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  •  MD, what do you make of Jay Winik? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, Major Danby

    I just saw him on Washington Journal this morning talking about his new book The Great Upheaval, on the tranformational years 1780-1800 in Europe and North America. As I'm sure you know he came out with another book several years ago that was widely praised, April 1865. I'd actually never heard of him nor read any of his books, but I ask because after Googling him he appears to me to be either a neocon, or a neocon enabler, i.e. one of those avuncular pro-establishment "public intellectuals" (as opposed to more combative anti-establishment real intellectuals like Chomsky) who in their own seemingly erudite way soften the field for the idea that it's ok to give up some of one's freedoms for the illusion of more security, because, hey, our wonderful forefathers did it too and we did OK! Since you teach US history, mentioned Lincoln and have a good BS detector, I figured I'd ask you.

    •  I never taught U.S. history per se (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kovie

      (except as part of a Core Curriculum course); I think you're thinking of teacherken.  I taught American Government during most of my decade as a professor (mostly in Poli Sci), though, and that included a lot of U.S. History.

      As for Winik, I know the name slightly, I think I remember hearing about his book April 1865: the Month That Saved America, and I don't like the fact that he's a scholar with the Hudson Institute, but I don't know enough about him to malign him fairly.  ;7)

      Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

      by Major Danby on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 10:57:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I always assumed that you taught history (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Major Danby

        although as you say teaching US government presupposes the teaching of a lot of US history. I don't know much about Hudson except that I've read that it's right-wing (or at least pro-establishment, which to me is the same thing), like Hoover, AEI and Heritage.

        As for Winik, my take on him was that he appears to one of those popular historians (which, having majored in history and having a basic sense of what it entails, I view as being very different from academic historians, who need and tend to be vastly more critical and challening of accepted wisdom), who are quite popular these days (thus the name, duh)--e.g. Goodwin, McCullough, Ambrose--who basically engage in reinforcing conventional wisdom narratives and hero worship (because it's easy, uncontroversial, and it SELLS to a public that wants to read without having to really think), but not in critical historiography (which is hard, often controversial, and doesn't tend to sell). And he's strikes me the right's version of such an historian, reinforcing right-wing memes but doing so in a seemingly innocuous manner. And his online CV is so long and impressive that most people wouldn't dare challenge his authority (I would ;-) ).

        Anyway, just wondering. No big deal. Far more worrisome "public intellectuals" out there these days (e.g. the Kagans, the Kristols, the Podhoretzes, etc.--damn I wish I wasn't Jewish sometimes!). I'll try to skim through it when I get the chance.

        •  The way I like to think of it is that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kovie

          I'm actually Jewish and they're part of some twisted mutant moral offshoot.

          Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

          by Major Danby on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 12:07:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I wish it were that easy (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Major Danby

            No, they're Jewish all right, just seriously messed up as human beings. We're allowed to have a few meshugenahs, so long as we can keep them in line. I try my best...

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