Cliopatria: A Group Blog
Aaron Bady (∞); Chris Bray (∞); Brett Holman (∞); Jonathan Jarrett (∞); Robert KC Johnson (∞); Rachel Leow (∞); Ralph E. Luker (∞); Scott McLemee (∞); Claire B. Potter (∞); Jonathan T. Reynolds (∞)
Tim Congden,"Low Tricks and High Finance," TLS, 28 July, reviews Niall Ferguson's High Financier: The lives and times of Siegmund Warburg.
Michael Dirda reviews Bill Morgan and David Stanford, eds., Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters for the Washington Post, 29 July."Beat Memories," WP, 29 July, samples the 79 photographs in"Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg," an exhibit at Washington's National Gallery of Art.
Mark Lilla,"Tea Party Jacobins," NYRB, 27 May, reviewed a clutch of books about the new Right in America. David Jordan, Staughton Lynd, and Elliott Turiel challenge Lilla's analogy; and Lilla replies.
Jesse Walker,"Forced to Be Free," Reason, 29 July, places contemporary restrictive reforms in an historical tradition that doesn't see freedom as individual liberty. Walker knows his historiography.
Finally, farewell to Peggy Ann Pascoe, a historian of American women and professor of ethnic studies at the University of Oregon.
Isabelle Mandraud,"Mauritania's hidden manuscripts," Guardian, 27 July, is an update on threatened rare manuscripts in northwest Africa.
Trevor Butterworth,"A Revolution Of the Mind," WSJ, 30 July, reviews Joel Mokyr's The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain, 1700-1850.
Thomas Mallon,"Saratoga Gothic," NYT, 30 July, and Carolyn See for the Washington Post, 30 July, review Geoffrey O'Brien's The Fall of the House of Walworth: A Tale of Madness and Murder in Gilded Age America.
Evan R. Goldstein,"Will Israel's New Archive Policy Set Back a Generation of Scholarship?" CHE, 30 July, interviews Benny Morris about the classification extension by twenty years on select Israeli archives.
A. C. Grayling,"A Man For All Seasons," Prospect, 21 June, reviews Sarah Bakewell's How to Live: a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer.
For 378 years, the Tuttles have farmed the same 134 acres near Dover, New Hampshire. It appears to be the oldest continuously operated family farm in the United States. Now, the recession has forced the family to put it on the market.
Algis Valiunas,"Scientists Fallen Among Poets," New Atlantis, Spring, reviews Richard Holmes's The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science.
Jeremy Lewis,"The Greenes: A Talented Tribe of Trailbrazers," Telegraph, 24 July, draws on Shades of Greene: One Generation of an English Family, his collective biography of Graham Greene's extended family.
Christian Caryl,"Bury the Graveyard," Foreign Policy, 26 July, reviews Thomas Barfield's Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History.
Garry Wills,"Obama's Legacy: Afghanistan," NYRBlog, 27 July, breaks his silence about a meeting he and eight other historians had with the President and three staffers over a year ago.
From the University of Sheffield, Sharon Howard manages"London Lives 1690 to 1800: Crime, Poverty, and Social Policy in the Metropolis," a massive online project that follows and builds on her last,"The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913." London Lives has been featured in the Guardian's Observer and, yesterday, at AHA Today.
Ian Klaus,"Objects of Trust," The Book, 28 July, reviews Amanda Vickery's Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England.
Dwight Garner,"In a Tenement's Meager Kitchens, a Historian Looks for Insight," NYT, 27 July, reviews Jane Ziegelman's 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement.
Adam Kirsch,"Notes from Underground," Tablet, 27 July, reviews James Loeffler's The Most Musical Nation: Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire.
Peter Forbes for the Independent, 26 September, Robin McKie for the Guardian, 2 November, Janet Maslin for the NYT, 8 July, and Dava Sobel for the Barnes & Noble Review, 17 July, review Richard Holmes's The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science. James Mustich interviews Holmes about his book in Barnes & Noble Review, 6 July.
Nicholas Shakespeare for the Telegraph, 15 January, Jane Shilling for the London Times, 16 January, Sarah Burton for the Independent, 23 January, Kathryn Harrison,"Oh, Lord," NYT, 12 June, and Katha Pollitt,"Lord Byron's Great Insight," Slate, 13 July, review Edna O'Brien's Byron in Love: A Short Daring Life.
Neil Bartlett reviews Andrew Graham-Dixon's Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane for the Guardian, 24 July;
Teresa Stoppani reviews Deborah Howard's and Laura Moretti's Sound and Space in Renaissance Venice: Architecture, Music, Acoustics for THE, 22 July; and
Francesca Fiorani reviews Mary Hollingsworth and Carol M. Richardson, eds., The Possessions of a Cardinal: Politics, Piety, and Art, 1450-1700 for THE, 22 July.
Jonathan Yardley reviews Eric Jaffe's The King's Best Highway: The Lost History of the Boston Post Road, the Route That Made America for the Washington Post, 25 July.
Where's Chris Bray, when you need him? Doug Kendall's"The Tea Party Mocks the Founders," Huffington Post, 26 July, argues that, to honor the Founders, the Tea Party must abandon the language of violent confrontation and plot social change by winning elections. As if the Founders fought no Revolution and defeated George III at the polls.
Randall Kennedy,"Honoring Good White People," Slate, 26 July, reviews Bruce Watson's Freedom Summer: The Savage Season That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy.
Finally, farewell to Frau Inge Keil, a major German historian of astronomy.
Jerome Charyn reviews Lyndall Gordon's Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds for the Washington Post, 25 July.
David Greenberg,"The Do-Gooder," The Book, 26 July, reviews John Milton Cooper's Woodrow Wilson: A Biography.
Patricia Cohen,"Sexual Outlaw on the Gay Frontier," NYT, 25 July, reviews Justin Spring's Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade.
Deborah Lipstadt reviews Guy Walters's Hunting Evil: The Nazi War Criminals Who Escaped and the Quest to Bring Them to Justice for the Washington Post, 25 July.
Jörg Magenau,"Blindly working through the past," signandsight, 12 July, reviews Christa Wolf's novel Stadt der Engel oder The Overcoat of Dr. Freud. The biographer of an east German novelist who collaborated with the Stasi reviews her last novel.
Andrew Higgins for the Washington Post, 25 July, and Jeffrey Wasserstrom,"Will Communism Ever Fail in China?" Daily Beast, 23 July, review Richard McGregor's The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers.
Finally, farewell to modern American historian Ferenc Szasz of the University of New Mexico.
Sherrod's firing and rehiring by Tom Vilsack, a Midwestern progressive who should have known better (and a West Wing that either signed off or insisted on it) is a teachable moment. Ponder, if you will, what this event tells us about the cynical use of race in contemporary political culture. Why the Obama administration can't do better than it does, particularly given the historical lessons of the Clinton years in which accomplished black women routinely took it on the chin and were then hung out to dry by their allies, is something academics might want to think about too. Has anyone noticed that as women and people of color are breaking through to higher ed. administration in unprecedented numbers, yawning hiring, tenure and salary gaps persist, and are usually explained as the outcome of discrimination that only existed in the past -- discrimination that could not possibly be corrected in the present by women, people of color and self-proclaimed feminist men who now have the power to do exactly that?
But returning to the kamikaze political life that seems to be shaping the nation's destiny, I would like to add a few observations. As someone who is currently working on the history of radical feminism in the 1970s, it seems quite obvious to me that the political right learned to do this from the political left. Look at any New or Old Left social movement, and you will see a kind of winner-take-all viciousness in which a large scale ideological attack often took the form of taking a remark, or a political stance, as a thread that would then be used to unravel the opposition's whole sweater. Look at the dirty politics internal to mid-century American Communism; trashing in radical feminism; the decades-long success of the AFL-CIO in suppressing organizing among non-industrial labor; the internal struggles that ended with the expulsion of whites from SNCC (and the subsequent, less heralded, resignation of many black members of SNCC); and the number of queer organizations that have been founded, and then turned on, by Larry Kramer. In other words, there is some shared responsibility for the development of these practices and for the strategic deployment of dirty tricks, particularly statements that are spun out of context to"prove" a foregone conclusion. This is not to say that the left is worse than the right in this regard: only that they shared in pioneering this behavior; that it has now been fatally merged with racist right-wing political tactics dating from Reconstruction; and that it is now being perfected in an age in which a media story can be transmitted in nanoseconds. I would also observe that this is not just a political problem, it's a cultural problem. It is the kind of $hit that occurs daily on blogs: blogger writes a six or seven paragraph essay, and some a$$hat latches onto a sentence out of context, gives it a hateful spin, and writes a" comment" that is actually just a personal attack intended to discredit the blogger wholesale. The idea? Who cares about ideas? You would have to read the whole post to grasp the ideas!!!! How much easier just to move on to the next blog, knowing that the writer is exactly the putrid idiot you knew s/he was before you started reading. Which is all to say: we have become Adderall Nation. Even our intellectuals and journalists often lack the attention span to read or watch anything all the way through. We tape everything on TV so we won't have to watch the commercials; we subscribe to Twitters from politicians so we won't have to read their position papers; and we read or view something just long enough to have -- not even an idea, but a reaction - and then we express our outrage as a character assassination of the person who provoked us. Is it about the technology? In other words, if information could not be spread unchecked through blogs and other free social media, would a good woman like Shirley Sherrod have been assaulted in this way? Certainly the technology makes it possible -- but like any other phenomenon that has a history, it doesn't make it inevitable or necessary. And as my mother used to say, it's the thought that counts. (Crossposted at Tenured Radical.)
Daniel Gilbert,"The Errors of Our Ways," NYT, 25 July, reviews Kathryn Schulz's Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error.
Stephen Wade reviews David J. Cox's A Certain Share of Low Cunning: A History of the Bow Street Runners, 1792-1839 for THE, 22 July.
Pankaj Mishrah,"Posing as Fitness," NYT, 25 July, reviews Robert Love's The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America and Stefanie Syman's The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America.
David Leavitt,"Lives of the Novelists: Somerset Maugham," NYT, 25 July, reviews Selina Hastings's The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham: A Biography. Colm Toibin,"Lives of the Novelists: E. M. Forster," NYT, 25 July, reviews Wendy Moffitt's A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life of E. M. Forster.
Richard Rayner,"Paperback Writers: Henry Miller's Grecian days," LA Times, 25 July, reviews a new edition of Miller's The Colossus of Maroussi.
Scott McConnell,"Thought Leader," American Conservative, August, reviews Benjamin Balint's Running Commentary: The Contentious Magazine that Transformed the Jewish Left into the Neoconservative Right.
Jeffrey Wasserstrom,"Will Communism Ever Fail in China?" Daily Beast, 23 July, reviews Richard McGregor's The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers.
Daisy Hay,"Adventures of An Unromantic Biographer," Daily Beast, 21 July, reflects on her experience writing Young Romantics: The Tangled Lives of English Poetry's Greatest Generation.
Leo Damrosch,"At War With Itself," NYT, 25 July, reviews Ruth Harris's Dreyfus: Politics, Emotion, and the Scandal of the Century.
Miranda Seymour,"Carrying On," NYT, 25 July, reviews Juliet Nicolson's The Great Silence: Britain From the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age.
Mark Atwood Lawrence,"The Heart of a Realist," NYT, 25 July, reviews John Lukacs, ed., Through the History of the Cold War: The Correspondence of George F. Kennan and John Lukacs.
Jordan Ellenberg reviews Amir Alexander's Duel at Dawn: Heroes, Martyrs, and the Rise of Modern Mathematics for the Barnes & Noble Review, 22 July.
Roger Cardinal,"Lautréamont's poison-drenched pages," TLS, 21 July, reviews Lautréamont's Oeuvres Completes, Jean-Luc Steinmetz, ed.
Stephen Burt,"The Verse Electric," The Book, 23 July, reviews C. K. Williams's On Whitman.
Matthew Price,"Blood on the Tracks," The National, 22 July, reviews Sean McMeekin's The Berlin-Baghdad Express: The Ottoman Empire and Germany's Bid for World Power, 1898-1919.
Toby Perl Freilich,"Historic Shift," Tablet, 22 July, reviews Christopher Browning's Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave Labor Camp.
Jeremy Treglown,"Koestler the dangerous intellectual," TLS, 21 July, reviews Michael Scammell's Koestler: The indispensable intellectual.
Scott McLemee,"A man outside," The National, 22 July, reviews John A. Hall's Ernest Gellner: An Intellectual Biography.
Joanna Lewis reviews Ronald Hyam's Understanding the British Empire for THE, 22 July.
Daphne Spain,"Voltairine (and other twentieth-century feminists)," TLS, 21 July, reviews Sheila Rowbotham's Dreamers of a New Day: Women who invented the twentieth century.
Dwight Garner,"Carpet-Bombing Falsehoods About a War That's Little Understood," NYT, 21 July, reviews Bruce Cummings's The Korean War.
Conrad Black,"Escape from ‘Nixonland'," NY Sun, 19 June, reviews Rick Perlstein's Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America.
Mark Bauerlein,"An Episode at Hamilton--Paquette and Urgo, Part 1," Brainstorm, 20 July, begins a discussion of chilling conduct at Hamilton, from its rejection of Christopher Hill for a tenure track position to the administration's restrictions on the academic freedom of an chaired professor. See also: Scott Jaschik,"When Faculty Aren't Supposed to Talk," IHE, 22 July.
Julian Baggini,"Plato's stave: academic cracks philosopher's musical code," Guardian, 29 June, offers another look at Jay Kennedy's reading of Plato texts.
Kate Connelly,"Fate of Franz Kafka's literary heritage turns into nightmare ruled on by judge," Guardian, 19 July, reports that, though the Zurich bank vault containing Kafka's manuscripts has finally been opened, the sisters who claim ownership are obstructing any public report of its contents.
Adam Kirsch,"American Messiah," Tablet, 20 July, reviews Elliott R. Wolfson's Open Secret: Postmessianic Messianism and the Mystical Revision of Menahem Mendel Schneerson.
Leonard Cassuto reviews Sam Kean's The Disappearing Spoon and Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements for the Barnes & Noble Review, 13 July.
Eric Foner,"Restless Confederates," Nation, 14 July, reviews Stephanie McCurry's Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South and Victoria Bynum's The Long Shadow of the Civil War: Southern Dissent and Its Legacies.
Janet Maslin,"Pen Pals: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and the Literary World They Made," NYT, 19 July, reviews Bill Morgan and David Stanford, eds., Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters and Bill Morgan's The Typewriter is Holy: The Complete, Uncensored History of the Beat Generation.
Adam Kirsch,"Muscular Movement," The Book, 20 July, reviews Justin Vaïsse's Neoconservatism: The Biography of a Movement.
Stefan Collini reviews Adam Sissman's Hugh Trevor-Roper: The Biography for the Guardian, 17 July.
John Summers,"What Politics Does to History," The Book, 19 July, reviews Carl Mirra's The Admirable Radical: Staughton Lynd and Cold War Dissent, 1945–1970.
Michael Kazin reviews Alex Heard's The Eyes of Willie McGee: A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in the Jim Crow South for the Washington Post, 18 July.
Dwight Garner,"Mississippi Invaded by Idealism," NYT, 18 July, reviews Bruce Watson's Freedom Summer: The Savage Season That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy.
Kevin Boyle reviews James T. Patterson's Freedom Is Not Enough: The Moynihan Report and America's Struggle Over Black Family Life -- from LBJ to Obama for the Washington Post, 18 July.
Jay Parini,"The Tolstoys' War," NYT, 18 July, reviews Alexandra Popoff's Sophia Tolstoy: A Biography.
"The Agony and the Ecstasy," The Economist, 8 July, reviews Norman Lebrecht's Why Mahler? How One Man and Ten Symphonies Changed the World.
Brian Ladd,"Made in Germany," NYT, 18 July, reviews Peter Watson's The German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution, and the Twentieth Century.
William Boyd,"Man as an Island," NYT, 18 July, reviews John Carey's William Golding, The Man Who Wrote"Lord of the Flies": A Life.
Colin Thubron,"Believer's Bazaar," NYT, 18 July, reviews William Dalrymple's Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India.
Finally, twice today, I have been told
I will not slit my wrists! Tomorrow is another day. I will revise and revise.
Thomas Bender,"Historians in Public," Transformations of the Public Sphere, 12 July, argues that affixing"public" to either"historian" or"intellectual" is redundant.
Darrin M. MacMahon,"Intensely Familiar, Yet Strangely Remote," WSJ, 15 July, reviews Fred Inglis's A Short History of Celebrity.
Finally, Alexandra Topping,"Historian Orlando Figes agrees to pay damages for fake reviews," Guardian, 16 July, reports on his acceptance of responsibility.
David Grann,"The Mark of a Masterpiece," New Yorker, 12 July, features Peter Paul Biro, who finds Leonardo's finger print on an obscure painting.
James Meek,"Some Wild Creature," LRB, 22 July, reviews The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy, trans. by Cathy Porter, Leo Tolstoy's A Confession, trans. by Anthony Briggs, William Nickell's The Death of Tolstoy: Russia on the Eve, Astapovo Station, 1910, and Donna Tussing Orwin's Anniversary Essays on Tolstoy.
Crystal N. Feimster reviews Sharon Davies's Rising Road: A True Tale of Love, Race, and Religion in America for THE, 15 July. A Methodist minister murders a Roman Catholic priest and is defended by a future member of the Supreme Court.
Aaron Thier,"Known Unknowns," The Book, 16 July, reviews Hans Magnus Enzensberger's The Silences of Hammerstein. Thier argues that it is Enzensberger's silences that raise his important questions about the writing of history.
Jonathan Jones,"The Virgin of the Rocks: Da Vinci decoded," Guardian, 13 July, follows discussions arising from the restoration of the altarpiece at the National Gallery. See also: Jones,"Leonardo Da Vinci's Virgin of the Rocks – more to Mary than meets the eye?" On Art, 14 July.
Joseph Phelan,"Edgy Elizabeth Barrett Browning," TLS, 14 July, reviews Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, The Brownings' Correspondence XVII, February 1851–January 1852, Philip Kelly, et al., eds.; and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, The Works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 5 vols., Sandra Donaldson, et al., eds.
Adam Kirsch,"The Prose and the Passion," TNR, 13 July, reviews Wendy Moffat's A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life of E.M. Forster and Frank Kermode's Concerning E.M. Forster.
David Wheatley,"Louis MacNeice and friends," TLS, 14 July, reviews Jonathan Allison, ed., Letters of Louis MacNeice.
Albeit for very large values of 'nobody'. In 2006 I wrote the following, with regards to John Ramsden's Don’t Mention the War: The British and the Germans since 1890:
[...] what’s with having the endnotes not in the book itself but on a website? Do they think websites are permanent? Will the 10 pages omitted from the book really improve its profitability by that much? It’s better than none at all, I suppose, but it does potentially diminish the book’s useability for research purposes, now and in the future. For shame, Little, Brown, for shame.
And of course, four years later the website no longer exists; the domain name is not even registered any more. It doesn't help that Ramsden died last year, so there's probably nobody looking after his electronic-academic legacy.
Luckily this is a trend which hasn't taken off -- at least not that I've noticed in recent book purchases. But Guy Walters at the Daily Telegraphdisagrees (citing Ramsden's website too, which floored me since his post seems to have gone up this very day!) He thinks that the practice of moving footnotes, endnotes and bibliographies from books to the web is becoming more common. I do hope he's wrong.