Blogs > HNN > December 2009: History Buzz Roundup

Dec 23, 2009 1:20 am

December 2009: History Buzz Roundup




  • Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman"9/11 to climate change: Historians look back on the decade": "The new century began on a bang, and it was a shot heard 'round the world," Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, a history professor at San Diego State University, said, speaking of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001..."It's something that's really solidified in the past decade," noted Hoffman, who's also the author of"In the Lion's Den: A Novel of the Civil War.""All kinds of people who were either eager to believe or eager to disbelieve all came to stand at the same spot to realize this is something we have to take seriously." - AP, 12-7-09
  • Bruce Schulman"9/11 to climate change: Historians look back on the decade": "People are going to think that 9/11 is a significant historical turning point no matter what happens, because it certainly altered the international order," said Bruce Schulman, who teaches history at Boston University...."If in 2004 you told me that in the next election we would elect a black president, I would have said, 'You're crazy. That’s not happening maybe for my lifetime,'" Schulman said."Now...could you imagine that ever again, at least ever again at least in the next 16 or 20 years, we would have two tickets that would be all white males? I don't think we'll ever see that again." AP, 12-7-09
  • Brian Balogh"9/11 to climate change: Historians look back on the decade": Brian Balogh, a history professor at the University of Virginia, pointed out that 9/11 demonstrated the power of non-state actors and has kept us talking about"homeland security," a term not widely used before the attacks. Hoffman said 9/11 revealed that the U.S. didn't have a post-Cold War strategic vision.... Balogh added that the 2000 election contributed to political partisanship because the close race caused each side to use"any weapon in their arsenal." Nowadays there are fewer political moderates and fewer legislative compromises — a trend exemplified in the current debate over health care reform. Bills emerged from Congress with the support of just one Republican. In the 1960s, Balogh noted, Democrats got more GOP support to pass landmark civil-rights legislation...."The most dramatic change [of the decade] is, in essence, expecting to have all the information in the world at our fingertips and to be constantly in touch with people whenever we want to be, however we want to be," said Balogh, who also cohosts a radio show called"BackStory with the American History Guys.""We're increasingly connected by what we buy, by what we read, by lifestyles. I think we're less connected by geography and by our allegiances and attachments to nations.".... - AP, 12-7-09
  • Julian Zelizer"9/11 to climate change: Historians look back on the decade": As a result of 9/11, the political polarization was amplified, said Julian Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton University and author of"Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security — From World War II to the War on Terrorism." Zelizer said he thinks evolving media technology — and the development of the 24/7 news cycle, thanks in part to the rise of Internet blogging and social-networking sites — has helped increase partisan bickering this decade.... - AP, 12-7-09
  • Daryl Michael Scott"9/11 to climate change: Historians look back on the decade": "Diversity is leading to a different America," said Daryl Michael Scott, a history professor at Howard University."African-Americans have been the largest minority in the country since its founding, and I think it takes place within the 2000s, this formal passing of the guard."... - AP, 12-7-09
  • 100 Notable Books of 2009: The New York Times Book Review selects outstanding works from the last year - NYT, 11-09
  • The 10 Best Books of 2009 By THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW NYT, 12-09
  • The '00s: Goodbye (at Last) to the Decade From Hell Time, 11-24-09


    On This Day in History....

    This Week in History....

  • 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor far from forgotten: Harold O'Connor, 88, was a Navy Fireman First Class on the USS Thornton, a destroyer seaplane tender, in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked."All the torpedo planes were coming right off our fantail," O'Connor recalls."I watched the West Virginia go up from two torpedoes that were dropped. All hell was breaking loose. I saw the bombs that hit the Arizona."... - USA Today, 12-7-09
  • Historian Finds John Brown's Link To Vermont: To some - 19th century abolitionist John Brown was a folk hero. To others he was a violent terrorist. To this day Brown is considered one of the more controversial figures of the 1800s. December 2, marks the 150th anniversary of Brown's execution following his failed raid at Harper's Ferry Virginia.... - Vermont Public Radio (12-1-09)


  • House uncovered in Nazareth dating to the time of Jesus: Archaeologists in Israel say they have discovered the remains of a home from the time of Jesus in the heart of Nazareth. The Israeli Antiquities Authority said the find"sheds light on the way of life at the time of Jesus" in the Jewish settlement of Nazareth, where Christians believe Jesus grew up.... - CNN, 12-21-09
  • Stanford technology helps scholars get 'big picture' of the Enlightenment - Cynthia L. Haven in the Stanford News (12-17-09)
  • Bill to Increase the NHPRC's Reauthorization is Derailed in the Senate: What was expected to be a non-controversial committee markup of legislation (S. 2872) to reauthorize the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) resulted instead in the elimination of a proposed significant increase in the Commission’s spending level over the next five years... - Lee White at the website of the National Coalition for History (NCH) (12-18-09)
  • Congress maintaining history budgets - Lee White at the website of the National Coalition for History (NCH) (12-14-09)
  • Historians seek $1.5M for Tecumseh memorial: A group of historians in Thamesville, Ont., say they'll need $1.5 million to upgrade a memorial for a native American chief who played a key role in the War of 1812.... - CBC News (11-12-09)
  • The John Hope Franklin File: FBI Looked At Esteemed Historian For Communist Ties: The celebrated historian John Hope Franklin was scrutinized by the FBI in the 1960s for supposed links to communists, particularly his opposition to the House Committee on Un-American Activities and his vocal support for W.E.B. Du Bois.... - TPM (Liberal blog) (12-15-09)
  • Stanford history professor questions role of historians as researchers for the defense in such a lawsuit: Four University of Florida graduate students who did research for a tobacco company's legal defense have been caught in a debate over the role of historians in such cases. The controversy stretches from Gainesville to Palo Alto, Calif., where Stanford University history professor Robert Proctor has publicly identified and criticized historians who work for the tobacco industry. Proctor's discovery that UF graduate students in history were working for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. attorneys led him to e-mail objections to a UF professor, Betty Smocovitis.... - The Gainesville Sun (12-8-09)
  • A plainer view of our past: Howard Zinn and 'The People Speak' TV special - The Philadelphia Inquirer (12-8-09)
  • Maciej Kowalczy: Historian Finds Red Baron's Death Certificate: A Polish historian says he made a surprising find when poring through World War I archives -- the death certificate of Manfred von Richthofen, the German fighter ace known as the"Red Baron."... - AP (12-7-09)
  • Conservative viewpoint: Doris Kearns Goodwin's cross into partisan politics - Charlotte Conservative News (12-6-09)
  • Student finds letter 'a link to Jefferson': An 1808 letter from Thomas Jefferson turns up during archiving by a University of Delaware graduate student. Student uncovers letter among archives of mementos of elite Delaware family... Thomas Jefferson's 1808 letter part of archives gift to University of Delaware..."This letter was like a link to Jefferson himself," student says Library official says,"To hold it in your hands is really quite thrilling"
    In a nondescript conference room tucked inside the library at the University of Delaware, a graduate student found a historian's equivalent to a needle in a haystack. Amanda Daddona said she discovered a personal letter from Thomas Jefferson amid one of 200 boxes of legal documents, minutes from meetings and day-to-day correspondence of a prominent Delaware family.... - CNN, 12-4-09
  • There has been a rare and surprising archaeological discovery dug up in Tel Dor, Israel: a gemstone engraved with the portrait of Alexander the Great.... - Netscape News
  • Residents, historians work for landmarks in Harlem: Michael Henry Adams, a local historian and graduate of Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, agreed, saying,"Harlem is grossly under-landmarked, and so is every black neighborhood in the city." He added,"If you look at the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, all the places where the richest people live, there's the most landmarking.".... - Columbia Spectator (12-3-09)
  • Joy Damousi: Historian examines the lives of war generation (Australia): A prominent Melbourne academic is researching the impact of memories of WWII in Greece and the Civil War on Greek-Australians.... - Greek Reporter (11-30-09)
  • Historians seeks to capture and preserve 100-year farm heritage: For 100 years Henry Armstrong's family has farmed the same patch of central Montana land, hanging on through the Depression, low wheat prices and the ever-present risk that the next generation would move on... - Google News (11-27-09)
  • Historians are at war over 'old-fashioned' flagship series: TELEVISION historian Neil Oliver has been likened to a"pygmy on a giant's territory" by a leading academic as the bitter row over the BBC’s flagship A History of Scotland series intensifies.... - The Herald Scotland (11-26-09)


  • Vikki Bynum vs. John Stauffer: The debate turns ugly: Professor Stauffer is angry at me; I mean really angry. He's furious that I don’t think more highly of his and Sally Jenkins’s book, State of Jones, but especially that I have the temerity to publicly say so. To get it all off his chest, he just let off more steam on page 2 of the December 10th issue of the Jones County ReView... - Victoria Bynum at the Renegade South blog (12-10-09)
  • Howard Zinn's show has been"hyped" says Ron Radosh in a highly critical review... - Historian Ron Radosh at his blog (12-12-09)
  • Historian David Reynolds says Obama should pardon John Brown: IT'S important for Americans to recognize our national heroes, even those who have been despised by history. Take John Brown. Today is the 150th anniversary of Brown's hanging — the grim punishment for his raid weeks earlier on Harpers Ferry, Va. With a small band of abolitionists, Brown had seized the federal arsenal there and freed slaves in the area. His plan was to flee with them to nearby mountains and provoke rebellions in the South. But he stalled too long in the arsenal and was captured. He was brought to trial in a Virginia court, convicted of treason, murder and inciting an insurrection, and hanged on Dec. 2, 1859.... - NYT (12-1-09)


  • Monica's back - says Clinton lied: Now the first definitive history of the Clinton scandal is about to arrive — and neither man can be completely happy about his portrayal in its pages..."The Death of American Virtue," due out in February, asserts that Clinton had yet another extramarital affair, with Susan McDougal of Whitewater fame. Also in the book, Monica Lewinsky tells author Ken Gormley that she believes the president lied under oath when he described their encounters.... - Politico, 12-17-09
  • Stein Tonnesson: Norwegian historian writes about war in Vietnam Vietnam 1946 - VOV News (12-9-09)
  • WSJ book review of Robert E. Sullivan's"Macaulay: The Tragedy of Power" WSJ (12-7-09)
  • BEVERLY GAGE on John Milton Cooper Jr."He Was No Wilsonian" WOODROW WILSON A Biography : When historians rank the American presidents, Woodrow Wilson almost always secures a place in the top 10. This seems to be an honor accorded successful wartime leaders; in the last C-Span Presidents Day poll, the highest three spots belonged to Lincoln, Washington and Franklin Roosevelt, two war presidents and a general. Yet compared with the reputations of other members of that august pantheon, Wilson’s lags far behind. George W. Bush was described as"Wilsonian" after 9/11, but that was hardly meant as a compliment. Barack Obama, like Wilson a scholar, political neophyte and Nobel Peace Prize winner, prefers to be compared to Lincoln and the second Roosevelt, or even to Truman and Reagan — practically any other member of the top ranks. Today, the only major public figure who seems to be interested in Wilson is the Fox News host Glenn Beck, who traces the roots of our current"socialist" predicament back to the dark era of Wilsonian income taxes, war propaganda and obscure monetary symbols.... - NYT, 12-13-09
  • Beth Bailey: Historian's new book considers America's all-volunteer Army America's Army: Making the All-Volunteer Force - Temple University (12-3-09)
  • We join a movement in progress: a review of Cynthia Griggs Fleming's"Yes We Did?' If Barack Obama's 2008 election is history's answer to Martin Luther King's 46-year-old"I Have a Dream" speech, then African Americans must be on the cusp of . . . what, exactly? In"Yes We Did?" historian Cynthia Griggs Fleming offers an academic overview of the civil rights movement's triumphant past and uncertain future.... - The Washington Post (12-4-09)
  • Historian's says Hudson's 'did not discover anything': Four-hundred years ago, Henry Hudson set sail from Europe in an attempt to discover a new route to Asia by heading east. His mission was not successful, but he traveled along what has become the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey. River Edge resident and local historian Kevin Wright explores the quadricentennial of Hudson's voyage in his new book,"1609: A Country That Was Never Lost: 400th Anniversary of Henry Hudson's Visit with North Americans of the Middle Atlantic Coast."... - North Jersey (11-26-09)


  • Word for Word, First Couplets A History of Odes to the Chief: MUSES Lincoln fares best with poets. Hayes, on the other hand, was remembered for his"unrecorded remarks.".... - NYT, 12-13-09
  • Vietnam historian Stanley Karnow plans his memoir: Stanley Karnow, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and longtime foreign correspondent, is trying to think of a good title for a planned memoir.... - SF Chronicle (12-8-09)
  • Dusan Batakovic: A Historian of the Present: Dusan Batakovic, 52, a Serbian historian and diplomat, has been handed the most demanding role of his life - to lead the Serbian team at the International Court of Justice in the Hague, in an attempt to dispute the legality of Kosovo's unilateral proclamation of independence on February 17, 2008... - Balkan Insight (12-7-09)
  • Scholars Nostalgic for the Old South Study the Virtues of Secession, Quietly - The Chronicle of Higher Education (12-6-09)
  • Filmmaker Mike Barber inspired by James Loewen examines 'White Man's Burden' Huffington Post (12-3-09)
  • Horse racing was best before British, says historian: Dr Natalie Zacek, from The University of Manchester says the 1861–1865 Civil War changed American racing forever, by forcing it to modernise using the English model... - The University of Manchester (12-1-09)
  • Historian unearthes Civil War war criminal: Her breath quickened as she caught sight of a name engraved in stone. Could it possibly be him? As Carolyn Stier Ferrell stepped closer, she could see that, yes, she had found her man! At the Odd Fellows Home Cemetery atop Boot Hill in New Providence, Ferrell found the final resting place of Thomas Pratt Turner.... - The Leaf Chronicle (11-29-09)


  • Ivan the Terrible film 'slanders Russia' and should be banned, historian says: Vyacheslav Manyagin has asked Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to outlaw the film, which he claims is an insult to Russian statehood. ..."Imagine that they made a film in America about George Washington in which the first US president was portrayed as a bloodthirsty maniac," Mr Manyagin said."This film slanders the Russian people and state."... - Telegraph (UK) (11-28-09)


  • 20 questions: Historian Thomas Fleming: The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers, historian Thomas Fleming examines the personal lives of six familiar names in history: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Fleming examines how their relationships with their wives and families affected their roles in founding the country. Fleming, an author of numerous books, spoke to The Hill about his latest tome.... - The Hill
  • Barbara Berg: Inequality the new normal, historian says: Women's rights are under attack, says historian Barbara Berg. Yes, women have made tremendous strides but many of their rights have eroded since feminism's second wave in the 1970s and 1980s, she writes in her new book, Sexism in America: Alive, Well, and Ruining our Future.... - The Star (12-9-09)
  • Jamie Glazov interview with Victor Davis Hanson: The Palin Wonder -
  • Interview with D.N.Jha, eminent historian: "Historians who come in proximity to power change their secular lines" DWIJENDRA NARAYAN JHA, an eminent historian, has campaigned extensively against the communalisation of history. His book Myth of the Holy Cow,wherein he dispelled popular misconceptions that Muslims introduced beef-eating in India, created ripples in political circles. - Frontline (Volume 26) (12-1-09)


  • Turkish parliament awards renowned historian: Turkey's internationally-acclaimed historian Prof. Kemal Karpat has received Turkish parliament's honorary award.... - World Bulletin (12-9-09)
  • OAH selects new executive director: It is my great pleasure to inform you that the OAH has a new Executive Director. After an extensive process that resulted in 54 applications, Katherine (Kathy) Finley has been selected by the OAH Executive Board at its Fall board meeting.... - Press Release (12-8-09)
  • Mihailo Pantic, Srdjan Pirivatric: Bulgarian president awards Serbian writer and historian: At the awarding ceremony in the Bulgarian Presidency, Pantic was presented with the Holly Brothers Cyril and Methodius award for his contribution to the popularization of the Bulgarian culture in Serbia and promotion of relation between the Bulgarian and Serbian people. Bsanna News (12-4-09)
  • Historian one of 10 human rights award winners (Toronto): Most Torontonians are not familiar with the black experience in Canada, but for Adrienne Shadd, African-Canadian history is in her blood. Shadd is the great-great-grandniece of Mary Ann Shadd Cary, the first black women to publish and edit a newspaper in North America.... - The Toronto Observer (11-26-09)
  • UK diplomat questions post of Jews on Iraq panel: A British diplomat has criticized the appointment of two leading Jewish academics to the UK's Iraq Inquiry panel, stating it may upset the balance of the inquiry. Sir Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya, told The Independent newspaper this week that the appointment of Sir Martin Gilbert, the renowned Holocaust historian and Winston Churchill biographer, and Sir Lawrence Freedman, professor of war studies and vice-principal of King's College London, would be seen as"ammunition" that could be used to call the inquiry a"whitewash."... - The Jerusalem Post (via OpEdNews) (11-25-09)
  • The re-emergence of historian Richard Hofstadter: Hofstadter, who died in 1970, was at one time amongst America's pre-eminent historians. He documented the evolution of the country's political culture and its populist underpinnings from the Revolution to the post- Kennedy-assassination era. It's no surprise that his work is still generally relevant, but his landmark 1964 essay, The Paranoid Style in American Politics, is Cassandra-like in its prescience. - John Moore in the National Post (11-26-09)


  • Rebuttal of Decade-Old Accusations Against Researchers Roils Anthropology Meeting Anew: The annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association opened here on Wednesday, and its official theme is"The End/s of Anthropology." But people here might suspect that one thing will never end: the controversy surrounding Darkness in El Dorado, a 2000 book that accused two prominent scholars of misdeeds in their work with an indigenous community in South America Darkness in El Dorado: How Scientists and Journalists Devastated the Amazon (W.W. Norton), was written by Patrick Tierney... - The Chronicle of Higher Education (12-3-09)
  • Carpentersville students chat with renowned historian Howard Zinn (Illinois): Between preparing for the premiere of his documentary and promoting it with the likes of Matt Damon and Viggo Mortensen, historian and activist Howard Zinn found some time to speak with students at Dundee-Crown High School on Tuesday.... - The Daily Herald (12-2-09)


  • Royal Society papers provide science, history resources: The 350th anniversary of Britain's Royal Society (making it the world's oldest scientific institution) will be marked by the release of a vast library of papers online from the likes of Sir Isacc Newton and Benjamin Franklin. This isn't just science nerd stuff, though. This is a treasure trove of history that is easily connected to modern scientific thought. The library itself can be found at and is remarkable in its extensiveness... - ZD Net, 11-29-09


  • 'NOVA' looks at Japanese midget sub in Pearl Harbor attack: The PBS science series"NOVA" plans to broadcast a documentary presenting evidence that a torpedo fired from a Japanese midget submarine may have struck the USS Oklahoma during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor."Killer Subs in Pearl Harbor" premiers Jan. 5. AP, 12-7-09
  • C-SPAN2:BOOK TV Weekend Schedule
  • PBS American Experience: Mondays at 9pm
  • History Channel: Weekly Schedule



  • Anthony Haden-guest: Last Party: Studio 54, Disco, and the Culture of the Night (Paperback), December 8, 2009
  • Len Colodny: The Forty Years War: The Rise and Fall of the Neocons, from Nixon to Obama, December 8, 2009
  • Alice Morse Earle: Child Life in Colonial Times, (Paperback), December 18, 2009
  • C. S. Manegold: Ten Hills Farm: The Forgotten History of Slavery in the North, December 21, 2009
  • A. N. Wilson: Our Times: The Age of Elizabeth II, December 22, 2009
  • Rudy Tomedi: General Matthew Ridgway, December 30, 2009
  • Alison Weir: The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn, January 5, 2010


  • Yosef H. Yerushalmi, Scholar of Jewish History, Dies at 77: Yosef Haim Yerushalmi, a groundbreaking and wide-ranging scholar of Jewish history whose meditation on the tension between collective memory of a people and the more prosaic factual record of the past influenced a generation of thinkers, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. He was 77 and lived in Manhattan. NYT (12-10-09)
  • Historian Shearer Davis Bowman dies at the age of 60 - Richmond Times-Dispatch (8-12-09)
  • Resolute academic who looked into Switzerland's soul: Jean-François Bergier remembered - Financial Times (12-5-09)
  • Remembering Jean-François Bergier: Swiss historian: "You have to be responsible for your past," the Swiss historian Jean-François Bergier once said. And he knew exactly how challenging that could be for his country... - Times Online (11-30-09)
  • Studs Terkel: Democracy Now! Tribute [video 59 minutes] - Democracy Now (11-27-09)

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