Ray Boomhower, “Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary” (Indiana UP, 2008)
As some of you may be aware, there’s a big election coming up. Yes, it’s time to pick a new auditor for Iowa City, Iowa, my hometown. It’s a hotly contested race between a jerk with a drinking problem and a twenty-four-year-old who ran a cake business into the ground.... Read More
David E. Kaiser, “The Road to Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy” (Harvard UP, 2008)
There are some topics that historians know not to touch. They are just too hot (or too cold). The assassination of JFK is one of them. Most scholars would say either: (a) the topic has been done to death so nothing new can be said or (b) it’s been so... Read More
James Willbanks, “Abandoning Vietnam: How America Left and South Vietnam Lost Its War” (University of Kansas Press, 2008)
U.S. forces invade a distant country in order to disarm an international threat to American security. They fight well, and win every major battle decisively. They become occupiers, and find themselves engaged in a low-level guerrilla war against a determined though shadowy enemy. The American-backed government has a tenuous hold... Read More
Howard Jones, “The Bay of Pigs” (Oxford UP, 2008)
There is just something about Fidel Castro that American presidents don’t like very much. Maybe it’s the long-winded anti-American diatribes. Maybe it’s the strident communism (to which he came rather late, truth be told ). Maybe it’s the beard. In any event, it’s clear that Eisenhower, JFK, and Johnson held... Read More
Heather Prescott, “Student Bodies: The Influence of Student Health Services in American Society and Medicine” (University of Michigan Press, 2007)
When you were in college, did you visit the health center? I did, several times. Did you ever wonder why there was a student health center? I didn’t. It seemed like a part of the college scenery, something that had “always” been there. Far from it, as Heather Prescott shows... Read More
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