Originally published 08/13/2013
NEW HAVEN — William Howard Taft was not born there; he did not live or even die there. But for a few years, the 27th president did own the house at 111 Whitney Avenue in New Haven, and that association has conferred on the structure a certain historical gravitas.Now a group of current and former Yale students is betting the building can do the same for the William F. Buckley Jr. Program, which seeks to “expand political discourse on campus and to expose students to often-unvoiced views.” (It is a goal Mr. Buckley himself might have expressed, albeit with more syllables.)Thanks to $500,000 from a single, unnamed donor, the group will soon move into the William H. Taft Mansion — with a two-year lease and an option to buy — and attempt the transformation from a local undergraduate venture into a conservative policy institute with a presence on the national political landscape....
Originally published 05/30/2013
Marci Shore is associate professor of history at Yale University. She is the author, most recently, of A Taste of Ashes: The Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe.“In West Germany people know barely anything about thirty-five years of my life,” Angela Merkel, today the powerful prime minister of a unified Germany, said in a 2004 interview. This quote now serves as the epigraph for a new book by two German journalists, Günther Lachmann and Ralf Georg Reuth, about the East German origins of the German chancellor. The authors of Das erste Leben der Angela M. (“The First Life of Angela M.”) wish to impress upon their readers that Angela Merkel, who lived those first thirty-five years of her life in the communist German Democratic Republic, was more deeply a part of that society than had previously been appreciated.
Originally published 04/23/2013
Marci Shore, an associate professor of history at Yale University, is the author of “The Taste of Ashes: The Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe.”SEVENTY years ago today, a group of young men and women fired the shots that began the largest single act of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust.The Warsaw Ghetto uprising is rightly commemorated — through books, memoirs and movies — as an extraordinary act of courage in the face of near-certain death. Those who fought in the ghetto provide the iconic image of heroism, and an antidote to images of Jews being led to the gas chambers.The uprising was indeed extraordinary. But the manner in which it has been remembered over the years — in Communist Poland, in the West and in Israel — says more about the use of history for contemporary purposes than the uprising itself. The true nature of the uprising cannot be understood through its postwar commemorations but only through its wartime origins....
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