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The Man on Whom Everything was Lost

Commentary Magazine, February 2008, by Joseph Epstein

ABSTRACT - Others have offered a kinder, gentler view of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. than the one provided by Edmund Wilson in his diaries. “He was a great historian and an incomparable witness,” said Paul LeClerc, president of the New York Public Library, in announcing the library’s acquisition of Schlesinger’s voluminous personal papers this past November. LeClerc went on to compare Schlesinger, who died a year ago at the age of eighty-nine, with Voltaire—to the latter’s detriment. Voltaire, after all, may have been “the historian of France, but he didn’t get in the inner circle the way Schlesinger did.” The recent publication of Schlesinger’s diaries* is a useful reality check on such claims. The book also provides an account of a career in American liberalism that is, in microcosm, a partial account of the career of the liberal temperament itself over the past half-century. [Full article requires subscription]

Note: A December 2002 Weekly Standard article, Race and Republicans, previously posted on this site attributes the loss of the Republican Party's illustrious history in civil rights achievement in part to left-leaning historians, "the Arthur Schlesingers."

See Michael Zak's Grand Old Partisan Blog for January 31, 2008 for a shining example of one of the GOP's great achievements.

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