WWI Doughboys and Elsie Janis

Doughboys on the Western Front: Memories of American Soldiers in the Great War appeared last week and I am quite pleased with it. One of the people I discovered in compiling the book… Continue reading

What’s a Teacher/Scholar to Do?

Originally posted on ACADEME BLOG:
There’s an essay on Chronicle,com by NYU professor Eric Klinenberg called “What Trump’s Win Compels Scholars To Do.” After discussing the overreach of Big Data, Klinenberg writes: There’s…

Veterans Day

Ninety-Eight years ago, this day, began the American century. The center of the world shifted. President Woodrow Wilson was now the most important person on earth. At the other end of the spectrum… Continue reading

Don’t Mourn, Organize

We of progressive and humanitarian belief have been out-organized and out-maneuvered for half a century, now. The result? A slowly unfolding disaster, a regression from the hope and idealism that were the bedrocks… Continue reading

The Alt-Right of the 1920s

With the rise in power of the alt-right and its influence on today’s election, I’m reminded of this newspaper article my great-grandmother saved, about my grandfather. There is no date or more than… Continue reading

From Henry Clay Versus James Polk to Donald Trump Versus Hillary Clinton: Has Much Changed?

When I was a little boy in Richmond, Indiana, my parents decided to go to the drive-in to see the new Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift movie Raintree County. There must have been a… Continue reading

Is Trump Our Ticktockman?

Or is he the harlequin? Or both? Harlan Ellison’s Nebula-winning short story from the sixties, “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman,” is seeming a little too recent. He starts with a quote from Thoreau… Continue reading

Enthusiasm: The Heart of Literature

One of my favorite new courses here at New York City College of Technology is “Gothic Literature and Visual Culture.” I had nothing to do with its development, though I wish I had,… Continue reading

Pieces of the Past as Prologue

Originally posted on ACADEME BLOG:
Reproduction of a Charles Mills painting by the Detroit Publishing Company. Depicts W:Benjamin Franklin at work on a printing press. It is unlikely Franklin would have ever worn…

Trainwreck on the Right: Traitors to the Founding Fathers

In 1992 and 1993, I taught American history in a Brooklyn high school, students half African-American, half white. In discussing race, I mentioned that the American population was less than 15% black. My… Continue reading