Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Neil Jumonville R.I.P.

 Sad that first thing I had to blog about for a while was the death of Neil Jumonville.  

I write with a great sense of sadness about Neil’s passing. Though I don’t think I ever met Neil in person, ours was a relationship of the minds, with emails and phones serving as our points of communication. We discovered our shared interest in using (vulgar as that sounds) intellectual history as a means of political and social criticism. I had read his book on Henry Steele Commager, delighted to find his charge: “Historians must reach out and engage the wider public in a dialogue about historical issues if history as a field is to continue to have relevance in our national culture.”

Somehow we decided it would be a good idea to edit a book about the history and (hopefully) future of American liberalism. We both saw the history of ideas as the best approach to such a challenge. And it was while editing the book that I grew an admirer of Neil. I cherish the conversations we had, including our disagreements. We both worried about editing our heroes (or elders), like John Patrick Diggins and Alan Wolfe. We worked hard to make sure a range of views got into the book. At times difficult, Neil always kept us on the same page, figuring the best way to make the book cohere.

Neil dedicated himself to the life of the mind. A historian yes but also an intellectual. He knew his heritage – especially the New York Intellectuals (in his books Critical Crossings: The New York Intellectuals in Postwar America and The New York Intellectuals Reader). He believed the life of the mind could inform debates about the future of the nation. It was his optimism and realism in those hopes that I admired the most. He will be missed; he is already.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

 Astroworld Disaster and thinking about the past

Arena Rock Death

Monday, November 8, 2021

 The website for the book still exists and will announce soon the last online discussion hub.  This includes a D.C. presentation that will hopefully be posted soon: 

We're Not Here

But I'll go back to posting here things that go beyond the book.

That includes a recent piece I did for Slate:

Carter at Slate

This led to an interview at:

Chicago radio

A few sentences plucked out of context was done at Fox News:

Fox on Mattson

Which led to phone messages that accused me of being both a Nazi and Commie.  Go figure.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

History News Network AND new website

 Just to alert everyone to this piece for History News Network:


And the marvelous website designed by my great assistant Shalon.  

we're not here to entertain

Notice the blog at the new website.  I'll be posting there more than here from now on...