History

Darkest two hours revisited

Featured image I gave my quick take on the highly praised Churchill film Darkest Hour in my post “Darkest two hours.” By contrast, Steve Hayward declared the film “great” in this post and put it in the context of other depictions of Churchill on film in a valuable Weekly Standard column. In praising the film, Steve joins other esteemed Churchill experts who have written about it (Larry Arnn, Victor Davis Hanson, and »

The Generation That Knew Not Josef

Featured image Outgoing Senator Jeff Flake—an old friend from years ago before he entered electoral politics—has roiled the waters with his recent remarks that were said (not quite accurately) to have compared President Trump to Josef Stalin. This purported comparison understandably upset conservatives (and Flake was quick to correct the Tweet-fueled mischaracterization of his point), but I naturally wondered if he wasn’t onto a brilliant bit of misdirection: Everyone knows that Trump »

Abate Abbas: Text, video & more

Featured image Yesterday I noted the speech of Palestinian Authority President for Life Mahmoud Abbas, referring readers to the Times of Israel account of the speech and Times of Israel editor David Horovitz’s column on it. Abbas had given his speech this past Sunday to the PLO Central Council. My post, however, lacked the text of the speech. Now the invaluable MEMRI provides us a 17-minute video of excerpts posted here and »

Abate Abbas, please

Featured image Mahmoud Abbas is one of the many people to whom President Trump is getting. It is entirely to Trump’s credit that Abbas’s usual shtick has failed so miserably with Trump, as is the contrast with President Obama in this respect. Abbas is a deeply unsavory figure in a world of unsavory figures. Entering the fourteenth year of his four-year term as president of the Palestinian Authority, he lacks legitimacy of »

Deep thoughts by James Comey

Featured image Former FBI Director James Comey has been a public figure for a long time, but we are only now really getting to know him. It is difficult to fathom the depth of his self-regard. He is deeply imbued with the sense of his own righteousness. He therefore played the part of a straight-talking G-Man with undiluted conviction. No one would ever mistake him for a man with a sense of »

The two Martin Luther King Jrs

Featured image Today being Martin Luther King’s birthday, I took time off from thinking about the dossier/s***thole and read an essay written for the Heritage Foundation by Peter C. Myers: “The Limits and Dangers of Civil Disobedience: The Case of Martin Luther King, Jr.” I recommend it. Myers argues: (1) America’s founding principles of natural rights and the rule of law permit the practice of civil disobedience narrowly conceived. (2) American civil »

The prophetic voice

Featured image When Martin Luther King, Jr., brought his nonviolent campaign against segregation to Bull Connor’s Birmingham, he laid siege to the bastion of Jim Crow. In Birmingham between 1957 and 1962, black homes and churches had been subjected to a series of horrific bombings intended to terrorize the community. In April 1963 King answered the call to bring his campaign to Birmingham. When King landed in jail on Good Friday for »

Steve Bannon, David Stockman, and the need to spill one’s guts to liberals [UPDATED]

Featured image Jonah Goldberg says he’s “struggling to think of a comparable figure in American political history who squandered real power and influence as completely and quickly as [Steve] Bannon has.” The closest he comes is Father Coughlin from the 1930s. I can come no closer. However, Bannon’s fall reminds me of what happened to David Stockman in the 1980s. In some ways the comparison seems inapt. Stockman, who served as President »

The Indispensable Churchill Bibliography

Featured image Pursuant to the discussion here and the podcast Scott and I produced about Darkest Hour, a number of readers have asked for recommendations for good biographies and books about Churchill. Here are ten recommended authors and titles. Right off the top, it should be acknowledged that even the most ambitious reader might not be up to getting through all eight volumes of Martin Gilbert’s official biography (the longest biography ever »

Next Biopic on Deck: Chappaquiddick

Featured image Coming on the heels of Darkest Hour is another biopic of note. Both Paul and I reported a while ago that there was a movie in the works on Ted Kennedy’s infamous incident at Chappaquiddick in 1969. In September I had an item here about how an early review suggested the film would be very harsh on Kennedy, and the trailer just out makes it appear there may be some »

Judicial confirmation hearings, then and now

Featured image John wrote today about Matthew Petersen, President Trump’s nominee for a federal district judgeship. Petersen is a substantial guy, as John shows, and he was rated “qualified” to serve as district court judge by the American Bar Association. My strong preference, though, is for district court judges with a fair amount of experience litigating. I would not have wanted to have try a case before a judge who had little »

Ken Starr’s investigation and Robert Mueller’s — compare and contrast

Featured image E.J. Dionne claims that “the attacks on [Robert] Mueller push us closer to the precipice.” But if we’re close to the precipice now, where were we 20 years ago when Ken Starr was relentlessly attacked by Democrats and their media pals while he investigated Bill Clinton?* Don’t expect an answer from Dionne. He’s not intellectually honest enough even to mention Starr in his rant. But charges of hypocrisy against one »

Worst column of the year?

Featured image Over the years, I’ve probably learned as much, if not more, from George Will as from any columnist or political commentator. These days, his antipathy towards the U.S. president far exceeds mine, but I continue to learn from Will. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to learn from Will’s latest contribution, in which he proclaims Trump the worst president in American history. The column is an embarrassment. I can’t say it’s the worst »

A Whittaker Chambers Xmas

Featured image I was reminded that a friend asked me to recommend a book about Whittaker Chambers as a Christmas gift for her smartly conservative daughter a few years ago. Chambers stands at the center of an incredible drama and four fantastic books about it. There is still much to be learned from Chambers and his case. It occurred to me that some readers might appreciate another look at these recommendations including »

Darkest two hours

Featured image We went to see Darkest Hour last night. The film portrays Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) in May 1940. When Neville Chamberlain stepped down, Churchill became Prime Minister on May 10 and became Great Britain’s war leader. In Five Days in London: May 1940 (1999), John Lukacs focused on these events and took us into the cabinet meetings portrayed in the film. Stick with Lukacs. The film reduces Churchill to a »

AP History repeats itself

Featured image Last year, I wrote about the College Board’s plan to mandate a left-wing framework for the teaching of AP European History, a college-level course for American high school students and the last course in European history that many of them take. I relied on a devastating critique of the AP European History exam (APEH) issued by the National Association of Scholars (NAS) and written by David Randall. Dr. Randall’s key »

The Second World Wars

Featured image Last week I noted that Time has compiled a list of the top 10 non-fiction books of 2017. While conceding I haven’t read any of them, I noted that any such list in which Hillary Clinton and Ta-Nehisi Coates place in numbers 1 and 2 is some kind of a joke. That’s what Time’s list is. I’m thinking about my own top 10 list. It certainly includes Scalia Speaks: Reflections »