Archives for history



The Year the World Changed

In a new Foreign Policy article, Christian Caryl describes how the events of 1979 defined the world we live in today. In 1979 Ayatollah Khomeini seized power in Iran, Margaret Thatcher led the conservative movement to power in Britain, Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage to Poland, and Deng Xiaoping began laying the groundwork for China’s market economy. Read More »



79 Years Ago, Today

A new blog, News from 1930, summarizes the news that appeared in The Wall Street Journal each day in 1930. For example, on Wednesday, June 25, 1930 a broker said, “When this economic and market readjustment has been completed, it will merely be represented by a small curve downward in our steadily mounting curve of prosperity, consumption, production, and efficiency … ” Read More »



The Problem With the Save Darfur Coalition

In his new book Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror, Mahmood Mamdani “attacks the Save Darfur Coalition as ahistorical and dishonest, and argues that the conflict in Darfur is more about land, power, and the environment than it is directly about race.” Guernica magazine interviewed the controversial author about the historical roots of the Darfur conflict, the similarities between Darfur and Iraq, and the proper role of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Sudan and elsewhere. Read More »



The Memory Palace

History is full of half-forgotten tales. That time, for instance, when the British thought Ben Franklin was helping the French build a death ray. Or when everyone in the Netherlands accidentally got high for a year on rye bread tainted by a psychedelic mold. Or how a dentist’s visit to Carlsbad Cavern inspired a doomsday weapon that could have ended World War II, if the atom bomb hadn’t done it first. Nate DiMeo has been collecting these stories, in short, wonderful podcasts, on a site called The Memory Palace. Read More »



The Financial Meltdown Now and Then

In the first installment of a three-part series, economic historian Price Fishback showed just how different the basic macroeconomic facts are in the current financial situation versus during the Great Depression.

In the second of three blog posts, Fishback turns to a discussion of the recent financial meltdown compared to the one that accompanied the Great Depression. For everyone still scratching their heads about what happened to the financial sector this fall, Fishback offers one of the clearest descriptions I’ve seen yet. He then discusses the similarities and differences of the financial collapse that began in 1929. Read More »



Julian Zelizer Answers Your Political-History Questions

Julian Zelizer Last week we solicited your questions for political historian Julian Zelizer. In the aftermath of an historic election and in the midst of strange and shocking political events, many of your questions had the zing of the moment about them — including whether any other president has had a shoe thrown at him. […] Read More »



Guess Where I Was the Other Day

It is home to this fine monument: And here it is in wider view: Yes, that’s the Parthenon, but no, I was not in Athens, and no, Athens hasn’t rebuilt the thing. I was in “the Athens of the South,” a.k.a. Nashville, Tenn., to give a talk at Vanderbilt University. I have always liked Nashville […] Read More »



Price Fishback: What Do the New Deal and World War II Tell Us About the Prospects for a Stimulus Package?

Economic historian Price Fishback, who recently guest blogged about the original Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, is back for an encore. This time, he tackles the issue of whether the New Deal and World War II are good examples of Keynesian stimuli. If you want to see these sorts of issues tackled in greater detail, check […] Read More »