History

A Time to Write and a Time to Resist

David G. Roskies— Writing, we are told, is a form of resistance. The act of writing is an assertion of one’s selfhood, one’s right to live, think and feel in the face of all that negates it. But writing can just as easily be an escape from reality, an exercise

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Israel and the Conundrums of the Left

Susie Linfield— Both the Democratic Party in the U.S. and the Labour Party in Britain are in a tizzy over issues relating to Israel and anti-Semitism. Stateside, Rep. Ilhan Omar’s various statements about Israel, AIPAC, hypnosis, dual loyalties, and “Benjamins” sent the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives into months of tormented

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Reflecting on Our History at Yale University Press

From time to time it is important to step back and look at where you’ve come from and how that shapes where you’re going. That goes for life and it goes for business. For a university press like ours, with the rapid pace of publishing so many great books every

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Espionage and the I Ching

Michael Harrington— The study of espionage has a long history in China. The classic known as The Art of War, dating from a period of strife between the states of pre-imperial China, contains an entire chapter devoted to the use of spies. One of the overall themes of this short

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Book of Collateral Damage

Sinan Antoon— A drop of sweat fell on the edge of the piece of paper and I stopped reading. His handwriting was neat and confident. The ink was black, maybe from a ballpoint pen. The words were perched like birds on lines that looked like small sky-blue threads running across

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How Many Trails of Tears Were There?

Jeffrey Ostler— When Donald Trump recently tweeted that he looked forward to seeing Elizabeth Warren “on the trail,” everyone knew he was mocking Warren’s claim to Cherokee ancestry by making a joke out of the Cherokee Trail of Tears—the 1838-39 forced march of Cherokees from their homes in Georgia to

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What happened after the Crusades?

Christopher Tyerman— We all know about the Crusades, don’t we? They were wars fought by western European Christians against Muslim control of Jerusalem and the Holy Land of Palestine. They began in 1095, when Pope Urban II summoned the knights of Christendom to undertake a war that would earn its

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Rethinking the History of Religious Freedom

Robert Louis Wilken— In the Supreme Court case Minersville School District v. Gobitis, 1940, that upheld compulsory pledging of allegiance to the U.S. flag in schools, Justice Felix Frankfurter, writing for the majority, said: “Centuries of strife over the erection of particular dogmas as exclusive or all-comprehending faiths led to

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How the Iowa Writers’ Workshop Saved Kurt Vonnegut’s Fledgling Career

David O. Dowling— In mid-1960s suburban Cape Cod, Kurt Vonnegut—whose ink sketches and signed monographs now command up to $5,000 each—was unknown and his books were out of print. “I was rescued by Paul Engle’s Writers’ Workshop in the mid 1960s,” Vonnegut recalled, “and he didn’t know me, and I

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Art in Nazi Germany

Michael Kater— Much has been made in recent weeks in the international press of German chancellor Angela Merkel ordering pictures by Modernist painter Emil Nolde to be removed from her offices. There was also mention of an exhibition in Berlin featuring Nolde’s works, which, according to the New York Times

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