Modern History Notes
Leah Price,"Lives of Johnson," NYT, 30 January, reviews Peter Martin's Samuel Johnson: A Biography and Jeffrey Meyers's Samuel Johnson: The Struggle.
Marilyn Stasio,"Life, Liberty, and Pursuit," NYT, 29 January, reviews Jane Kamensky's and Jill Lepore's Blindspot, By a Gentleman in Exile and a Lady in Disguise.
Christopher Benfey,"Charles Darwin, Abolitionist," NYT, 29 January, reviews Adrian Desmond's and James Moore's Darwin's Sacred Cause: How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin's Views on Human Evolution and Adam Gopnik's Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life.
Jon Meacham reviews Harold Holzer's The Lincoln Anthology: Great Writers on His Life and Legacy from 1860 to Now, Sean Wilentz's The Best American History Essays on Lincoln, Ron White's A. Lincoln: A Biography, John Stauffer's Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, and James McPherson's Abraham Lincoln: A Presidential Life for the LA Times, 1 February. Meacham quotes Edmund Wilson to the effect that"the cruelest thing that has happened to Lincoln since he was shot by Booth has been to fall into the hands of Carl Sandburg." The first multi-volume biography since Sandburg's, Michael Burlingame's Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 2 volumes, ought to be getting more attention.
John Allen Paulos,"How to Measure a Cheshire Grin?" NYT, 30 January, reviews Robin Wilson's Lewis Carroll in Numberland. His Fantastical Mathematical Logical Life: An Agony in Eight Fits.
Thomas Mallon,"Ready for His Close-Up," NYT, 30 January, reviews Cari Beauchamp's Joseph P. Kennedy Presents: His Hollywood Years.
James Ralph reviews Thomas Sugrue's Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North for the Chicago Tribune, 31 January.
Patricia Cohen,"John Dean at Issue in Nixon Tapes Feud," NYT, 31 January, looks at the controversy between Wisconsin's Stanley Kutler and Florida's Peter Klingman over the reliability of Kutler's transcriptions of the Nixon Tapes. Jeremy Young at Progressive Historians raises some questions about the controversy. See also: John Taylor at The EpiscoNixonian.
Ilya V. Talev - 2/1/2009
Anyone who listens to the tapes and reads the transcripts in Abuse of Power will reach the same conclusion as Fred Graboske. I'm afraid Jeremy Young is worrying about the wrong things. Who cares who tipped off the Times? What does the evidence say?
I've listened to conversations and read the transcripts. The facts speaks for themselves. Not only don't they match, the differences are such that the most logical conclusion was that they altered on purpose.
When it comes to people with a motive for altering the transcripts, look no further than Stanley Kutler.
This also isn't the first time Kutler has been questioned about problems with the transcripts. The Tampa Tribune published an article in 1998 that raised many of the same questions. Kutler brusquely claimed it didn't happen.
So, look past the smoke about motives and at the evidence itself. When you do, the facts are clear.
Jeremy Young - 2/1/2009
I don't usually plug my blog here in your comments, but I noticed something fishy about that Kutler article, and it's a little long for a comment.