Blogs > HNN > November 2008 Roundup

Nov 30, 2008 8:03 am

November 2008 Roundup






  • Michael Smith"Can Obama eclipse Kennedy legacy? The anniversary of JFK assassination takes on fresh meaning as new era dawns":"This year is different, and seemingly for good,'' says Purdue University history professor Michael Smith."America may have a truer successor to the Kennedy legacy, meaning that maybe we can once and for all give up some of our national obsession with who else besides Lee Harvey Oswald might have murdered president Kennedy and focus instead on the best, not the worst, of the early 1960s.""Our generation and our parents' generation remember that day so well because of the shock of total news coverage for four days in a row," he said."We are, largely, the audience and market still reading and watching and listening for the echoes of that day, a strange nostalgia." - Toronto Star, 11-22-08
  • Douglas Brinkley:"Can Obama eclipse Kennedy legacy? The anniversary of JFK assassination takes on fresh meaning as new era dawns": "The Kennedys are in the air," says author and historian Douglas Brinkley."Their mystique is still with us.""It remains the great American murder mystery," says Brinkley, whose forthcoming book"The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and The Crusade For America," focuses on another American hero."Nobody really knows what really happened beyond Lee Harvey Oswald."A lot of history we can now shut down. We even know who Deep Throat is."But this remains the great whodunit."
  • Michael G. Smith:"On 45th Anniversary of JFK Assassination, Lingering Conspiracies Tarnish History, Professor Says": "Historians have pretty much ignored the assassination as a historical event, and they need to weigh in against the excesses of conspiracy theory as false history," says Michael G. Smith, an associate professor of history who will teach a spring semester course on the Kennedy assassination."We need to begin to respect the dead rather than distort their memory."
    "It might take a new generation of scholars, those born after the 'Baby Boom,' who did not live through the event and who do not have a personal or political stake in President Kennedy's loss, to come to grips with his assassination. We need to mark it as a simple crime, a murder solved and closed, as well as understand it as a complex event that has been manipulated and misread.""There are more than a thousand major books and articles devoted to the Kennedy assassination, but hardly any of them are by history professors," Smith says."High school and college history textbooks, for many years, entertained some of the leading conspiracy theories, and still flirt with them today, oddly enough. My profession has forfeited its responsibility, but this is an opportunity to change that." - Newswire Ascribe, 11-19-08


  • U.S. Census Bureau issues Facts for Features in observance of Black (African-American) History Month: February 2009 To commemorate and celebrate the contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week. The first celebration occurred on Feb. 12, 1926. For many years, the second week of February was set aside for this celebration to coincide with the birthdays of abolitionist/editor Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, as part of the nation's bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month. Each year, U. S. presidents proclaim February as National African-American History Month. - IBI Times, 12-2-08
  • Frank de la Teja: A different take on the first Thanksgiving: Many Texans, however, prefer to claim that El Paso held the first Thanksgiving 23 years earlier. That's when Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate arrived with about 600 people at El Paso del Norte after a harrowing trek across the northern Mexican desert and a successful crossing of the Rio Grande. - Dallas News, 11-22-08


    On This Day in History....

  • 04/12/1619 - America's 1st Thanksgiving Day (Va)
  • 04/12/1816 - James Monroe (VA), elected 5th pres, defeating Federalist Rufus King
  • 04/12/1833 - American Anti-Slavery Society formed by Arthur Tappan in Phila
  • 04/12/1836 - Whig party holds its 1st national convention, Harrisburg, Pa
  • 04/12/1844 - James K Polk elected 11th president of US
  • 04/12/1851 - Pres Louis Napolean Boaparte forces crush a coup d'etat in France
  • 04/12/1918 - Pres Wilson sails for Versailles Peace Conference in France, 1st chief executive to travel outside US while in office
  • 04/12/1943 - -Dec 6] 2nd conference of Cairo: FDR, Churchill and Turkish pres Inonu
  • 04/12/1981 - Pres Reagan allows CIA to engage in domestic counter-intelligence, Executive Order on Intelligence (No 12333)
  • 04/12/1985 - Pres Reagan appoints Vice Adm John Poindexter as security adviser
  • 05/12/1349 - 500 Jews of Nuremberg massacre during Black Death riots
  • 05/12/1792 - George Washington re-elected US pres
  • 05/12/1804 - Thomas Jefferson re-elected US pres/George Clinton vice-pres
  • 05/12/1831 - Former Pres John Q Adams takes his seat as member of House of Reps
  • 05/12/1832 - Andrew Jackson re-elected president of US
  • 05/12/1837 - Uprising under William Lyon Mackenzie in Canada
  • 05/12/1955 - Historic bus boycott begins in Montgomery Alabama by Rosa Parks
  • 06/12/1820 - US president James Monroe re-elected
  • 06/12/1849 - Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery in Maryland
  • 06/12/1862 - Pres Lincoln orders hanging of 39 Santee Sioux indians
  • 06/12/1865 - 13th Amendment is ratified, abolishing slavery
  • 06/12/1876 - US Electorial College picks Rep Hayes as pres (although Tilden won)
  • 06/12/1877 - Washington Post publishes 1st edition
  • 06/12/1904 - Theodore Roosevelt confirms Monroe-doctrine (Roosevelt Corollary)
  • 06/12/1923 - 1st presidential address broadcast on radio (Pres Calvin Coolidge)
  • 06/12/1973 - Gerald Ford sworn-in as 1st unelected VP, succeeds Spiro T Agnew
  • 07/12/1808 - James Madison elected US pres/George Clinton vice-pres
  • 07/12/1836 - Martin Van Buren elected 8th president
  • 07/12/1917 - US becomes 13th country to declare war on Austria during World War I
  • 07/12/1941 - Japanese attack Pearl Harbor (a date that will live in infamy)
  • 07/12/1987 - Gorbachev arrives in US for a summit meeting
  • 07/12/1988 - Mikhail Gorbachev cheered by Wall St crowds upon arrival in NYC, Gorbachev announces 10% unilateral Soviet troop reductions at UN


  • Conrad Bladey: Historian proposes toast for Linthicum: J. Charles Linthicum's family provided the name of the Anne Arundel County community, and he did his hometown proud, serving in Congress from 1911 until his death in 1932. The Democrat is best remembered for his role in the adoption of"The Star-Spangled Banner" as the national anthem. But he made a possibly more significant contribution to American history, according to a local historian: paving the way for the repeal of Prohibition. - - AP, 11-29-08
  • In American Heritage Magazine North and South Clash Again: James M. McPherson, a history professor at Princeton and author of"Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief," said that many saw the Confederate flag as an incendiary symbol of slavery and that he would have protested the ad had he been aware of it before publication.
    Eric Foner, a Columbia University professor and fellow essayist in the Lincoln issue, said he thought that the ad was more incongruous than illicit."The Confederate flag is insulting to a great number of Americans, not just African-Americans, but it is legal," he said. - NYT, 11-30-08
  • Bernard Lugan: French historian, threatens to walk away from Rwandan court where he's an expert witness -, 11-27-08
  • Middle-East Scholars Hear of Academic Repression in Iraq and Iran - Chronicle of Higher Ed, 11-24-08
  • History Employment — Public and Private - Inside Higher Ed, 11-21-08
  • Conrad Black: Seeking clemency from President Bush - CBC News, 11-20-08
  • Richard L. McCormick: Rutgers' McCormick on the hot seat - Ralph Luker at HNN blog, Cliopatria, 11-20-08
  • Joel Beinin creates a skirmish over academic freedom - Willamette Week, 11-19-08
  • Muhammad Sven Kalisch: Professor Hired for Outreach to Muslims Delivers a Jolt - WSJ, 11-15-08
  • Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore: Historians turn to writing a novel Boston Globe, 11-16-08


  • Phillip Kay"Historian says Romans faced credit crunch":"The essential similarity between what happened 21 centuries ago and what is happening in today's U.K. economy is that a massive increase in monetary liquidity culminated with problems in another country causing a credit crisis at home." - UPI, 11-28-08
  • Jan Shipps: Renowned historian speaks about LDS Church PR problems ABC4 (SLC, Utah), 11-18-08




  • Gordon M. Goldstein: 'The Doves Were Right':LESSONS IN DISASTER McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam - NYT, 11-30-08
  • Susan Pinkard: The Sophisticated Table: A REVOLUTION IN TASTE The Rise of French Cuisine, 1650-1800 - N"YT, 11-30-08
  • Robert J. Samuelson: Cycles of DoomTHE GREAT INFLATION AND ITS AFTERMATH The Past and Future of American Affluence - NYT, 11-30-08
  • Sarah Vowell: Mayflower Power THE WORDY SHIPMATES - NYT, 11-30-08
  • Philip Jenkins: Historian explores Christianity's lost age, land The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia - and How It Died Reuters, 12-1-08
  • Alan Wolfe on Thomas J. Sugrue: Uncommon Ground: SWEET LAND OF LIBERTY: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North - NYT, 11-9-08
  • Thomas J. Sugrue:SWEET LAND OF LIBERTY: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North, First Chapter - NYT, 11-9-08
  • Thomas J. Sugrue: The other battlefield The struggle for civil rights in the North, often overshadowed, gets a comprehensive review SWEET LAND OF LIBERTY: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North - Boston Globe, 11-30-08
  • Gordon M. Goldstein: 'The Doves Were Right' - LESSONS IN DISASTER McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam - NYT, 11-28-08
  • WaPo, 11-26-08
  • James McPherson: Looking at Lincoln Through a Prism of War - NYT, 11-21-08


  • Jon Meacham: AMERICAN LION #4 -- (2 weeks on list) - 12-7-08
  • THE AMERICAN JOURNEY OF BARACK OBAMA, by the editors of Life magazine. #13 -- (3 weeks on list) - 12-7-08
  • Niall Ferguson: THE ASCENT OF MONEY #19 12-7-08
  • Pete Souza: THE RISE OF BARACK OBAMA #27 12-7-08
  • James M. McPherson: TRIED BY WAR #29 12-7-08
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin: TEAM OF RIVALS #32 - 12-7-08






  • Yury Borisyonok"A Historian's Thankless Work": For the past twenty years, the staff of the Rodina Magazine, an illustrated history journal, has been dissecting archived historical materials for fragments of the truth to bring into the public domain. - Russia Profile, 11-30-08
  • Niall Ferguson's study of the financial history of the world made him prescient about today:"Many professional historians would say that I have no business talking about the present or even the recent past, much less the future. I don't really understand what the point of that self-denial ordinance is because if historians can't illuminate the future, I don't know who can. There's all sorts of bogus futurology out there, but in my experience most of what people say about the future is implicitly based on some understanding of the past. My caveat is simple: There is no such thing as the future, singular. There are futures, plural. And the historian is quite well-placed to offer plausible scenarios based on past analogies." -, 11-23-08


  • Arthur Schlesinger, Jr."Obama as Hoover: The Importance of Storytelling": As the Obama era takes shape, the roles of both Schlesinger and Michelson deserve attention. Particularly as Americans are seeing newsmagazines with cover stories comparing the President-elect who campaigned on a dour vision of scarcity with Franklin Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, a considerable leap to understate. - American Spectator, 12-2-08
  • The focus is on Samuel de Champlain - Burlington Free Press, 12-1-08
  • Gordon S. Wood"The Housing-Bubble and the American Revolution": Gordon S. Wood, a professor at Brown University and perhaps the pre-eminent living historian on the subject, counters:"There was a great deal of instability, but that is hardly an explanation for the Revolution. I don't think you can make a strong argument for an economic interpretation of the Revolution." - NYT, 11-30-08
  • What if Hitler had a love child? Historian A.N. Wilson's"Winnie and Wolf" is a chilling fictional tale of a clandestine affair. - Salon, 11-26-08





New Web Sites:



  • April 3-4, 2009:The Obama Phenomenon: Race and Political Discourse in the United States Today, University of Memphis


  • Lincoln Symposium to air on C-SPAN: On Saturday, December 6th at 8 p.m., selections from"Lincoln in His Time and Ours," a symposium held on November 22nd at Columbia University, will air on C-SPAN. - Gilder Lehrman Institute, 12-4-08
  • History Channel:"Last Stand of The 300," Friday, December 5, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel:"Barbarians: Goths," Friday, December 5, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel:"Surviving History: 07 - Surviving History," Friday, December 5, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel:"Modern Marvels: Weapons of Mass Destruction," Friday, December 5, @ 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel:"Shadow Force: Ghost Ship," Friday, December 5, @ 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel:"Next Nostradamus," Saturday, December 6, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel:"Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid," Saturday, December 6, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel:"01 - The Wehrmacht: 01 - Attack on Europe," Sunday, December 7, @ 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel:"02 - The Wehrmacht: 02 - The Turning Point," Sunday, December 7, @ 3pm ET/PT
  • History Channel:"03 - The Wehrmacht: 03 - The Crimes," Sunday, December 7, @ 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel:"04 - The Wehrmacht: 04 - Resistance," Sunday, December 7, @ 5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel:"05 - The Wehrmacht: 05 - To the Bitter End," Sunday, December 7, @ 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel:"70's Fever," Sunday, December 7, @ 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel:"History Rocks: The '70s, Part 1," Sunday, December 7, @ 10pm ET/PT


  • Scout Tufankjian: Yes We Can: Barack Obama's History Making Presidential Campaign, December 1, 2008
  • Gary May: John Tyler: The American Presidents Series: The 10th President, 1841-1845, December 9, 2008
  • Jonathan Brent: Inside the Stalin Archives, December 9, 2008
  • Time Magazine: Time President Obama: The Path to the White House, December 16, 2008
  • George S. McGovern: Abraham Lincoln: The American Presidents Series: The 16th President, 1861-1865, December 23, 2008
  • Rudy Tomedi: General Matthew Ridgway, December 30, 2008
  • Anthony S. Pitch: "They Have Killed Papa Dead!": The Road to Ford's Theater, Abraham Lincoln's Murder, and the Rage for Vengeance, December 30, 2008
  • William E. Leuchtenburg: Herbert Hoover: The 31st President, 1929-1933 (REV), January 6, 2009
  • James J. Sheehan: Where Have All the Soldiers Gone?: The Transformation of Modern Europe, January 13, 2009
  • Gwen Ifill: The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, January 20, 2009
  • Daniel Mark Epstein: Lincoln's Men: The President and His Private Secretaries, January 27, 2009


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