About Us


History News Network

Seattle [Main] Office
119 South Main Street Suite 220
Seattle, WA 98104

HNN Staff

Rick Shenkman: Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
John Stucky: Production Editor
Jonathan Dresner: Assistant Editor
Robin Lindley: Features Editor

Book Department Editors

Murray Polner
Luther Spoehr
Ron Briley
Jim Cullen

Our Mission 

Welcome to George Mason University's History News Network (which is popularly known as HNN).

Our mission is to help put current events into historical perspective. Given how public opinion is shaped today, whipsawed emotionally on talk shows this way and that in response to the egos of the guests, the desire for ratings by the hosts and the search for profits by media companies and sponsors, historians are especially needed now. They can help remind us of the superficiality of what-happens-today-is-all-that-counts journalism.

Each week HNN features up to a dozen fresh op eds by prominent historians. Our archives, extending over the past decade, include thousands of well-researched pieces.

Even those who profess utter indifference to history are beholden to it. History is inescapable. Who we are and how we react to events depends, to a great extent, on our past. As Eugene O'Neill has a character in Long Day's Journey into Night exclaim, at a critical juncture,"The past is the present, isn't it? It's the future, too. We all try to lie out of that but life won't let us." Our motto at HNN reflects O'Neill's insight:"History News Network ... Because the past is the present, and the future, too."

Journalism is said to be the first draft of history. But journalists traditionally have had little use for historians. The list of occasions on which journalists feel compelled to call upon historians is short. Though a select number of historians recently have become media stars, the fact remains that few are publicly quoted, and hardly any are given the public platform regularly awarded economists, political scientists or pollsters. The last historian trusted to take a large and visible role in a national administration was Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and that was some fifty years ago.

Among the many duties we assume are these: To expose politicians who misrepresent history. To point out bogus analogies. To deflate beguiling myths. To remind Americans of the irony of history. To put events in context. To remind us all of the complexity of history.

Because we believe history is complicated our pages are open to people of all political persuasions. Left, right, center: all are welcome.

George Mason University and HNN

History News Network (HNN) operates independently of George Mason University. The views expressed are those of its authors and editors and not GMU or the Center for History and New Media. The website resides on GMU's server.

Our Advisory Board

Joyce Appleby

  • Past president of the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians; professor of history at UCLA and the author of Liberalism and Republicanism in the Historical Imagination.
  • Walter Nugent

  • Emeritus professor of history at the University of Notre Dame and the author of Crossings: The Great Transatlantic Migrations (1720-1830)
  • Gil Troy

  • Professor of history at McGill University and the author of See How They Ran: The Changing Role of the Presidential Candidate and Affairs of State: The Rise and Rejection of the Presidential Couple Since World War II.
  • Liz Cohen

  • Professor of history at Harvard and the author of A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America (Knopf, 2003), Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939 and co-author of The American Pageant, a college U.S. history text.
  • James Banner

  • Co-founder of the History News Service and author of The Elements of Teaching (Yale University Press).
  • Leonard Steinhorn

  • Professor of Communications, American University and co-author of By the Color of Our Skin.
  • Lewis Gould

  • Eugene C. Barker Centennial Professor Emeritus in American history at the University of Texas at Austin and author of The Modern American Presidency.
  • Privacy Policy

    HNN takes the privacy of our readers seriously.  The only information we collect from our users is the email address they use to subscribe to our newsletters.  We do not collect information about the choices individual users make on the site.  We do not leave cookies on their computers to track their online behavior. 

    History News Network is a non-profit corporation registered in Washington State. The IRS has granted the organization status as a 501(c)(3) charity. All donations to HNN are tax deductible.

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    More Comments:

    Rosemarie Black - 5/31/2003

    I am so delighted to have found this site.
    I am a British born Australian citizen with an Israeli son in law and a Mexican/Spanish daughter in law who has antecedents both German Jewish/catholic. I like many of my generation were taught little, if any contempory history and through a busy workinhg life and raising a family,I, like so many, had no time to absorb much more than the daily crumbs on the television news and tabloid press.
    However since the start of the the war to remove Saddam Hussein
    I have been on a journey of discovery an awakening awareness, thanks to the discvery of Front Page Magazine & Newsmmax and Andrew Sullivans BlogsI have been led to your site.
    It is such a wonderful thing to be able read intelligent,thoughtful and acurate recording of the truth behind world events that are going to shape our world for generations to come. Had it not been for my introduction to the internet I would still be an admirer and disciple of the likes of John Pilger My views whilst still much as always remain on the conservative side I can now discuss with so much more knowledge and clarity than before ,backed up with facts I can print off.
    My aging husband who will never take to the computer asks me to print off articles now so we are both reaching enlightenment.
    Thankyou once more and I pray that the thinking and intelligent in the Muslim world especailly the womanalso get to learn the real truth of their doctrine.

    Claire - 3/31/2003

    Why such a nasty response to a reasonable question? Not everyone spends their whole life logged onto a computer and/or learning the terms, Net Daemon. By the way, your handle says it all, doesn't it? Get a clue, you pimply-faced, boney-assed, computer geek/fag. How'd that feel?

    Net Daemon - 2/27/2003

    Get a clue. Short for weBlog... Go to http://www.google.com/ and do your own research.

    gjdruce - 2/10/2003

    please explain what the word BLOGGERS means.

    Gary Melickian - 1/28/2003

    Please put me on the mailing list for this publication. Thank you

    tom rand - 1/14/2003

    Dear sirs,

    It appears to me that all the controversy over the origin of the cold war boils down to political philosophy, Those on the Left blame the US and those on the right the soviets. Unfortunately, current events rather tgan carefull, unbiaseed historical analyses, seem to determine the winner. For example, the Vietnam era favored the Left and now the demise of the Soviets favors the Right. Is there any usefull reason to continue to beat a dead horse?
    Tom Rand

    Gary Sauer-Thompson - 1/10/2003

    I do not know whether you history guys are keeping a finger on the frontier history debate in Australia, and the popular history of Australia by the National Museum of Australia arising from the work of Keith Windschuttle and various conservative commentators.

    I quick scan indicates no. This debate, conflict fits right into what you are doing. Do check it out.

    You can find an entry into the frontier history and the culture wars in a post by Dr. Cathie Clement, The Battle for Australian Minds, at my public opinion blogspot, on Monday Jan 6th


    then scroll down the pages to oterh stuf ont he National Museum of Australia

    Other material can be found at Robert Corr's blogspot http://mentalspace.ranters.net
    scroll down the pages

    the more philosophical issues of writing and interpretation are being addressed at


    Also various posts at John Quiggin's blogspot at http://johnquiggin.blogspot.com/

    Lots of links have been put together by Cathie Clement and they can be found at

    I would also like to say that I love the work that you guys are doing. Its very classy, your ethos is spot on, and your conception of being involved in public debate dead right.

    public opinion

    John - 1/6/2003

    Has it gotten this bad in this part of academia? If someone, rather politely, asks for a little balance and a little less shilling (let's face it, it's Bush-bashing time around here 24/7) the lame retort never answers the question. Obviously, it is beneath discussion since 'we all know' what is promoted at HNN is blogging truth. As I recall, Michael Bellisles was defended around here for his 'reality,' which did indeed turn out to be merely a point of view...err, lie.

    Ross Hardter - 12/21/2002

    While I only found your site today and haven't had an opportunity to explore it thoroughly, I'd still like to say how happy I am to see it. If your political point of view is not having a political point of view, that particularly pleases me. I have had quite enough of proselytizers and propagandists.

    Though I live only a few miles from George Mason,I found the site by chance, through http://www.aldaily.com (Arts and Letters Daily), in New Zealand, another site open to all points of view.

    I should also mention that I especially like the book review section.

    I only wish I could find a comparable site covering the field of American classical music, another grossly neglected subject.

    skippy - 10/14/2002

    are they shilling for a political point of view or for reality?

    Bill Crews - 10/4/2002

    You really should try to get a little balance. Allowing your non-profit website to shill for a political point of view is disturbing. The fact that at least one of your "history professors" has no grasp of the either the US Constitution or American political history is equally disturbing.

    Domonique Bastone - 9/23/2002

    How can I contact people on the advisory board?

    Gene Clanton - 9/12/2002

    I would just take this opportunity to congratulate all of you folks at HHH. You aren't careful, you may wind up making histol history and historians relevant once again.

    More power to you.

    Gene Clanton

    James Matthews - 9/10/2002

    I just got your link from Buzz Flash today. I was surprised to learn that I am not alone in this world. Your articles and comments were the best I have read in some time and I was pleased to find the site. I live in far north California where the really radical right is in full bloom and control. When I commented to a fellow at the gym who was quoting scripture to support his political views, I commented that the Bible is just a book. The appalled silence made my day but I am not the most popular guy there. Keep up the good work. I hope we can continue to get the truth out and get the political changes we need.

    Mick Williams - 9/10/2002

    Dear Sir/Ma'am: Please send me an e-mail address of someone to contact to get your free weekly newsletter. Unfortunately, I cannot use the hotlink on your website to do so. Mick Williams

    Rick Perlstein - 9/5/2002

    Rick, I've asked you this before, but I need the data again for a proposal I'm writing for a long essay on history and the public. Can you give me the stats on HNN's founding, explosion with the Ellis affair, and continued growth? All best, Rick Perlstein