October 29, 1989 |
After the death in 1896 of the great German historian Leopold von Ranke, Syracuse University established a memorial with his portrait, study table, chairs, books and pens. The action was not surprising; for much of the 19th Century (and at least until World War I), Americans believed that Germany represented the most advanced learning, science and scholarship. Young Americans seeking further education usually went to Germany, not England or France.
July 4, 1999 |
In the late 1930s, members of the Federal Writer's Project of the Works Project Administration interviewed former slaves in 17 states. This was by far the largest of several ex-slave interview projects that took place from the 1920s to the 1940s, including one that made a small number of audio recordings of interviews with former slaves. In their book and tape set, "Remembering Slavery," editors Ira Berlin, Marc Favreau and Steven F.
July 7, 1992 |
Science fiction novelist Harry Turtledove got the idea for his new book from a postcard he received in 1988 from a fellow writer, Judith Tarr. Tarr complained that the cover art for her latest book seemed "as anachronistic as Robert E. Lee with an Uzi." What was an annoyance to Tarr was serendipity for Turtledove. In his new Civil War novel "The Guns of the South," due out in October from Ballantine, Robert E.
November 16, 2003 |
Robert K. MASSIE is a nonfiction writer of a rare and perhaps vanishing sort. He is an independent author; that is, he pays his way in the world by his scribblings, and he lacks the institutional and financial protection that is afforded to university professors of history, such as Simon Schama, Niall Ferguson, Linda Colley, Jonathan Spence and, I admit it ... myself.
June 6, 2004 |
If you find yourself in London anytime soon, stop at the Imperial War Museum. There, on the ground floor, is a vast permanent exhibit on the history of World War I, a conflict in which 745,000 soldiers from Britain gave their lives.
October 3, 1999 |
Since the Cold War ended, a number of scholars and policymakers have sought to chart the future of United States foreign policy. The consensus favors preserving, and expanding, American alliances like NATO and global free trade. Among the beleaguered minority that opposes this emergent orthodoxy, no one is more eloquent--or more vehement--than the pundit and perennial presidential candidate Patrick J. Buchanan.
December 12, 1999 |
About a dozen years ago, I found myself in the Pakistani city of Peshawar at the mouth of the Khyber Pass. It was in every sense of the word a frontier town: a place full of Afghan fighters taking rest and recreation from the long struggle against the Red Army. Every kind of weapon and every sort of loot from the Soviets was on offer in the bazaar. Every male of military age looked as if he would be at home on a horse, with a long-barreled jezail rifle slung across his shoulders.
October 11, 1998 |
People never find it easy to confront the past; they generally prefer to consign it to oblivion. In today's society, the model citizen is too often one without memory. Spurious historical categories are essential to social amnesia. The notion of the decade, for example, is among the more ubiquitous of such categories. It is, to be sure, a convenience, but it also is a tool of demarcation, an ideological term used to protect the present from the past.