Great American Historians: WW II and Beyond

Instructor:  Bob Rackmales

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM

This course will examine the life and work of six eminent American historians whose writings have profoundly influenced our understanding of United States history and continue to be shed light on our current predicaments. Each class will be devoted to a single historian and will provide an account of their life and an assessment of their contemporary relevance. The six historians we will cover, followed by the title of one of the books for which they are best known are: 1) Richard Hofstadter, ”The Paranoid Style in American Politics;” 2) Eric Foner, “ The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery;” 3) C. Vann Woodward, “The Strange Career of Jim Crow;” 4) John Hope Franklin, “Racial Equality in America;” 5) Drew Gilpin Faust, ”This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War,” and 6) Jill Lepore, “The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity”

Bob must miss the April 2 course and his make-up date is scheduled for April 21.

Required text(s): None. A syllabus and readings will be posted on the Senior College website.

Bob Rackmales’ work in history was done at Johns Hopkins (BA) and Indiana University (MA), as well as Harvard, and on a Fulbright grant in Germany. He is currently a member of the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and the Society for the History of American Foreign Relations. Most of his professional career was spent in the US Foreign Service. His most recent course at Senior College was “War, Journalism and History.