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Book Review: Historians in Trouble

Historians in Trouble 
Plagiarism, Fraud and Politics in the Ivory Tower
by Jon Wiener

This book examines a dozen recent cases of wrongdoing by historians. Some ended up on page one with their careers in ruins. Others facing equally grave charges have gotten off with little or no punishment. The reasons why are the real subject of the book. To give but three ecxamples:

Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, teaches history at Emory University and is a prominent critic of the feminism. In 1995 she was accused of bullying female graduate students and making them perform demeaning duties like cleaning her house, doing her laundry and walking her dog. In 1996, Emory settled the sexual harassment suit against her for an undisclosed sum in the neighbourhood of $1 million. In 2003, President George W. Bush awarded her the National Humanities Medal

Allen Weinstein fabricated evidence, misquoted interviewees and refused to make his evidence available to other historians - indeed he negotiated exclusive deals so that some material would not be available to others. In 2004 he was appointed Archivist of the United States. As such, he will supervise he handling of the presidential records of both Presidents Bush.

Michael Bellesiles wrote a book examining the origins of gun culture in America. He argued that firearms were much less common in colonial America and that the origin of gun culture as we know it today dates to the Civil War period. This greatly upset the Gun Lobby and he was forced to resign from Emory University in 2002.

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
morgan_dhu
24th Oct, 2005 15:43 (UTC)
Surely you're not suggesting (or endorsing a book that suggests) that wrongdoers receive differential treatment based on things like, oh, the ideological mesh between themselves and the people in power in their society, and whether they can be counted on to assist and support the private and/or public goals of those people?

Why, that would be ... unAmerican, or something.

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )