP annually--can and must be met. While the cost is undoubtedly large, the cost of failing to do so would be far greater.
Donnelly and Kagan contend that a restructured American land force is long overdue. The stresses of prolonged operations in the Middle East have strained the Army and Marine Corps; if the United States is to maintain its status as the sole superpower, American land power must be restructured to confront unprecedented challenges.
Only a dedicated, bipartisan effort can create a ground force that is larger, more flexible, retrained, and reequipped. Donnelly and Kagan provide a plan of action for policymakers to begin that vital rebuilding. Having gone to war with the army we had, it is now time for the military and the American people to accept the truth about the size, shape, and cost of the land forces we need.
SOURCE: LAT (5-2-08)
But the day before class was scheduled to begin, her appointment as a lecturer abruptly ended over just the kind of issue that might have figured in her course. She lost the job because she did not sign a loyalty oath swearing to “defend” the U.S. and California constitutions “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
The loyalty oath was added to the state Constitution by voters in 1952 to root out communists in public jobs. Now, 16 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, its main effect is to weed out religious believers, particularly Quakers and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
As a Quaker from Pennsylvania and a lifelong pacifist, Gonaver objected to the California oath as an infringement of her rights of free speech and religious freedom. She offered to sign the pledge if she could attach a brief statement expressing her views, a practice allowed by other state institutions. But Cal State Fullerton rejected her statement and insisted that she sign the oath if she wanted the job.
“I wanted it on record that I am a pacifist,” said Gonaver, 38. “I was really upset. I didn’t expect to be fired. I was so shocked that I had to do this.”
SOURCE: Elisabeth Grant at the AHA Blog (4-30-08)
This year’s addition of new fellows (190 in all), include a number of scholars drawn from the field of history. See below for a list of these individuals, and visit the academy’s web site for a complete list of fellows.
Janet Browne, Aramont Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University
Nancy F. Cott*, Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History, Harvard University
Michael E. Geyer*, Samuel N. Harper Professor of German and European History, University of Chicago
Earl Lewis*, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of History and African American Studies, Emory University
Robert Orsi, Grace Craddock Nagle Professor of Catholic Studies, Northwestern University
Louis A. Pérez, Jr., Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Theodore M. Porter, Professor of History, University of California, Los Angeles
Daniel Rodgers*, Henry Charles Lea Professor of History, Princeton University
Joan Wallach Scott*, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey
Debora Leah Silverman, Professor of History and Art History, University of California, Los Angeles
Yuri Slezkine, Professor of Russian History, University of California, Berkeley
*Indicates status as AHA Member.
Update: Robert Orsi has been added to this list, since he is a joint professor in the history and religion departments at Northwestern. Thanks to Ralph Luker for this tip.
SOURCE: Guardian (4-29-08)
The journals, writes Buckley in her book Madame de Maintenon: The Secret Wife of Louis XIV, were only found in 1997, some 282 years after they were written, "a packet of yellowed papers, wrapped in string and sealed with faded red wax" hidden "inside a heavy old chest in a Loire valley manor house".
Buckley had her first biography, of Christina, Queen of Sweden, published to great reviews in 2004. Born in New Zealand, the author studied in London and Oxford, and now lives in Vienna.
To construct her latest biography, she quotes snippets from these journals throughout, and reproduces one section at length to describe a typical day in the life of Le Grand Monarque.
There is just one problem: Louis XIV did not keep a secret diary.
Or if he did, no one has yet found it.
What Buckley quotes is in fact the work of François Bluche. In 1998 this French academic decided to imagine what the king's journals might have been like, by piecing together information gleaned from myriad historical documents. The result was a book, Le Journal secret de Louis XIV, which Buckley got hold of and used as a primary source.
It is a mistake now costing her publishers dear, as they postpone the biography's launch by two months while they correct the offending passages. Due out on May 5, it will now be available in July. According to Bloomsbury, this is to give them time to "tip in" pages - pulping the offending pages, in effect, and glueing in new ones. A Bloomsbury spokesman would not say how many copies were affected, but it was "in the thousands"....
SOURCE: http://www.swissinfo.ch (4-23-08)
swissinfo talked to Luc van Dongen who has opened the Pandora's box of the 1943-1954 period, throwing light on Swiss asylum policy and uncovering the traces of numerous highly controversial political and economic refugees.
The university professor's recently published book, "Un purgatoire très discret" (A very discreet purgatory), is based on ten years' work going through archives in Bern, Berlin, London, Paris and Washington.
Among the more well-known figures he exposes in his book are Mussolini's daughter, Edda Ciano, "Italian Goebbels" Dino Alfieri, Gestapo chief Rudolf Diels, SS officer Franz Sommer, as well as numerous Vichy regime ministers, industrialists, intellectuals, scientists and collaborators.
Until now much attention has focused on Switzerland's fiercely controversial wartime actions in denying entry to refugees, and little is known about sensitive refugee cases who were officially – but secretly - let into the country....
SOURCE: Efraim Karsh at the website of NY Sun (5-1-08)
Benny Morris, the Israeli “new historian,” probably doesn’t know it, but it was his book on “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem” (1987) that led me more than a decade ago to temporarily shelve my research into the history of Islam and the Middle East and join the debate on the origin of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
This happened when, purely by accident, I noticed a glaring contradiction between the English and Hebrew renditions of an October 1937 letter from David Ben-Gurion to his son. The English version had Ben-Gurion say: “We must expel Arabs and take their places”; the Hebrew edition represented him as saying precisely the opposite. An examination of the original document unequivocally settled the matter. It read: “We do not wish and do not need to expel Arabs and take their place. All our aspiration is built on the assumption — proven throughout all our activity — that there is enough room in the country for ourselves and the Arabs.”
To ascertain whether this was an isolated case of misrepresentation or a pervasive phenomenon, I undertook to carefully examine all the documentation used by Mr. Morris with regard to early Zionist attitudes toward the Arabs. In quick time, I was taken aback by the systematic falsification of evidence aimed at casting Zionism as “a colonizing and expansionist ideology and movement ... intent on politically, or even physically, dispossessing and supplanting the Arabs.” This ranged from the more “innocent” act of reading into documents what was not there, to tendentious truncation of source material in a way that distorted its original meaning, to rewriting of original texts to say what they did not mean, as he did with Ben-Gurion’s aforementioned letter.
As our exchanges reached ever-growing audiences, Mr. Morris was forced to concede that his “treatment of transfer thinking before 1948 was, indeed, superficial,” and that he had “stretched” evidence to make his point. He also removed, in an implicit acknowledgment of their inaccuracy, some of the most egregious misquotes about transfer in “The Birth,” and admitted that in writing the book, he had not “had access” to — elsewhere, he says he “was not aware of” — the voluminous documents in the archives of the Israeli institutions whose actions in 1948 formed the main part of his indictment.
This, nevertheless, did not prevent him from claiming, in a revised edition of “The Birth” published in 2004, that “the displacement of Arabs from Palestine or from areas of Palestine that would become the Jewish State was inherent in Zionist ideology” and could be traced back not only to the 1930s, as he claimed before, but to the father of political Zionism, Theodor Herzl. (True to nature, Mr. Morris based his charge on a truncated paragraph from Herzl’s diary, which had already been a feature of Palestinian propaganda for decades, and which referred not to Palestine but rather to Argentina, considered at the time by Herzl as the future site of Jewish resettlement.)
It is doubtful whether Mr. Morris even believed his own thesis. Certainly, in numerous press articles and media appearances over the past eight years, he has totally reversed the core of his historical narrative, claiming that while “the Zionist movement agreed to give up its dream of ‘Greater Israel’ and to divide Palestine with the Arabs” as long ago as the 1930s and ’40s, “the Palestinian national movement, from its inception, has denied the Zionist movement any legitimacy and stuck fast to the vision of a ‘Greater Palestine,’ meaning a Muslim-Arab populated and Arab-controlled state in all of Palestine.”...