Deadened Reckoning

A civilization determined to ignore or even repudiate its own past successes cannot count on achieving many future ones.

Issue: Summer 1997

The last several months have brought forth the first major histories of the Cold War based on new archival sources. While this may be good news for historians, the appearance of such books also marks the end of a disappointing period of what may be called popular historiography. A brief epoch of instantly gratifying factual revelation is fading fast into an era of ponderous tomes, and no matter how wise some of these books may turn out to be, it is inevitable that, given the present state of the American academy, the good will before long be shadowed, if not overwhelmed, by the intellectually bad and the morally ugly.

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