History

The Berlin Wall @25, Take 2

Featured image FWIW, here are some excerpts of my account of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the larger currents around it from the Epilogue of The Age of Reagan, picking up right in the middle. One part of this at the end—that revolutionary politics are over—is clearly incorrect, though the “crisis on the Left” bit remains more true than ever: The material and structural factors [of the end of the »

The Berlin Wall @25, Take 1

Featured image Today everyone is marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall—the signal event of the end of the Cold War. I find that students today, all born after the demise of the Soviet Union, have a hard time grasping the depth and vividness of the conflict. The Cold War might as well be the Boer War, and the Berlin Wall is as hazy as Hadrian’s Wall. It »

The Catcall Video, In Historical Perspective

Featured image I wrote yesterday about the infamous “catcall” video that has been the subject of much controversy on the web and in the news. We might think that the phenomenon of men accosting women on the street is a symptom of our decaying culture–I incline toward that view–but a reader points out that the issue has been with us for a long time. It’s just that the remedies used to be »

Mucking around revisited

Featured image Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism has just been published in paperback. Our friend Jean Yarbrough took a devastating look at what Goodwin has on offer this time around in the pages of the Claremont Review of Books. In light of next week’s elections, Professor Yarbrough’s account of the book – of the incestuous relationship between »

Media Alert: Gipperpalooza Tomorrow

Featured image I’ll be a guest on Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” radio show tomorrow at 8:05 am eastern time to discuss the 50th anniversary of the “Time for Choosing” speech.  Check the website for a broadcast station nearby or to listen online.  And there’s still time to make your reservation (free) to my lecture and panel discussion about The Speech at the Reagan Library tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time. »

“A Time for Choosing” @ 50

Featured image As noted here before by Paul and me, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Barry Goldwater’s famous “extremism in defense of liberty” speech at the GOP convention, which I also wrote about in the Claremont Review of Books. The other more important speech of 1964 was Ronald Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing,” whose precise 50th anniversary arrives next Monday. Power Line readers in the LA area may wish to »

“We Are Going To Win the Cold War”—A Conversation with Herbert Meyer, Part 3

Featured image In this installment of our conversations with Herbert Meyer (part one here, and part two here), we look back at the end of the Cold War, and especially Herb’s prescience in a memo he wrote in the fall of 1983, since declassified, entitled “Why Is the World So Dangerous?” (PDF link). Here he remarks that this memo was not just controversial, but also unwelcome even among many hard-liners in the »

A conversation with Dick Cheney

Featured image The Foundation for Constitutional Government has just released Bill Kristol’s “Conversation” with former Vice President Dick Cheney. The “Conversation” is one in a series of long-form interviews conducted by Bill with key intellectuals and players. Vice President Cheney has not shied away from commenting on the ongoing catastrophe of the Obama administration. It is always a pleasure to hear from him, but this interview goes well beyond events of current »

The Roosevelts: A hagiography

Featured image When writer Mark Gauvreau Judge was repeatedly invited to review Ken Burns’s 10-part, 18-and-a-half hour documentary on the history of jazz in 2000, his response was always the same: “I don’t need to see it to write a review. It’s Ken Burns, hippie granola-head and king of the documentary-melodrama, which means we’re in for yet another race-obsessed orgy of political correctness.” (In retrospect, Judge concedes, he was only “half-right.”) With »

Another Falling Bridge

Featured image While we await some new Rick Perlstein news (coming next week, stay tuned), it is worth noting another highly critical review of the book from the left. Jacob Weisberg takes aim in The Invisible Bridge in the Democracy Journal, a smart liberal journal edited by Michael Tomasky. Here are a couple of samples: [T]he reader finishes Perlstein’s very long book with the unsatisfying feeling that the author has not only »

Jan Karski’s message

Featured image I first learned of Jan Karski’s story in Walter Laqueur’s The Terrible Secret: Suppression of the Truth About Hitler’s “Final Solution,” published in 1980 (and first learned of Laqueur’s book from George Will’s excellent column on it in the Washington Post that year). Karski was an incredibly brave and dignified man. We need to attend to his example, now more than ever. Karski performed heroic service in World War II »

A day to be proud…

Featured image I first wrote about Rick Rescorla in 2003 after finishing James Stewart’s Heart of a Soldier, the book based on Stewart’s New Yorker article “The real heroes are dead.” (“The real heroes are dead” is what Rescorla would say in response to recognition of his heroism on the battlefield in Vietnam.) The book is good, not great, but it touches on profound themes in a thought-provoking way: life and death, »

Ordinary politics as corruption: the left’s new totalitarian hobby horse

Featured image Whatever one thinks about the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell on fraud and extortion charges, there is little doubt that the legal theories that produced the conviction blur the distinction between criminal corruption and ordinary politics. Indeed, it is my view that the left sees no such distinction. To the extent that ordinary politics stands in the way of its agenda, the left perceives ordinary politics as, at »

CRB: On the slaughter bench of history

Featured image We conclude our preview of the Summer issue of the Claremont Review of Books today—the hundredth anniversary of the first battle of the Marne—with Algis Valiunas’s First World War essay, “On the Slaughter Bench of History.” A fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Valiunas draws on several of the numerous books released to commemorate the centennial of the outbreak of the Great War to explore the historical, cultural »

CRB: Extremism and moderation

Featured image Fifty years after Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential defeat, in some respects little has changed. Liberals and establishment GOPers alike caution primary voters to do the sensible thing and run screaming from any candidate to the right of Mitt Romney. But as our own Steven F. Hayward—Ronald Reagan Distinguished Visiting Professor at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Public Policy—argues in the new Summer edition of the Claremont Review of Books (subscribe »

The College Board: marching the U.S. to the left one history lesson at a time

Featured image In this post, I discussed the left-wing ideology behind the College Board’s development of new curriculum for the teaching of AP U.S. History. Here, I want to discuss how left-wing ideology is manifested in the College Board’s “Framework” for the AP U.S. History exam, which you can find here. One manifestation is, as you would expect from a leftist project, is the downplaying of our Founding. If you read the »

American exceptionalism: we’d be damned fools not to believe in it

Featured image I wrote here about the College Board’s effort to mandate that AP U.S. History be taught from a leftist perspective. That perspective is based, in part, on a critique of “American exceptionalism.” In my post, borrowing from Stanley Kurtz, I took “American exceptionalism” to mean the view that celebrates America as a model, vindicator, and at times the chief defender of ordered liberty and self-government in the world. There are, »