March 25, 2012, 4:25 pm
A reader reports the below glitch displaying this blog on iPhones. I don’t get it with mine. Do any of you? If so, please report what model and OS, and we’ll see if we can sort it out.
March 23, 2012, 1:23 pm
I’ve probably never said this here before, but having finished my book on Sand Creek, I’m now co-authoring* a graphic history of the Civil War. As a consequence, I’ve been following this discussion with some interest. I don’t have much to add except this: I decided, very early in the process of writing the book, that we would NEVER put fictional words into the mouths of non-fictional historical figures. Which is to say, although my co-author badly wanted to insert a couple of gold bug stanzas into the Gettysburg Address, I put my foot down. On the one hand, this seems very much like what Silbey suggests should serve as best practices (both in literature and scholarship, if I understand him correctly). But on the other hand, I have to admit that we worked around the attendant problems by making up characters left and right to voice the dialogue and carry the weight of the story…
March 22, 2012, 5:55 am
Amelia Earhart, still sought after 75 years:
Ric Gillespie is executive director of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), and he revealed details of the new analysis at a press conference in Washington on Tuesday. Gillespie told reporters:
“We found some really fascinating and compelling evidence. Finding the airplane would be the thing that would make it conclusive.”
The photo is not new to Earhart investigators, but this fresh analysis from 2010 has aroused new suspicions that it could be part of Earhart’s plane in the October 1937 photo. Gillespie said he was convinced, boldly stating:
“This is where the airplane went into the drink.”
The photo is supposed to show her landing gear floating:
Gillespie and TIGHAR targeted Nikumaroro before.
“Even if you do not find what you seek, there is great honor and possibility in the search itself,”…
March 21, 2012, 10:27 am
Understand that if you felt something that connected you with where your devices come from — that is not a lie. That is art.
If you use real people and real events, you don’t get to lie. No dramatic license, no aiming for a larger truth, no composite characters, no changing things around for better narrative flow, no “art.” No lying.
I get it. Actual events can happen slowly, or not at all, intermittently, inconclusively, inconveniently, and not in useful way for story-telling. I also understand that, for example, history and historians never get to the pure unvarnished objective truth of myth and legend. There are too many distortions, too many intervening years, too many people, sources, and all the grand filtration that the past goes through before reaching its reporter. I know too that historians often produce pedantic, waffle-full, carefully-couched, well…
March 20, 2012, 9:39 am
Speaking to a crowd of supporters, Margaret Thatcher, as played by Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady, explains what she would do as prime minister: “Crush the working class, crush the scum, the yobs.”
That’s in a pirated version. The cheap joke to make of course is, how pirated is it really though? And we’re not above that, in the same way as the sea is not above the clouds (as Douglas Adams would say).
March 19, 2012, 6:22 am
John Demjanjuk has died.
Reuters: “Former Nazi guard Demjanjuk dies in Germany aged 91”
BBC: “Nazi camp guard Demjanjuk dies”
Al Jazeera: “Nazi camp guard Demjanjuk dies in Germany”
NYT: “John Demjanjuk, 91, Dogged by Charges of Atrocities as Nazi Camp Guard, Dies”
NYT: Why so circuitous?
Jerusalem Post editorial here.
And, relatedly, a fascinating New Yorker review by Richard Brody of Claude Lanzmann’s autobiography, including discussions of the making of Shoah.
March 12, 2012, 7:27 am
Repurposing a comment I made in this thread, I thought I would run a chart of American military fatalities in Afghanistan. I use American military fatalities “as a quick and dirty way to tell how things are going in a US counterinsurgency effort, figuring that killing an American soldier is always a valuable achievement for an insurgent, that American soldiers (especially in the respective surges) are in harm’s way, that killing one requires mobilizing a certain amount of effort on an insurgency’s part, and that (perhaps most importantly) the Pentagon can’t really fudge the number of deaths (they can with wounded; the definition of “wounded” changed in the middle of the Iraq War to, shock! surprise!, reduce the numbers). It’s not perfect (not nearly so), but it worked pretty well for me looking at Iraq in 2008 and 2009.” Note that this is not a statement about the morality …
March 5, 2012, 11:15 am
If you’ve ever wondered to yourself why I don’t edit, say, the Keynesian section on the New Deal on Wikipedia, you might want to look into the now much-covered story of Timothy Messer-Kruse’s valiant effort to get Haymarket treated properly. (We have previously drawn on Messer-Kruse’s excellent work here.)
To be clear, this is, if not quite laziness on my part, then simply a prioritizing of time and energy. I believe in what Messer-Kruse is doing and I wish him greatest success.
March 3, 2012, 11:40 am
is up at Cliopatria. Enjoy the best of reader-nominated military history from around the web.
March 1, 2012, 1:49 pm
David Frum speaks of the recently dead Andrew Breitbart.
But to speak only “good” of Andrew Breitbart would be to miss the story and indeed to misunderstand the man…. The attack was everything, the details nothing. This indifference to detail suffused all of Breitbart’s work, and may indeed be his most important and lasting legacy. Breitbart sometimes got stories right (Anthony Weiner). More often he got them wrong (Sherrod). He did not much care either way. Just as all is fair in a shooting war, so manipulation and deception are legitimate tools in a culture war. Breitbart used those tools without qualm or regret, and he inspired a cohort of young conservative journalists to do likewise…. And this is where it becomes difficult to honor the Roman injunction to speak no ill of the dead. It’s difficult for me to assess Breitbart’s impact upon American media and American…
February 27, 2012, 4:44 pm
Anita Creamer’s article in the Sacramento Bee on Executive Order 9066 and the effect of internment on Japanese Americans.
Today Japanese American educators and researchers say that the community’s third generation – the Sansei, most of them born after the war to parents who had been imprisoned – has inherited a complicated generational legacy that has played out in the Japanese American culture ever since the days of camp.
“A lot of what people experience in adulthood can be traced back to the trauma their parents passed on intergenerationally,” said Satsuki Ina, 67, a psychotherapist and retired Sacramento State professor who was born to Nisei (or second) generation parents at the Tule Lake camp in Northern California.
Through her research, which culminated in an Emmy-winning PBS documentary, “Children of the Camps,” she discovered that post-traumatic stress scarred the lives of …
February 23, 2012, 11:32 am
We are fortunate to have a guest post today from Robin Averbeck. Ms. Averbeck is a doctoral candidate working on the community action programs of the Lyndon Johnson administration, and has some insights appropriate to the current interest in Charles Murray’s new book and the idea of a culture of poverty. It’s always a privilege to work with a student whose research is interesting on its own terms and also engages current events in an intriguing way.
In the winter of 1963, the sociologist Charles Lebeaux argued that poverty, rather than merely a lack of money, was in fact the result of several complex, interrelated causes. “Poverty is not simply a matter of deficient income,” Lebeaux explained. “It involves a reinforcing pattern of restricted opportunities, deficient community services, abnormal social pressures and predators, and defensive adaptations. Increased income alone is…
February 23, 2012, 5:26 am
So Colonel Daniel Davis criticizes the American effort in Afghanistan (a criticism I don’t agree with, by the way)? Watch as (it sure seems) the Pentagon media machine spins up to discredit him through cooperative media folk, in this case, Tom Ricks of Foreign Policy (and formerly the Washington Post). First comes the reasoned response, from a professor at the National War College:
I was prepared for a real critique and came away profoundly disappointed. Every veteran has an important story, but [Davis'] work is a mess. It is not a successor piece to HR McMaster’s book on the Joint Chiefs during Vietnam, or Paul Yingling’s critique of U.S. generalship that appeared in Armed Forces Journal a few years back. Davis is not a hero, but he will go into the whistleblower hall of fame. If years hence, he doesn’t make full Colonel, it will be construed as punishment, but there is nothing in…
February 22, 2012, 10:47 am
Some of the best works on the American Empire are being done by reporters and publicatioins exclusively focused on the various branches of the US military. Sean Naylor, of the Army Times, is an example. His six part series on covert American activities in Somalia is an enormously valuable insight into the nuts and bolts of global imperial efforts, missions that will go on long after the United States has left Iraq and Afghanistan. An excerpt:
The official referred to Joint Special Operations Command’s notion of “the unblinking eye” — using intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to keep a target under constant watch. In Iraq and Afghanistan, JSOC was “developing the concept of ‘we don’t want any blinks in our collection’ — the unblinking eye,” the senior intel official said.
But the wars in those countries deprived commanders in the Horn of the…