Join our mailing list

* indicates required

Tags Matching:

LA Times


  • Originally published 08/13/2013

    Jerry Lewis holocaust film footage surfaces

    Even Jerry Lewis admits his unreleased 1970s Holocaust movie is “bad, bad, bad” — no minor fact because the 87-year-old comedian directed, wrote and starred in the film. Now, thanks to some leaked video, people can see how Lewis might have been right.A seven-minute report from a 1972 Danish television show about the making of “The Day the Clown Cried” surfaced recently, and based on that, the movie looks hammy and self-important at the same time.Shot more than 40 years ago, the movie stars Lewis, in one of his first serious turns as an actor, as a circus performer arrested by the Gestapo and thrown into a concentration camp. Once there, he starts performing for Jewish children, and reportedly travels with some of them to Auschwitz....

  • Originally published 08/13/2013

    Neanderthals may have made tools from bone

    Adding to the accumulating evidence that Neanderthals were more sophisticated than previously thought, scientists in Europe said that they had unearthed strong evidence that the early hominins — often typecast as brutish, club-lugging ape-men — fashioned their own specialized bone tools.In a report published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, archaeologists described the discovery of four fragments of bone tools known as lissoirs at two Neanderthal sites in southwest France.The implements are the oldest specialized bone tools found in Europe, said study lead author Marie Soressi, an archaeologist from Leiden University in the Netherlands....

  • Originally published 08/13/2013

    Joseph Margulies: Invoking God in America

    Joseph Margulies is a professor at Northwestern University Law School and the author of "What Changed When Everything Changed: 9/11 and the Making of National Identity."In one recent week, time took two heroes. So far as I know, the legendary civil rights lawyer Julius Chambers and the esteemed public intellectual Robert Bellah never met. They lived on opposite ends of the country and traveled in different circles. But they were connected in an important, symbolic way, and their passing within a few days of each other provides the occasion to reflect on their common lesson for modern American life.

  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    Zinn and Daniels Both Guilty of Sacrificing Nuance to Politics

    Emails recently obtained by the Associated Press have revealed that Indiana's former Republican governor, Mitch Daniels, now president of Purdue University, tried to ban Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States from Indiana schools. His attempt, though perhaps clumsy, wasn't all that surprising.If history tends to be written by the victors, Zinn's alternative take on America's past sought to give voice to the vanquished, telling the story of U.S. history from the perspective of slaves, Indians, laborers and women. The book brought the Boston University historian (who died in 2010) acclaim from many on the American left. But conservatives have had him in their sights for years.

  • Originally published 08/07/2013

    LA Times interviews Brenda E. Stevenson

    Historian Brenda E. Stevenson (pictured in her UCLA office, with an African sculpture) mostly writes about the long-gone — 18th and 19th century African Americans, and the lives of enslaved women. Then came the case that made history while L.A. watched: Korean-born shopkeeper Soon Ja Du killed black teenager Latasha Harlins over a bottle of orange juice. A jury convicted Du of voluntary manslaughter, but she was sentenced only to probation and community service.Stevenson's new book, "The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins," analyzes the other "no justice, no peace" case that echoes through the 1992 riots and into the present day.Thirteen days after the Rodney King beating, Harlins was shot and killed. Where were you when all of this happened?

  • Originally published 08/05/2013

    Jeffrey Wasserstrom: Old Stories from the New China

    Jeffrey Wasserstrom teaches at UC Irvine and is the author of "China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know."In July, two stories out of China were big news. One focused on watermelon seller Deng Zhengjia, a poor urban migrant in Hunan province, who became newsworthy only when reports circulated that thuggish chengguan — members of para-police units — allegedly beat him to death. A week later, someone very different, Bo Xilai, was back in the news when he was formally charged with "abuses of power" and corruption. Bo — the former party boss of one of China's biggest cities, Chongqing, a Politburo member and once thought to be bound for elevation to the Communist Party's ruling Standing Committee — was anything but poor, powerless or unknown before cascading scandals brought him down in 2012. Putting the tales of Deng's death and Bo's indictment side by side illuminates a major challenge China's leaders face: How to keep the people believing the stories they tell to justify their rule.

  • Originally published 07/09/2013

    Michael Fullilove: Obama Needs an FDR-Like Foreign Policy Pivot

    Michael Fullilove is executive director of the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, and author of "Rendezvous With Destiny: How Franklin D. Roosevelt and Five Extraordinary Men Took America Into the War and Into the World."President Obama's most important foreign policy initiative is his attempt to "pivot" away from the Middle East and toward Asia.Yet in Asia, some are starting to wonder whether the pivot was last year's story. The new secretary of State, John F. Kerry, is rarely sighted in the region. The military elements of the rebalance are underwhelming. Some of the main proponents of the pivot have left government. And U.S. policymakers are still drawn to the Middle East like iron filings to a magnet.One reason for the sluggishness of the shift is that it is remarkably difficult to pivot a country as large and diverse as the United States. Arguably, the last successful pivot took place from 1939 to 1941, between the outbreak of the European fighting and the U.S. entry into the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. During this period, America transformed itself from a nervous, isolationist, middle power into an outward-looking global leader.

  • Originally published 06/21/2013

    Tony Platt: UC and Native Americans -- Unsettled Remains

    Tony Platt is a visiting professor of justice studies at San Jose State University and the author of "Grave Matters: Excavating California's Buried Past."In 1974, Berkeley's distinguished anthropologist Robert Heizer issued a public mea culpa for the practices of his profession in treating "California Indians as though they were objects." In particular, he apologized for the "continued digging up of the graves of their ancestors."In 1999, the department of anthropology at Berkeley issued an apology to the cultural descendants of Ishi, a Yahi native, for sending his brain to the Smithsonian after his death in 1916. "We regret our department's role in what happened to Ishi, a man who had already lost all that was dear to him."This was a good beginning to a journey of accountability and reconciliation. But since then, the University of California has been largely silent about its role as the legal owner of a vast collection of native remains stashed in basements in campuses throughout the state. It owes at the very least 10,000 more apologies....

  • Originally published 06/21/2013

    Richard Rashke: Karkoc Among Many Nazis Who Slipped Through U.S. Net

    Richard Rashke is the author of "Useful Enemies: John Demjanjuk and America's Open-Door Policy for Nazi War Criminals."This month, the Associated Press exposed yet another alleged Nazi collaborator, Michael Karkoc, a carpenter who had been living quietly in Minnesota for decades. During World War II, the news service reported, he was "the top commander of a Nazi SS-led unit accused of burning villages filled with women and children."Karkoc's son has vehemently denied his father had such Nazi connections, but even if it turns out Karkoc, now 94, was a collaborator, it would not be all that surprising that he managed to immigrate to the United States. Despite stated policies aimed at keeping Nazis and those who worked with them out of the country in the years after World War II, many slipped through.Estimates of the number of former Nazi war criminals and their collaborators who entered the U.S. during the hectic postwar years range widely from 1,000 to 10,000. Based on my own research, I would put the number at somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000....

  • Originally published 06/07/2013

    Stephanie Meeks: Preserving the History of the Manhattan Project

    Stephanie Meeks is the president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.The Manhattan Project, the secret research mission to develop an atomic weapon ahead of Germany and bring an end to World War II, was one of the 20th century's most ambitious feats of science and engineering. And one of its darkest moments.In many respects, the Manhattan Project ushered in the modern era. The creation and use of these early weapons of mass destruction raised profound ethical questions, which remain just as challenging and urgent today as in 1945. As a nation, we have a responsibility to grapple openly and objectively with the Manhattan Project's complex legacy.To do that, we need a place for reflection. Legislation before Congress would establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, an assembly of three locations central to the development of the atomic bomb: Hanford, Wash., site of the first full-scale nuclear reactor; Oak Ridge, Tenn., home to the first uranium enrichment plant; and the laboratory and related sites at Los Alamos, N.M....

  • Originally published 05/20/2013

    Navy dolphins discover rare old torpedo off Coronado

    SAN DIEGO — In the ocean off Coronado, a Navy team has discovered a relic worthy of display in a military museum: a torpedo of the kind deployed in the late 19th century, considered a technological marvel in its day.But don't look for the primary discoverers to get a promotion or an invitation to meet the admirals at the Pentagon — although they might get an extra fish for dinner or maybe a pat on the snout.The so-called Howell torpedo was discovered by bottlenose dolphins being trained by the Navy to find undersea objects, including mines, that not even billion-dollar technology can detect....

  • Originally published 05/17/2013

    Seth Rosenfeld: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of UC

    Seth Rosenfeld is the author of "Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power," which received the 2013 Ridenhour Book Prize.Once upon a time, the University of California was a sacred trust, the top tier of a model educational system that helped lift the state to unprecedented prosperity. It was jealously protected from outside political interference.Now UC is more often described in profane terms. The state's entire higher education system has been under assault for decades — free access is long gone; investment per student has shrunk; some rankings have slipped. The passage of Proposition 30 last year will help repair some of the damage, but UC's stature has been diminished and with it the dream of a truly excellent education for every qualified native son and daughter.

  • Originally published 05/06/2013

    Frank Snepp: The Vietnam Syndrome

    Frank Snepp is a Peabody-award winning investigative journalist and the author of two CIA memoirs.Thirty-eight years ago last week, I was among the last CIA officers to be choppered off the U.S. Embassy roof in Saigon as the North Vietnamese took the country. Just two years before that chaotic rush for the exits, the Nixon administration had withdrawn the last American troops from the war zone and had declared indigenous forces strong enough, and the government reliable enough, to withstand whatever the enemy might throw into the fray after U.S. forces were gone.

  • Originally published 05/06/2013

    Keeping up with Kevin Starr

    Asking Kevin Starr a question is like turning on a fire hose. First there's a blast of erudition. Then, as his intellect gathers, information rushes out in a deluge. He's talking, but it's as if an invisible scholar inside his head is yanking books off shelves, throwing them open, checking the index, then racing off to find the next volume. On the outside, Starr is an avuncular 72-year-old, but his brain is sprinting like an Olympian.Amazingly, it's possible to keep up.This may be Starr's greatest gift: not just that he has amassed a phenomenal body of knowledge but that he can translate it into dynamic works of history. There are eight volumes in his seminal "Americans and the California Dream" series, from "Americans and the California Dream, 1850-1915" (1973) to "Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950-1963" (2009). It's for these books — as well as his work as California State Librarian and his stellar teaching career — that Starr will be honored with the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement at the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes on April 19....

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Oaxaca temple complex hints at archaic Mexican state

    Much of what we know about past civilizations in Mexico comes from the writings of colonial Europeans -- Spanish conquerors and priests -- who arrived in the Americas in the 1500s. But archaeological evidence from recent excavations at a site called El Palenque in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, shows that temple precincts similar to the ones the Europeans encountered had existed in the region some 1,500 years earlier.Married archaeologists Elsa Redmond and Charles Spencer, both of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, reported the discoveries Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

  • Originally published 04/21/2013

    Jonathan Zimmerman: Colleges as Country Clubs

    Jonathan Zimmerman teaches history and education at New York University. He is the author of "Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory."My daughter is a junior in high school, so I've spent part of this spring making that upper-middle-class pilgrimage known as "the college tour."But as we were led across sweeping lawns by tour guides walking backward, I found myself thinking less about my daughter's looming college experience and more about how different her life will be after she graduates.I've also been thinking about "Girls," the television series about four young women trying to make ends meet in New York. Three of them are depicted as recent graduates of Oberlin, which is also the alma mater of "Girls" creator and lead actress Lena Dunham.

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    Why does the pope change his name?

    What's in a pope's name?By choosing the name Francis, the Argentine Jesuit who will lead the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics has signaled a devotion to simple living and social justice, analysts say.No pope has ever chosen to be called Francis before, and it was not among the names favored by oddsmakers betting on which the new pontiff would choose. The name harks back to St. Francis of Assisi, who founded the Franciscan order.Picking a name is the first decision made by the new pontiff and a closely watched sign of how he will lead the church....

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    Edwin Ramsey dies at 95; WWII Army cavalry officer in Philippines

    Historians have said that losing the Philippines in the early stages of World War II was a defining event in the career of Gen. Douglas MacArthur.The same could be said of Edwin Ramsey. But Ramsey couldn't admit defeat.After MacArthur's retreat in early 1942, Ramsey, an officer in the 26th Cavalry Regiment of the U.S. Army, joined the Philippine resistance. He eventually headed a guerrilla force that grew to 40,000 enlisted men and officers, supplying crucial intelligence that helped lay the foundation for MacArthur's triumphant return more than two years later....

  • Originally published 03/14/2013

    Nicole Hemmer: Guarding the Right's Flank

    Nicole Hemmer, a research associate at the United States Studies Center at the University of Sydney, also teaches history at the University of Miami.To understand what is wrong with today's political right, look no further than the American Conservative Union. The ACU made headlines last month when it snubbed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. A source told National Review that Christie hadn't been invited to the ACU's annual Conservative Political Action Conference, which begins Thursday, because of his "limited future" in the Republican Party.To put that in perspective: The ACU found ample room at CPAC for Sarah Palin and Donald Trump.

  • Originally published 03/07/2013

    'Emperor' stirs deep emotions in Japan and U.S.

    Emotions have been running high at screenings of the historical drama "Emperor."The Japanese American coproduction, which opens Friday, revolves around the dilemma Gen. Douglas MacArthur faced as he tried to restore order in post-World War II Japan: Should the country's divine leader, Emperor Hirohito, stand trial and face certain death on war crimes charges?When the producers screened "Emperor" recently in Japan, producer Gary Foster said, many men were in tears as they left the theater."It was almost a cathartic moment," he said....

Subscribe to our mailing list