John Hope Franklin

Telling War Stories
June 30, 2011

I. On a hot Saturday in September 1962, I crowded with my brothers and cousins into my aunt and uncle’s station wagon and drove off to war. Passing through our county in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, we headed toward Charles Town, West Virginia, then crossed over the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers at Harpers Ferry into Maryland. We had traveled through the familiar historic landscape of Stonewall Jackson’s skirmishes, Mosby’s raids, Sheridan’s ride, and John Brown’s capture and hanging to witness the centennial re-enactment of the Battle of Antietam.

John Hope Franklin
March 25, 2009

John Hope Franklin, one of America's leading historians and a pioneer among African-American academics, has died. Among his many, many great books, I highly recommend his last, Mirror to America, a memoir focusing on his struggle against campus segregation, both as a student and a professor. --Clay Risen P.S.: It occured to me as I was walking home that Franklin was also among the last of the heroic generation of mid-century liberal historians, among them C. Vann Woodward, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Richard Hofstadter, and Daniel Boorstin (who grew up near Franklin in Tulsa, Okla.).

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Thomas Jefferson
March 10, 1997

Thomas Jefferson a film by Ken Burns (PBS) The Long Affair: Thomas Jefferson and the French Revolution, 1785-1800 by Conor Cruise O'Brien (University of Chicago, 367 pp., $29.95) Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy by Annette Gordon-Reed (University Press of Virginia, 279 pp., $29.95) American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J. Ellis (Knopf, 351 pp., $26) I. Especially during his troubled second administration, Thomas Jefferson received a lot of hate mail.

All and Nothing at All
March 06, 1995

TNR Classic: Leon Wieseltier on Cornel West’s Tedious Writing