Blogs > HNN > August 9-16, 2010: Remembering Tony Judt

Aug 11, 2010 12:14 pm

August 9-16, 2010: Remembering Tony Judt


  • Historian Tony Judt dies aged 62 Author of Postwar and New York University professor dies after two-year fight with motor neurone disease:
    Tony Judt, the British writer, historian and professor who was recently described as having the"liveliest mind in New York", has died after a two-year struggle with motor neurone disease. Considered by many to be a giant in the intellectual world, Judt chronicled his illness in unsparing detail in public lectures and essays – giving an extraordinary account that won him almost as much respect as his voluminous historical and political work, for which he was feted on both sides of the Atlantic.
    Judt was born in 1948 and grew up in south London. His mother's parents had emigrated from Russia; his father was Belgian, descended from a line of Lithuanian rabbis.
    His academic career began with a history degree and PhD at Cambridge and took him eventually to New York University, where he was the Erich Maria Remarque professor in European studies, director of the Remarque Institute and a renowned teacher.
    His finest work was widely thought to be Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945, published in 2005 and an enormous critical success. It was described by the Yale historian Timothy Snyder as"the best book on its subject that will ever be written by anyone". -, 8-7-10
  • Tony Judt dies at 62; leading historian of postwar Europe: The New York University history professor's career reached its zenith with the publication of 'Postwar' in 2005. He also wrote movingly about his struggle with Lou Gehrig's disease.... - LAT, 8-7-10
  • Tony Judt: A Public Intellectual Remembered: Tony Judt was a historian of the very first order, a public intellectual of an old-fashioned kind and — in more ways than one — a very brave man.
    A professor at New York University and director of the Remarque Institute on European studies there, for the last two years Judt had been living with a degenerative motor neuron disease and wrote movingly and without a touch of self-pity of the impact that it had on his body. Thankfully and remarkably, he continued writing throughout his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, with a verve and feeling that added color to what had always been an astonishing breadth of intellectual understanding. His last book, the short polemic Ill Fares the Land — adapted from articles written for the New York Review of Books, long Judt's home outside the academy — was a cri de coeur for the virtues of social democracy, the political philosophy that had shaped the thinking of so many western Europeans, born and raised, like Judt, in the post-war period. (Read TIME's review of Judt's book Postwar)
    Judt was born to a Jewish family in England in 1948, and spent time on a kibbutz in Israel before going up to Cambridge, volunteering as a driver in the Six-Day War of 1967. (He later studied in France, and a fascination with modern French politics and society ran through all his work.) A secular, social-democratic European Jew, his criticisms of Israel in later life — and by extension, of what he considered to be a narrow defensiveness on the part of mainstream American Jewish institutions — made him many intellectual opponents in the US. He stuck to his guns.... - Time, 8-7-10
  • Tony Judt, Chronicler of History, Is Dead at 62: Tony Judt, the author of “Postwar,” a monumental history of Europe after World War II, and a public intellectual known for his sharply polemic essays on American foreign policy, the state of Israel and the future of Europe, died on Friday at his home in Manhattan. He was 62.
    The death was announced in a statement from New York University, where he had taught for many years. The cause was complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which he learned he had in September 2008. In a matter of months the disease left him paralyzed and able to breathe only with mechanical assistance, but he continued to lecture and write.... - NYT (8-7-10)
  • David A. Bell: Remembering Tony Judt - Dissent (8-9-10)
  • Saul Goldberg: Tony Judt: the captivating wit and intellect of my friend and teacher - The Guardian (UK) (8-7-10)


  • Historian reviews NC's Civil War death count: North Carolina's claim that it lost the most men during the Civil War is getting a recount from a state historian who doubts the accuracy of the accepted, 144-year-old estimate."The time has come to get it right," said Josh Howard, a research historian with the Office of Archives and History in Raleigh."Nobody has gone through man by man looking for the deaths."... - AP (8-9-10)
  • Accused Dead Sea Scrolls identity thief rejects plea deal, plans trial: Plea negotiations broke down this morning for accused Dead Sea Scrolls cyber-bully Raphael Golb -- who now says he's taking his wacky identity theft and impersonation case to trial. Golb, 49, is charged with trying to boost his historian father's scholarship on the 2,000 year old scrolls by going online in the name of rival scholars -- notably Dr. Lawrence Schiffman of New York University -- to discredit their work.... - NY Post (8-6-10)
  • Ron Radosh: Howard Zinn's FBI Files: What It Reveals: The announcement last week by the FBI that it was releasing the FBI files of the late radical historian, Howard Zinn, was not met with universal acclaim. In fact, many leftists were enraged. Typical was the reaction of Noam Chomsky, who was quoted by writer Clark Merrefield. Zinn’s files, Chomsky said, were"mostly a mixture of things that they’ve picked up here and there which is mostly false, things they’ve gotten from informants that are mostly false. We took for granted that obviously we were being monitored by the FBI." For Chomsky, anything coming from the FBI obviously has to, by definition, be lies.... - Pajamas Media (8-5-10)
  • A Medieval War -- Over Arizona: On Tuesday, the Medieval Academy of America -- following an intense debate among its members -- announced that it was proceeding with plans to hold its annual meeting in Tempe in April. The meeting attracts hundreds of scholars, and those who are members of the academy narrowly voted down a plan to move the conference (although that vote was advisory only). The decision to go ahead with a meeting in Arizona is getting blasted by some academy members, some of whom say that they are calling off plans to present at the meeting and are canceling memberships.... - Inside Higher Ed (8-4-10)
  • Stanford professors find works of art from darkest moments of Holocaust: "It was spread all over the 20 countries that Nazis occupied. It happened in every language and in every place. It was not hundreds of people. It was countless," said John Felstiner of Stanford's Department of English.
    "It did not serve as much as another piece of bread. It didn't kill one Nazi. It didn't stop anything," said Mary Felstiner, a visiting professor of history."But it gave them the morale to go another day. And when we look at these works, we see transcendence."... - San Jose Mercury-News (8-1-10)
  • Google books may advance scholarly research: When scholars seek to understand long-ago cultures, they tend to draw conclusions from the handful of famous writers and thinkers whose works endure today. John Stuart Mill and Thomas Carlyle peppered their books with words like"sunlight" and"hope," so their Victorian era is often thought of as earnest and optimistic.... - San Jose Mercury-News (8-1-10)


  • Robert Stacy McCain: The Case Against Howard Zinn: One of Zinn's comrades described him as"a person with some authority" within the local CPUSA section and said that Zinn's class was on"basic Marxism," the theme being"that the basic teachings of Marx and Lenin were sound and should be adhered to by those present." - American Spectator (8-2-10)
  • Chris Hedges: Why the Feds Fear Thinkers Like Howard Zinn: The power of Zinn’s scholarship—which I have watched over the past few weeks open the eyes of young, mostly African- Americans to their own history and the structures that perpetuate misery for the poor and gluttony and privilege for the elite—explains why the FBI, which released its 423-page file on Zinn on July 30, saw him as a threat.... - Truthdig (8-1-10)
  • Alan Brinkley: 'Mad Men': A Conversation (Season 4, Episode 3, 'The Good News'): There is Dick Whitman, the decent, caring man who sees his better self when he is with Anna. Despite his tawdry flirtation with her niece, he is loyal to Anna. He struggles with a genuine ethical dilemma — does he tell her that she has cancer, or as was fairly common in the early 1960s, does he not tell her to spare her the fear for as long as possible. (As it turns out, it seems pretty clear that Anna knows exactly what is happening to her and has decided not to let others know that she knows.) This significance of this dilemma is less about what the right answer is than it is about his struggle to do the right thing.... - WSJ, 8-9-10
  • 'Mad Men': A Conversation (Season 4, Episode 2, 'Christmas Comes But Once a Year'): This is a series mostly about men, none of whom seem to be very happy or particularly admirable. Women, according to many of the assumptions about this era, are supposed to be lonely, frustrated, and unfulfilled. But some of the strongest and most capable characters in the show are women: Peggy, who may not be making good choices but appears nevertheless to be strong enough to rebound; and Joan, who enhanced her career by having an affair with Roger Sterling, but who has emerged as one of the strongest and most capable figures in the show, far more powerful than her weak and whiny husband. The significant exception is Betty, a Bryn Mawr graduate and former fashion model, who – true to"The Feminine Mystique" — is filled with frustration, anger, and disappointment, stuck in the suburbs.... - WSJ, 8-2-10


  • Washington and Lee University Politics Professor's New Book Examines Political Partisanship: Name calling. Distortion. Invective. Partisan bile. Just another day on Capitol the 1790s. As Washington and Lee University politics professor William F. Connelly Jr. outlines in his new book,"James Madison Rules America: The Constitutional Origins of Congressional Partisanship" (Rowman & Littlefield), political divisiveness has existed since the country's founding."We tend to think of the founders as statesmen. And they were," said Connelly,"but they were also politicians, and they were partisans." Newswise, 8-9-10
  • Book Review: Jesus and Gin: Evangelicalism, the Roaring Twenties and Today's Culture Wars by Barry Hankins: The decade sandwiched between the end of the Great War (1914-1918) and the Great Depression continues to fascinate the popular mind today. It was an era of stark contrasts and glowing optimism. Boosterism was the watchword in towns and cities across America. And booze was illegal, though all-too-readily available for those with thirsts to slake.... - Blog Critics, 8-9-10
  • Kevin Starr: A View of the Bridge: GOLDEN GATE The Life and Times of America’s Greatest Bridge Yet today, the structure rises like"a natural, even an inevitable, entity," as Kevin Starr, the California historian and author of over a dozen volumes on his home state, writes in"Golden Gate: The Life and Times of America’s Greatest Bridge."
    This is an exultant, discursive and strange little book. Starr is not older than the bridge; at his birth, people had already been shuttling across it for three years. But his narrative tour does evoke a grandfatherly ramble. Imagine setting off over the Golden Gate and being forced to stop every few feet not only to greet each passer-by, but also to endure a cursory biography or windy tangent. It gets difficult to enjoy the view.... - NYT, 8-8-10
  • Jane Ziegelman, Andrew Beahrs: Your Tired, Your Poor and Their Food: 97 ORCHARD An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement, TWAIN'S FEAST Searching for America’s Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens Jane Ziegelman tells this story exuberantly in"97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement." Highly entertaining and deceptively ambitious, the book resurrects the juicy details of breakfast, lunch and dinner (recipes included) consumed by poor and working-class New Yorkers a century and more ago. It could well have been subtitled"How the Other Half Ate."
    If Mark Twain had been consulted, the program might have worked. He loved the pure, unadulterated flavors of straight-ahead American cooking, a passion that provides Andrew Beahrs with the pretext for"Twain's Feast: Searching for America's Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens." This is a culinary stunt book fixated on the nostalgic list of American foods Twain included in his 1880 travel memoir,"A Tramp Abroad." - NYT, 8-8-10 - Excerpt
  • HISTORY Review of histories of American revolution by T.H. Breen and Jack Rakove: AMERICAN INSURGENTS, AMERICAN PATRIOTS The Revolution of the People, REVOLUTIONARIES A New History of the Invention of America So tied up is American identity in the American Revolution that popular histories of it are inescapably children's books, bedtime stories that tell us how we came to be:"Mommy, Daddy, tell me about when I was born." The newest additions to this literature are by two distinguished historians, T.H. Breen of Northwestern and Jack Rakove of Stanford. Each will appeal to a different segment of the history-reading public.... - WaPo, 8-6-10
  • Laura Ingraham: In 'Obama Diaries,' self-absorbed musings: THE OBAMA DIARIES ...The package contained pages and pages of private diaries: the musings of Barack Obama, first lady Michelle, Vice President Biden, first grandmother Marian Robinson and others in the inner circle. Compelled by her duty to the nation, Ingraham divulges their secret ruminations in"The Obama Diaries."
    The diaries, of course, are fictitious -- crafted by Ingraham to convey her satiric vision of Obama and his policies. Satire by nature is nasty and crude, its goal to deflate the powerful; Ingraham, a popular talk-radio host and Fox News Channel regular, holds nothing back. She lacerates Obama, his administration and his family for failures in government spending, foreign policy, business, education, immigration, morality and faith. Even the White House dog, Bo, gets a clipping.... - WaPo, 8-8-10
  • FOOD"The Wild Vine: The Untold Story of American Wine," by Todd Kliman: For Washingtonian magazine food writer Todd Kliman, the mystery started one night when he saw"something wild, something alive" in the glass of red wine he was drinking. His interest and palate piqued, he decided to investigate the source: a grape known as the Norton, trademarked as"The Real American Grape!"
    What he unearthed is the subject of"The Wild Vine." He traced the wildness back to the 1820s, in Richmond, Va., when a doctor on the verge of suicide found a reason to live in a grape he developed by cross-breeding existing varieties.... - WaPo, 8-6-10
  • Review of William Leeman's Naval Academy history,"The Long Road to Annapolis": THE LONG ROAD TO ANNAPOLIS The Founding of the Naval Academy and the Emerging American Republic ...William Leeman has given us an excellent history of the politics and personalities animating the long debate over whether to establish a naval academy, with many interesting anecdotes along the way... - WaPo, 8-6-10


  • By bridging Jewish and Arab cultures, a pair of Oberlin historians hope to shape history: As the new course in American democracy ended to applause last week, professors Carol Lasser and Gary Kornblith walked their matching bikes across the Oberlin College campus -- nearly walking on air. After more than 30 years teaching history, the husband-wife team had tried to make some. They brought two of the world's most divided peoples -- Israelis and Palestinians -- to Oberlin's serene campus to discuss how multicultural America works.... - Cleveland Plains-Dealer (8-5-10)
  • Jane Humphries: Revealed: Industrial Revolution was powered by child slaves: Child labour was the crucial ingredient which allowed Britain's Industrial Revolution to succeed, new research by a leading economic historian has concluded. After carrying out one of the most detailed statistical analyses of the period, Oxford's Professor Jane Humphries found that child labour was much more common and economically important than previously realised. Her estimates suggest that, by the early 19th century, England had more than a million child workers (including around 350,000 seven- to 10-year-olds) – accounting for 15 per cent of the total labour force. The work is likely to transform the academic world's understanding of that crucial period of British history which was the launch-pad of the nation's economic and imperial power.... - Independent (UK) (8-2-10)


  • Michael Bellesiles Takes Another Shot: He was drummed out of academe after a controversy over his book about guns in America. Now the historian aims for a second chance... - The Chronicle of Higher Education, 8-3-10
  • Scholar Emerges From Doghouse The historian Michael A. Bellesiles is trying to put a scandal behind him: His book"1877: America’s Year of Living Violently," which will be published next week, is an attempted comeback for Mr. Bellesiles, who has languished in a kind of academic no-man’s land for the past decade after a scandal surrounding his previous book cut short what looked to be a promising career."I'd like to think that anyone reading it would give it a fair chance," he said of his latest work.... - NYt, 8-4-10


  • University technical college is set to make its debut Will the new university technical colleges really boost vocational learning or just mislead students?: Professor Gillian Evans, historian and theologian at Cambridge University, says it is another case of boundaries being blurred in education."The title is going to mislead students and their families, who may feel they haven't got what they bought into. It's just another example of an inappropriate attempt to try to claim the 'university' title. Soon everyone will want one."... - Guardian UK, 8-10-10
  • Robert Bartlett: 1066 and all those baby names: Norman names such as William, Henry and Alice have been popular for 1,000 years. Why did the English copy their invaders?
    "If you ask where did the Normans come from and what was their impact, most people run out of steam pretty quickly," says historian Robert Bartlett of the University of St Andrews."It's not like the Tudor era, which people are much more familiar with thanks to TV dramas and historical novels."... - BBC News Magazine, 8-4-10


  • Latina professor pens history of Mexican American Civil Rights Movement: Dr. Cynthia E. Orozco is a historian who teaches at Eastern New Mexico University- Ruidoso. Originally from Cuero, Texas, she earned her Bachelors degree from The University of Texas at Austin and her MA and Ph.D. from The University of California at Los Angeles. She is the author of No Mexicans, Women or Dogs Allowed: The Rise of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. The following interview was conducted last month at the State LULAC Convention which was held here in Austin, Texas.
    La Voz: Let's begin this interview by sharing with our readers some insight on your latest book.
    Dr. Orozco: My latest book is No Mexicans, Women or Dogs Allowed: The Rise of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement, a history of the origins of LULAC. LULAC is the oldest Latino civil rights organization in the country and was founded in 1929 and has 700 councils today. I am proud of this book. My parents were Mexican immigrants, I grew up poor in Cuero, and now have a Ph.D.... -, 8-10
  • A Conversation With Historian Douglas Brinkley: Then historian Douglas Brinkley talks about Teddy Roosevelt, the"Naturalist President." Many beautiful places in the Northwest still exist because of him. Find out which places could have been mined or cut for timber. KUOW, 8-5-10
  • An Interview With a Young Historian: An Interview with a Current Law School Student who was a History Major in College - Huff Post, 8-4-10


  • Civil Rights History Expert Joins Little Rock Faculty: Dr. John Kirk, noted Little Rock Central High historian and author of “Beyond Little Rock: The Origins and Legacies of the Central High Crisis” has joined the UALR -- University of Arkansas at Little Rock -- faculty as the Donaghey Professor of History and chair of the department.... - Newswise, 8-4-10


  • Robertson: 'History is what it is and not what we wish it to be' Confederate monument dedication draws a crowd of 500: The crowd listened to featured speaker Dr. James I. (Bud) Robertson, a distinguished Civil War professor at Virginia Tech. Robertson, along with Dr. Frances Amos and Circuit Court Judge W.N. Alexander II spoke from the decorated balcony on the second floor of the courthouse.
    Robertson spoke of how two major things came as a result of the Civil War -- the elimination of slavery and most importantly, the establishment of a union."Union" is the single most important word that describes the war, he said."It's the single threat that now binds us all."
    "History is what it is and not what we wish it to be," he said. Both sides fought for their homes, their families and their ways of life, he added.
    Robertson noted the war was a"national tragedy" as Americans fought Americans, with"700,000 plus who all died ugly deaths.""We can love history, which most do, or hate history, which some do. But it is history, and we can all learn from it," he concluded.... - Franklin News Post, 8-8-10
  • Dr. Howard Winn, Professor Emeritus and Luncheon Speaker Sixth Annual Clarksville Writers' Conference: Introduced by Dewey Browder, Professor and Chair of the Department of History and Philosophy, Howard Winn. Professor Emeritus of history at Austin Peay State University and co-author of A History of Austin Peay State University, 1806-2001 and Clarksville Tennessee in the Civil War: A Chronology, advised participants of the Sixth Annual Clarksville Writers’ Conference to use but not abuse history.... - Clarkville Online, 8-9-10


  • September 17-18, 2010 at Notre Dame University: Conference aims to bring medieval, early modern and Latin American historians together: An interdisciplinary conference to be held at the University of Notre Dame this fall is making a final call for papers to explore the issue surrounding similarities between late-medieval Iberia and its colonies in the New World."From Iberian Kingdoms to Atlantic Empires: Spain, Portugal, and the New World, 1250-1700" is being hosted by the university's Nanovic Institute for European Studies and will take place on September 17-18, 2010. Medieval News, 4-29-10
  • Jeff Shesol to give Jackson Lecture at the Chautauqua Institution: Historian, presidential speechwriter and author Jeff Shesol will deliver Chautauqua Institution's sixth annual Robert H. Jackson Lecture on the Supreme Court of the United States. Jeff Shesol will give the Jackson Lecture on Wednesday, August 18, 2010, at 4:00 p.m. in Chautauqua’s Hall of Philosophy.... - John Q. Barrett at the Jackson List (6-14-10)
  • Thousands of Studs Terkel interviews going online: The Library of Congress will digitize the Studs Terkel Oral History Archive, according to the agreement, while the museum will retain ownership of the roughly 5,500 interviews in the archive and the copyrights to the content. Project officials expect digitizing the collection to take more than two years.... - NYT, 5-13-10
  • Digital Southern Historical Collection: The 41,626 scans reproduce diaries, letters, business records, and photographs that provide a window into the lives of Americans in the South from the 18th through mid-20th centuries.




  • Alexander Hamilton: The Federalist Papers, (Hardcover), August 16, 2010
  • Christopher Tomlins, Freedom Bound: Law, Labor, and Civic Identity in Colonizing English America, 1580-1865 (Paperback and Hardcover), September 1, 2010
  • Holger Hoock: Empires of the Imagination: Politics, War, and the Arts in the British World, 1750-1850, (Hardcover), September 1, 2010
  • Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen, (Hardcover), September 7, 2010
  • James L. Swanson: Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln's Corpse, (Hardcover), September 28, 2010
  • Timothy Snyder: The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke (First Trade Paper Edition), (Paperback), September 28, 2010
  • Ron Chernow: Washington: A Life, (Hardcover), October 5, 2010
  • George William Van Cleve: A Slaveholders' Union: Slavery, Politics, and the Constitution in the Early American Republic, (Hardcover), October 1, 2010.
  • John Keegan: The American Civil War: A Military History, (Paperback), October 5, 2010
  • Bill Bryson: At Home: A Short History of Private Life, (Hardcover), October 5, 2010
  • Robert M. Poole: On Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington National Cemetery, (Paperback), October 26, 2010
  • Robert Leckie: Challenge for the Pacific: Guadalcanal: The Turning Point of the War, (Paperback), October 26, 2010
  • Manning Marable: Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, (Hardcover), November 9, 2010
  • Elizabeth White: The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevik Russia: The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1917-39, (Hardcover), November 10, 2010
  • Elizabeth White: The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevik Russia: The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1917-39, (Hardcover), November 10, 2010
  • G. J. Barker-Benfield: Abigail and John Adams: The Americanization of Sensibility, (Hardcover), November 15, 2010
  • Edmund Morris: Colonel Roosevelt, (Hardcover), November 23, 2010
  • Michael Goldfarb: Emancipation: How Liberating Europe's Jews from the Ghetto Led to Revolution and Renaissance, (Paperback), November 23, 2010


  • Larry De Lorme, former WWU provost, dies at 73: Roland L."Larry" De Lorme, a retired Western Washington University administrator and history professor credited with starting several campus programs, died Sunday, Aug. 1. He was 73. A celebration of life will be held in his hometown, Aberdeen, at 2 p.m. Aug. 21 at The Aberdeen Museum of History.... - Bellingham Herald. 8-6-10
  • Historian and Essayist Juan Marichal Dies: SANTA CRUZ, Spain – Historian and essayist Juan Marichal, a native of the Spanish island of Tenerife, died over the weekend at his residence in Cuernavaca, Mexico, the regional government of the Canary Islands said Monday. He was 88. Marichal, who became a political exile at 19, was professor emeritus at Harvard University and among other honors received Spain’s National Prize for Literature in the category of history.... - Latin American Tribune, 8-10-10
  • Newfoundland historian Peter Hart, 46, was an expert on the IRA: A good historian is expected to be meticulous and balanced. A very good historian is challenging, perceptive, integrative, and nuanced. But a great historian is all that and more – audacious and brave. Peter Hart, who died at 46 on July 22 following a brain aneurysm, was well on his way to becoming a great historian. Although only in mid-career, he was already a major international figure in Irish history.... - Globe and Mail (8-5-10)

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