History Buzz, August 2-9, 2010: Remembering Tony Judt


By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor/Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Her blog is History Musings



  • Historian Tony Judt dies aged 62 Author of Postwar and New York University professor dies after two-year fight with motor neurone disease:
    Tony Judt, the British writer, historian and professor who was recently described as having the “liveliest mind in New York”, has died after a two-year struggle with motor neurone disease. Considered by many to be a giant in the intellectual world, Judt chronicled his illness in unsparing detail in public lectures and essays – giving an extraordinary account that won him almost as much respect as his voluminous historical and political work, for which he was feted on both sides of the Atlantic.
    Judt was born in 1948 and grew up in south London. His mother’s parents had emigrated from Russia; his father was Belgian, descended from a line of Lithuanian rabbis.
    His academic career began with a history degree and PhD at Cambridge and took him eventually to New York University, where he was the Erich Maria Remarque professor in European studies, director of the Remarque Institute and a renowned teacher.
    His finest work was widely thought to be Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945, published in 2005 and an enormous critical success. It was described by the Yale historian Timothy Snyder as “the best book on its subject that will ever be written by anyone”. – guardian.co.uk, 8-7-10
  • Tony Judt dies at 62; leading historian of postwar Europe: The New York University history professor’s career reached its zenith with the publication of ‘Postwar’ in 2005. He also wrote movingly about his struggle with Lou Gehrig’s disease…. – LAT, 8-7-10
  • Tony Judt: A Public Intellectual Remembered: Tony Judt was a historian of the very first order, a public intellectual of an old-fashioned kind and — in more ways than one — a very brave man.
    A professor at New York University and director of the Remarque Institute on European studies there, for the last two years Judt had been living with a degenerative motor neuron disease and wrote movingly and without a touch of self-pity of the impact that it had on his body. Thankfully and remarkably, he continued writing throughout his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, with a verve and feeling that added color to what had always been an astonishing breadth of intellectual understanding. His last book, the short polemic Ill Fares the Land — adapted from articles written for the New York Review of Books, long Judt’s home outside the academy — was a cri de coeur for the virtues of social democracy, the political philosophy that had shaped the thinking of so many western Europeans, born and raised, like Judt, in the post-war period. (Read TIME’s review of Judt’s book Postwar)
    Judt was born to a Jewish family in England in 1948, and spent time on a kibbutz in Israel before going up to Cambridge, volunteering as a driver in the Six-Day War of 1967. (He later studied in France, and a fascination with modern French politics and society ran through all his work.) A secular, social-democratic European Jew, his criticisms of Israel in later life — and by extension, of what he considered to be a narrow defensiveness on the part of mainstream American Jewish institutions — made him many intellectual opponents in the US. He stuck to his guns…. – Time, 8-7-10
  • Tony Judt, Chronicler of History, Is Dead at 62: Tony Judt, the author of “Postwar,” a monumental history of Europe after World War II, and a public intellectual known for his sharply polemic essays on American foreign policy, the state of Israel and the future of Europe, died on Friday at his home in Manhattan. He was 62.
    The death was announced in a statement from New York University, where he had taught for many years. The cause was complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which he learned he had in September 2008. In a matter of months the disease left him paralyzed and able to breathe only with mechanical assistance, but he continued to lecture and write…. – NYT (8-7-10)
  • David A. Bell: Remembering Tony JudtDissent (8-9-10)
  • Saul Goldberg: Tony Judt: the captivating wit and intellect of my friend and teacher – The Guardian (UK) (8-7-10)


  • Historian reviews NC’s Civil War death count: North Carolina’s claim that it lost the most men during the Civil War is getting a recount from a state historian who doubts the accuracy of the accepted, 144-year-old estimate. “The time has come to get it right,” said Josh Howard, a research historian with the Office of Archives and History in Raleigh. “Nobody has gone through man by man looking for the deaths.”… – AP (8-9-10)
  • Accused Dead Sea Scrolls identity thief rejects plea deal, plans trial: Plea negotiations broke down this morning for accused Dead Sea Scrolls cyber-bully Raphael Golb — who now says he’s taking his wacky identity theft and impersonation case to trial. Golb, 49, is charged with trying to boost his historian father’s scholarship on the 2,000 year old scrolls by going online in the name of rival scholars — notably Dr. Lawrence Schiffman of New York University — to discredit their work…. – NY Post (8-6-10)
  • Ron Radosh: Howard Zinn’s FBI Files: What It Reveals: The announcement last week by the FBI that it was releasing the FBI files of the late radical historian, Howard Zinn, was not met with universal acclaim. In fact, many leftists were enraged. Typical was the reaction of Noam Chomsky, who was quoted by writer Clark Merrefield. Zinn’s files, Chomsky said, were “mostly a mixture of things that they’ve picked up here and there which is mostly false, things they’ve gotten from informants that are mostly false. We took for granted that obviously we were being monitored by the FBI.” For Chomsky, anything coming from the FBI obviously has to, by definition, be lies…. – Pajamas Media (8-5-10)
  • A Medieval War — Over Arizona: On Tuesday, the Medieval Academy of America — following an intense debate among its members — announced that it was proceeding with plans to hold its annual meeting in Tempe in April. The meeting attracts hundreds of scholars, and those who are members of the academy narrowly voted down a plan to move the conference (although that vote was advisory only). The decision to go ahead with a meeting in Arizona is getting blasted by some academy members, some of whom say that they are calling off plans to present at the meeting and are canceling memberships…. – Inside Higher Ed (8-4-10)
  • Stanford professors find works of art from darkest moments of Holocaust: “It was spread all over the 20 countries that Nazis occupied. It happened in every language and in every place. It was not hundreds of people. It was countless,” said John Felstiner of Stanford’s Department of English.
    “It did not serve as much as another piece of bread. It didn’t kill one Nazi. It didn’t stop anything,” said Mary Felstiner, a visiting professor of history. “But it gave them the morale to go another day. And when we look at these works, we see transcendence.”… – San Jose Mercury-News (8-1-10)
  • Google books may advance scholarly research: When scholars seek to understand long-ago cultures, they tend to draw conclusions from the handful of famous writers and thinkers whose works endure today. John Stuart Mill and Thomas Carlyle peppered their books with words like “sunlight” and “hope,” so their Victorian era is often thought of as earnest and optimistic…. – San Jose Mercury-News (8-1-10)


  • Robert Stacy McCain: The Case Against Howard Zinn: One of Zinn’s comrades described him as “a person with some authority” within the local CPUSA section and said that Zinn’s class was on “basic Marxism,” the theme being “that the basic teachings of Marx and Lenin were sound and should be adhered to by those present.” – American Spectator (8-2-10)
  • Chris Hedges: Why the Feds Fear Thinkers Like Howard Zinn: The power of Zinn’s scholarship—which I have watched over the past few weeks open the eyes of young, mostly African- Americans to their own history and the structures that perpetuate misery for the poor and gluttony and privilege for the elite—explains why the FBI, which released its 423-page file on Zinn on July 30, saw him as a threat…. – Truthdig (8-1-10)
  • Alan Brinkley: ‘Mad Men’: A Conversation (Season 4, Episode 3, ‘The Good News’): There is Dick Whitman, the decent, caring man who sees his better self when he is with Anna. Despite his tawdry flirtation with her niece, he is loyal to Anna. He struggles with a genuine ethical dilemma — does he tell her that she has cancer, or as was fairly common in the early 1960s, does he not tell her to spare her the fear for as long as possible. (As it turns out, it seems pretty clear that Anna knows exactly what is happening to her and has decided not to let others know that she knows.) This significance of this dilemma is less about what the right answer is than it is about his struggle to do the right thing…. – WSJ, 8-9-10
  • ‘Mad Men’: A Conversation (Season 4, Episode 2, ‘Christmas Comes But Once a Year’): This is a series mostly about men, none of whom seem to be very happy or particularly admirable. Women, according to many of the assumptions about this era, are supposed to be lonely, frustrated, and unfulfilled. But some of the strongest and most capable characters in the show are women: Peggy, who may not be making good choices but appears nevertheless to be strong enough to rebound; and Joan, who enhanced her career by having an affair with Roger Sterling, but who has emerged as one of the strongest and most capable figures in the show, far more powerful than her weak and whiny husband. The significant exception is Betty, a Bryn Mawr graduate and former fashion model, who – true to “The Feminine Mystique” — is filled with frustration, anger, and disappointment, stuck in the suburbs…. – WSJ, 8-2-10


  • Washington and Lee University Politics Professor’s New Book Examines Political Partisanship: Name calling. Distortion. Invective. Partisan bile. Just another day on Capitol Hill…in the 1790s. As Washington and Lee University politics professor William F. Connelly Jr. outlines in his new book, “James Madison Rules America: The Constitutional Origins of Congressional Partisanship” (Rowman & Littlefield), political divisiveness has existed since the country’s founding. “We tend to think of the founders as statesmen. And they were,” said Connelly, “but they were also politicians, and they were partisans.” Newswise, 8-9-10
  • Book Review: Jesus and Gin: Evangelicalism, the Roaring Twenties and Today’s Culture Wars by Barry Hankins: The decade sandwiched between the end of the Great War (1914-1918) and the Great Depression continues to fascinate the popular mind today. It was an era of stark contrasts and glowing optimism. Boosterism was the watchword in towns and cities across America. And booze was illegal, though all-too-readily available for those with thirsts to slake…. – Blog Critics, 8-9-10
  • Kevin Starr: A View of the Bridge: GOLDEN GATE The Life and Times of America’s Greatest Bridge Yet today, the structure rises like “a natural, even an inevitable, entity,” as Kevin Starr, the California historian and author of over a dozen volumes on his home state, writes in “Golden Gate: The Life and Times of America’s Greatest Bridge.”
    This is an exultant, discursive and strange little book. Starr is not older than the bridge; at his birth, people had already been shuttling across it for three years. But his narrative tour does evoke a grandfatherly ramble. Imagine setting off over the Golden Gate and being forced to stop every few feet not only to greet each passer-by, but also to endure a cursory biography or windy tangent. It gets difficult to enjoy the view…. – NYT, 8-8-10
  • Jane Ziegelman, Andrew Beahrs: Your Tired, Your Poor and Their Food: 97 ORCHARD An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement, TWAIN’S FEAST Searching for America’s Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens Jane Ziegelman tells this story exuberantly in “97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement.” Highly entertaining and deceptively ambitious, the book resurrects the juicy details of breakfast, lunch and dinner (recipes included) consumed by poor and working-class New Yorkers a century and more ago. It could well have been subtitled “How the Other Half Ate.”
    If Mark Twain had been consulted, the program might have worked. He loved the pure, unadulterated flavors of straight-ahead American cooking, a passion that provides Andrew Beahrs with the pretext for “Twain’s Feast: Searching for America’s Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens.” This is a culinary stunt book fixated on the nostalgic list of American foods Twain included in his 1880 travel memoir, “A Tramp Abroad.” – NYT, 8-8-10Excerpt
  • HISTORY Review of histories of American revolution by T.H. Breen and Jack Rakove: AMERICAN INSURGENTS, AMERICAN PATRIOTS The Revolution of the People, REVOLUTIONARIES A New History of the Invention of America So tied up is American identity in the American Revolution that popular histories of it are inescapably children’s books, bedtime stories that tell us how we came to be: “Mommy, Daddy, tell me about when I was born.” The newest additions to this literature are by two distinguished historians, T.H. Breen of Northwestern and Jack Rakove of Stanford. Each will appeal to a different segment of the history-reading public…. – WaPo, 8-6-10
  • Laura Ingraham: In ‘Obama Diaries,’ self-absorbed musings: THE OBAMA DIARIES …The package contained pages and pages of private diaries: the musings of Barack Obama, first lady Michelle, Vice President Biden, first grandmother Marian Robinson and others in the inner circle. Compelled by her duty to the nation, Ingraham divulges their secret ruminations in “The Obama Diaries.”
    The diaries, of course, are fictitious — crafted by Ingraham to convey her satiric vision of Obama and his policies. Satire by nature is nasty and crude, its goal to deflate the powerful; Ingraham, a popular talk-radio host and Fox News Channel regular, holds nothing back. She lacerates Obama, his administration and his family for failures in government spending, foreign policy, business, education, immigration, morality and faith. Even the White House dog, Bo, gets a clipping…. – WaPo, 8-8-10
  • FOOD “The Wild Vine: The Untold Story of American Wine,” by Todd Kliman: For Washingtonian magazine food writer Todd Kliman, the mystery started one night when he saw “something wild, something alive” in the glass of red wine he was drinking. His interest and palate piqued, he decided to investigate the source: a grape known as the Norton, trademarked as “The Real American Grape!”
    What he unearthed is the subject of “The Wild Vine.” He traced the wildness back to the 1820s, in Richmond, Va., when a doctor on the verge of suicide found a reason to live in a grape he developed by cross-breeding existing varieties…. – WaPo, 8-6-10
  • Review of William Leeman’s Naval Academy history, “The Long Road to Annapolis”: THE LONG ROAD TO ANNAPOLIS The Founding of the Naval Academy and the Emerging American Republic …William Leeman has given us an excellent history of the politics and personalities animating the long debate over whether to establish a naval academy, with many interesting anecdotes along the way… – WaPo, 8-6-10


  • By bridging Jewish and Arab cultures, a pair of Oberlin historians hope to shape history: As the new course in American democracy ended to applause last week, professors Carol Lasser and Gary Kornblith walked their matching bikes across the Oberlin College campus — nearly walking on air. After more than 30 years teaching history, the husband-wife team had tried to make some. They brought two of the world’s most divided peoples — Israelis and Palestinians — to Oberlin’s serene campus to discuss how multicultural America works…. – Cleveland Plains-Dealer (8-5-10)
  • Jane Humphries: Revealed: Industrial Revolution was powered by child slaves: Child labour was the crucial ingredient which allowed Britain’s Industrial Revolution to succeed, new research by a leading economic historian has concluded. After carrying out one of the most detailed statistical analyses of the period, Oxford’s Professor Jane Humphries found that child labour was much more common and economically important than previously realised. Her estimates suggest that, by the early 19th century, England had more than a million child workers (including around 350,000 seven- to 10-year-olds) – accounting for 15 per cent of the total labour force. The work is likely to transform the academic world’s understanding of that crucial period of British history which was the launch-pad of the nation’s economic and imperial power…. – Independent (UK) (8-2-10)


  • Michael Bellesiles Takes Another Shot: He was drummed out of academe after a controversy over his book about guns in America. Now the historian aims for a second chance… – The Chronicle of Higher Education, 8-3-10
  • Scholar Emerges From Doghouse The historian Michael A. Bellesiles is trying to put a scandal behind him: His book “1877: America’s Year of Living Violently,” which will be published next week, is an attempted comeback for Mr. Bellesiles, who has languished in a kind of academic no-man’s land for the past decade after a scandal surrounding his previous book cut short what looked to be a promising career. “I’d like to think that anyone reading it would give it a fair chance,” he said of his latest work…. – NYt, 8-4-10


  • University technical college is set to make its debut Will the new university technical colleges really boost vocational learning or just mislead students?: Professor Gillian Evans, historian and theologian at Cambridge University, says it is another case of boundaries being blurred in education. “The title is going to mislead students and their families, who may feel they haven’t got what they bought into. It’s just another example of an inappropriate attempt to try to claim the ‘university’ title. Soon everyone will want one.”… – Guardian UK, 8-10-10
  • Robert Bartlett: 1066 and all those baby names: Norman names such as William, Henry and Alice have been popular for 1,000 years. Why did the English copy their invaders?
    “If you ask where did the Normans come from and what was their impact, most people run out of steam pretty quickly,” says historian Robert Bartlett of the University of St Andrews. “It’s not like the Tudor era, which people are much more familiar with thanks to TV dramas and historical novels.”… – BBC News Magazine, 8-4-10


  • Latina professor pens history of Mexican American Civil Rights Movement: Dr. Cynthia E. Orozco is a historian who teaches at Eastern New Mexico University- Ruidoso. Originally from Cuero, Texas, she earned her Bachelors degree from The University of Texas at Austin and her MA and Ph.D. from The University of California at Los Angeles. She is the author of No Mexicans, Women or Dogs Allowed: The Rise of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. The following interview was conducted last month at the State LULAC Convention which was held here in Austin, Texas.
    La Voz: Let’s begin this interview by sharing with our readers some insight on your latest book.
    Dr. Orozco: My latest book is No Mexicans, Women or Dogs Allowed: The Rise of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement, a history of the origins of LULAC. LULAC is the oldest Latino civil rights organization in the country and was founded in 1929 and has 700 councils today. I am proud of this book. My parents were Mexican immigrants, I grew up poor in Cuero, and now have a Ph.D…. – Latinlista.net, 8-10
  • A Conversation With Historian Douglas Brinkley: Then historian Douglas Brinkley talks about Teddy Roosevelt, the “Naturalist President.” Many beautiful places in the Northwest still exist because of him. Find out which places could have been mined or cut for timber. KUOW, 8-5-10
  • An Interview With a Young Historian: An Interview with a Current Law School Student who was a History Major in College – Huff Post, 8-4-10


  • Civil Rights History Expert Joins Little Rock Faculty: Dr. John Kirk, noted Little Rock Central High historian and author of “Beyond Little Rock: The Origins and Legacies of the Central High Crisis” has joined the UALR — University of Arkansas at Little Rock — faculty as the Donaghey Professor of History and chair of the department…. – Newswise, 8-4-10


  • Robertson: ‘History is what it is and not what we wish it to be’ Confederate monument dedication draws a crowd of 500: The crowd listened to featured speaker Dr. James I. (Bud) Robertson, a distinguished Civil War professor at Virginia Tech. Robertson, along with Dr. Frances Amos and Circuit Court Judge W.N. Alexander II spoke from the decorated balcony on the second floor of the courthouse.
    Robertson spoke of how two major things came as a result of the Civil War — the elimination of slavery and most importantly, the establishment of a union. “Union” is the single most important word that describes the war, he said. “It’s the single threat that now binds us all.”
    “History is what it is and not what we wish it to be,” he said. Both sides fought for their homes, their families and their ways of life, he added.
    Robertson noted the war was a “national tragedy” as Americans fought Americans, with “700,000 plus who all died ugly deaths.” “We can love history, which most do, or hate history, which some do. But it is history, and we can all learn from it,” he concluded…. – Franklin News Post, 8-8-10
  • Dr. Howard Winn, Professor Emeritus and Luncheon Speaker Sixth Annual Clarksville Writers’ Conference: Introduced by Dewey Browder, Professor and Chair of the Department of History and Philosophy, Howard Winn. Professor Emeritus of history at Austin Peay State University and co-author of A History of Austin Peay State University, 1806-2001 and Clarksville Tennessee in the Civil War: A Chronology, advised participants of the Sixth Annual Clarksville Writers’ Conference to use but not abuse history…. – Clarkville Online, 8-9-10


  • September 17-18, 2010 at Notre Dame University: Conference aims to bring medieval, early modern and Latin American historians together: An interdisciplinary conference to be held at the University of Notre Dame this fall is making a final call for papers to explore the issue surrounding similarities between late-medieval Iberia and its colonies in the New World. “From Iberian Kingdoms to Atlantic Empires: Spain, Portugal, and the New World, 1250-1700” is being hosted by the university’s Nanovic Institute for European Studies and will take place on September 17-18, 2010. Medieval News, 4-29-10
  • Jeff Shesol to give Jackson Lecture at the Chautauqua Institution: Historian, presidential speechwriter and author Jeff Shesol will deliver Chautauqua Institution’s sixth annual Robert H. Jackson Lecture on the Supreme Court of the United States. Jeff Shesol will give the Jackson Lecture on Wednesday, August 18, 2010, at 4:00 p.m. in Chautauqua’s Hall of Philosophy…. – John Q. Barrett at the Jackson List (6-14-10)
  • Thousands of Studs Terkel interviews going online: The Library of Congress will digitize the Studs Terkel Oral History Archive, according to the agreement, while the museum will retain ownership of the roughly 5,500 interviews in the archive and the copyrights to the content. Project officials expect digitizing the collection to take more than two years…. – NYT, 5-13-10
  • Digital Southern Historical Collection: The 41,626 scans reproduce diaries, letters, business records, and photographs that provide a window into the lives of Americans in the South from the 18th through mid-20th centuries.




  • Alexander Hamilton: The Federalist Papers, (Hardcover), August 16, 2010
  • Christopher Tomlins, Freedom Bound: Law, Labor, and Civic Identity in Colonizing English America, 1580-1865 (Paperback and Hardcover), September 1, 2010
  • Holger Hoock: Empires of the Imagination: Politics, War, and the Arts in the British World, 1750-1850, (Hardcover), September 1, 2010
  • Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen, (Hardcover), September 7, 2010
  • James L. Swanson: Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse, (Hardcover), September 28, 2010
  • Timothy Snyder: The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke (First Trade Paper Edition), (Paperback), September 28, 2010
  • Ron Chernow: Washington: A Life, (Hardcover), October 5, 2010
  • George William Van Cleve: A Slaveholders’ Union: Slavery, Politics, and the Constitution in the Early American Republic, (Hardcover), October 1, 2010.
  • John Keegan: The American Civil War: A Military History, (Paperback), October 5, 2010
  • Bill Bryson: At Home: A Short History of Private Life, (Hardcover), October 5, 2010
  • Robert M. Poole: On Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington National Cemetery, (Paperback), October 26, 2010
  • Robert Leckie: Challenge for the Pacific: Guadalcanal: The Turning Point of the War, (Paperback), October 26, 2010
  • Manning Marable: Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, (Hardcover), November 9, 2010
  • Elizabeth White: The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevik Russia: The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1917-39, (Hardcover), November 10, 2010
  • Elizabeth White: The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevik Russia: The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1917-39, (Hardcover), November 10, 2010
  • G. J. Barker-Benfield: Abigail and John Adams: The Americanization of Sensibility, (Hardcover), November 15, 2010
  • Edmund Morris: Colonel Roosevelt, (Hardcover), November 23, 2010
  • Michael Goldfarb: Emancipation: How Liberating Europe’s Jews from the Ghetto Led to Revolution and Renaissance, (Paperback), November 23, 2010


  • Larry De Lorme, former WWU provost, dies at 73: Roland L. “Larry” De Lorme, a retired Western Washington University administrator and history professor credited with starting several campus programs, died Sunday, Aug. 1. He was 73. A celebration of life will be held in his hometown, Aberdeen, at 2 p.m. Aug. 21 at The Aberdeen Museum of History…. – Bellingham Herald. 8-6-10
  • Historian and Essayist Juan Marichal Dies: SANTA CRUZ, Spain – Historian and essayist Juan Marichal, a native of the Spanish island of Tenerife, died over the weekend at his residence in Cuernavaca, Mexico, the regional government of the Canary Islands said Monday. He was 88. Marichal, who became a political exile at 19, was professor emeritus at Harvard University and among other honors received Spain’s National Prize for Literature in the category of history…. – Latin American Tribune, 8-10-10
  • Newfoundland historian Peter Hart, 46, was an expert on the IRA: A good historian is expected to be meticulous and balanced. A very good historian is challenging, perceptive, integrative, and nuanced. But a great historian is all that and more – audacious and brave. Peter Hart, who died at 46 on July 22 following a brain aneurysm, was well on his way to becoming a great historian. Although only in mid-career, he was already a major international figure in Irish history…. – Globe and Mail (8-5-10)

History Buzz, July 19-26, 2010: The FBI & Howard Zinn & Alan Brinkley Blogs “Mad Men”


By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor/Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Her blog is History Musings



  • Coventry historian helps identify Battle of Fromelles fallen: TODAY marks the 94th anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles where 30 Coventry and Warwickshire servicemen are thought to have died. More than 7,000 British and Australian soldiers died, were wounded or taken prisoner during the First World War battle in Northern France. Bodies of the dead soldiers were buried in six mass graves by the Germans but the names of many of these remain unknown…. – Coventry Telegraph (UK) (7-19-10)


  • FBI admits probing ‘radical’ historian Zinn for criticizing bureau: FBI files show bureau may have tried to get Zinn fired from Boston University for his political opinions. Those who knew of the dissident historian Howard Zinn would not be surprised that J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI kept tabs on him for decades during the Cold War. But in a release of documents pertaining to Zinn, the bureau admitted that one of its investigations into the left-wing academic was prompted not by suspicion of criminal activity, but by Zinn’s criticism of the FBI’s record on civil rights investigations…. – The Raw Story (7-30-10)


  • Teaching history may become a thing of past: As the start of a new school year approaches, not to mention the November elections, Americans face a dizzying array of fiscal, human, environmental and other crises. More than ever, our democracy requires an educated citizenry capable of analyzing the world around us and of making informed judgments. So this is why Americans — from parents to voters to policymakers – must address yet another deepening crisis, the one in history education at the K-12 level. As if the approval in May of gravely flawed social studies standards by the Texas State Board of Education is not depressing enough, the nation lost one of its most learned, passionate and effective public champions for the study and appreciation of our collective past with the passing of Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia in June. However complicated his own legacy, Byrd understood that we must invest in the future by understanding the past, which is why he used his considerable influence to sponsor the Teaching American History grants program. – Houston Chronicle, 7-31-10
  • Japan asked for annexation apology by Korean scholars: Over 1,000 scholars, writers and attorneys from Korea and Japan asked the Japanese government for a formal apology for the annexation of Korea ahead of its 100-year anniversary next month…. – JoongAng Daily (7-29-10)
  • Christopher Waldrep, Michael Pfeifer: Experts on history of lynching rebut Jeffrey Lord’s Sherrod claim: Experts on the history of lynching are criticizing an American Spectator report which claimed that Shirley Sherrod’s statement that her relative Bobby Hall was lynched was “factually, provably untrue.” Media Matters (7-27-10)
  • Construction History Society of America – Newest AHA Affiliate: The AHA welcomes the Construction History Society of America as its newest Affiliated Society…. – AHA Blog (7-20-10)
  • Niall Ferguson slams Australian immigration policy: ONE of the world’s leading economic historians has slammed Labor’s “needless pseudo stimulus” spending. Niall Ferguson has also criticised the election campaign’s “pathetic” debate over capping immigration and population growth…. – The Australian (7-27-10)
  • Historian stages sleep-ins to save SC slave cabins: When Joe McGill spreads his sleeping bag on the floor of a slave cabin, he knows that spending the night there will conjure the specter of slavery…. – AP (7-23-10)
  • Daniel Kevles, David Reynolds, Lizabeth Cohen, Sean Wilentz, Simon Schama: Sixteen economists and historians joined in a consensus statement demanding urgent action on unemployment and the faltering recovery: Fourteen million out of work! Sixteen notable economists and historians have joined in a consensus statement for The Daily Beast demanding urgent action on unemployment and the faltering recovery. Joseph Stiglitz, Alan Blinder, Robert Reich, Richard Parker, Derek Shearer, Laura Tyson, Sir Harold Evans, and other thought leaders have produced a manifesto calling for more government stimulus and tax credits to put America back to work…. – Hot Indie News (7-19-10)
  • Conrad Black to be released from prison on bail: Conrad Black will likely be out on bail within days from the Florida jail that has been his home for the last 28 months. But it’s the bail conditions that will determine where he goes next. The bail conditions will be set by U.S. District Court Judge Amy St. Eve in Chicago. St. Eve is the judge who presided over Black’s trial in 2007 and who ended up sentencing him to 78 months after a jury found him guilty of three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice…. – CBC News (7-20-10)
  • Historian Orlando Figes agrees to pay damages for fake reviews: One of Britain’s leading historians, Orlando Figes, is to pay damages and costs to two rivals who launched a libel case after a row erupted over fake reviews posted on the Amazon website…. – Guardian (UK) (7-16-10)


  • Alan Brinkley: ‘Mad Men’: A Conversation (Season 4, Episode 1, ‘Public Relations’): I’m flattered to have been invited to join this conversation about “Mad Men.” Like most of us on this blog, I suspect, I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, and one of the pleasures of watching the show is being reminded of so many aspects of life in those years that now seem so much a part of the past.
    I’ve been watching the show since it began, and I’ve always been impressed by the unflinching portrayal of flawed characters whom we really want to like but are never wholly allowed to. It echoes so many parts of the culture of that era and of some of the greatest artists of the era: Cheever, Bellow, Yates, Updike, Miller, Albee, among others. And it¹s terrific on the quotidian details of the era as well ­ the clothes, the décor, the smoking, the drinking, the jargon, the sexism, the closeted homosexuality, and the casual antisemitism. Parts of it remind me of my parents. I remember the omnipresence of cigarettes and cocktails. Only later did I understand their own struggle to find a place in a world that did not come naturally to them ­ my mother, from a middle-class Jewish family, marrying a man from a lower-middle class Protestant family in North Carolina, both of them fleeing into the postwar suburban world — where backgrounds were supposed to disappear — and trying to find a place in it, not always successfully…. – WSJ, 7-25-10
  • Alan Brinkley: ‘Mad Men’: A Conversation Every Sunday after the newest episode of “Mad Men,” lawyer and Supreme Court advocate Walter Dellinger will host an online dialogue about the show. The participants include literature professor Toril Moi, political science professor David L. Paletz, media expert Evangeline Morphos, and historian Alan Brinkley. Dellinger will post his thoughts shortly after each episode ends at 11 p.m., and the others will add their commentary in the hours and days that follow…. – WSJ, 7-25-10
  • Mark Bauerlein: An Episode at Hamilton–Paquette and UrgoThe Chronicle of Higher Education (7-20-10)
  • Peter Zarrow: Me, Wang Hui, and Liberal Wishy-washy-ness: Wang Hui is a cultural historian and critic, and professor at Qinghua University in Beijing. He was for several years editor of Dushu, a serious general interest magazine perhaps roughly — very roughly — equivalent to the Atlantic monthly in the US. He is also known as a leader of the so-called “New Left” intellectuals, who highlight the costs of economic liberalization, global capitalism, and rigid Western-style modernization policies. Early this year, charges of plagiarism began to appear concerning some of some of Wang Hui’s work. He has since been subject to numerous attacks, including ad hominen blog attacks…. – The China Beat (Blog) (7-16-10)


  • Rick Perlstein’s “Nixonland” gets the digital treatment, E-Books Fly Beyond Mere Text: E-books of the latest generation are so brand new that publishers can’t agree on what to call them. In the spring Hachette Book Group called its version, by David Baldacci, an “enriched” book. Penguin Group released an “amplified” version of a novel by Ken Follett last week. And on Thursday Simon & Schuster will come out with one of its own, an “enhanced” e-book version of “Nixonland” by Rick Perlstein…. Simon & Schuster has taken the best-selling “Nixonland,” first published in hardcover in 2008 in a whopping 896 pages, and scattered 27 videos throughout the e-book…. – NYT (7-29-10)
  • Niall Ferguson: Yesterday’s Banker: HIGH FINANCIER The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg Niall Ferguson’s “High Financier,” the biography of the Anglo-German banker Sir Siegmund Warburg, takes us back to a different era — the 1950s and ’60s — and a different conception of banking. Profits from trading were modest, and bankers made most of their money by giving advice to clients and helping businesses to raise capital. Bankers like Warburg thought of themselves as rather like family doctors, whose job it was to get to know their clients well, understand their problems and act in their best interest — a far cry from the ethos that dominates today’s Wall Street…. – NYT, 7-30-10
  • Jane Ziegelman: In a Tenement’s Meager Kitchens, a Historian Looks for Insight: 97 ORCHARD An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement In the meantime we have Jane Ziegelman’s modest but absorbing “97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement.” The story it tells, about Old World habits clashing and ultimately melding with new American ones, is familiar. But Ms. Ziegelman is a patient scholar and a graceful writer, and she rummages in these families’ histories and larders to smart, chewy effect. Ms. Ziegelman, whose previous book, “Foie Gras: A Passion,” occupies a place at the plummier end of the food history spectrum, introduces us to the Glockners, the Moores, the Gumpertzes, the Rogarshevskys and the Baldizzis, who all lived at 97 Orchard Street, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, between 1863 and 1935…. – NYT, 7-28-10
  • Julie Flavell: Colonials Abroad: WHEN LONDON WAS CAPITAL OF AMERICA Julie Flavell’s “When London Was Capital of America” illuminates this fascinating chapter of London’s — and North America’s — past, showing how the metropolis functioned as a magnet for colonists from across the Atlantic (including the West Indies) who sought accomplishment, opportunity and commerce. An American-born scholar who is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Flavell has unearthed a host of stories that bring alive a previously neglected aspect of the colonial experience…. – NYT, 7-30-10
  • Geoffrey O’Brien: Saratoga Gothic: THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF WALWORTH A Tale of Madness and Murder in Gilded Age America In addition to publishing six books of poetry as well as eight of cultural history and criticism, Geoffrey O’Brien is the editor in chief of the Library of America, whose handsome, authoritative volumes now more or less constitute the nation’s literary canon. But however central the novelist Mansfield Tracy Walworth (1830-73) may be to O’Brien’s crackerjack new history of one family’s mayhem, it seems safe to say that he will not soon be joining Welty, Wharton and Whitman at the right-hand reaches of the Library’s long, august shelf…. – NYT, 7-30-10Excerpt
  • Thomas L. Jeffers: Turning Right: NORMAN PODHORETZ A Biography …Thomas L. Jeffers’s exhaustive but frustratingly uncritical biography, “Norman Podhoretz,” is most engaging in its early chapters, telling the story of how this brilliant and ambitious child of Jewish immigrants from Galicia rose from poverty in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn to become first, the star student of the great literary critic Lionel Trilling at Columbia University and then, at the age of 30, the editor of Commentary, the magazine of the American Jewish Committee and one of the two leading journals (along with Partisan Review) of the legendary New York Intellectuals…. – NYT, 7-30-10Excerpt
  • Lyndall Gordon: Explosive Inheritance LIVES LIKE LOADED GUNS Emily Dickinson and Her Family’s Feuds The tale that Lyndall Gordon unveils in “Lives Like Loaded Guns” is so lurid, so fraught with forbidden passions, that readers may be disappointed to find that no actual gun goes off in this feverish account of the Dickinson family “feuds.” There are metaphorical guns galore, including Dickinson’s self-portrait as lethal wallflower: “My Life had stood — a Loaded Gun — / In Corners — till a Day / The Owner passed — identified — / And carried Me away.” Gordon, who has written highly regarded biographies of Charlotte Brontë, T. S. Eliot and Mary Wollstonecraft, detects two patterns of “explosive inheritance” in Dickinson, who happened to have a grandmother named Gunn: eruptions in the lives and in the poems…. – NYT, 7-30-10
  • Jane Brox: Up From Darkness: BRILLIANT The Evolution of Artificial Light The lights eventually came back on, and I forgot about the burger lamp until reading Jane Brox’s “Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light,” which takes us from fat to fluorescence and on into the future (beyond the bulb, that is). The book starts off promisingly, in the dim past…. – NYT, 7-30-10
  • Mark Atwood Lawrence: John Lukacs: The Heart of a Realist: THROUGH THE HISTORY OF THE COLD WAR The Correspondence of George F. Kennan and John Lukacs This powerful sense of estrangement from mainstream America pervades “Through the History of the Cold War,” a gloomy but fascinating volume containing more than 200 letters exchanged by Kennan and John Lukacs over half a century. The correspondence began in 1952, when Lukacs, a Hungarian émigré who later became a prolific historian of modern Europe, wrote Kennan to commend his view that the United States needed to resist Soviet expansion through political and economic, rather than military, means. To Lukacs’s surprise, Kennan wrote back… – NYT, 7-25-10
  • Wendy Moffat: Lives of the Novelists: E. M. Forster: A GREAT UNRECORDED HISTORY A New Life of E. M. Forster In “A Great Unrecorded History,” a well-written, intelligent and perceptive biography of Forster, Wendy Moffat attempts to explore that silence and at the same time to draw a picture of a figure who was sensitive, sensuous and kind, an artist who possessed a keen, plain sort of wisdom and lightness of touch that make him, to this day, an immensely influential novelist, almost a prophet. She uses the sources for our knowledge of Forster’s sexuality, including letters and diaries, without reducing the mystery and sheer individuality of Forster, without making his sexuality explain everything…. – NYT, 7-25-10
  • Powerful Political Figures, Historians and Scholars Assert President Calvin Coolidge’s Relevance in Today’s Politically Charged Climate in a New Book Titled, Why Coolidge Matters: A collection of 21 essays authored by an impressive bipartisan list of historians, political figures, scholars and journalists, that includes Senator John Kerry, former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, Governors M. Jodi Rell (CT) and James Douglas (VT), Ward Connerly, founder/chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute, and Jerry Wallace, Presidential archivist, among others, Why Coolidge Matters reflects a common denominator: President Coolidge’s civility, integrity, even-handedness and scrupulous attention to propriety provides much wisdom that can be applied to present day politics…. – Earth Times (7-20-10)
  • James T. Patterson’s “Freedom Is Not Enough,” reviewed by Kevin Boyle: FREEDOM IS NOT ENOUGH The Moynihan Report and America’s Struggle Over Black Family Life — from LBJ to Obama Shortly after the cataclysmic Watts riot in the summer of 1965, word spread around Washington that the Johnson administration had in its hands a secret report on the state of Black America. It had been written, said the rumors, by a little-known official in the Department of Labor: Daniel Patrick Moynihan. And it was “a political atom bomb,” according to columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak, “which strips away usual equivocations and exposes the ugly truth about the big-city Negros’ plight.” What followed, as Brown University historian James T. Patterson makes clear in this fine-grained study, was one of the great tragedies of postwar policy making…. – WaPo, 7-18-10
  • Alex Heard’s “The Eyes of Willie McGee,” reviewed by Michael Kazin: THE EYES OF WILLIE MCGEE A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in the Jim Crow South The bare facts about the case of Willie McGee seem to fit the dreadful image of a legal lynching in the Deep South back when white supremacy ruled. In 1945, McGee, a handsome black truck-driver, was jailed for allegedly raping a white housewife named Willette Hawkins in Laurel, Miss. — while her husband slept in a nearby room and a small child slept beside her. Despite the improbable circumstances, McGee was convicted by an all-white jury and, after two appeals, was electrocuted in 1951….
    But Alex Heard, a veteran journalist who grew up in Mississippi, uncovers a story that is a good deal more intriguing, if less dramatic, than Harper Lee’s iconic Southern novel. The McGee case was fought out on a global terrain. That tearful young lawyer’s name was Bella Abzug. Years before she became a politician famous for big hats and robust feminism, Abzug worked for the Civil Rights Congress, a small but aggressive group with close ties to the Communist Party. The CRC, with aid from the Soviet bloc, whipped up an international outcry against McGee’s execution. Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Dmitri Shostakovich dispatched cables of outrage, and a band of protesters chained themselves to one of the columns at the Lincoln Memorial….. – WaPo, 7-18-10
  • Bruce Cumings: Carpet-Bombing Falsehoods About a War That’s Little Understood: THE KOREAN WAR The world will be watching, and here’s a book that American policymakers may hope it won’t be reading: Bruce Cumings’s “Korean War,” a powerful revisionist history of America’s intervention in Korea. Beneath its bland title, Mr. Cumings’s book is a squirm-inducing assault on America’s moral behavior during the Korean War, a conflict that he says is misremembered when it is remembered at all. It’s a book that puts the reflexive anti-Americanism of North Korea’s leaders into sympathetic historical context…. – NYT, 7-22-10Excerpt
  • Alexandra Popoff: The Tolstoys’ War: SOPHIA TOLSTOY A Biography As Alexandra Popoff suggests in her new biography, “Sophia Tolstoy,” the countess has been maligned by history, viewed as hysterical and insanely jealous, a shrew. These misconceptions, Popoff insists (with some exaggeration), “all have one source: Chertkov. For decades, he suppressed favorable information about Sophia and exaggerated his own role in Tolstoy’s life.”… – NYT, 7-18-10


  • Douglas Brinkley: Electric cars like Chevy’s new Volt are too expensive today, but they won’t be for long, if history is a guide: In 1903, most car companies were “turning out products with steep prices of $3,000 or even $4,000,” writes Douglas Brinkley in Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and a Century of Progress. In 1903, about 12,000 cars were sold in the United States The following year, Henry Ford introduced his Model B “at a startling $2,000.” Now, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator only goes back to 1913. But $3,000 in 1913 is worth about $66,114 today. This BLS report suggests that average family income in 1901 was about $750. Any way you slice it, cars were very expensive. A luxury car cost about four times what a family earned in a year. What kind of future was there for the car as a democratic object?… – Slate (7-28-10)
  • Shelley E. Roff: Women workers could be found on the medieval construction site, study finds: According to a recently published study, women could be found working on construction sites, if only occasionally, including in specialized roles such as carpenters and masons. The research is found in the article, “Appropriate to Her Sex?” Women’s Participation on the Construction Site in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, by Shelley E. Roff…. – Medieval News (7-27-10)
  • Richard K. Lieberman: A 19th-Century Piano Is So Square, It’s Cool: Mr. Lieberman, a professor of history at LaGuardia and director of the La Guardia and Wagner Archives, said it had an interesting history: It survived the Civil War in Kentucky, hidden in a barn where it was not burned as troops crisscrossed the area. The family legend was that someone played “Dixie” when Confederates were within earshot. It is not known whether the same pianist struck up “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” when Union soldiers were around…. – NYT (7-25-10)
  • ‘Mad Men’ series inaccurately depicts difficulties of divorce for women in ’60s: …”As historians, most of us just love ‘Mad Men’ — it is so realistic, not just in the details, but in the gender dynamics,” said Stephanie Coontz, a sociologist and professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. “But, I think in this case they’ve gotten it wrong.”
    “In 1964, Nelson Rockefeller could not run for president because he was divorced — anyone with high aspirations, unless he was absolutely besotted with love, would never have considered getting involved in a divorce.”… Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (7-25-10)


  • New FDR letters could be a “trove,” says Goodwin: The writer was Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, who decades before had been FDR’s mistress and who now was making arrangements for what would be their last meeting. Elegantly handwritten, the letter never mentions Roosevelt by name — her love letters to him had been their undoing a quarter-century earlier when Eleanor Roosevelt found them in her husband’s steamer trunk…. “Wow,” said historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of “No Ordinary Time,” a chronicle of the Roosevelts during the war. “This stuff sounds like it’s going to be very exciting. You very rarely get a whole new trove of material.”… – Star Tribune (7-28-10)
  • Geoff Wade, Edward Friedman: Zheng He: Symbol of China’s ‘peaceful rise’: “The rise of China has induced a lot of fear,” says Geoff Wade of the Institute of South-east Asian Studies in Singapore. “Zheng is being portrayed as a symbol of China’s openness to the world, as an envoy of its peace and friendship – these two words keep cropping up in virtually every reference to Zheng He out of China,” says Prof Wade….
    Zheng He was an admiral in the time of “empire”, when there were no boundaries, no frontier limits, says China expert Edward Friedman. “The expeditions were real events – Zheng’s achievements were extraordinary and a marvel of the time,” says Prof Friedman of the University of Wisconsin-Madison…. BBC News (7-28-10)
  • Brian Carso: Treason expert says release of military files on war is not treason under the law: “But, it harms our democratic process,” Carso said. “Our democratic leaders have made a decision to pursue the war effort, and while we are right to constantly debate that decision as we go forward, by the same token we shouldn’t undermine our own ability to carry out the war effort.”… – The Times Leader (PA) (7-27-10)
  • Nostalgia drives ‘Mad Men’ culture beyond small screen: Taken together, New York University’s Jonathan Zimmerman says viewers aren’t watching Mad Men because it affirms any secret sexism they might harbour, but rather because the show enables a kind of self-congratulation.
    “The well-to-do pride themselves on their notions of gender equality,” says Zimmerman, a professor of history and culture. “They look especially at Mad Men’s gender roles and say: ‘My goodness, wasn’t it barbaric back then?'” “Nostalgia is a profound emotion that affects us in a guttural way,” says Zimmerman, a fan of the AMC series. “With just a shot of a corridor or a desk or a type of car, baby boomers can quite literally relive their youth.”… Vancouver Sun (7-20-10)


  • Will Israel’s New Archive Policy Set Back a Generation of Scholarship? CHE asks Benny Morris: Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended the classification of certain national- security related state archives for an additional 20 years…. For more on the potential implications of Netanyahu’s decision, I turned to Benny Morris, a professor of history at Ben Gurion University of the Negev…. – CHE (7-30-10)


  • MU prof’s book recognized by the Wall Street Journal: James Tobin, associate professor of journalism at Miami University, was recently recognized by the Wall Street Journal for writing one of the five best books on inventions. Tobin’s 2003 book, “To Conquer the Air,” was ranked third, following “Longitude” by Dava Sobel and “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” by Richard Rhodes. “To Conquer the Air” is the story of Wilbur and Orville Wright in early 20th-century America and the competition they faced from other top inventors of the time, including Alexander Graham Bell and Glenn Curtiss, to be the first aloft…. – Oxford Press, 7-23-10


  • September 17-18, 2010 at Notre Dame University: Conference aims to bring medieval, early modern and Latin American historians together: An interdisciplinary conference to be held at the University of Notre Dame this fall is making a final call for papers to explore the issue surrounding similarities between late-medieval Iberia and its colonies in the New World. “From Iberian Kingdoms to Atlantic Empires: Spain, Portugal, and the New World, 1250-1700” is being hosted by the university’s Nanovic Institute for European Studies and will take place on September 17-18, 2010. Medieval News, 4-29-10
  • Jeff Shesol to give Jackson Lecture at the Chautauqua Institution: Historian, presidential speechwriter and author Jeff Shesol will deliver Chautauqua Institution’s sixth annual Robert H. Jackson Lecture on the Supreme Court of the United States. Jeff Shesol will give the Jackson Lecture on Wednesday, August 18, 2010, at 4:00 p.m. in Chautauqua’s Hall of Philosophy…. – John Q. Barrett at the Jackson List (6-14-10)
  • Thousands of Studs Terkel interviews going online: The Library of Congress will digitize the Studs Terkel Oral History Archive, according to the agreement, while the museum will retain ownership of the roughly 5,500 interviews in the archive and the copyrights to the content. Project officials expect digitizing the collection to take more than two years…. – NYT, 5-13-10
  • Digital Southern Historical Collection: The 41,626 scans reproduce diaries, letters, business records, and photographs that provide a window into the lives of Americans in the South from the 18th through mid-20th centuries.




  • Richard Toye: Churchill’s Empire: The World That Made Him and the World He Made, (Hardcover), August 3, 2010.
  • Alexander Hamilton: The Federalist Papers, (Hardcover), August 16, 2010
  • Christopher Tomlins, Freedom Bound: Law, Labor, and Civic Identity in Colonizing English America, 1580-1865 (Paperback and Hardcover), September 1, 2010
  • Holger Hoock: Empires of the Imagination: Politics, War, and the Arts in the British World, 1750-1850, (Hardcover), September 1, 2010
  • Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen, (Hardcover), September 7, 2010
  • James L. Swanson: Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse, (Hardcover), September 28, 2010
  • Timothy Snyder: The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke (First Trade Paper Edition), (Paperback), September 28, 2010
  • Ron Chernow: Washington: A Life, (Hardcover), October 5, 2010
  • George William Van Cleve: A Slaveholders’ Union: Slavery, Politics, and the Constitution in the Early American Republic, (Hardcover), October 1, 2010.
  • John Keegan: The American Civil War: A Military History, (Paperback), October 5, 2010
  • Bill Bryson: At Home: A Short History of Private Life, (Hardcover), October 5, 2010
  • Robert M. Poole: On Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington National Cemetery, (Paperback), October 26, 2010
  • Robert Leckie: Challenge for the Pacific: Guadalcanal: The Turning Point of the War, (Paperback), October 26, 2010
  • Manning Marable: Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, (Hardcover), November 9, 2010
  • Elizabeth White: The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevik Russia: The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1917-39, (Hardcover), November 10, 2010
  • Elizabeth White: The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevik Russia: The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1917-39, (Hardcover), November 10, 2010
  • G. J. Barker-Benfield: Abigail and John Adams: The Americanization of Sensibility, (Hardcover), November 15, 2010
  • Edmund Morris: Colonel Roosevelt, (Hardcover), November 23, 2010
  • Michael Goldfarb: Emancipation: How Liberating Europe’s Jews from the Ghetto Led to Revolution and Renaissance, (Paperback), November 23, 2010


  • Robert C. Tucker, 92, dies; scholar of Soviet-era politics and history: Robert C. Tucker, 92, whose early State Department assignment in Moscow launched a distinguished career as a scholar of Soviet-era politics and history, notably tracing the enduring impact of Joseph Stalin’s reign, died July 29 at his home in Princeton, N.J. He had pneumonia. His death was confirmed by Princeton University, where he was a professor of politics from 1962 to 1984 and the founding director of the university’s Russian studies program…. – WaPo (7-31-10)
  • Robert C. Tucker, a Scholar of Marx, Stalin and Soviet Affairs, Dies at 92 (NYT): Robert C. Tucker, a distinguished Sovietologist whose frustrations in persuading the authorities in Stalin’s Russia to let his new Russian wife accompany him home to the United States gave him crucial and influential insights into the Soviet leader, died Thursday at his home in Princeton, N.J. He was 92…. – NYT (7-31-10)
  • Peggy Ann Pascoe, 55, historian at the University of Oregon: Peggy Ann Pascoe, 55, of Eugene, Ore., died Friday, July 23, 2010, of ovarian cancer. She taught women’s history at the University of Utah from 1986 to 1996. She was the Beekman Chair of Pacific and Northwest History at the University of Oregon starting in 1996; in 2005 she also became a Professor of Ethnic S tudies at UO… – MT Standard (7-25-10)
  • Historian Carola Hicks Has Died: Carola Hicks, British historian and biographer, has passed away at age 68. Her resume included college professor, research fellow, museum curator, and of course, published author. She has published several nonfiction works…. – mediabistro (7-28-10)
  • Ramon Eduardo Ruiz: Honored scholar wrote a detailed history of Mexico: Pride in his heritage helped spark an interest in history and led Ramon Eduardo Ruiz to a life of teaching, researching and writing about the past…. – SD Union-Tribune (7-26-10)
  • Indian historian, academician dies at 84: The writings of historian A Sreedhara Menon who died here on Friday are the most important references on Kerala history…. – Express Buzz (India) (7-24-10)
  • John P. Gerber, 65, librarian and historian: John Paul Gerber of Quincy, Mass., passed away suddenly on Saturday, June 12, 2010, after a valiant year-long fight against pancreatic cancer…. – Dunn County Record (WI) (7-25-10)
  • ‘Legendary’ SD historian dies at 92: Gilbert Fite devoted a great deal of his life to uncovering and preserving South Dakota history. In doing so, he became a part of it. Fite, 92, a history professor and acclaimed author, died July 13 in Fort Meyers, Fla…. – Mitchell Republic (SD) (7-21-10)
  • George Robert Healy, 87, dies: With real sadness, I share the news that George Robert Healy died on July 8th in Auburn, Maine. He was 87. A marvelous leader and cherished friend to those who worked with him, Dr. Healy was described as “a man Thomas Jefferson would have respected.”… – College of William & Mary (7-15-10)
  • Jim Clifford: Dr. Georgina Feldberg, 1956-2010: The history community lost a great teacher, scholar and active historian this week. I had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Feldberg during my first year at York. She was one of the professors in a graduate course on the history of science, health and the environment. I learned a lot from her as a teacher and from her book, Disease and Class: Tuberculosis and the Shaping of Modern North American Society. A few weeks after I last met with her, I heard she had been diagnosed with cancer. This came as a big shock to all of us in the history of medicine field and particularly to a number of my friends who Feldberg supervised. Sadly, she finally lost her four year long battle with this disease, leaving behind her husband and daughter… – ActiveHistory.ca (7-14-10)

History Buzz April 20, 2009: Did Lincoln Have Cancer?




  • Test of Lincoln DNA sought to prove cancer theory: John Sotos has a theory about why Abraham Lincoln was so tall, why he appeared to have lumps on his lips and even why he had gastrointestinal problems. The 16th president, he contends, had a rare genetic disorder — one that would likely have left him dead of cancer within a year had he not been assassinated. And his bid to prove his theory has posed an ethical and scientific dilemma for a small Philadelphia museum in the year that marks the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. – AP, 4-17-09
  • OAH Roundup: Highlights from the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Organization of American Historians – HNN
  • Remembering the late Prof. John Hope Franklin – Chicago Defender, 4-15-09





  • Steven P. Miller: God and Politics BILLY GRAHAM AND THE RISE OF THE REPUBLICAN SOUTH NYT, 4-19-09
  • Alexis Dudden: Impact of apologies on world politics focus of historian’s book Troubled Apologies Among Japan, Korea, and the United States UConn Advance, 4-17-09
  • Judith Schafer: Tulane historian delves into world of New Orleans’ 19th-century sex trade Brothels, Depravity, and Abandoned Women: Illegal Sex in Antebellum New Orleans The Times-Picayune – NOLA.com, 4-15-09


  • Robert J. Allison “The Media Equation Cable Wars Are Killing Objectivity”: “The original tea party was something of a media event,” said Robert J. Allison, professor and chair of the history department at Suffolk University and author of “The Boston Tea Party.” “The papers at the time were very politicized and did a lot of campaigning during the run-up to the event.” He added: “When you think about it, they could have done worse than a bag of tea in terms of symbols. As a historian, I am charmed and fascinated that something that provoked the original revolution still has such resonance.” – NYT, 4-20-09
  • Alan Brinkley “They Don’t Make Populism in the U.S. Like They Used To”: “Today, populism is a kind of sentiment that bursts into view in times like these, but there is no real movement behind it,” said Columbia University historian Alan Brinkley. “The public just doesn’t mobilize around issues in the way it once did.” – WSJ, 4-19-09
  • Allan Meltzer: Federal Reserve Historian says Ben Bernanke will Bring us 1970s Inflation – Foxhound, 4-15-09
  • Nick Taylor “W.P.A. Projects Left Their Stamp on the Region”: Bethpage State Park and the old Jersey City Medical Center were expanded with labor provided by the Works Progress Administration, one of the vaunted New Deal programs that put millions of people to work around the country during the Great Depression. They make up what the historian Nick Taylor called the “invisible legacy” of Depression-era public works projects in the New York region. “That legacy is all around us,” said Mr. Taylor, author of “American-Made: The Enduring History of the W.P.A.” “We just don’t see it because we take it for granted.” – NYT, 4-19-09
  • Natalie A. Naylor “W.P.A. Projects Left Their Stamp on the Region”: “There’s this stereotype that people who worked for the W.P.A. were all raking leaves,” said Natalie A. Naylor, emeritus professor of history at Hofstra University and former director of the university’s Long Island Studies Institute. “That’s not really accurate at all. You had music programs and art programs in addition to construction projects.” – NYT, 4-19-09
  • Stephen Leishman “Historians: Don’t Forget Founding Fathers”: “We know him as a quiet man, but a powerful advocate of liberty in his writings,” said historian Stephen Leishman. Jefferson was not just a statesman, he was also a scientist, philosopher inventor and musician. “In today’s history, we kind of push back the importance of our founding fathers,” said Leishman. They say Obama could still learn a lot from Jefferson’s presidency, especially when it comes to education. “Because of all of his work for our liberties, and his emphasis on education, we have free education for everybody in the U.S.,” said Leishman. – News 8, 4-13-09






  • April 20, 2009: Clifford E. Trafzer, UC Riverside professor of history and Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs, will discuss his research about the incident on Monday, April 20, at 6 p.m. at the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, 17 W. Hays St., Banning. – UC Riverside, 4-9-09
  • May 2, 2009 The War of 1812 Revisited at Conference: The Fort La Présentation Association of Ogdensburg, NY is sponsoring a War of 1812 War College Saturday, May 2, 2009 – Press Release, 4-1-09


  • PBS, Tuesday at 10 p.m: Television: HIGHLIGHT AMERICAN FUTURE: A HISTORY BY SIMON SCHAMA – Globe & Mail, 4-10-09
  • PBS, Monday April 20, at 9pm: Seeing History Through Indians’ Eyes: “We Shall Remain” NYT, 4-12-09 (pbs.org/wgbh/amex/weshallremain)
  • C-SPAN2: BOOK TV Weekend Schedule
  • PBS American Experience: Mondays at 9pm
  • History Channel: Weekly Schedule
  • History Channel: “Life After People: The Bodies Left Behind” – Tuesday, April 21, 2009 and Friday, April 24, 2009 at 10pm ET/PT and Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 9pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Return of the Pirates”, “Shadow Force: Pirate Strike” – Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 8-11pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Decoding The Past: Doomsday 2012: The End of Days” – Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: ” Battles BC: Ramses: Raging Chariots ” – Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 10pm ET/PT



  • Vincent Bzdek, Kennedy Legacy: Jack, Bobby and Ted and a Family Dream Fulfilled, April 27, 2009
  • Alex Storozynski, Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution, April 28, 2009
  • Thomas Childers: Soldier from the War Returning: The Greatest Generation’s Troubled Homecoming from World War II, May 13, 2009
  • Simon Schama, American Future: A History, May 19, 2009
  • Geoffrey Blainey, Sea of Dangers: Captain Cook and His Rivals in the South Pacific, May 25, 2009
  • Douglas Brinkley, Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, 1858-1919, June 30, 2009


The Second Presidential Debate: Highlights

The Second Presidential Debate: Highlights


The Second Presidential Debate between Democratic nominee Barack Obama and Republican nominee John McCain, was held October 7, 2008 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Tom Brokaw moderated the town hall style debate.

Senators Barack Obama and John McCain take the stage at Tuesday’s debate in Nashville. (Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times)

Senators Barack Obama and John McCain took the stage at Tuesday's debate in Nashville

The Stats

  • CNN debate poll: Obama beats McCain – 54 percent saying Democrat Barack Obama won and 30 percent thinking Republican John McCain was the victor.
  • A CBS poll of uncommitted voters: 40 percent identified Obama as the winner; 26 percent said McCain won, while 35 percent said it was a tie.
  • CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll, 10-7-08 55 percent say that Obama “cares more about people like you” than McCain
  • Ipsos/McClatchy poll, 10-7-08: Obama, the Democratic nominee, had the support of 47% of registered voters; McCain, the Republican candidate, had the support of 40%; Independent candidate Ralph Nader had 3%; Libertarian candidate Bob Barr had 1%.

In the News…

During Tuesday night’s debate, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain engaged in a town-hall setting. (Rick Wilking/Reuters)

During Tuesday night's debate, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain engaged in a town-hall setting. (Rick Wilking/Reuters)

Candidate Soundbites

  • Full Transcript Download
  • McCAIN: It’s good to be with you at a town hall meeting.
  • On the Economy

  • OBAMA: I believe this is the final verdict on the failed economic policies of the last eight years, strongly promoted by President (George) Bush and supported by Sen. McCain….(Those policies) essentially said that we should strip away regulations and consumer protections and let the market run wild, and prosperity would rain down on all of us. It hasn’t worked out that way….You’re not interested in politicians pointing fingers. You’re interested in the impact on you.
  • McCAIN: I have a plan to fix this problem, and it’s got to do with energy independence. We’ve got to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much. And we’ve got to keep taxes low and stop the spending spree in Washington.
  • On Morgages

  • McCAIN: I would order the secretary of the Treasury to immediately buy up the bad home loan mortgages in America and renegotiate at the new value of those homes — at the diminished value of those homes and let people be able to make those — be able to make those payments and stay in their homes. Is it expensive? Yes. But we all know, my friends, until we stabilize home values in America, we’re never going to start turning around and creating jobs and fixing our economy. And we’ve got to give some trust and confidence back to America. I know how the do that, my friends. And it’s my proposal, it’s not Sen. Obama’s proposal, it’s not President Bush’s proposal. But I know how to get America working again, restore our economy and take care of working Americans.
  • OBAMA: This is not the end of the process; this is the beginning of the process. And that’s why it’s going to be so important for us to work with homeowners to make sure that they can stay in their homes. The secretary already has the power to do that in the rescue package, but it hasn’t been exercised yet. And the next president has to make sure that the next Treasury secretary is thinking about how to strengthen you as a home buyer, you as a homeowner, and not simply think about bailing out banks on Wall Street.
  • McCAIN: But you know, one of the real catalysts, really the match that lit this fire was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I’ll bet you, you may never even have heard of them before this crisis. But you know, they’re the ones that, with the encouragement of Sen. Obama and his cronies and his friends in Washington, that went out and made all these risky loans, gave them to people that could never afford to pay back. And you know, there were some of us that stood up two years ago and said we’ve got to enact legislation to fix this. We’ve got to stop this greed and excess.
  • OBAMA: Now, I’ve got to correct a little bit of Sen. McCain’s history, not surprisingly. Let’s, first of all, understand that the biggest problem in this whole process was the deregulation of the financial system. Sen. McCain, as recently as March, bragged about the fact that he is a deregulator. On the other hand, two years ago, I said that we’ve got a sub-prime lending crisis that has to be dealt with.
  • On the National Debt

  • OBAMA: And so while it’s true that nobody’s completely innocent here, we have had, over the last eight years, the biggest increases in deficit spending and national debt in our history. And Senator McCain voted for four out of five of those George Bush budgets.
  • McCAIN: I can see why you feel that cynicism and mistrust, because the system in Washington is broken. And I have been a consistent reformer.
  • On Energy

  • OBAMA: What Sen. McCain doesn’t mention is he’s been there 26 of them. And during that time, he voted 23 times against alternative fuels, 23 times. So it’s easy to talk about this stuff during a campaign, but it’s important for us to understand that it requires a sustained effort from the next president.
  • McCAIN: It was an energy bill on the floor of the Senate, loaded down with goodies, billions for the oil companies, and it was sponsored by Bush and Cheney. You know who voted for it? You might never know. That one. You know who voted against it? Me.
  • On Taxes

  • OBAMA: It means — and I have to, again, repeat this. It means looking (ph) at the spending side, but also at the revenue side. I mean, Sen. McCain has been talking tough about earmarks, and that’s good, but earmarks account for about $18 billion of our budget. Now, when Sen. McCain is proposing tax cuts that would give the average Fortune 500 CEO an additional $700,000 in tax cuts, that’s not sharing a burden. And so part of the problem, I think, for a lot of people who are listening here tonight is they don’t feel as if they are sharing the burden with other folks…. That’s using a hatchet to cut the federal budget while I would use a scalpel
  • McCAIN: Nailing down Senator Obama’s various tax proposals is like nailing Jell-O to the wall… I am not in favour of tax cuts for the wealthy. Let’s create jobs and let’s get our economy going again and let’s not raise taxes on anyone.
  • OBAMA: But I think it’s important to understand, we’re not going to solve Social Security and Medicare unless we understand the rest of our tax policies. And you know, Sen. McCain, I think the “Straight Talk Express” lost a wheel on that one.
  • On Health Care

  • McCAIN: He starts saying, government will do this and government will do that, and then government will, and he’ll impose mandates. If you’re a small business person and you don’t insure your employees, Sen. Obama will fine you. Will fine you. That’s remarkable. If you’re a parent and you’re struggling to get health insurance for your children, Sen. Obama will fine you. I want to give every American a $5,000 refundable tax credit. They can take it anywhere, across state lines. Why not? Don’t we go across state lines when we purchase other things in America?
  • OBAMA: If you’ve got a health care plan that you like, you can keep it. All I’m going to do is help you to lower the premiums on it. You’ll still have choice of doctor. There’s no mandate involved. Small businesses are not going to have a mandate. What we’re going to give you is a 50 percent tax credit to help provide health care for those that you need. Now, it’s true that I say that you are going to have to make sure that your child has health care. … The reason that it’s a problem to go shopping state by state, you know what insurance companies will do? They will find a state — maybe Arizona, maybe another state — where there are no requirements for you to get cancer screenings, where there are no requirements for you to have to get pre-existing conditions, and they will all set up shop there.
  • On Iraq

  • McCAIN: Sen. Obama was wrong about Iraq and the surge. He was wrong about Russia when they committed aggression against Georgia. And in his short career, he does not understand our national security challenges. We don’t have time for on-the-job training, my friends… My judgment is something that I think I have a record to stand on…. There was a lot at stake there, my friends. And I can tell you right now that Sen. Obama would have brought our troops home in defeat. I’ll bring them home with victory and with honor and that is a fundamental difference.
  • OBAMA: It’s true. There are some things I don’t understand. I don’t understand how we ended up invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, while Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda are setting up base camps and safe havens to train terrorists to attack us… When Sen. McCain was cheerleading the president to go into Iraq, he suggested it was going to be quick and easy, we’d be greeted as liberators. That was the wrong judgment, and it’s been costly to us.
  • On Pakistan

  • McCAIN: Teddy Roosevelt used to say walk softly, talk softly, but carry a big stick. Senator Obama likes to talk loudly. In fact, he said he wants to announce that he’s going to attack Pakistan. Remarkable….
    Not true. Not true. I have, obviously, supported those efforts that the United States had to go in militarily and I have opposed that I didn’t think so. I understand what it’s like to send young American’s in harm’s way. I say — I was joking with a veteran — I hate to even go into this. I was joking with an old veteran friend, who joked with me, about Iran. But the point is that I know how to handle these crises. And Sen. Obama, by saying that he would attack Pakistan, look at the context of his words. I’ll get Osama bin Laden, my friends. I’ll get him. I know how to get him.
  • OBAMA: Now, Sen. McCain suggests that somehow, you know, I’m green behind the ears and I’m just spouting off, and he’s somber and responsible…. Sen. McCain, this is the guy who sang, ‘Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran,’ who called for the annihilation of North Korea. That I don’t think is an example of speaking softly. This is the person who, after we had — we hadn’t even finished Afghanistan, where he said, ‘Next up, Baghdad.’ So I agree that we have to speak responsibly and we have to act responsibly. And the reason Pakistan — the popular opinion of America had diminished in Pakistan was because we were supporting a dictator, (former President Pervez) Musharraf, had given him $10 billion over seven years, and he had suspended civil liberties. We were not promoting democracy. This is the kind of policies that ultimately end up undermining our ability to fight the war on terrorism, and it will change when I’m president.
  • On Russia

  • McCAIN: We’re not going to have another Cold War with Russia. … We have to make the Russians understand that there are penalties for these, this kind of behavior, this kind of naked aggression into Georgia, a tiny country and a tiny democracy. And so, of course we want to bring international pressures to bear on Russia in hopes that that will modify and eventually change their behavior. Now, the G-8 is one of those, but there are many others. But the Russians must understand that these kinds of actions and activities are not acceptable and hopefully we will use the leverage, economic, diplomatic and others united with our allies, with our allies and friends in Europe who are equally disturbed as we are about their recent behaviors.
  • OBAMA: The resurgence of Russia is one of the central issues that we’re going to have to deal with in the next presidency. And for the most part I agree with Sen. McCain on many of the steps that have to be taken. But we can’t just provide moral support. We’ve got to provide moral support to the Poles and Estonia and Latvia and all of the nations that were former Soviet satellites. But we’ve also got to provide them with financial and concrete assistance to help rebuild their economies. Georgia in particular is now on the brink of enormous economic challenges. And some say that that’s what (Russian Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin intended in the first place. The other thing we have to do, though, is we’ve got to see around the corners. We’ve got to anticipate some of these problems ahead of time.


Senators John McCain and Barack Obama during Tuesday night’s debate. (Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

Senators John McCain and Barack Obama during Tuesday night's debate. (Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

Historians’ Comments

  • Gil Troy “McCain-Obama Take 2: Six Million Questions but Neither Has Good Answers:” We all knew what would happen. This second debate between Barack Obama and John McCain was going to be a slugfest. Journalists, who seem to forget that their job is to report what actually happened not predict what might occur, had been warning about it for days – although cautioning with the kind of glee that suggested they were as hopeful as appalled.
    The overwrought warnings of mudslinging made the actual event appear all the more subdued. Unwilling to ignore the undecided voters’ earnest questions as the stock market imploded, both Obama and McCain answered the questions carefully, soberly, respectfully. Most of the tension centered around the moderator Tom Brokaw’s timekeeping frustrations, as he repeatedly chided the candidates about keeping to their agreement. Brokaw seemed to forget that a moderator’s job is to go with the flow, that the American people tuned in to hear the presidential rivals not monitor their ability to follow some artificial rules which, Brokaw repeatedly reminded the candidates, they had “signed off on.”…
    The scariest thing about hearing both candidates sling clichés about the financial crisis is to realize how clueless they are – and will remain on January 20. If two smart, talented politicians, with such a clear incentive to give a thoughtful, reassuring analysis and plan can sound so lost, it is hard to know just who will magically appear on the scene to navigate the crisis. — HNN, 10-8-08
  • Alan Brinkley “Obama Finally Flashes Some Charm”: I really don’t like “town hall meeting” debates. First, they are (in this context) populist gimmicks to test a skill that has nothing to do with being president. Second, this was not a town hall meeting at all, but a scripted event with bad questions that the candidates had no choice but to evade.
    Having said that, I was surprised at how awkward and inarticulate McCain often was in a format that he claims to especially like and that he tried to induce Obama to join frequently over the summer. McCain was not embarrassing, and he had some good moments–as well as an interesting, but probably unworkable, proposal to have the Treasury buy up bad mortgages. But his body language and demeanor were mostly terrible, while Obama seemed fluid, comfortable, and–something that has not always been the case–charming.
    The substance of the debate had no surprises and didn’t vary much from the first debate. Given that all the polls, and the subsequent momentum, gave Obama the edge after the first debate, it’s pretty surprising that McCain said almost nothing that he hadn’t said earlier. Obama had no big new ideas either, but he’s not the one who has to turn the campaign around.
    I think the big advantage Obama has coming out of the debate is that he was more likable than he usually is– and that will make it much more difficult for the attack ads and the Palin barbs to turn things around.
    I saw nothing tonight that seems likely to change the current trajectory of the campaign. And that, of course, is good news for Obama. – TNR, 10-8-08
  • Michael Beschloss Discussing the Candidates: Obama has made a parallel himself that, like [Abraham] Lincoln, he only has a few years in public life, but he [Lincoln] made a great impact. … If Obama is elected with a large Democratic Congress, it could be one of those years when you have a president during a crisis, such as our financial crisis, with both houses of Congress in his party, and he can change things in a big way. It doesn’t work that way very often, but he could end up like [Franklin D. Roosevelt].
    We tend to not give the White House to the same party for three terms in a row. The only time it’s happened in modern times was with [George H.W.] Bush after [Ronald] Reagan. If McCain wins, it could mean he has a lot of political dexterity. And to distinguish oneself from an unpopular president is difficult. Just look at Adlai Stevenson, who tried to distance himself from [Harry] Truman, or Hubert Humphrey, who tried to distance himself from Lyndon Johnson, who was very unpopular at the time because of the Vietnam War. – Florida Times-Union
  • Stephen Hess on “McCain works to drive voters from Obama”: But while “character assassination is as American as apple pie and George Washington,” according to presidential historian Stephen Hess, “McCain’s problem is he lacks real ammunition.” – AFP, 10-7-08
  • Schuyler VanValkenburg on “Democratic Libel” The Internet and modern technology have allowed vitriol to amplify and multiply but they also have allowed us to return to this more participatory, grassroots democracy. – Style Weekly, 10-8-08

Republican National Convention Day 3: September 3, 2008


Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

The Palin family and Senator John McCain on stage at the Republican National Convention. (Photo: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

Day 3 Schedule

John McCain greeted by Sarah Palin as he arrived for the GOP Convention. (WaPo)

John McCain greeted by Sarah Palin as he arrived for the GOP Convention. (WaPo)


    The 2008 Republican National Convention today announced the full program of events for Wednesday, Sept. 3. The evening’s program will feature remarks by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican Party’s nominee for vice president. Among the other speakers participating in this evening’s program are former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. The speakers remarks will reflect the convention’s overall theme, “Country First,” and the theme for Wednesday’s events, which is “reform.”


    U.S. Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Speaker: U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (Minn.), Meg Whitman, former President and CEO of EBay, Carly Fiorina, former Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, GOPAC Chairman Michael Steel, Speaker: Former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.), Speaker: Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.), Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (N.Y.), Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin – GOP Convention 2008

Sarah Palin accepting the Republican Partys nomination for Vice President (CNN)

Sarah Palin accepting the Republican Party's nomination for Vice President (CNN)


  • September 3, 2008: Palin takes slap at Obama, casts herself as Washington outsider in convention speech … McCain shares hugs with Palin family upon his arrival in Twin Cities … GOP also-rans speak at national convention …. Obama claims McCain trying to run from Republican Party’s bad economic record … Democratic ‘war room’ finds its stride after tentative start. AP, 9-3-08 …Palin prepares to speak to delegates, other Americans amid political and personal revelations … Giuliani says Sarah Palin is ready to handle Sept. 11 crisis … Late-night TV hosts tread lightly with Palin pregnancy; use it to go after John Edwards. – AP, 9-3-08

Stats & In the News…

  • Poll gives Obama edge in two of three key states – CNN 9-3-08
  • September 3, 2008: Gallop Poll: Democrat Barack Obama has a 6-percentage-point lead over Republican John McCain — he has 49 percent to McCain’s 43 percent — among registered voters in the presidential race. – AP, 9-3-08
  • UPDATE 2-FACTBOX-Quotes from the U.S. Republican convention – Reuters, 9-3-08
  • Palin Defies Critics and Electrifies Party – NYT, 9-4-08
  • Palin touts small-town roots, rips Obama – Reuters, 9-4-08
  • Palin Introduces Herself and Takes On Obama in Convention Speech With her address to the GOP faithful she has become the unexpected star of the Republican Party – US News, 9-3-08
  • Sarah Palin Owns the Hall, But What About the Country? – The Nation, 9-3-08
  • Palin mocks Obama; McCain claims nomination – AP, 9-3-08
  • Palin casts herself as Washington outsider – AP, 9-3-08
  • McCain takes spotlight – with Palin family – AP, 9-3-08
The Republican Ticket, John McCain and Sarah Palin (CNN)

The Republican Ticket, John McCain and Sarah Palin (CNN)

Historians’ Comments

  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, this was a beat-up-on-Barack night, which is exactly what you expect from a keynoter. I thought Mayor Giuliani performed his role to the delight of everyone in the crowd. And it turned out he only warmed them up. There’s no doubt movements conservatives have themselves a new heroine, as of this evening. This will be a huge hit among Rush Limbaugh Republicans. It will be fascinating — I’d be interested to hear from Andy — it’d be fascinating to know if this plays as well among particularly independent voters out there who are watching this convention to find out not only what this party is against — and we heard a lot about that tonight — but what they’re for, particularly in the realm of the economy. And one final thing, I do wonder whether “drill, baby, drill” will take its place in the lexicon alongside “I like Ike.” – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, I think it happened, Richard. One note on political theater. You’ll note that, when John McCain came on stage — this is a first in history — a presidential candidate and a vice presidential candidate hugged in public. 1984, when Walter Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro, they and their handlers decided that the American people couldn’t take the sight of these candidates hugging. So all through the campaign, they very carefully sort of held hands, held hands in the air, nothing more than that until after they lost. And Geraldine Ferraro said, “Can I finally hug you?” She did, indeed. I think the one thing as far as the speech — speech was fine, well-delivered, loved in the hall. But this is a woman that Americans know extremely little about, especially for a national nominee. And this speech didn’t tell us really very much beyond what we knew already, and that’s going to make it even more important in the future when she gives speeches that are more impromptu and when she submits to interrogations by reporters and average American citizens. – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, a really strong speech designed to appeal to white women voters. When we control for race and we think about the gender gap, in 2000, Al Gore received 48 percent of white female votes. In 2004, it was down to 44 percent. So, really, the overwhelming number of African-American women voters and Hispanic voters that provides Democrats with that edge. And this speech was designed to really appeal to those voters. She called herself a hockey mom. And that really translates to the Midwest when we think about suburban soccer moms….Well, she exceeded expectations. People really — building on what Michael said — didn’t know what to expect, a lot of rumors, a lot of controversy about the surprise pick. She exceeded expectations. She’s poised. She’s calm. She’s cool and collected. She looked ready for primetime tonight. – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • Gil Troy “Palin: The Kindest, Gentlest Cultural Warrior Since Reagan”: …Palin drew a line between those who serve in the army – and those who don’t, between those who live in the bicoastal bubble – and those who live in what she made clear was the real America. To appreciate her performance at its best, remember the angry harsh attacks Marilyn Quayle and Pat Buchanan launched in 1992. Palin was equally sharp but far less shrill. Lines about a candidate who has authored two memoirs about his life but authored no major law, about a small town mayor being like a community organizer – but with responsibility were zingers aimed directly at Barack Obama, delivered with a smile. In her ability to plunge the stiletto so deftly, and so delightfully, Sarah Palin channeled the great hero of depressed Republicans, Ronald Reagan…. – HNN, 9-3-08
  • Alan Brinkley: “Does McCain Need Independent and Moderate Voters?”: I guess the Democrats can’t count on Sarah Palin to torpedo McCain’s candidacy. If there is a danger, it is that her speech will overshadow his. After the really dreary and depressing session of yesterday, tonight was very successful, with two good speeches–the other by Giuliani. And I think they made the case that the Republican faithful wanted to hear, and they beat up on Obama in ways that will resonate with the GOP.
    But what I think this convention is really trying to do is to change the subject. Most Americans, it’s clear, think this election is about the economy. In all the many speeches of this week in St. Paul, virtually none of them have had much to say about the really serious economic problems that are affecting the very Americans that the GOP has tried to enlist–middle class and lower middle class families. Instead, they are falling back on old favorites–the mess in Washington (and who has made that over the last eight years?), the political establishment (likewise), and of course the reliable whipping boy–the liberal media. This convention did not, I think, set up McCain to reach out to the independents and moderates he will need to get elected. Instead, he seems on course to try to turn out the right-wing evangelical vote in the way Bush did in 2004. But he will have a much harder time bringing out the vast number of evangelicals that Bush attracted. It will be very interesting tomorrow night to see whether McCain’s speech veers away at all from the reliably conservative message of the first few days of the convention and returns to the more centrist image he was trying to project over the summer. – The New Republic, 9-3-08
  • Richard Norton Smith, Michael Beschloss: For McCain, 6 keys to victory in November – USA Today, 9-4-08
  • John Baick on “‘Small-town’ Palin stands tall”: “Far more attention is being paid to the vice presidential nominee than to McCain,” said John Baick, associate professor of history at Western New England College in Springfield, Mass. To appeal to independent voters, but still keep conservatives happy, McCain likely will use “key words” that resonate with both groups in different ways, Baick said. “Like ‘character,’ ” Baick said. “When they hear ‘character’ from her, that means someone who will support pro-life causes and creationism. When he says ‘character,’ that means he will take the fight to the enemy and never stop. They’ll use some of the same talking points.” – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 9-3-08
  • Stephen Haycox on “The Unusual Challenges of Governing Alaska”: “Alaska really is a colonial place,” said Stephen Haycox, a professor of history at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. “One third of the economic base is oil; another third is federal spending. The economy is extremely narrow and highly dependent. It’s not to say that Alaska is a beggar state, but it certainly is true that Alaska is dependent on decisions made outside it, and over which Alaskans don’t have great control.” – NYT, 9-4-08
  • Peniel Joseph, Richard Norton Smith: Forty Years Later, Nixon Convention Speech Remains Watershed Event – PBS Newshour, 9-3-08
  • Richard Norton Smith on “Forty Years Later, Nixon Convention Speech Remains Watershed Event”: For Norton Smith, the speech outlines a bold new foreign policy of engagement and a noticeably conservative domestic agenda.
    “He wanted to bring about a political realignment, a post-New Deal, broadly conservative party,” Norton Smith told the Online NewsHour. “Nixon appeals to old blue-collar workers, social conservatives who had been part of the New Deal coalition and people who are open to changing their votes, if not necessarily their party registration because they’re not necessary happy with the social upheavals going on around them.” – PBS Newshour, 9-3-08
  • Peniel Joseph on “Forty Years Later, Nixon Convention Speech Remains Watershed Event”: Joseph, on the other hand, sees the Nixon speech as a successful effort to rally the “silent majority” around conservative values through carefully chosen, but still loaded, “code words.”
    “What Nixon’s doing, he’s really providing language, and eloquent articulation of the way in which suburban whites are feeling as early as the early 1960s… Nixon is trying to appeal to suburban warriors who feel that blacks are encroaching in on their dream.” – PBS Newshour, 9-3-08
  • Beverly Gage on “Sarah Palin” Interview with NPR’s On the Point with Tom Ashbrook – NPR, 9-3-08
  • Julian Zelizer: Palin McCain’s Dan Quayle?: …In the past few days, Democrats have been focusing on one aspect of the 1988 campaign—Quayle’s many problems — while forgetting the overall story: Bush and Quayle won.
    Democrats could certainly point to the weaknesses and dangers in the Palin selection, but they should be cautious. If they allow Palin to distract them from their main target — McCain and his support for the unpopular economic and military policies of President George W. Bush — they might just find themselves like Dukakis and Bensten in 1988, on the losing end. – Washington Independent, 9-3-08
  • Steve Russell on “Republican convention off to slow start”: For Northern Essex Community College assistant professor of history Steve Russell, the choice was a risk at best. “I think McCain is doing pretty well considering Bush is not popular. He conveys he knows what he is doing and can take the reins,” Russell said. “But I think Palin is an incredibe risk. I don’t see how it could possibly help him.” – Newbury Port News, 9-3-08
  • Historians Offer Insight on RNC’s Day Two: historians Michael Beschloss and Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph examine the strengths of the night’s speeches and the rally for the GOP party in St. Paul. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: Well, it’s interesting. I think Judy’s right. This crowd goes out tonight feeling probably a lot better than they did even coming in this evening. I was struck by the extent to which this night was about John McCain’s personal story. And as we all know, it is a very powerful story. But it’s interesting. Here we are, two months before the campaign, and you have — before the election, and you have the feeling this is still a candidacy driven very much by biography. And I suspect what a lot of people are eager to hear over the next two nights is a lot more about what a McCain presidency would actually mean, whether it’s the economy, or health care, or a host of other issues. One other thing I would just add as an asterisk, knowing some Republicans and having been around Republicans, I don’t think you can overestimate the emotional surge in this hall that arises from the sense as a result of the Sarah Palin feeding frenzy that the “media,” quote, unquote, is out to get them. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: Certainly. I think that tonight, it was an extraordinary night. I think Joe Lieberman’s speech quoting George Washington, who was against parties, at least partisanship, and calling for a bipartisan participation in this next election, Democrats, independents to vote for McCain, really building on what Richard said, based on biography rather than specific public policy proposals. And I think the controversy over the Palin choice is energizing their base. And they really feel they’re trying to rally around Palin in a way that — when we think of 1972, George McGovern didn’t, and when we think of 1988, George Bush, in fact, did. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: Maybe not a lot. And as a matter of fact, you know, you were talking a moment ago, Jim, about going after the media, which never hurts to do for a speaker at any convention, maybe particularly a Republican one. And, in 1964, probably the most powerful applause line at that convention, the Republicans in San Francisco, aside from the one given by — the speech given by Barry Goldwater, Dwight Eisenhower, of all people, who people thought of as rather mild-mannered, said, “Let us particularly scorn the sensation-seeking columnists because, my friends, I can assure you these are people who couldn’t care less about the good of our party.” And there was almost an animal roar. One lady started screaming, “Down with Walter Lippman!” It really brought down the house. The other thing you were saying, Jim, about, you know, reaching across the aisle. You know, Joe Lieberman’s speech tonight, I think it probably can be fairly said, if he had been nominated for vice president this week, we probably would have heard maybe three-quarters of the words that we heard tonight. That was probably large chunks of an acceptance speech that he never got to give. The reason he never got to give it, we are told, is that John McCain wanted to choose him, but his party said you can’t reach across the aisle, you can’t nominate a Democrat who has very differing views from many of us and from John McCain. And so there was a great irony that here he is saying, “Let’s all reach across the aisle,” to a group that essentially prevented John McCain from choosing a Democrat, Lieberman, as vice president. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • Kenya Davis-Hayes on “Black political observers look to November”: “I thought the speech was charismatic and well-crafted,” said Kenya Davis-Hayes, a 28-year-old assistant professor of history at California Baptist University who is also executive treasurer of the state’s Young Republican Federation. She watched the speech on tape the weekend after it was delivered, and acknowledged that Obama’s message appeals to a large portion of the electorate that is “stressed out and clinging to the hope that things are going to get better” in these troubled times of war and recession. “His speech covered huge ground,” she added. “If he does win the next election, people will be expecting a radical shift in energy policy and job opportunities. Even with two terms, which isn’t such a long time, that would be a huge expectation to fulfill.” – LA Wave, 9-4-08

    Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska spoke at the convention in St. Paul on Wednesday.  (NYT)

    Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska spoke at the convention in St. Paul on Wednesday. (NYT)

The Speeches….

Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

Gov. Sarah Palin gave her first prime-time national speech Wednesday. (Photo: Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellow citizens, I will be honored to accept your nomination for vice president of the United States.

I accept the call to help our nominee for president to serve and defend America. And I accept the challenge of a tough fight in this election against confident opponents at a crucial hour for our country.

And I accept the privilege of serving with a man who has come through much harder missions, and met far graver challenges, and knows how tough fights are won, the next president of the United States, John S. McCain.

It was just a year ago when all the experts in Washington counted out our nominee because he refused to hedge his commitment to the security of the country he loves.

With their usual certitude, they told us that all was lost, there was no hope for this candidate, who said that he would rather lose an election than see his country lose a war. But the pollsters…

The pollsters and the pundits, they overlooked just one thing when they wrote him off. They overlooked the caliber of the man himself, the determination, and resolve, and the sheer guts of Senator John McCain.

The voters knew better, and maybe that’s because they realized there’s a time for politics and a time for leadership, a time to campaign and a time to put our country first.

Our nominee for president is a true profile in courage, and people like that are hard to come by. He’s a man who wore the uniform of his country for 22 years and refused to break faith with those troops in Iraq who now have brought victory within sight.

And as the mother of one of those troops, that is exactly the kind of man I want as commander-in-chief….

You know, from the inside, no family ever seems typical, and that’s how it is with us. Our family has the same ups and downs as any other, the same challenges and the same joys.

Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge. And children with special needs inspire a very, very special love. To the families of special-needs…

To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message for you: For years, you’ve sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. And I pledge to you that, if we’re elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House….

My mom and dad both worked at the elementary school in our small town. And among the many things I owe them is a simple lesson that I’ve learned, that this is America, and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity.

And my parents are here tonight….

Long ago, a young farmer and a haberdasher from Missouri, he followed an unlikely path — he followed an unlikely path to the vice presidency. And a writer observed, “We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity,” and I know just the kind of people that writer had in mind when he praised Harry Truman.

I grew up with those people. They’re the ones who do some of the hardest work in America, who grow our food, and run our factories, and fight our wars. They love their country in good times and bad, and they’re always proud of America.

I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. I was just your average hockey mom and signed up for the PTA.

I love those hockey moms. You know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick….

Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska…

… I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involved.

I guess — I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.

I might add that, in small towns, we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they’re listening and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening.

No, we tend to prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.

Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, speaks during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, speaks during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

As for my running mate, you can be certain that wherever he goes and whoever is listening John McCain is the same man.

Well, I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment. And…

… I’ve learned quickly these last few days that, if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.

But — now, here’s a little newsflash. Here’s a little newsflash for those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this great country….

No one expects us all to agree on everything, but we are expected to govern with integrity, and goodwill, and clear convictions, and a servant’s heart.

And I pledge to all Americans that I will carry myself in this spirit as vice president of the United States.

This was the spirit that brought me to the governor’s office when I took on the old politics as usual in Juneau, when I stood up to the special interests, and the lobbyists, and the Big Oil companies, and the good-old boys….

I came to office promising major ethics reform to end the culture of self-dealing. And today, that ethics reform is a law.

While I was at it, I got rid of a few things in the governor’s office that I didn’t believe our citizens should have to pay for. That luxury jet was over-the-top.

I put it on eBay.

I love to drive myself to work. And I thought we could muddle through without the governor’s personal chef, although I got to admit that sometimes my kids sure miss her.

I came to office promising to control spending, by request if possible, but by veto, if necessary.

Senator McCain also — he promises to use the power of veto in defense of the public interest. And as a chief executive, I can assure you it works.

Our state budget is under control. We have a surplus. And I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending, nearly $500 million in vetoes.

We suspended the state fuel tax and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress, “Thanks, but no thanks,” on that Bridge to Nowhere.

If our state wanted to build a bridge, we were going to build it ourselves.

When oil and gas prices went up dramatically and filled up the state treasury, I sent a large share of that revenue back where it belonged: directly to the people of Alaska.

And despite fierce opposition from oil company lobbyists, who kind of liked things the way that they were, we broke their monopoly on power and resources. As governor, I insisted on competition and basic fairness to end their control of our state and return it to the people.

I fought to bring about the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history. And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence.

That pipeline, when the last section is laid and its valves are open, will lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart….

To confront the threat that Iran might seek to cut off nearly a fifth of the world’s energy supplies, or that terrorists might strike again at the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia, or that Venezuela might shut off its oil discoveries and its deliveries of that source, Americans, we need to produce more of our own oil and gas. And…

And take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska: We’ve got lots of both.

Our opponents say again and again that drilling will not solve all of America’s energy problems, as if we didn’t know that already.

But the fact that drilling, though, won’t solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all.

Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines, and build more nuclear plants, and create jobs with clean coal, and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources. We need…

We need American sources of resources. We need American energy brought to you by American ingenuity and produced by American workers.

And now, I’ve noticed a pattern with our opponent, and maybe you have, too. We’ve all heard his dramatic speeches before devoted followers, and there is much to like and admire about our opponent.

But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or even a reform, not even in the State Senate.

This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting and never use the word “victory,” except when he’s talking about his own campaign.

But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed, when the roar of the crowd fades away, when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot…

… when that happens, what exactly is our opponent’s plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet?

The answer — the answer is to make government bigger, and take more of your money, and give you more orders from Washington, and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world.

America needs more energy; our opponent is against producing it. Victory in Iraq is finally in sight, and he wants to forfeit. Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay; he wants to meet them without preconditions.

Al Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America, and he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights.

Government is too big; he wants to grow it. Congress spends too much money; he promises more. Taxes are too high, and he wants to raise them. His tax increases are the fine print in his economic plan.

And let me be specific: The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, and raise payroll taxes, and raise investment income taxes, and raise the death tax, and raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars.

My sister, Heather, and her husband, they just built a service station that’s now open for business, like millions of others who run small businesses. How are they…

How are they going to be better off if taxes go up? Or maybe you are trying to keep your job at a plant in Michigan or in Ohio…

… or you’re trying — you’re trying to create jobs from clean coal, from Pennsylvania or West Virginia.

You’re trying to keep a small farm in the family right here in Minnesota.

How are you — how are you going to be better off if our opponent adds a massive tax burden to the American economy?

Here’s how I look at the choice Americans face in this election: In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers, and then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.

They are the ones whose names appear on laws and landmark reforms, not just on buttons and banners or on self-designed presidential seals.

Among politicians, there is the idealism of high-flown speech- making, in which crowds are stirringly summoned to support great things, and then there is the idealism of those leaders, like John McCain, who actually do great things.

They’re the ones who are good for more than talk, the ones that we’ve always been able to count on to serve and to defend America….

Our nominee doesn’t run with the Washington herd. He’s a man who’s there to serve his country and not just his party, a leader who’s not looking for a fight, but sure isn’t afraid of one, either.

Harry Reid, the majority of the current do-nothing Senate…

… he not long ago summed up his feelings about our nominee. He said, quote, “I can’t stand John McCain.”

Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps no accolade we hear this week is better proof that we’ve chosen the right man.

Clearly, what the majority leader was driving at is that he can’t stand up to John McCain and that is only…

… that’s only one more reason to take the maverick out of the Senate, put him in the White House.

My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery.

This world of threats and dangers, it’s not just a community and it doesn’t just need an organizer. And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they’re always, quote, “fighting for you,” let us face the matter squarely: There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you.

There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you in places where winning means survival and defeat means death. And that man is John McCain.

You know, in our day, politicians have readily shared much lesser tales of adversity than the nightmare world, the nightmare world in which this man and others equally brave served and suffered for their country.

And it’s a long way from the fear, and pain, and squalor of a six-by-four cell in Hanoi to the Oval Office.

But if Senator McCain is elected president, that is the journey he will have made. It’s the journey of an upright and honorable man, the kind of fellow whose name you will find on war memorials in small towns across this great country, only he was among those who came home.

To the most powerful office on Earth, he would bring the compassion that comes from having once been powerless, the wisdom that comes even to the captives by the grace of God, the special confidence of those who have seen evil and have seen how evil is overcome. A fellow…

A fellow prisoner of war, a man named Tom Moe of Lancaster, Ohio…

… Tom Moe recalls looking through a pinhole in his cell door as Lieutenant Commander John McCain was led down the hallway by the guards, day after day.

And the story is told, when McCain shuffled back from torturous interrogations, he would turn towards Moe’s door, and he’d flash a grin and a thumbs up, as if to say, “We’re going to pull through this.”

My fellow Americans, that is the kind of man America needs to see us through the next four years.

For a season, a gifted speaker can inspire with his words. But for a lifetime, John McCain has inspired with his deeds.

If character is the measure in this election, and hope the theme, and change the goal we share, then I ask you to join our cause. Join our cause and help America elect a great man as the next president of the United States.

Thank you, and God bless America. Thank you.

Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

Rudy Giuliani Stirs Up the Crowd in St. Paul. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

Almost exactly one year ago today, during a presidential debate in Durham, New Hampshire, I said that, if I weren’t running for president, I’d be supporting John McCain.

Well, I’m not running for president, and I do support John McCain.

Every — every four years, we’re told that this presidential election is the most important in our lifetime. This year, with what’s at stake, 2008 is the most important election in our lifetime. And we’d better get it right.

This already has been the longest presidential campaign in history, and sometimes to me it felt even longer.

The American people realize this election represents a turning point. It’s the decision to follow one path or the other. We, the people, the citizens of the United States, get to decide our next president, not the left-wing media, not Hollywood celebrities, not anyone else but the people of America.

To those Americans who still feel torn in this election, I’d like to suggest one way to think about this to help make a choice in 2008.

Think about it this way. You’re hiring someone to do a job, an important job, a job that relates to the safety of yourself and your family. Imagine that you have two job applications in your hand with the name and the party affiliations blocked out.

They’re both good and patriotic men with very different life experiences that have led them to this moment of shared history. You’ve got to make this decision, and you’ve got to make it right. And you have to desire — you’ve got to decide, who am I going to hire?

On the one hand, you’ve got a man who’s dedicated his life to the service of the United States. He’s been tested time and again by crisis. He has passed every test.

Even his adversaries acknowledge — Democrats, Republicans, everyone acknowledges that John McCain is a true American hero.

GIULIANI: He — he loves America, as we all do, but he has sacrificed for it as few do….

He has proved his commitment with his blood. He came home a national hero. He had earned a life of peace and quiet, but he was called to public service again, running for Congress, and then the United States Senate, as a proud foot soldier in the Reagan revolution.

His principled independence never wavered. He stood up to special interests. He fought for fiscal discipline and ethics reform and a strong national defense.

That’s the one choice. That’s the one man.

On the other hand, you have a resume from a gifted man with an Ivy League education. He worked as a community organizer. What? He worked — I said — I said, OK, OK, maybe this is the first problem on the resume.

He worked as a community organizer. He immersed himself in Chicago machine politics.

Then he ran for — then he ran for the state legislature and he got elected. And nearly 130 times, he couldn’t make a decision. He couldn’t figure out whether to vote “yes” or “no.” It was too tough.

He voted — he voted “present.”

I didn’t know about this vote “present” when I was mayor of New York City. Sarah Palin didn’t have this vote “present” when she was mayor or governor. You don’t get “present.” It doesn’t work in an executive job. For president of the United States, it’s not good enough to be present.

You have to make a decision.

A few years later — a few years later, he ran for the U.S. Senate. He spent most of his time as a celebrity senator: no leadership, no legislation to really speak of.

His rise is remarkable in its own right. It’s the kind of thing that can happen only in America.

But he’s never — he’s never run a city. He’s never run a state. He’s never run a business. He’s never run a military unit. He’s never had to lead people in crisis.

He is the least experienced candidate for president of the United States in at least the last 100 years.

Not a personal attack, a statement of fact. Barack Obama has never led anything, nothing, nada.

Nada, nothing.

The choice — the choice in this election comes down to substance over style. John McCain has been tested; Barack Obama has not.

Tough times require strong leadership, and this is no time for on-the-job training.

We agree. We agree with Joe Biden…

… one time, one time, when he said that, until he flip-flopped and changed his position. And, yes, being president means being able to answer that call at 3:00 in the morning. And that’s the one time we agree with Hillary.

But I bet you never thought Hillary would get applause at this convention. She can be right. Well, no one can look at John McCain and say that he’s not ready to be commander-in-chief. He is. He’s ready.

And we can trust him to deal with anything, anything that nature throws our way, anything that terrorists do to us. This man has been tested over and over again, and we will be safe in his hands, and our children will be safe in his hands, and our country will be safe in the hands of John McCain. No doubt.

I learned as a trial lawyer a long time ago, if you don’t have the facts, you’ve got to change them. So our opponents want to re- frame the debate.

They would have you believe that this election is about change versus more of the same, but that’s really a false choice, because there’s good change and bad change.

Because change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.

John McCain — John McCain will bring about the change that will create jobs and prosperity. Let’s talk briefly about specifics….

And — and he’ll do it with an all-of-the-above approach, including nuclear power, and, yes, off-shore oil drilling.

Drill, baby, drill?

Drill, baby, drill.

GIULIANI: This — this — this is the kind of change — now, you guys are ready to break out. Whoa.

This — this — this and a lot more is the kind of change that will create growth, jobs, and prosperity, not what they want to do, tax us more, increase the size of government, increase tariffs, hurt jobs, send jobs elsewhere.

We need John McCain to save our economy and make sure it grows, but we need it for a more important purpose. There’s one purpose that John McCain understands, Republicans understand, that overrides everything else: John McCain will keep us on offense against terrorism at home and abroad.

For — for four days in Denver, the Democrats were afraid to use the words “Islamic terrorism.”

I imagine they believe it is politically incorrect to say it. I think they believe it will insult someone. Please tell me, who are they insulting if they say “Islamic terrorism”? They are insulting terrorists.

Of great concern to me, during those same four days in Denver, they rarely mentioned the attacks of September 11, 2001. They are in a state of denial about the biggest threat that faces this country. And if you deny it and you don’t deal with it, you can’t face it.

John McCain can face the enemy. He can win, and he can bring victory for this country….

The Democratic leader — the Democratic leader of the Senate said, and I quote, “This war is lost.”

Well, well, if America lost, who won, Al Qaida, bin Laden?

In the single biggest policy decision of this election, John McCain got it right, and Barack Obama got it wrong.

Senator McCain — Senator — Senator McCain was the candidate most associated with the surge, and it was unpopular. What do you think most other politicians would have done in a situation like this?

They would have acted in their self-interest, and they would have changed their position in order to win an election. How many times have we seen Barack Obama do this?

Obama — Obama promised to take public financing for his campaign, until he broke his promise.

Obama — Obama was against wiretapping before he voted for it.

When speaking to a pro-Israeli group, Obama favored an undivided Jerusalem, like I favor and like John McCain favored. Well, he favored an undivided Jerusalem — don’t get too excited — for one day, until he changed his mind.

Well, I’ll tell you, if I were Joe Biden, I’d want to get that V.P. thing in writing.

Our hero, our candidate, John McCain said, “I’d rather lose an election than a war.” Why? Because that’s John McCain.

When Russia rolled over Georgia, John McCain immediately established a very strong, informed position that let the world know how he’ll respond as president at exactly the right time. Remember his words? Remember what John McCain said? “We are all Georgians.”

Obama’s — talk about judgment. Let’s look at what Obama did. Obama’s first instinct was to create a moral equivalency, suggesting that both sides were equally responsible, the same moral equivalency that he’s displayed in discussing the Palestinian Authority and the state of Israel.

Later — later, after discussing this with his 300 foreign policy advisers, he changed his position, and he suggested the United Nations Security Council could find a solution.

Apparently, none of his 300 foreign policy security advisers told him that Russia has a veto power in the United Nations Security Council.

By the way, this was about three days later. So — so he changed his position again, and he put out a statement exactly like the statement of John McCain’s three days earlier.

I have some advice for Senator Obama: Next time, call John McCain.

He — he knows something about foreign — he knows something about foreign policy. Like Ronald Reagan, John McCain will enlarge our party, open it up to lots of new people.

In choosing Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain has chosen for the future.

The other guy looked back. John looked forward.

Governor Palin represents a new generation. She’s already one of the most successful governors in America and the most popular.

And she’s already had more executive experience than the entire Democratic ticket combined.

She’s been a mayor. I love that (ph).

I’m sorry — I’m sorry that Barack Obama feels that her hometown isn’t cosmopolitan enough.

I’m sorry, Barack, that it’s not flashy enough. Maybe they cling to religion there.

Well — well, the first day — as far as I’m concerned, the first day she was mayor, she had more experience as an executive than — than Obama and Biden combined….

She’s been one of the most active governors — she’s been one of the most active governors in the country, and Alaska can be proud of having one of the best governors in the country.

She’s got an 80 percent approval rating. You never get that in New York City, wow.

As U.S. attorney, a former U.S. attorney, I’m very impressed the way she took on corruption in Alaska, including corruption in the Republican Party. This is a woman who has no fear. This is a woman who stands up for what’s right.

She — she — she is shaking up Alaska in a way that hasn’t happened in maybe ever. And with John McCain, with his independent spirit, with his being a maverick, with him and Sarah Palin, can you imagine how they’re going to shake up Washington?

Whew, look out. Look out.

One final point. And how — how dare they question whether Sarah Palin has enough time to spend with her children and be vice president. How dare they do that.

When do they ever ask a man that question? When?

Well, we’re at our best when we are expanding freedom. We’re the party that has expanded freedom from the very beginning, from ending slavery to making certain that people have freedom here and abroad.

We’re the party that believes in giving workers the right to work. We’re the party that believes that parents — parents should choose where their children go to school.

And we’re the party — and we’re the party that unapologetically believes in America’s success, a shining city on a hill, a beacon of freedom that inspires the world. That’s what our party is dedicated to.

So, my fellow Americans, we get a chance to elect one of our great heroes and a great American. He will be an exceptional president. He will have with him an exceptional woman who has already proven that she can reform and that she can govern.

And now the job is up to us. Let’s get John McCain and Sarah Palin elected, and let’s shake up Washington and move this country forward.

God bless America. Thank you.

…You know, for decades now, the Washington sun has been rising in the east. You see, Washington has been looking to the eastern elites, to the editorial pages of the Times and the Post, and to the broadcasters from the — from the coast. Yes.

If America really wants to change, it’s time to look for the sun in the west, because it’s about to rise and shine from Arizona and Alaska.

Last week, the Democratic convention talked about change. But what do you think? Is Washington now, liberal or conservative? Let me ask you some questions.

Is a Supreme Court decision liberal or conservative that awards Guantanamo terrorists with constitutional rights? It’s liberal.

Is a government liberal or conservative that puts the interests of the teachers union ahead of the needs of our children? It’s liberal.

Is a Congress liberal or conservative that stops nuclear power plants and off-shore drilling, making us more and more dependent on Middle Eastern tyrants? It’s liberal.

Is government spending, putting aside inflation, liberal or conservative if it doubles since 1980? It’s liberal.

We need change all right: change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington.

We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington: Throw out the big-government liberals and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney says Sen. John McCain will rein in government spending. (CNN)

Former Gov. Mitt Romney says Sen. John McCain will rein in government spending. (CNN)

It’s the same prescription for a stronger economy. I spent 25 years in the private sector. I’ve done business in many foreign countries. I know why jobs come and why they go away. And I know that liberals don’t have a clue.

They think that we have the biggest and strongest economy in the world because of our government. They’re wrong. America is strong because of the ingenuity, and entrepreneurship, and hard work of the American people….

America — America cannot long lead the family of nations if we fail the family here at home….

Dependency is death to initiative, to risk-taking and opportunity. It’s time to stop the spread of government dependency and fight it like the poison it is.

You know, it’s time for the party of big ideas, not the party of Big Brother.

Our economy is under attack. China is acting like Adam Smith on steroids, buying oil from the world’s worst and selling nuclear technology. Russia and the oil states are siphoning more than $500 billion a year from us in what could become the greatest transfer of economic wealth in the history of the world.

This is no time for timid, liberal, empty gestures.

Our economy has slowed down this year, and a lot of people are hurting. What happened? Mortgage money was handed out like candy, and speculators bought homes for free. And when this mortgage mania finally broke, it slammed the economy. And stratospheric gas prices made things even worse.

Democrats want to use the slowdown as an excuse to do what their special interests are always begging for: higher taxes, bigger government, and less trade with other nations….

The right course is the one championed by Ronald Reagan 30 years ago and by John McCain and Sarah Palin today.

The right course is to rein in government spending, lower taxes, take a Weedwacker to excessive regulation and mandates, put a stop to tort windfalls, and to stand up to the Tyrannosaurus appetite of government unions.

The right course — the right course is to pursue every source of energy security, from new efficiencies to renewables, from coal to non-CO2 producing nuclear, and for the immediate drilling for more oil off our shores.

And I have — I have one more recommendation for energy conservation: Let’s keep Al Gore’s private jet on the ground.

Last week, last week, did you hear any Democrats talk about the threat from radical, violent jihad? No. You see, Republicans believe that there is good and evil in the world. Ronald Reagan called out the evil empire. George Bush labeled the terror-sponsor states exactly what they are: The axis of evil.

And at Saddleback, after Barack Obama dodged and ducked every direct question, John McCain hit the nail on the head: Radical, violent Islam is evil, and he will defeat it.

This party…

You’re hearing it here. You’re hearing it here, and they’re hearing it across the country. You see, in this party, in this room tonight, and all over America, people in our party prefer straight talk to politically correct talk.

Republicans, led by John McCain and Sarah Palin, will fight to preserve the values that have preserved the nation. We’ll strengthen our economy and keep us from being held hostage by Putin, Chavez, and Ahmadinejad.

And we will never allow America to retreat in the face of evil extremism.

Just like you, just like you, there’s never been a day when I was not proud to be an American.

We — we Americans inherited the greatest nation in the history of the Earth. It’s our burden and our privilege to preserve it, to renew its spirit so that its noble past is prologue to its glorious future.

To this we’re all dedicated. And I firmly believe, by the providence of the almighty, that we will succeed.

President McCain and Vice President Palin will keep America as it has always been: The hope of the Earth.

Thank you, and God bless America.

  • Gov. Mike Huckabe’s Speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention As much as I appreciate the opportunity to speak tonight, I really was originally hoping for the slot on Thursday called the acceptance speech. But I am delighted to speak on behalf of my 2nd choice for the Republican nomination for president, John McCain. John McCain is a man with the character and stubborn kind of integrity that I want in a president.But I want to begin by doing something a little unusual. I’d like to thank the elite media for doing something that, quite frankly, I wasn’t sure could be done, and that’s unifying the Republican Party and all of America in support of Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin.

    The reporting of the past few days have proven tackier than a costume change at a Madonna concert.

    I grew up at a time and in a place where the civil rights movement was fought. I witnessed first-hand the shameful evil of racism. I saw how ignorance and prejudice caused people to do the unthinkable to people of color not so many years ago.

    So, I say with sincerity that I have great respect for Sen. Obama’s historic achievement to become his party’s nominee — not because of his color, but with indifference to it. Party or politics aside, we celebrate this milestone because it elevates our country.

    But the presidency is not a symbolic job, and I don’t believe his preparation or his plans will lift America up.

    Obama was right when he said this election is not about him, it’s about you.

    When gasoline costs $4 a gallon, it makes it tough if you’re a single mom to get to work each day in the used car you drive. You want something to change.

    If you’re a flight attendant or baggage handler and you’re asked to take a pay cut to keep your job, you want something to change.

    If you’re a young couple losing your house, your credit rating, and your American dream, you want something to change.

    John McCain offers specific ideas to respond to this need for change. But let me say there are some things we never want to change — freedom, security, and the opportunity to prosper.

    Barack Obama’s excellent adventure to Europe took his campaign for change to hundreds of thousands of people who don’t even vote or pay taxes here.

    Let me hasten to say it’s not what he took there that concerns me. It’s what he brought back. Lots of ideas from Europe he’d like to see imported here.

    Centralized governments may care for you from cradle to grave, but they also control you. Most Americans don’t want more government, they want a lot less government.

    It was in fact the founder of our party Abraham Lincoln reminded us that a government that can do everything for us can also take everything from us.

    Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday.

    Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday.

    I get a little tired of hearing how the Democrats care about the working guy as if all Republicans grew up with silk stockings and silver spoons. In my little hometown of Hope, Arkansas, the three sacred heroes were Jesus, Elvis, and FDR, not necessarily in that order.

    My own father held down two jobs, barely affording the little rented house I grew up in. My dad worked hard, lifted heavy things, and got his hands dirty. In fact, the only soap we had at my house was Lava.

    Heck, I was in college before I found out it wasn’t supposed to hurt to take a shower.

    Let me make something clear tonight: I’m not a Republican because I grew up rich, but because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life poor, waiting for the government to rescue me.

    John McCain doesn’t want the kind of change that allows the government to reach deeper into your paycheck and pick your doctor, your child’s school, or even the kind of car you drive or how much you inflate the tires.

    And he doesn’t want to change the definition of marriage. And unlike the Democratic ticket, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin believe that every human life has intrinsic worth and value from the moment of conception.

    And speaking of Gov. Palin, I am so tired of hearing about her lack of experience. I want to tell you folks something. She got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States.

    John McCain is by far the most prepared, experienced, and tested Presidential candidate. Thoroughly tested.

    When John McCain received his country’s call to service, he didn’t hesitate, and he didn’t choose the easy path….

    Most of us can lift our arms high in the air to signify that we want something. His arms can’t even lift to shoulder level, a constant reminder that his life is marked not by what he wants to receive, but by what he’s already given….

    Allow me to tell you about someone who understands this type of sacrifice better than anyone.

    On the first day of school in 2005, Martha Cothren, a teacher at Joe T. Robinson High School in Little Rock, was determined that her students would not take their education or their privilege as Americans for granted. With the principal’s permission, she removed all the desks from her classroom on that first day of school in 2005. The students entered the empty room and asked, “Mrs. Cothren, where are our desks?” “You get a desk when you tell me how you earn it,” she replied….

    By lunch, the buzz was all over campus — Mrs. Cothren had flipped out; wouldn’t let her students have a desk. Kids had used their cell phones and called their parents.

    By early afternoon, all four of the local network TV affiliates had camera crews at the school to report on the teacher who wouldn’t let her students have a desk unless they could tell her how they earned it. By the final period, no one had guessed correctly.

    As the students filed in, Martha Cothren said, “Well, I didn’t think you would figure it out, so I’ll have to tell you.”

    Martha opened the door of her classroom. In walked over 20 veterans, some wearing uniforms from years gone by, but each one carrying a school desk.

    As they carefully and quietly arranged the desks in neat rows, Martha said, “You don’t have to earn your desks ’cause these guys — they already did.”

    These brave veterans went halfway around the world, giving up their education and interrupting their careers and families so you could have the freedom you have.

    No one charged you for your desk. But it wasn’t really free. These guys bought it for you. And I hope you never forget it.”

    I wish we all would remember that being American is not just about the freedom we have. It’s about those who gave it to us.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, John McCain is one of those people who helped buy the freedom that we enjoy and the school desks we had.

    It’s my honor to do what I can to help him have a desk that he has earned one in the Oval Office.

The audience at the Republican National Convention. (CNN)

The audience at the Republican National Convention. (CNN)

On the Campaign Trail….

  • John McCain cites Palin’s energy, mayoral experience:“This is what Americans want. They don’t want somebody who has, who is, frankly, necessarily gone to Harvard or an Ivy League school. She probably hasn’t been to a Georgetown cocktail party. But you know what, she represents everything we want to see in government and America _ change and reform and ethics and taking on the special interests.”

    Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin together at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin together at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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