At Is That Legal?, Eric Muller highlights the scandalous folly that puts Thomas E. Woods's Politically Incorrect Guide to American History (Regnery, 2004) high on Amazon's and the New York Times best seller lists. Over on the HNN mainpage, Larry Schweikart and Howard Zinn offer dualing apologias for Schweikart's A Patriot's History of the United States (Sentinel, 2004) and Zinn's A People's History of the United States (Perennial Classic, revised 2003).
At Cliopatria, I think we all share a commitment to freedom of the press, research and publication and cling to versions of the liberal belief in the free market of ideas. But there simply are better single volume interpretations of American history on the market – certainly than Woods's book -- and almost as certainly than either Schweikart's righty or Zinn's lefty diatribes. We've had this discussion before at Cliopatria. Its reward was more shameful Luker-bashing at Free Republic, in which Schweikart simply goes into denial about how many times I've given him the thrashing on Conservativenet he deserves.
That said, time is precious and some books are clearly better than others. I'm open to other recommendations, but as I've said before, I think time and money are better spent on Carl Degler's Out of Our Past, Paul Johnson's A History of the American People or Hugh Brogan's The Penguin History of the United States of America.
On an unrelated matter, we've recently added Inside Higher Ed to Other Media on Cliopatria's Blogroll. Currently, it features Scott Jaschik's"Historians Define Themselves" on the AHA's new Standards. Today, Scott McLemee's new column,"Intellectual Affairs," will premier at Inside Higher Ed. We're looking forward to it. A friend sent me a copy of the Chronicle of Higher Education's notice of an opening to replace McLemee. They've got some very big shoes to fill.
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