Friday, February 26, 2010

Yank historians smacked down, honoured

Historiann on American historians:
The historians who become well known in the U.S. are those who, for the most part, peddle charming myths about the Founding Fathers or other Great Men. Their work conforms closely (if dully, in my view) to a jingoistic Whig narrative that’s designed to reassure Americans that they live in the Greatest Country the World Has Ever Known.
It's a response to an essay on Paul Krugman.

Meanwhile, historians whom President Obama recently honoured with National Medals in the Humanities include Robert Caro (epic biographer of Lyndon Johnston), Annette Gordon-Reed ("The Hemings of Montecello"), David Levering Lewis (biographer of W.E.B. DuBois), and William H. McNeill (global historian and student of plagues). Not a whole lot of charming myths purveyed in their works, I think. American history is doing a little better than it's given credit for. Now, Canadian history....
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