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1960s


  • Originally published 10/30/2013

    You Don’t Need a Weatherman

    Jon Wiener on Bill Ayers' new autobiography, "Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident."

  • Originally published 08/12/2013

    Great Train Robbers dumped ‘foreign’ Scottish money

    THE Great Train Robbers ditched a huge haul of cash from their infamous raid because they were Scottish banknotes, it has been claimed.Gang members were said to be too wary of the “foreign” money snatched in the 1963 robbery, in which they stole £2.6 million (the equivalent of over £40m today) so they left it in their countryside hideout.But this proved to be one of the key pieces of evidence that led to most of the 15-man gang’s eventual capture.Author Nick Russell-Pavier, who carried out a series of interviews with mastermind Bruce Reynolds before he died, revealed the gang left behind a large sum in Scottish and Irish banknotes because they were wary of the currency....

  • Originally published 06/21/2013

    LBJ Was a Great President

    LBJ in 1969. Credit: Wiki Commons.This quoting of the opinions of some famous people on the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson contains evaluations after his death in 1973 and my attempts at a scholarly evaluation twenty years later. Its purpose is to try to dilute the casual and even thoughtless remarks about this period of leadership that appear routinely (“Vietnam!”), and not too thoughtfully, in today’s lesser publications.

  • Originally published 06/19/2013

    1964 Report: Humanities "Uniquely Equipped to Fill the 'Abyss of Leisure'" Made Possible by Forty-Hour Workweek

    Credit: Wiki Commons.A new report on the state of the humanities in the United States reaffirms the importance of understanding our shared history as one of the cornerstones of democratic decision-making.The American Academy of Arts and Sciences released the comprehensive report of its Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences this week, and is presenting its recommendations to Congress on Wednesday.The Commission will emphasize the need to increase funding to the National Endowment of the Humanities (which has seen its budget decline nearly $17 million since 2010), as well as state humanities councils, and is calling for a humanities program similar to the proposed STEM Master Teacher Corps, which would provide career advancement and better pay for the top five percent of STEM teachers in the United States.The Long View

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    The U.S. government's bizarre tourism campaign for South Vietnam

    Before Vietnam became synonymous to 1970s Americans with a seemingly endless war, it might have conjured images of French wines and big game hunting. In the early 1960s, the U.S. government tried to encourage tourism in Vietnam in elsewhere in Southeast Asia as a sort of travel diplomacy."Tourism's proper development, it was believed, could serve important U.S. geostrategic objectives," writes University of Minnesota history professor Scott Laderman in his 2009 book Tours of Vietnam: War, Travel Guides, and Memory. Friendly American faces could soften the reputation of the U.S. overseas, it was thought, and their souvenir purchases might bolster emerging economies....[H]ere are some highlights from a 1961 travel brochure for the country, aptly titled "Visit Fascinating Vietnam," stored at archive.org and apparently housed at one point by the University of Texas....

  • Originally published 08/01/2014

    The Lesson Tolstoy Teaches About Writing History that We Should Remember on the Anniversary of World War I

    An age-old debate in history is whether individuals make history, or whether individuals are swept along by great forces that they can only hope to ride skillfully, not control completely. Tolstoy gave expression to the latter idea in War and Peace: The further back we transport ourselves in examining events, the less arbitrary they appear to us…. The further back in history we transport the object of our observation, the more questionable becomes the freedom of the men producing events, and the more obvious the law of necessity.  While the wide, long-term perspective employed by Tolstoy in this passage is familiar to historians, two articles in the popular press prompted by the anniversary of the beginning of World War I show the great appeal of focusing on the individual. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan details the toll taken by the war on the leaders of major states: Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II, England’s King George V, Russia’s Czar Nicholas II. In the Washington Post, Graham Allison examines how two of those three leaders (“Nicky and Willy”) tried to prevent the war. 

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