Blogs > Cliopatria > More Noted Things

Dec 18, 2005 11:30 pm

More Noted Things

Brian Ulrich and Glenn Reynolds call attention to Aaron Nicodemus,"Agents Visit Chills Umass Dartmouth Senior," Standard-Times, 17 December, about Department of Homeland Security officials interrogating a student who had ordered a copy of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book on InterLibraryLoan. Reynolds and a commenter at Brian's site are skeptical, but it's a disturbing story. I'd like to hear more from the student's history professors, Robert Pontbriand and Brian Glyn Williams.
Dr. Williams said in his research, he regularly contacts people in Afghanistan, Chechnya and other Muslim hot spots, and suspects that some of his calls are monitored.
"My instinct is that there is a lot more monitoring than we think," he said.
Dr. Williams said he had been planning to offer a course on terrorism next semester, but is reconsidering, because it might put his students at risk.
"I shudder to think of all the students I've had monitoring al-Qaeda Web sites, what the government must think of that," he said."Mao Tse-Tung is completely harmless."

If this story is correct as reported, this is intolerable.
Update: See also: D. Weinburger,"You Are What You Read," Joho the Blog, 18 December; and Oneman,"Red Book Bashing," Savage Minds, 18 December.

Vladimir Bukovsky,"Torture's Long Shadow," Washington Post, 18 December, is a brilliant essay, drawing upon personal experience to put the current debate about torture in a historical context. Thanks to Chris Bray, who comments that"we're probably headed the wrong way when a former Soviet prisoner of conscience starts to say that we're talking about something that sounds familiar to him."

So you want your next book to be reviewed in the New York Times? So do I. There's a good report on the process for selecting those books in: Byron Calame,"The Book Review: Who Critiques Whom – and Why?" NYT, 18 December.

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