Historically questionable aspects of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's celebrated series raise issues about the renowned documentarians’ responsibility to the public.
The analogy between 1914 and 2001, like all measurements of the present with yardsticks from the past, is useful only for querying events, not for predicting them. There are equally important differences between the two moments, some of them obvious, others less so.
Readings of over half a dozen commemorations of Schell and a handful of his works in the days after his death suggest that a firm orientation toward basic moral concerns was one of the gifts he gave to readers caught in a society losing faith in its own decency.A firm orientation toward basic moral concerns was one of the gifts Jonathan Schell gave to readers caught in a society losing faith in its own decency.
Jonathan Schell was in the early days of this century perhaps the only person who imagined that, in our future, lay an Arab Spring, an Occupy Movement and whatever-is-still-to-come.
Four members of Poland's Solidarity movement, which toppled the country's totalitarian regime in the 1980s, recently issued an open letter calling for their government to grant NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden sanctuary from the United States. “The fact that only dictatorial governments agreed to give him shelter shames the democratic states,” they wrote.
In Kill Anything that Moves, Nick Turse has for the first time put together a comprehensive picture, written with mastery and dignity, of what American forces actually were doing in Vietnam.
Since Occupy and the Arab Spring, the animating message of Schell's "Unconquerable World"—that, in the age of nuclear weaponry, nonviolent action is the mightiest of forces—has undergone a renaissance of sorts.