History Buzz June 29, 2009: Historian’s Remember Michael Jackson’s Historical Impact




  • Rock, Pop Historian John Covach Assesses Michael Jackson’s Impact: “Michael Jackson is arguably the most important figure in 1980s popular music…. Younger fans of pop music may have to be reminded how incredibly powerful Michael Jackson’s music was in the 1980s. More than that, Jackson defined “cool” during those years. The single glove, his patented moonwalk step, that slightly rebellious yet gentle demeanor—all this youthful charm slipped away over time, as it does for all of us. But at the height of his powers, Michael Jackson was one of the world’s great entertainers and a pivotal figure in the history of American music. That’s how he should be remembered.” – Rochester University, 6-25-09
  • John Covach “Outpouring over Michael Jackson unlike anything since Princess Di”: “One reason Michael Jackson’s death is having such a wide impact is because his music had such a wide, and even sustained impact,” says John Covach, a music historian at the University of Rochester. “Few artists have so completely saturated the market as Jackson did during the 1980s. It’s comparable to the Beatles in the 60s or Elvis in the 50s. When an artist or performer is so well known and loved, the reaction to his or her passing is bound to be strong and widespread.” “One important difference between Jackson’s career and those of many others is that he was a child star who became an adult star – a very difficult transition to pull off,” says Professor Covach. “Even those who were too young to be fans of Jackson when he was a child have seen the clips of him performing with a mastery far beyond his years. The adult Michael Jackson that fans loved in the 1980s thus already had a bit of history – people felt like they knew him already.” – CS Monitor, 6-29-09



  • Niall Ferguson: Economic historian partnering on sequel to best selling strategy game ‘Making History’ – Gamezone.com (6-25-09)
  • Ed Ayers teaching high school teachers about the South: While summer is often believed to be a time of rest and relaxation for K-12 teachers, more than two dozen high school teachers from 20 states will spend next week as students of “The South in American History,” a course taught by University of Richmond president Edward L. Ayers. The course is part of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History…. – Press Release–University of Richmond (6-26-09)
  • American Historical Association: AHA protests Russian attempt to suppress history – AHA website, (6-17-09)
  • National Coalition for History: “Ask Congress to Increase Funding for the Office of Museum Services” Lee White at the website of the National Coalition for History (NCH) (6-24-09)


  • Sean Wilentz takes on the new Lincoln establishment: Sean Wilentz in a long article reviewing books about Lincoln – The New Republic, 7-15-09


  • Gavin Weightman: The Modernizers THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTIONARIES The Making of the Modern World 1776-1914 NYT, 6-28-09
  • Gavin Weightman: THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTIONARIES The Making of the Modern World 1776-1914, Ecerpt- NYT, 6-28-09
  • Christopher Bigsby: Liked but Not Well Liked ARTHUR MILLER 1915-1962 NYT, 6-28-09
  • Christopher Bigsby: ARTHUR MILLER 1915-1962, First Chapter – NYT, 6-28-09
  • Stephan Talty: HISTORY A Silent Killer THE ILLUSTRIOUS DEAD The Terrifying Story of How Typhus Killed Napoleon’s Greatest Army WaPo, 6-28-09
  • Jackson Lears: Bursting into the Modern Age REBIRTH OF A NATION The Making of Modern America, 1877-1920 WaPo, 6-28-09
  • Nelson Lichtenstein: New Book by UCSB History Scholar Examines Wal-Mart as a Business Model The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business (Metropolitan Books) – News announcement at the website of USC (6-24-09)


  • Jeremi Suri “UW-Madison Makes An Unlikely Ally: The Military”: “It really is a group effort to reach out to the military in a way we never have before, at least not in the last 20 to 30 years,” UW-Madison history professor Jeremi Suri said. “We’ve actually in the last few months, out of circumstance, made enormous headway. … We’re getting beyond this really silly notion people have that we’re antimilitary.” – AP, 6-28-09
  • David Eisenbach and David J. Garrow “Why the Gay Rights Movement Has No National Leader”: “The issues of gay rights are mainly state issues, so the focus for activism is going to be on the local level,” said David Eisenbach, a lecturer in history at Columbia University and the author of “Gay Power: An American Revolution.”
    “They see dispersal as a great thing, that it’s better not to have a concentration or too much attention overinvested in one individual,” said David J. Garrow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian who has written about the civil rights and women’s rights movements. “The speed and breadth of change has been just breathtaking,” he added. “But it’s happened without a Martin Luther King.” – NYT, 6-21-09


  • Kira Gale: Lewis and Clark in murder mystery 200 years after their final expedition: Meriwether Lewis, one half of the Lewis and Clark explorer duo who first reached the Pacific by land, may have been murdered, say descendants who want his body exhumed.
    Historian Kira Gale, co-author of a new book The Death of Meriwether Lewis, with Professor James Starrs, a forensic pathologist at George Washington University, said: “It’s a tangled web of politics, conspiracies and expansionism.” – Telegraph, UK, 6-29-09
  • Historians’ Advice for Dick Cheney on Writing His Memoirs: Former Vice President Dick Cheney has just signed a deal for his memoirs, reportedly worth around $2 million. President Bush, Laura Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice and Henry Paulson are also busy writing their takes on their roles in history. The political memoir, either as a summation of the author’s importance or payback to antagonists, has long been seen as a transition back to private life. – NYT (6-27-09)
  • Meet Britain’s young new historians: …They have been an actor, an artist and a TV presenter, are aged between 25 and 35 and they all have book contracts. One wrote his account of the year 1381 in a corner of the trendy London members’ club, Soho House, during leave from his day job at a men’s magazine. And rather than being looked down upon by the old guard, they are highly regarded by the academic establishment: David Starkey is considered a mentor by two of them; Simon Sebag Montefiore by others…. – Oliver Marre in the Guardian (6-28-09)


  • Wright’s Legacy at Dartmouth College: “No one in my family had gone to college,” Wright said. “And I had never taken it seriously… going into the Marines after high school was one way of delaying going into the mines or working for John Deere or the Kraft cheese plant.”… “I’m a student of history… American history,” Wright said. “I think I’ve had a fascination with history even when I was in elementary school. I recall loving history and reading history texts and there was a story which I found fascinating and enjoyable and I just liked to read history.”… – WCAX, 6-29-09
  • Simon Schama: My Secret Life: Simon Schama, historian, 64 Interview in the Independent (UK) (6-27-09)




  • W.Va. Civil War group debuts at Harpers Ferry Sesquicentennial of John Brown’s Raid kicks off – Journal News, 6-26-09
  • August 1, 2009: An Evening with Ken Burns: Kens Burns has been making documentary films for more than 30 years. Since the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, he has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made. The late historian Stephen Ambrose said of Burns’ films, “More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source.” This evening will afford Chautauqua an opportunity to hear one of the most influential documentary makers of all time. Chautauqua Institutition. For more info 716-357-6200. – Jamestown Post-Journal, 5-21-09


  • Niall Ferguson: The Ascent of Money Brings The Economic Crisis Down to Earth on PBS each Wednesday in July – About.com, 6-29-09
  • ‘History Detectives’ focus on Oak Ridge: Oak Ridge and Knoxville will be in the television spotlight over the next two weeks as PBS’ “History Detectives” investigate the historical significance of two mysterious letters contributed by area residents. Cast members of the television show, “History Detectives,” delve into the “Manhattan Project Patent.” – Oak Ridger, 6-29-09
  • BBC to launch new series on history of Christianity – Religious Intelligence, 6-19-09
  • C-SPAN2: BOOK TV Weekend Schedule
  • PBS History Detectives: Mondays at 9pm
  • History Channel: Weekly Schedule
  • History Channel: “Secrets of the Founding Fathers” – Monday, June 29, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “How Bruce Lee Changed the World” – Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked ” – Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Life After People” Marathon – Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 8-10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Underwater Universe” – Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Band Of Brothers” Marathon – Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 3-7pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Ben Franklin” – Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Stealing Lincoln’s Body” – Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Kennedy Assassination: Beyond Conspiracy” – Friday, July 3, 2009 at 2pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Lincoln Assassination” – Friday, July 3, 2009 at 4pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Secrets of the Founding Fathers” – Friday, July 3, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Secret Societies” – Friday, July 3, 2009 at 10pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Seven Signs of the Apocalypse” – Saturday, June 27, 2009 at 12pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Presidents” Marathon – Saturday, July 4, 2009 at 8-12pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Revolution” Marathon – Saturday, July 4, 2009 at 8am-5pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Mysteries of the Freemasons” – Saturday, July 4, 2009 at 6pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “The Presidents” Marathon – Saturday, July 4, 2009 at 8-12pm ET/PT
  • History Channel: “Crime Wave: 18 Months of Mayhem” – Monday, July 6, 2009 at 8pm ET/PT



  • Douglas Brinkley, Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, 1858-1919, June 30, 2009
  • Caroline Moorehead: Dancing to the Precipice: The Life of Lucie de la Tour du Pin, Eyewitness to an Era, June 30, 2009
  • Michael McMenamin: Becoming Winston Churchill: The Untold Story of Young Winston and His American Mentor, July 1, 2009
  • Elinor Burkett: Golda (Reprint), July 1, 2009
  • Mike Evans (Editor): Woodstock: Three Days That Rocked the World, July 7, 2009
  • Roger S. Bagnall: Oxford Handbook of Papyrology, July 14, 2009
  • David Maraniss: Rome 1960: The Summer Olympics That Stirred the World (Reprint), July 14, 2009
  • Buzz Aldrin: Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon, July 23, 2009
  • Alice Morse Earle: Child Life in Colonial Times (Paperback), July 23, 2009
  • William A. DeGregorio: The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents, Seventh Edition, August 15, 2009
  • Douglas Hunter: Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage That Redrew the Map of the New World, September 1, 2009
  • Annette Gordon-Reed: The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (Paperback), September 8, 2009
  • Jon Krakauer: Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, September 15, 2009


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