For the next National History Center and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Weekly History Seminar, Marilyn B. Young, Professor of History at New York University, analyzes “The Eternal Question of Counterinsurgency” on Monday, May 3, 2010 at the Wilson Center.
What are historians to make of the phrase made famous during the Vietnam war, “hearts and minds”? With the advantage of distance in time and the cooling of passions, it seems clear that the phrase reflected a tactic of counterinsurgency characteristic of the European colonial empires as well as the American attempt to find a solution to the war. The rediscovery of counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan is not only a military tactic but also something that approaches an ideology—and something well worth discussing in the context of the war in Vietnam.
New Books in History has a new podcast of an interview with Mark Philip Bradley and Marilyn Young, the editors of the Making Sense of the Vietnam Wars, the first volume in the Reinterpreting History series produced by the National History Center and Oxford University Press. The volumes in the series aim to convey to readers how and why historians revise and reinterpret their understanding of the past, and they do so by focusing on a particular historical topic, event, or idea that has long gained the attention of historians.
As Marshall Poe, editor of New Books in History, states, “[The] authors provide no simple answers because there are none. You will not find easy explanations, good guys and bad guys, or ideological drum-beating in these pages. What you will find is a sensitive effort to understand an event of mind-boggling, irreducible complexity. There’s a lesson here: we may think we know what we are doing on far-away shores, but we are fooling ourselves.”
The National History Center has entered into a partnership with New Books In History , which audiocast interviews with historians discussing their latest research and writing.
New Books In History
The first in the series offered in conjunction with the New Books in History, focuses on the the Reinterpreting History books, published by Oxford University Press. The volumes in the series aim to convey to readers how and why historians revise and reinterpret their understanding of the past, and they do so by focusing on a particular historical topic, event, or idea that has long gained the attention of historians.
This podcast deals with the volume Atlantic History: A Critical Appraisal. Marshall Poe, editor of “New Books”, interviewed the editors of the volume, Jack P. Greene and Philip D. Morgan.
As Professor Poe suggests, “You may think that historians normally study states or nations, like France and China. But they also study areas of international or imperial interaction. The most famous example of this sort of ‘international’ history is Fernand Braudel’s The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (1949), but there are many others.’
As a relatively new field, the object of study is the “Atlantic World,” roughly, the history of the interaction of four continents (Africa, Europe, North America and South America) from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century. In this podcast, Greene and Morgan talk about the origin of the field, its work to date, and its prospects.