History

Waiting for a miracle

Featured image Nadezhda Mandelstam was the widow of the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam and author of the astounding memoir Hope Against Hope, originally published in 1970. It is still in print after all these years and well summarized here. Osip was first arrested and taken into custody in 1934 for having written an unpublished poem critical of Stalin. Later deposited in the Stalinist “sewage disposal system” (as Solzhenitsyn called it), Osip died »

A sidebar on Barbara Bush

Featured image The death of Barbara Bush at the age of 92 gives us the occasion to look back on a meaningful life well lived. She died in Houston yesterday surrounded by her family. The wife of the 41st president, the mother of the 43rd, she was a great and gallant lady in her own right. She was widely admired and respected. The full Houston Chronicle obituary is posted here. I want »

Is It History, Or Is It Propaganda?

Featured image Fox News reports on an AP American History textbook that tells our kids what happened in the 2016 presidential election. From Hillary Clinton’s point of view, of course: Tarra Snyder, a student at Rosemount High School in Minnesota, who saw a copy of the book sent to her school, told Fox News she was “appalled” after seeing how “blatantly biased” the newest edition of “By the People: A History of »

Millenials Haven’t Heard of the Holocaust: True Or False?

Featured image Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, and The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany commissioned a polling firm to conduct a “comprehensive national study of Holocaust knowledge and awareness in the United States.” The results are getting quite a bit of media attention. The survey finds a relatively widespread lack of knowledge about the Holocaust, especially among young people. 22% of millennials say they have never heard of the Holocaust, »

King, 50 Years Later

Featured image The milestones of 1968 are being recalled day-by-day, reminding us of what a roller coaster year it was. The decision of LBJ not to run for re-election (cheered lustily by the left) was followed just five days later by the assassination in Memphis of Martin Luther King, on April 4—fifty years ago today. It is hard to believe that at the beginning of 1968, things looked decent for Johnson. So »

Reminder: The Left Hates Our Civilization

Featured image I know I’ve made the point before, but there is fresh evidence in recent weeks of how much the left today hates western civilization and human excellence in general. Once again the left is determined to flunk what I’ve long called “the Churchill test.” Once upon a time leading liberals loved Churchill. Think of Isaiah Berlin’s great 1949 Atlantic Monthly essay, “Churchill in 1940,” or how much Arthur Schlesinger loved »

The Vietnam War revisited

Featured image On March 18 C-SPAN 3 revisited the Vietnam War with a focus on 1968 in a discussion with Washington Post editor David Maraniss and man of many parts Jim Webb moderated by Steve Scully. It is the first part of the nine-part C-SPAN series 1968: America in Turmoil. C-SPAN has posted the video here along with the usual accessories. I have embedded it below. The contrast of Maraniss with Webb »

The unfunniest comedy

Featured image The Death of Stalin is probably playing at a theater somewhere near you. I can’t remember a more widely praised comedy/satire (trailer below). Everyone loves it, including John Podhoretz, my favorite movie critic. Unlike most of the critics, however, John writes with a reservation: “I can’t praise The Death of Stalin highly enough . . . except that it gets really boring after a while.” I found that to be perfectly accurate. »

The More Things Change . . .

Featured image . . . The more they stay the same. At least when it comes to leftists. Lately I’ve been reading some old essays from the late John P. Roche (d. 1994), a distinguished political scientist for many years at Brandeis University, and a liberal Democrat who worked as an aide to President Lyndon Johnson. Roche was the old-fashioned kind of no-nonsense anti-Communist liberal, and in fact by the 1980s he »

My favorite Democrat, RIP

Featured image I want to note the death yesterday of former Georgia Governor and United States Senator Zell Miller. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution looks back on his life in “Zell Miller dies at 86.” I didn’t know much about Miller before his appointment as Senator in 2000 following the untimely death of Paul Coverdell that year, but I came to admire him greatly. Initially attracted by the authentic wit and literacy I found »

CRB: A new classic

Featured image To borrow a resonant Shakespearean word, the new (Winter) issue of the Claremont Review of Books carries one review that represents the perfectest pairing of book with reviewer. It is Andrew Roberts’s review of Victor Davis Hanson’s new book, The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won. Roberts is of course the prominent historian and author of his own one-volume history of World War II, »

Something Completely Different: The Hittites

Featured image Like most people, I suppose, I am aware of the Hittites only as bit players in the Old Testament. In my imagining, they have always been primitive at best. So I was surprised to come across this silver drinking cup in the shape of a fist, which is in the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts: The museum’s site places the vessel in the Hittite New Kingdom during »

Churchill in five minutes

Featured image PragerU enlisted the services of the prominent historian Andrew Roberts to give its short course on “Winston Churchill: The man who saved the free world” (video below). It’s a good title and Roberts knows what he is talking about. He is the author of The Storm of War: A New History of World War II and the forthcoming biography Churchill: Walking with Destiny (also a good title, drawn from the »

George Washington: Father of our country, symbol of its presidency

Featured image In the preface to his book The Presidency of George Washington, the late Forrest McDonald wrote: [M]y account of Washington’s presidency may leave the reader mystified by the man’s virtual deification in his own times. The solution to the mystery is here, however, if the reader will approach the story in the proper spirit. To be an American in the last decade of the eighteenth century was to be present »

Remembering the indispensable man

Featured image Today we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of George Washington. Of all the great men of the revolutionary era to whom we owe our freedom, Washington’s greatness was the rarest and the most needed. At this remove in time, it is also the hardest to comprehend. Take, for example, Washington’s contribution to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Washington’s mere presence lent the undertaking and its handiwork the legitimacy that »

The first gerrymander

Featured image The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, dominated by Democrats, has redrawn the map for congressional districts in that state. It was assisted by a liberal law professor from Stanford. According to Sean Trende, the new map follows reasonable principles — compactness, contiguity, and minimal jurisdictional splits — but within those confines repeatedly makes choices that increase the Democrats odds of winning districts. What a surprise! The bottom line is that instead »

This day in erasing history

Featured image I grew up in a time when Washington’s birthday was not only observed on February 22, but was celebrated with the Fannie Farmer chocolate hatchet honoring the mythical story told about Washington by Parson Weems. In 1968 Washington’s Birthday was moved to the third Monday in February by virtue of the Uniform Holidays Bill. It has subsequently become the nondescript Presidents’ Day by which we know it today. Millard Fillmore »