IN RETROSPECT by Arthur M. Schlesinger


The History of a Historian
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As a historian Professor Schlesinger has sired some significant scholarship; as a father he's also sired one of President Kennedy's hot-shot Special Assistants; nevertheless, his In Retrospect is about as invigorating as a Class Report. "This memoir", says the professor, overstating the case considerably, "attests one man's reactions to the times, though as a teacher and writer of American history I was mainly an observer of great events, seldom an actor in them"....Yes indeed. The times range from a midwestern town of the horse and buggy days to various academic engagements at Ohio State, Columbia, Iowa State, Harvard; the events cover random reflections on the New Deal, the World Wars, schoolbook censorship and academic freedom the ADA and McCarthyism, early socio-economic movements and a series of shifts in historical studies. It's all pleasantly donnish and dim. One or two good lines, e.g., "the Harvard community presented something of a cellular structure, with little communication among its parts". The following, however, is more typical. "Next year, though it seems impossible that the time could have passed so fast, we will reach the golden anniversary of our marriage". Well, that's about his speed. For the faculty clubs.
Pub Date: June 15th, 1963
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1963


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