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February 19, 2013 | By Kathleen Hennessey, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Finally unburdened by worries about running for another election, President Obama is acting different these days. Second-term Obama is noticeably quicker to speak his mind and get personal on subjects he once avoided. His schedule at times ignores concerns about "optics," Washington-speak for what voters might perceive. On Friday, for example, the president delivered an unexpectedly personal, and at times off-the-cuff, speech in Chicago about the root causes of urban violence.
February 3, 2013 | Susan King
Jeanine Basinger's "I Do and I Don't: A History of Marriage in the Movies" (Alfred A. Knopf: 432 pp., $30) is a breezy, fun excursion into Hollywood's presentation of matrimony, from the earliest days of cinema through the modern era. But rather than celebrating how well cinema has depicted the institution, the book illustrates how rarely Hollywood has captured the complexities and realities of marriage. The book is deeply personal for Basinger, 76, on sabbatical from Wesleyan University in Connecticut where she is the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies and founder and curator of the university's Cinema Archives.
January 10, 2013 | Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
Evan S. Connell Jr., a literary iconoclast whose writings as a novelist, poet, essayist and historian won the admiration of critics and a cult-like following of discerning readers with books on subjects as eclectic as Midwestern provincialism, the medieval Crusades and Gen. George Custer's last stand, has died. He was 88. Connell, who had been in failing health in recent years, was found dead Thursday at his home in Santa Fe, N.M. The cause "was just old age," said his niece, Donna Waller.
December 24, 2012 | By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times
For years the stories of pain and patriotism, of loss and heroism, have been locked away in a storage facility in Washington, D.C. But now a massive collection of American wartime correspondence from the Revolutionary War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is on the verge of finding a permanent home that will provide greater access for students, historians and the general public. Author and historian Andrew Carroll, who has gathered 90,000-plus wartime letters since 1998, has reached an agreement to donate the ever-growing collection to Chapman University in Orange County.
November 28, 2012 | By Rebecca Keegan, Los Angeles Times
Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" is a historical biopic more concerned with depicting the 16th president's log-rolling politics than his log-splitting childhood. "Lincoln," one of many high-profile films this season based on real events, has been warmly embraced by critics and audiences. But there's another group whose opinion matters - historians. "There have been other movies about Lincoln," said James McPherson, a Civil War historian, Lincoln biographer and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Battle Cry of Freedom," in a recent interview after seeing the film.
November 27, 2012 | By Rebecca Trounson, Los Angeles Times
Wendell D. Garrett, a historian and authority on American decorative arts who was widely known for his appearances as an appraiser on the long-running PBS series "Antiques Roadshow," has died. He was 83. Garrett died Nov. 14 of natural causes at a hospice facility in Williston, Vt., where he had moved recently from Manhattan. His former wife, Elisabeth Garrett Widmer, confirmed his death. Known for his broad expertise, a courtly manner and his delight in sharing knowledge, Wendell Garrett appeared on every season of the American version of "Antiques Roadshow" since its launch in 1997.
November 26, 2012 | By Larry Harnisch, Los Angeles Times
With her chiseled features, 1940s-style black dress, retro sunglasses and lacy black parasol, tour guide Karie Bible strolls the 60 acres of Hollywood Forever Cemetery looking as if she might be a wayward mourner from the funeral of Tyrone Power or another Tinseltown luminary. She answers the obvious questions that, yes, her name really is Karie Bible, and, yes, she really was born on Halloween, saying, "I can't make this up. " Being a cemetery tour guide may seem an unlikely avocation.
November 9, 2012 | By Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times
JERUSALEM - Historian Benny Morris has a knack for enraging Israelis of every political stripe. Morris' research on the 1948 war for independence challenged long-standing Zionist narratives that said Israel was not responsible for the creation of 750,000 Palestinian refugees. He infuriated right-wing Israelis by documenting secret plans to expel Arabs and accounts of massacres and rapes by Jewish forces. Then a few years ago, he turned his critical eye toward Palestinians, holding them largely responsible for stalled peace talks.
October 15, 2012 | By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
Eugene D. Genovese became one of the most notorious radical intellectuals in the country in 1965 when he addressed an all-night teach-in at Rutgers University on the Vietnam War. "I do not fear or regret the impending Viet Cong victory. I welcome it," the self-described Marxist historian declared, setting off a furor that had politicians such as Richard Nixon demanding his dismissal. An academic witch hunt ensued, but the onetime Communist Party member held to his political beliefs for decades.
October 8, 2012 | By Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times
There is perhaps no greater American monument to the War in the Pacific than Ford Island in Hawaii's Pearl Harbor. The naval base there with its old hangars, runway and control tower - some still showing damage from the Japanese attack that brought the United States into World War II - is on the National Register of Historic Places. Dotted around the island's 450 acres are memorials to the battleships Arizona, Utah and Oklahoma, which were sunk. Docked near the Arizona's submerged hull is the Missouri, the legendary battlewagon and scene of Japan's formal surrender on Sept.
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