by Unknown | 5/28/2008 02:03:00 PM
Stuff to read: Rachel Leow on narrowness in academia; Douglas J. Amy on why government is good (recommended from that site: his argument on Justice and Equality).

Stuff to watch: Rick Shenkman on how stupid Americans are -- the topic of his new book, Just How Stupid Are We?, which will be incredibly ironic if it becomes a best-seller:

What's on your mind?




Blogger idiosynchronic on 5/28/2008 8:17 PM:

Taking the Adversary Seriously: History and Condescension a blog afterward for his recent book Nixonland.

This looks like some really good material. I'm going to snag the university library copy of his previous book this eveing because I have a 5 day weekend.

This is the stuff I get excited about in History, post-war America, and cultureal history of the same period. Who's really doing serious research in this field right now, and whom isn't a basically a media figure? Perlstein essentially isn't an academic scholar, but he works this time period.


Blogger Unknown on 5/28/2008 10:48 PM:

The period Perlstein's covering is caught in this weird limbo: too recent for historians, too remote for political scientists. So between, say, 20 and 40 years ago, it's only really people like Perlstein who are writing about it.

The 1960s are starting to emerge from this limbo. The only major historical study of the period as a whole is Allen Matusow's The Unraveling of America, which was written in 1984 (and isn't very good). My advisor's looking at writing a book on the '60's, but he's got to finish his current one first. Other books by historians I've read that reference the postwar era are:

Jonathan Schoenwald, A Time for Choosing (the rise of the Goldwater conservatives)

Lizabeth Cohen, A Consumer's Republic (1950's consumer culture)

Thomas Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis (race relations in Detroit from 1940-1970)

I highly recommend the Sugrue book, which was a seminal work (and if you just can't get enough of him, he also blogs here). The Schoenwald was also very good, though it only really talks about conservatives. I didn't really enjoy the Cohen, but it's a major work.

The cool thing about this time period is that you can really be part of an emerging scholarship, because there isn't a whole lot of stuff out there. The bad thing about it is that you get people like me looking down our noses at you for focusing on "current events" (I kid!).


Blogger klkatz on 5/29/2008 11:45 PM:

great find with that video. as a high school government teacher I cringe at the people who don't know the answers to the simplest questions.

i get my news from the internet, is that as bad as tv??


Blogger Unknown on 5/30/2008 1:46 AM:

The answer is the same: not necessarily, but maybe. I mean, if you got all your news from The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. But I doubt the student in the video meant that.