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Aram GoudsouzianDown to the Crossroads: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Meredith March Against Fear

February 12, 2014

When I was a kid in the 1970s, I really didn’t know anything about the “Civil Rights Movement.” I knew who Martin Luther King was, and that he had been assassinated by white racists (I knew quite a few of those). But to me all that was old history. The issue of the day–at least [...]

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H. Glenn PennyKindred by Choice: Germans and American Indians since 1800

February 4, 2014

If you have spent a bit of time in Germany or with German friends, you may have noticed the deep interest and affinity many Germans have for American Indians. What are the origins of this striking and enduring fascination? In many ways, it might be said to go back to Tacitus’ Germania – or at [...]

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Patricia EbreyEmperor Huizong

February 3, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in East Asian Studies] Patricia Ebrey’s beautifully written and exhaustively researched new book introduces readers to an emperor of China as artist, collector, father, ruler, scholar, patron, and human being. Emperor Huizong (Harvard University Press, 2014) explores the person and the reign of the eighth emperor of the Song Dynasty, who ascended the Song throne in [...]

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David N. LivingstoneAdam’s Ancestors: Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins

January 30, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Intellectual History] A report to the General Assembly of Scottish Presbyterians of 1923 contains the following passage: “God placed the people of this world in families, and history which is the narrative of His providence tells us that when kingdoms are divided against themselves they cannot stand. Those nations homogenous in race [...]

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Susan WareGame, Set, Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women’s Sports

January 17, 2014

If you’re younger than 45 or so, you probably don’t remember the “Battle of the Sexes.”  This tennis match, between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King, is one of the iconic moments in American history of the 1970s. It represented a breakthrough moment for women in sports, a symbol of the progress women were making [...]

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Waitman BeornMarching into Darkness: The Wehrmacht and the Holocaust in Belarus

January 10, 2014

The question of Wehrmacht complicity in the Holocaust is an old one. What might be called the “received view” until recently was that while a small number of German army units took part in anti-Jewish atrocities, the great bulk of the army neither knew about nor participated in the Nazi genocidal program. In other words, [...]

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Yuval LevinThe Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left

January 4, 2014

If you went to college in the United States and took a Western Civ class, you’ve probably read at least a bit of Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) and Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man (1791). The two are so often paired in history and political science classes that they are sometimes [...]

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Darrin M. McMahonDivine Fury: A History of Genius

December 28, 2013

Here’s an odd thing: there really haven’t been any universally-acclaimed geniuses since Einstein. At least I can’t think of any. Really smart people, yes. But geniuses per se, no. It seems Einstein was such a genius that he destroyed the entire concept of genius for us. Or perhaps we’ve just become tired of “genius.” There [...]

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Jennifer SessionsBy Sword and Plow: France and the Conquest of Algeria

December 21, 2013

Early modern European imperialism is really pretty easy to understand. Spain, Portugal, England, France, Russia and the rest were ruled by people whose business was war. They were conquerors, and conquering was what they did. So, when they attacked and subdued vast stretches of the world, they did so without regret or second-thought. All that [...]

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Peter Westwick & Peter NeushulThe World in the Curl: An Unconventional History of Surfing

December 15, 2013

The Atlantic magazine recently asked its readers to name the greatest athlete of all time.  The usual suspects were present among the nominees: Jesse Owens, Pelé, Wayne Gretzky, Don Bradman.  Given that these were readers of The Atlantic, there were some more thoughtful answers as well: Canadian athlete and cancer-research activist Terry Fox, Czech distance [...]

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