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At the tumultuous 1969 meeting of the American Historical Association, I presented a paper, “Present-Mindedness Revisited: Anti-Radicalism as a Goal of American Historical Writing Since World War II” (there is a description of this presentation and the atmosphere at the AHA in Peter Novick’s chapter, “Collapse of Comity,” in That Noble Dream: The ‘Objectivity Question’ and the American Historical Profession. The paper had an interesting history after that first presentation. After much positive (and negative) attention at the AHA meeting and in the New York Times and elsewhere, I submitted it serially to the American Historical Review and then to the Journal of American History. It received stunningly negative readings. R.K Webb of AHR wrote: (3/27/70) “I wonder if the activism of the New Left historians today, unlike the activism you so deplore in your article, may not be a bar to serious scholarship that can appeal to any scholar outside the sect itself...” Marty Ridge at the JAH (a nice man) sent me (7/17/70) a fifteen-page handwritten negative report from his anonymous reader, who wrote, “Lemisch is certainly the Tony Galento [an unorthodox boxer] of the Left I don’t know how you can tell him that he certainly cannot do it in the pages of the Journal. He probably believes that he can, which says something about how far he and his ilk are estranged from civilization [emphasis added].” Ridge himself wrote, “This essay more than any that I have read in the last several years has disturbed me.”

full: http://newpol.org/content/lemischs-active-service-now-available-online

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