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HISTORY WARS I: Some Recent Battles

Battles over history are no joke. In June 1989 most of East-Central Europe was beginning to look toward the future. Pressure applied by Solidarity in Poland, the patient integrity of political prisoners in Czechoslovakia, and a handful of popular meetings at a few Lutheran churches in East Germany were pointing to the political miracles that soon spelled the end of communist regimes. But for Greater Serbia, the past seemed much more important. On June 28 of that year, over one million Serbs gathered at the Field of Blackbirds in Kosovo Province to observe the six-hundredth anniversary of a battle in 1389 when a doughty band of their ancestors, after heroic struggle, was finally overcome by a much larger army of Saracen Turks. The featured speaker of the day, Slobodan Milosevic, passionately reminded his fellow Serbs of the ignominy they had suffered at the hands of the Turks, then during their subjugation by the Austrian-Hungarian empire, and finally from assorted enemies in the twentieth century. It was a powerful message. Others had heeded it before, like Gavrilo Princip, the Serb nationalist who in 1914 assassinated the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and, by so doing, plunged Europe into war. The date of that assassination was also June 28. Warfare that Milosovic's 1989 speech helped to precipitate has not been as extensive as the great conflagration of World War I, but it has proven every bit as vicious.

In the United States, "history battles" have featured prominently in the culture wars of the last two decades. The cancellation in January 1995 of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum which was to have commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the deployment of the first atom bomb at Hiroshima, and a raucous brouhaha in 1994–95 over the publication of guidelines for the teaching of history in U.S. public schools, are among the most prominent of these battles. But there have been many other conflicts over many other contested questions: Should commemoration of the five- hundredth anniversary of Columbus's first voyage to the Americas be a cause for celebration or lament? How should on-site museums memorialize the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1941 and the incursion against the Sioux by Gen. George Custer and the U.S. Cavalry in 1876? What should be made of President Reagan's curious remarks about World War II and modern Germany when in 1985 he visited a German military cemetery at Bitburg during fortieth anniversary celebrations for V-E Day?

Although these particular history battles have been violent only rhetorically, Americans who think that historically inspired violence is somehow un-American should think again. What ever else it represented, the terrorist bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building on April 19, 1995, was also a statement about the history that had unfolded with so much loss of life—exactly two years to the day before—at the Branch Davidian Compound near Waco, Texas. The American Civil War remains the most destructive war—in lives lost and property destroyed—ever fought by the United States. Among its other dimensions, that war was also a historical argument about the meaning of American independence in 1776 and of the United States Constitution from 1787. Northerners like Abraham Lincoln held passionately to the belief that for the South to leave the Union was to contravene the clear intention of the Founders who had staked their lives, honor, and fortune on the Declaration of Independence. Southerners like Jefferson Davis held just as passionately that their right to own slaves and their right to secede had been guaranteed by the express intentions of the Constitution. It took nearly 700,000 lives (more than 2 percent of the nation's population) to decide that Lincoln was a better historian than Davis.

The most visible historical conflicts of the 1990s have not led to slaughter on the field of battle, but they have promoted acrimony, anguished commentary, rhetorical overkill, and bitter ideological recriminations. The books and articles covering several of the major incidents show how complex these disputes are. They also reveal how much these well-publicized, angry confrontations in the public square are entangled with some of our era's most esoteric academic debates. Those debates, which we might call intellectual fallout from the history wars, will be the subject of a future essay in BOOKS & CULTURE. Here the question is what can be learned from the angry public debates themselves.

Perhaps the most obvious lesson is that history battles, like military engagements, are not identical. Books and articles on the National History Standards and the canceled Smithsonian exhibit illustrate such differences clearly. To lump these conflicts together as simply two episodes in a great struggle between craven leftists and good-hearted patriots—or between dispassionate seekers of truth and atavistic barbarians of the Right—is too simple, and simply false. For the National History Standards, it was a clash between rival conceptions of what history should do. For the Smithsonian, it was a clash between rival conceptions of what history is. Although issues of intellectual substance surfaced in both disputes, only in the debate over the National History Standards did that substance emerge clearly. By contrast, public uproar at the Smithsonian led not to intellectual clarity, but to a macabre squaring of the ideological circle.


The idea for the standards came from efforts by the Reagan and Bush administrations to shore up traditional learning in the nation's public schools. To that end, Lynne Cheney, who served as director of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) from 1986 to 1992, commissioned a number of academics and teachers to prepare "national standards" for various fields of study. For history, the NEH turned to a group of academics and educators at UCLA. The chair of this group was Gary Nash, a student of colonial America who is widely known among historians for works on the ethnic diversity of early American experience and also on the contributions of the inarticulate lower classes to the American Revolution. The book that Nash and his colleagues have now written, History on Trial, is a blow-by-blow account of how the standards came to be written and of the controversy they engendered.

As originally drafted, the standards appeared in late October 1994 in four guidebooks. Eventually they were revised and then issued as three books: a general guide for the lower grades, and for the upper grades one each on world history and American history. The standards combined teaching objectives directed toward what students should "understand" and how they "should be able to" put historical information to use in "analyzing … assessing … comparing … appraising" historical problems and situations. In the first published draft, these objectives were operationalized through many "teaching examples." These "teaching examples" contained much of the material that would offend the conservative critics. They were considerably cut back in the revised version.

During several years of committee work, which involved large groups of historians and educators, enough serious discussion arose to alert Nash and his colleagues that publication of the standards might raise some eyebrows. In particular, the committees debated whether the rise of Western civilization should be considered the central narrative for courses in world history; they also deliberated at length on the proper means for extending historical treatment to ethnic minorities, women, and others who, until recently, had not figured largely in most history courses.

Despite these internal debates, those who approved the standards were not prepared for the onslaught that began even before they were published. On October 20, 1994, Cheney, by then the former head of the NEH, published a blistering article on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal that tore into the standards under the headline, "The End of History." Cheney blasted the authors for exalting political correctness above every other value, and criticized them sternly for submerging the story of American democracy beneath a confused welter of trendy multiculturalism. Among specific accusations, she charged that the standards gave more attention to the founding of the Sierra Club and the National Organization for Women than to the first meeting of the Continental Congress. She blamed the standards for dismissing triumphs of American democracy while presenting radicals, deviants, and revolutionaries with unfailing approbation. As a summary of her indictment, Cheney reported that an insider on the project had told her that work on the standards allowed "those pursuing their revisionist agenda" to indulge "their great hatred of traditional history." Almost immediately, Rush Limbaugh and other conservative critics picked up the attack.

Criticism of the standards simmered throughout the next year before coming again to boil in a speech by Sen. Bob Dole to the American Legion at Indianapolis on Labor Day 1995. Dole, who was just opening his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, referred by name to the standards as part of "a shocking campaign" evident among all levels of educators "to disparage America and disown the ideas and traditions of the West." The standards, according to Dole, had been written by "intellectual elites who seem embarrassed by America" and who had set out "to denigrate America's story while sanitizing and glorifying other cultures." The conclusion Dole drew for his audience was that "the federal government must end its war on traditional American values."

As it turns out, sensationalistic criticism of the standards from the Right was seriously distorted. Critics made deliberately prejudiced and partial readings of the standards. Defenders of the draft were able to respond effectively to charges like Cheney's assertion that the Constitution was not mentioned in the 31 American history standards and only touched upon briefly in supporting materials. In fact, the founding documents were referred to in the standards (though not the Constitution by name), and supporting materials for each of the 31 standards included extensive consideration of the Constitution and constitutional issues.

The disservice done by the rabid rhetoric of the standards' critics was not, however, the whole story. If the standards did not pursue political correctness mindlessly, they nonetheless did reflect a conception of history different from what the critics were obviously looking for. The most serious charge that can be leveled against Nash and his associates is that they presented their view of history ingenuously, as a simple matter of agreed-upon common sense. In affirming what they called "a history education that is fit for a democratic society," the standards' authors should have realized how much their concept of democracy differed from other possible uses of the term. Al though the standards' conception of history was more influenced by modern ideologies than the authors admitted, their presentation of the standards was still much more intellectually, historically, and morally responsible than the wild attacks made upon them by the right-wing populists.

Thankfully, more serious engagement with the deeper issues did arise. John Patrick Diggins, the leading voice in the Society symposium on the standards, is himself an important historian of modern pragmatism, the American Left, and several influential twentieth-century intellectuals. His criticism of the standards attacked Nash and his colleagues especially for wasting so much time trying to get students to learn about the pre-European in habitants of North America. The way Diggins framed this criticism exposed the root issue: "Eighteenth-century thinkers speculated about the origin of human existence in the New World, but they did not believe, in contrast to Nash, that such 'discoveries' had any bearing on the demands of historical understanding or the political education necessary for citizenship—the alleged goals of the NHS." Diggins and other responsible critics were asking whether Nash's conception of history would provide "the political education … for citizenship" they thought history in the schools must deliver in order to preserve a cherished civilization.

By contrast, Nash's vision of history stresses the duties of inclusion: the history of a democratic nation must study the pasts of all who make it up. As History on Trial puts it, "The great expansion of our historical consciousness since the 1960s has begun to recover the experiences of social groups and categories heretofore neglected. Fifty years ago a college student might sit through a year of history lectures and rarely or never hear the words 'women,' 'workers,' 'Jews,' or any designation for 'African Americans.' "

The exchange between critics like Diggins and standards defenders like Nash leaves a great deal to ponder. At its heart is a debate over the proper story line for historical instruction, what might be called "exemplary American exceptionalism" (Diggins) versus "interactive multicultural democratization" (Nash). As demonstrated in their own historical writing, Diggins and Nash both know how to do careful re search, draw responsible inferences from sources, and present coherent accounts of historical subjects. Both, that is, meet high standards of objectivity and responsibility. But the value systems they bring to their work, as well as the conclusions they draw from that work, are different. Diggins feels that the most important task for history in the schools is to show why the ideals and practices of the United States, though not perfect, are, at least by comparison, personally ennobling and morally inspiring. Nash feels that history teaching must embody democracy rather than just praise it; thus, history writing must focus on the various ethnic and cultural streams that have come together to make up the United States and then lead naturally to debates over the interpretations that should be drawn from an inclusive history.

The sort of argument that Nash and Diggins began is essential for a society defined both by democratic ideals and democratic realities. Their writing, unlike the factually mistaken and ideologically simplistic attacks of the standards' early critics, provides a platform for fruitful reflection.


The good that came from debate over the history standards is, unfortunately, very hard to find in controversy over the Enola Gay. The unfolding of events at the Smithsonian is helpfully chronicled by Martin Harwit in An Exhibit Denied, by the essays collected in Linenthal and Engelhardt's History Wars, and by a long essay, "The Battle of the 'Enola Gay,' " in Mike Wallace's Mickey Mouse History. Although each of these books concludes that canceling the exhibit was a great mistake, the writers treat their sources fairly, and so it is possible to learn why opponents of the exhibit were so exercised. Hiroshima's Shadow also includes a full section on the proposed Smithsonian exhibit, but its purpose is broader. It collects 63 different writings, including contemporary documents from the American leaders who decided to drop the bomb, first-hand accounts by Hiroshima survivors, examples from world press commentary immediately after August 6, 1945, and a wide range of essays that have been written since 1945 attempting to assess the event. Most, but not all, of the contributors to Hiroshima's Shadow criticize that decision as unjustified or immoral.

Though the issues involved are complex, the story of the exhibit and its cancellation can be summarized fairly simply. Martin Harwit, an astrophysicist who had taught astronomy at Cornell for 25 years, was named head of the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) in 1987. One of his first tasks was to plan an exhibit featuring the Enola Gay, the airplane from which the bomb had been dropped at Hiroshima. In 1949 that plane was transferred to the Smithsonian, but it had been disassembled and left to languish in storage. In the late 1980s and early '90s the NASM's staff, often in consultation with World War II veterans, including the Enola Gay's original crew, considered several plans for exhibiting the plane. In 1993, the staff secured authorization for a major exhibit on the Enola Gay, its mission, and historical debate on the meaning of the event. A 300-page first draft of an exhibit script was finished by January 1994 and then circulated for criticism. One of the copies was sent to the Air Force Association (AFA), an organization that promotes ties among air force veterans and also lobbies for support of current and future air force ventures. John Correll, the editor of the AFA's magazine, Air Force, was incensed with the script and began to orchestrate objections from other veterans and air force groups.

Correll's main objections were soon seconded by leaders of the American Legion, by editorials and op-ed pieces especially in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, and finally, after the victory of the Republicans in the 1994 congressional elections, by Republican leaders such as the new Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. The objectors had numerous complaints:

  • The script suggested that American animus against Japan was racist and vindictive in a way that American opposition to Germany had not been.
  • The script suggested that American casualties from the projected assault on Japan would have been far fewer than the one-half million to one million conjectured by President Truman in his memoirs.
  • The script suggested that Truman authorized the bomb as much to impress the Soviet Union as to end the war in the Pacific.
  • The script misused documents from leaders such as Dwight D. Eisenhower who, in the immediate aftermath of the bomb, expressed doubts about its use.
  • The script focused too much on the suffering of the Japanese civilians at Hiroshima and too little on the victims of Japan's expansionary and frequently sadistic military.
  • The script consistently drew attention away from the technical capabilities and personal integrity of the men who carried out the mission.

A fierce, escalating public debate took place from the time these objections began to appear in the spring of 1994 until January 30, 1995, when Harwit's supervisor, I. Michael Heyman, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, canceled the exhibit. (In its stead, Heyman decided merely to display part of the fuselage of the Enola Gay, but with virtually no commentary.) While the debate was still raging, the NASM's staff revised the script extensively in response to objections. (As examples, the revision greatly reduced the number of photos of Japanese killed and wounded in the attack, and it suppressed those contemporary forecasts that had projected "only" tens of thousands, instead of hundreds of thousands, of American casualties from an invasion of Japan.) But these changes did not mollify the exhibit's critics, nor did they have any effect on the Republican Congresspeople who, in December 1994 and January 1995, called for Harwit's resignation and a congressional inquiry.

Several months after the barrage of criticism began, pacifist groups (some Christian) and major historical organizations mobilized in support of the proposed exhibit. Some of them even began to criticize Harwit and his staff for planning a jingoistic exercise in nationalist mythmaking. One group of historians rebuked Harwit for "a transparent attempt at historical cleansing" when they heard that documents from June and July 1945, which questioned the use of the bomb, were to be withdrawn from the exhibit. Lobbying in favor of the exhibit, however, never matched the volume or clout of lobbying against it.

In the days immediately preceding the cancellation, the presidents of the Society for Military History and the Organization of American Historians wrote to Chief Justice William Rehnquist, chancellor of the Smithsonian's board of regents, imploring him to preserve the exhibit. Even as they did so, House Speaker Gingrich summed up his opposition in these phrases: "Political correctness may be okay in some faculty lounge, but … the Smithsonian is a treasure that belongs to the American people and it should not become a plaything for left-wing ideologies." Shortly after the cancellation, President Clinton endorsed Secretary Heyman's action. The most vocal participants in the debate before cancellation had been those who objected to the proposed exhibit's editorial slant. After the cancellation, much public sentiment swung the other way. A cartoon from the Arizona Republic depicted the Enola Gay dropping a bomb labeled "propaganda," while the pilot says, "First we obliterated Hiroshima and vaporized 140,000 Japanese non-combatants. Now we've annihilated the truth. Mission accomplished."

Underneath rhetorical overkill from foes and supporters, an important issue was hidden. That issue concerned the kind of history a national museum should provide. Should it be history as celebratory commemoration or history as thought-provoking moral education? The two, it became clear, could not be combined—at least not in the wake of the 1994 elections and given the already lengthy history of argument over the morality of Hiroshima. Several critics of the cancellation recognized the painful truth in the words Secretary Heyman spoke when he pulled the plug: "I have concluded that we made a basic error in attempting to couple a historical treatment of the use of atomic weapons with the 50th anniversary commemoration of the end of the war."

Debate over how to combine these two functions could have led to a serious discussion. My own conviction is that the essayists in History Wars, Hiroshima's Shadow, and Mickey Mouse History who called for a full historical presentation on the intensely important moral issues surrounding use of the bomb were correct. Yet I am also convinced that the kind of argument offered by Paul Fussell in his well-known essay "Thank God for the Atom Bomb" (included in Hiroshima's Shadow) deserves respect. Fussell, writing out of personal experience as a combat infantry officer in the European theater, argued that the existential situation of men and women under arms, along with the existential situation of their families, must always be kept in the forefront of discussion about the decision to use the bomb.

In this essay, Fussell offered a tart response to the suggestion from John Kenneth Galbraith that the Japanese, nearing the point of exhaustion, would have surrendered by November 1945 if the A-bomb had not been used earlier:

[A]t the time, with no indication that surrender was on the way, the kamikazes were sinking American vessels, the Indianapolis was sunk (880 men killed), and Allied casualties were running to over 7,000 per week . …During the time between the dropping of the Nagasaki bomb on August 9 and the actual surrender on the fifteenth, the war pursued its accustomed course: on the twelfth of August eight captured American fliers were executed (heads chopped off); the fifty-first United States submarine, Bonefish, was sunk (all aboard drowned); the destroyer Callaghan went down, the seventieth to be sunk, and the destroyer escort Underhill was lost. That's a bit of what happened in six days of the two or three weeks posited by Galbraith. What did he do in the war? He worked in the Office of Price Administration in Washington. I don't demand that he experience having his ass shot off. I merely note that he didn't.

The existential viewpoint of the troops and their families does not deserve to be the only perspective on the question, but, for quite personal reasons, it seems to me an entirely valid perspective. In August 1945 my father (navy) was flying a TBM Avenger off an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, and my wife's father (army) was in the Philippines preparing to take part in an invasion of Japan. To Truman's decision to drop the bomb, my wife and I and many other babies born in 1946–47 owe our very existence. Part of me wants to join Fussell in simply thanking God for Truman's decision to use the bomb.

But only part. How to respect at the same time the larger moral questions arising from Hiroshima and the existential realities faced by the troops (from Japan, Britain, the Soviet Union, China, and Korea, as well as the United States) requires skillful casuistry.

Unfortunately, skillful casuistry was at a premium in this whole controversy. Director Harwit certainly saw the point. The extensive documentation he presents in An Exhibit Denied reveals clearly the rack he created for himself by trying to respect the celebratory and the informational functions of a national museum. Few others, however, chose to join him in lying down on that rack. Harwit himself, for instance, criticizes those who criticized the critics of the exhibit for failing to grasp the complexity of competing goals: "I felt the historians and pacifists had not been helpful. They criticized us for submitting to pressures from the veterans' groups without knowing what we had done or why."

Bad as such lack of sympathy was, it was not as bad as the reasoning of the exhibit's harshest critics, which revealed a dangerous notion of historical truth. The problem was revealed in appeals made by critics to allow the events of 1945 to be viewed in its own time. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas, who persuaded the Senate to pass a resolution undermining Harwit's effort to mount an informational exhibit, insisted that "we should not interpret the dropping of the bomb as we look at it today" but rather "put it in the context of the time."

The difficulty with such criticism is that one of the main objectives of Harwit and his associates was to do precisely that—to use documents from April through August 1945 (some not made public until long after the deaths of their authors) in order to show how American leaders at the time were thinking about the use of the bomb. It was these documents from the times that contained lower casualty projections, considerations of Soviet diplomacy, speculations on when Japan might surrender if the bomb were not used, and even a few anguished reflections on the morality of bombing largely civilian populations.

Criticism that attacked the NASM for "re-writing history" in order to promote "revisionist" perspectives was, thus, mendacious or ignorant. But other criticism was even worse. Jonathan Yardley, a columnist for the Washington Post, wrote on October 10, 1994, that the proposed exhibit "can fairly be called anti-American propaganda." This judgment was questionable. Yardley's broader cultural warrant supporting this judgment was ludicrous: "Especially now, when the rank odor of deconstruction hangs over the scholarly community, it is easy for people to fabricate intellectual arguments for the triviality of facts and then to find whatever 'meaning' they choose in such facts, or non-facts, as they are willing to 'deconstruct' for their ideological convenience."

In actuality, it was the staff of the NASM that was trying to respect facts, to tie historical interpretation to actual contemporary documents, and to push past "ideological convenience" in order to present the mission of the Enola Gay in broad historical perspective. It was tub-thumpers like Yardley who were trivializing facts, divorcing events from meaning, and squeezing the results of historical re search into a preconceived ideological grid.

Which brings us to l'affaire de Man and the strange world of deconstruction politics. Assessment of Alan Spitzer's compelling arguments in Historical Truth and Lies About the Past must be postponed for a later report, but his treatment of the controversy surrounding the literary critic de Man is pertinent to the battles over the National History Standards and the Smithsonian exhibit. Spitzer's chapter on Paul de Man describes with chilling clarity two moral lapses. The first was the young de Man's authorship of a number of essays and re views in the press of his native Belgium during the years 1940 to 1942 after Germany had occupied the country. Some of this writing was clearly anti-Semitic.

The second moral lapse occurred in 1987 and following years when these early writings were revealed. By 1987, de Man had been dead for four years, though he remained renowned as a leading practitioner of what is often called literary "deconstruction." De Man, in a crude summary, taught that connections between words and what had once been thought to be corresponding states of being in the real world "out there" were plastic; these connections depended much more upon the conventions of critics and readers about how to organize knowledge than they did upon whether the words really fit the facts. As practiced by de Man, literary criticism was in tended to show how much creativity was possible in dealing with those very loose connections.

When de Man's wartime writing was publicized, critics of deconstruction leaped to conclude that his literary theories were as intellectually nihilistic as his wartime writing had been morally nihilistic. Defenders of de Man rushed to counter these charges. They did so with the obvious conviction that a defense of de Man was also a defense of the kind of literary criticism he practiced. Most prominent among the de fenders was Jacques Derrida, with an essay in 1988 entitled "Like the Sound of the Sea Deep Within a Seashell: Paul de Man's War." In his brilliant rendering of this affair, Spitzer's crowning achievement is to show how instinctively the deconstructionist defenders of the deconstructionist de Man abandoned deconstructive principles in making their case. In deed, they resorted to what Spitzer calls "conventional standards of accurate reporting, legitimate inference, and respect for fact."

There is much else in this fine book, but even a summary of Spitzer's treatment of the de Man controversy is enough to reveal the parlous place to which we have come on the history sector of the culture wars battlefield. In the case of Paul de Man, deconstructionists employed the tools of objective historical research (which defenders of traditional values regularly claim as their tools) in order to defend the historical reputation of a leading deconstructionist critic (who had mocked the capacity of objective historical research to reveal what a text "really" meant).

The flagrantly ideological contributions to the debate over the National History Standards as well as the whole sad story of controversy over the Enola Gay exhibit reveal massive confusion in the other direction. In these debates, conservative critics accused their opponents of practicing relativistic deconstruction when, in reality, they were the ones using demagoguery (a means that deconstructionists feature in order to demonstrate why "the facts of history" are smoke for screening the exercise of power) in order to force actual research and measured efforts at interpreting that research into one-dimensional, predetermined conceptions of what the past must look like (and so provided textbook examples for deconstructionist claims about hegemonic power triumphing over the supposed search for truth). It is the cultural warriors themselves who must share responsibility—at least when it comes to the use of history—for placing us on Matthew Arnold's "darkling plan / Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight / Where ignorant armies clash by night."

Next issue: History Wars II: Intellectual Fallout.

Mark Noll is McManis Professor of Christian Thought at Wheaton College.


Kai Bird and Lawrence Lifschultz, eds., Hiroshima's Shadow: Writings on the Denial of History and the
Smithsonian Controversy
(Pamphleteer's Press, 584 pp.; $35.95, hardcover; $25, paper, 1998).

John Patrick Diggins, John D. Fonte and Robert Lerner, Herbert London, and Diane Ravitz, "Symposium: National
Standards." In Society, Vol. 34, No. 2 (January/February, 1997): pp. 9–13.

Martin Harwit, An Exhibit Denied: Lobbying the History of Enola Gay (Copernicus/Springer Verlag, 477 pp.;
$27.50, 1996).

Edward T. Linenthal and Tom Engelhardt, eds., History Wars: The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the
American Past
(Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 295 pp.; $30, hardcover; $14.95, paper, 1996).

Gary B. Nash, Charlotte Crabtree, and Ross E. Dunn, History on Trial: Culture Wars and the Teaching of the
(Alfred A. Knopf, 318 pp.; $26, 1998).

Alan B. Spitzer, Historical Truth and Lies About the Past: Reflections on Dewey, Dreyfus, de Man, and
(Univ. of North Carolina Press, 162 pp.; $37.50, hardcover; $14.95, paper, 1996).

Mike Wallace, Mickey Mouse History: And Other Essays on American Memory (Temple Univ. Press, 318 pp.;
$54.95, hardcover; $18.95, paper, 1996).

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