History

It wasn’t “the times” that caused feminists to give Bill Clinton a pass

Featured image Yesterday, in a post called “The Farce of Bill Clinton’s Reckoning,” I discussed the intellectual dishonesty of the many Democrats and feminists who defended Clinton from highly credible (and in at least one case admitted) charges of sexual misconduct. I rejected the defense to this hypocrisy that, when Clinton’s offenses were “litigated” more than 20 years ago, the problem of sexual harassment wasn’t taken nearly as seriously as it is »

History Is Bunk, Indeed

Featured image Henry Ford is reported to have once said, “History is bunk.” Upon Ford’s death, the eminent historian Arnold Toynbee remarked, “Henry Ford is history.” Touché! But I wonder if Henry Ford isn’t having the last laugh on this question, at least when it comes to academic history. I’ve been making mischief for the last few years among academic historians by asking the simple question, “Why is it that nearly all of »

The Ken Burns version, cont’d

Featured image I put everything I had to offer on the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick/Geoffrey Ward documentary The Vietnam War into “Notes on the Ken Burns version.” I think the documentary seeks to fix the record in falsity. To take only one example, as I say in my “Notes,” Burns and his colleagues were apparently unable to find a soldier to recall his service in anything other than shades of disillusion, disgust and »

A word from Victor Davis Hanson

Featured image Basic Books has just published Victor Davis Hanson’s The Second World Wars. Matthew Continetti celebrated it in a column here; it is certainly one of the most notable books of the year. Dr. Hanson has graciously accepted our invitation to preview the book for Power Line readers. He writes: The Second World Wars is not a chronological narrative of the conflict, but is organized by themes—e.g., “earth,” “fire,” “air,” “water,” »

Should Boalt Get the Boot?

Featured image Lawyers will know that U.C. Berkeley’s law school has long been known as Boalt Hall, named for John Boalt, a prominent 19th century California lawyer whose estate donated the money for Berkeley to start a law school way back in 1906. But there’s a problem: it seems Mr. Boalt harbored some racist views, in particular against the Chinese. You can read a paper Boalt delivered in 1877 entitled “The Chinese »

The Russian Revolution at 100

Featured image The New York Times has humiliated itself with the series of essays on the hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution that it has published under the rubric of Red Century. Michelle Malkin peeked in on it here. I peeked in on it in “The Times revisits the old-time religion” and drew on the great Harvey Klehr’s contribution to the series in “The romance of Soviet stooges.” This week’s New York »

The Ken Burns version, cont’d

Featured image I watched all 18 hours of the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick/Geoffrey Ward documentary The Vietnam War. Ten years in the making, it draws on enormous resources to fix our history in falsity. It seeks to endow the war as portrayed by the antiwar left with the status of the authorized version. A credulous consumer of the antiwar literature of the era, I began to get a clue around about the time »

The Ken Burns version, cont’d

Featured image I posted my “Notes on the Ken Burns version” as a placeholder until the time more knowledgeable observers than I published their comments on the updated left-wing version of the Vietnam War. In place of fairness it gives us a pretense of Olympian if sorrowful detachment. In place of a fair representation of the men who fought the war, it gives us voices ranging from disillusion to shame. The Ken »

Disrupt this

Featured image Tim Marshall is the provost of the university known as The New School. A friend forwards Marshall’s email on Curriculum Disruption Week with the assurance that “this is not a parody.” It’s not a parody, but it is almost funny! One might also say the descent to hell is easy. It turns out that we are in the middle of Curriculum Disruption Week. Provost Marshall announces: Leading up to the »

The Ken Burns version, cont’d

Featured image I put everything I had to offer on the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick/Geoffrey Ward documentary The Vietnam War into “Notes on the Ken Burns version.” I think the documentary seeks to fix the record in falsity. To take only one example, as I say in my “Notes,” Burns and his colleagues were apparently unable to find a soldier to recall his service in anything other than shades of disillusion, disgust and »

The Sword Is Mightier Than the Pen

Featured image I don’t think we have written about the article by Professor Bruce Gilley of Portland State University titled “The Case For Colonialism,” which was published in Third World Quarterly. I haven’t read the article, but this is the abstract. It sounds as though the article is in line with my own thinking on the subject. While it certainly had its dark side–e.g., pretty much anything involving Belgium–European colonialism was, on »

Columbus Day & culture war

Featured image President Trump has issued the traditional proclamation recognizing Columbus Day with unambivalent praise. That seems eminently reasonable to me. Columbus Day is intended to commemorate the first link in the chain of events leading to the founding of the United States. Those of us who love the United States are inclined to celebrate the day. Trump puts it this way in the proclamation: “The permanent arrival of Europeans to the »

Notes on the Ken Burns version

Featured image I want to add a few notes to Paul’s comments as well as my own on the gargantuan Ken Burns/Lynn Novick PBS documentary The Vietnam War. I think it warrants more informed commentary than my own, but let me these offer notes while we wait for knowledgeable observers such as Mackubin Owens, Victor Davis Hanson and James Robbins to weigh in. As of this weekend, we do have George Veith’s »

Ron Chernow’s “Grant”

Featured image For years, John and I have defended the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, rated by most historians as a failure and by some as among the worst in American history. This post is, I think, my most extensive commentary on the subject. In addition to defending Grant’s presidency, my post considers why historians have treated it so unfairly. The answer, I argued, is that historians found it in their interest »

The Vietnam War gets the Ken Burns treatment

Featured image I didn’t watch all 18 hours of Ken Burns’ series about the Vietnam War, but I forced myself to endure roughly two-thirds of it. I found Burns’ version of the war biased and superficial. Scott has performed a service by posting a conference about the series held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). As Scott says, Lewis Sorley’s presentation, which begins at 48:00, provides a devastating critique »

The Ken Burns version

Featured image Having lived through the period of maximum American participation in the Vietnam War as an interested observer and antiwar protester, I have come to doubt much of what I believed to be true at the time. For example, I took at face value the pseudo scholarly 1967 account of The United States in Vietnam by George M. Kahin and John W. Lewis. Kahin and Lewis asserted that the conflict was »

Leo Baeck, Berlin, 1935

Featured image Jews begin the observance of Yom Kippur at sundown tonight with the Kol Nidre prayer service. A couple of years ago a Christian friend asked to join us at the service we attend. During the service she pointed in our prayer book to an adaptation of the prayer composed by the reformist German Rabbi Leo Baeck for delivery in German synagogues during the Kol Nidre service on October 10, 1935. »