Eugene Genovese, RIP





The historian Eugene Genovese has died at age 82, leaving a legacy that will be confounding ideologues for decades to come. His scholarly focus was the antebellum South, and his most famous book was Roll, Jordan, Roll, a study of slavery that broke important ground by presenting slaves as more than just victims and investigating the rich culture they built for themselves. It was the sort of book you might expect to be written by a leftist, and sure enough, Genovese came out of the left. He wasn't some mild-mannered liberal, either: His first major public controversy came when he announced that he welcomed a Viet Cong victory in Vietnam.

But Genovese was also a cultural conservative, a sympathetic interpreter of southern traditionalists, and a fierce critic of the academic left....

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