Daily Archives: February 23, 2013

Not for attribution

Historian John Lukacs on The Future of History, title of his newly published book (Yale), as elucidated by reviewer Anne Barbeau Gardiner (New Oxford Review, Jan.-Feb., 2003), italics mine.

What is this thing called history?

The central point of Lukacs’s book is that history is a form of literature and not a science. Yes, professional historians must have “serious archival knowledge and practice,” but they must also be dedicated to finding out the truth about the past.

What’s it for?

“The purpose of history is understanding even more than accuracy (though not without a creditable respect for the latter).” A good history is “unavoidably anthropocentric” because it conveys “the knowledge that human beings have of other human beings.”

[In pursuit of this human element] historians should be willing to consult not only the documentary evidence but also the great literary achievements of past ages . . . .

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Black crime: rock and hard place for police and aldermen

Black aldermen vs. Chi police chief McCarthy. Met with Mayor Rahm’s liaison about murders in their wards.

Ald. Will Burns (4th), who attended the meeting with Hynes, added, “We want peoples’ rights to be respected. But we want more aggressive policing. We want more traffic stops, DUI and seat belt enforcement as a way to find the bad guys.”

Sounds reasonable to me, but years ago stop-and-frisk was a byword for aggressive police action and black citizens and others vociferously objected.

Question would be: Can this Ald. Burns and his fellow Black Caucus members take the heat from the sort of police activity he wants? Can you imagine the uproar in their neighborhoods?

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