Memory & Oral History
The criticism seems strange to me because, in"Murder and Biblical Memory: The Legend of Vernon Johns,"* I published a fuller critique of Branch's work as a historian than any other historian.** One of its major points focused on his uncritical use of oral history. The scandal of Branch's new book on Clinton isn't that Branch accepted a National Humanities Medal from Clinton even as the interviews were being conducted. The scandal isn't even, as Tinkler seems to think, that the interviews were conducted privately or that other historians are denied access to them. Frustrating as it may be, that is very commonly the case in contemporary history. The scandal of Branch's new book is that even he had no access to the tapes that he and Bill Clinton had created. All Branch had were his notes and recorded memories of the interviews that he created after leaving the interviews with Clinton.
*Joyce Appleby, ed., The Best American History Essays, 2006 (NY: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2006): 201-229.
**My colleague on the Martin Luther King Papers Project, Clayborne Carson, will publish a tepid critique of Branch's civil rights trilogy in the coming issue of the American Historical Review.
comments powered by Disqus
Links of london - 3/5/2010
Hi guys , here i have a good place to buy links of london jewellery,all of high qualities and high quality service,
Ralph E. Luker - 9/30/2009
I suppose, if you assume that they will, at some point, become available to researchers.
William Harshaw - 9/30/2009
Isn't it better that the tapes exist, even under Clinton's control, than that they don't?
- Raleigh Trevelyan, Chronicler of a Notable Family, Dies at 91
- Former spokesman of B.C. anti-immigration group wants UBC history prof fired
- Harvard's Steven Shapin Wins History of Science Award
- Middle East Studies Association Fights a Rising Tide of Critics
- Juan Cole says the postwar Middle East governments were modeled on the Soviet Union, though not communist (interview)