COURT HISTORIAN: ARTHUR SCHLESINGER, JR. 1917-2007
Historian and public intellectual, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr
. passed away the other day
at the age of 89. Dr. Schlesinger was an author of extensive scholarship
, I myself recall reading his Age of Jackson
as an undergraduate and I have a number of his Kennedy books, where Schlesinger veered into hagiography, on my shelf. It is difficult to separate the man from most of the subjects on which he wrote, the New Deal and the Kennedy administration seemed to be part and parcel of Schlesinger's very identity.
Schlesinger used his vast knowledge of history as much to shape public debate as to inform the public about history. His "Vital Center
", published in 1949, helped separate American liberalism from its myopic indulgence of international Communism that was a de rigeur attitude among intellectuals in the 1930's and 1940's. Schlesinger's career was one of defending liberalism, which he equated with the values of the New Deal and Camelot, and it's icons, from the attacks of conservatives and leftist radicals alike. Schlesinger, like his contemporary and nemesis, Richard Nixon, stayed " in the the arena" of the battle of ideas until his last breath.
I often disagreed with Schlesinger's take on historical interpretation, moreso his politics, but one must acknowledge that as a historian, Schlesinger was a giant.LINKS
:David GreenbergJonathan ZimmermanAlonzo Hamby
Labels: diplomatic history, historians, obit, schlesinger