New Books…..

 

Framing the Sixties by Bernard von Bothmer

Occupation:The Ordeal of France 1940-1944 by Ian Ousby

How Wars are Won: the 13 Rules of War by Bevin Alexander

The first, which is an an analysis of how our historical memory of “the Sixties” have been wielded in cultural and political wars was sent as a review copy by Julie at FSB Associates. The next two were a gift from my regular guest-blogger,  Charles Cameron. Bevin Alexander is probably a familiar writer to many readers here. I’m adding them to my summer reading list.

The book pile towers ominously 🙂

6 comments on this post.
  1. Lexington Green:

    The Bothmer book looks pretty dubious.  Interested to see your take on it.

  2. zen:

    Hi Lex,
    .
    This is an area in which I am well read. I am curious to see how von Bothmer handles the fact that the American Left has basically three divisions – liberals, Progessives ( Democratic socialists) and Authoritarian socialists who usually call themselves something else. While the Right uses the antics of hard Leftists to beat the Liberals with, the Liberals nevertheless remain in a political coalition with the authoritarians through thick and thin, unless there is some kind of scandal or an intraparty feud with a specific individual.

    The Right has even more divisions than the Left.  I wonder how he will discuss that too.

  3. democratic core:

    Not sure I understand your categories.  Could you give examples (i.e., "name names") of who you see as fitting into the three categories on the American Left?

  4. zen:

    Hey DC,
    .
    No problema. Here are figures, historical and current, who I think generally fit each category, but this is not meant to be an exclusive or comprehensive list:
    .
    Liberals:  FDR, Adlai Stevenson, William O. Douglas, Earl Warren, Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Ted Kennedy, Tip O’Neil, Thurgood Marshall, Barney Frank, Charles Rangel, Nancy Pelosi, John Lewis, David Obey, Joe Biden
    .
    Democratic Socialists: Eugene V. Debs, Norman Thomas, Harry Hopkins, Eleanor Roosevelt, Walter Reuther, Ron Dellums, Jan Schakowski,  Jesse Jackson, Jr., Bernie Sanders
    .
    Authoritarian Socialists:  Bertolt Brecht, Paul Robeson, Saul Alinsky, Angela Davis, Bill Ayers, Maxine Waters, Cynthia McKinney, Cindy Sheehan, Oliver Stone, Danny Glover

  5. morgan:

    Zen, I think I would classify everyone you named after George McGovern as Democratic Socialists, and I’m giving McGovern the benefit of the doubt.

  6. democratic core:

    Thanks for the clarification, and seems like a fairly reasonable listing.  As for the "thick and thin" point, I think there was an effort by liberals to separate themselves from Authoritarian Socialists during the ’50s, notably in the case of a figure like Humphrey.  This did change in the ’60s, as the authoritarian wing became more mainstream and anti-communist liberals came under attack.  Some followed the path of Scoop Jackson, ultimately becoming neo-conservatives, while others like Humphrey and Daniel Patrick Moynihan remained liberals.  Speaking as someone who considers himself a liberal, I have become troubled by the extent to which more authoritarian wing seems to be making itself quite mainstream today, at least among Left intelligensia.  Some examples: (1) Pete Seeger’s enshrinement as some sort of folk-hero in popular culture, even though he was an unabashed Stalinist (he even wrote pro-Hitler songs after the Nazi-Soviet pact), a position he never publicly repudiated; (2) The praise for Howard Zinn among mainstream writers, even though his writing is blatant propaganda that has done a great deal of damage to the understanding of American history; (3) The stridently anti-capitalist tone being taken on by much of the Left today.  I heard Robert Reich on the radio recently and was shocked at his rhetoric – I easily could have been listening to Hugo Chavez. In the hope that true liberalism is not dead, I recently heard an outstanding talk by Alan Brinkley about his new book on FDR in which he made the case that FDR-style liberalism really has its genesis in the philosophy of the enlightenment, and that the gap between classical liberalism and the liberalism of FDR and Keynes is not as great as is often claimed.

    I too am very interested in the significance of the’60s, but this book doesn’t sound that great.  I am particularly interested in some of the thinking that came out of the ’60s that almost transcends traditional left/right ideology, which IMO, is best expressed in the writings of John Lennon.