Tim Lynch – Stateside

After Bush author Timothy Lynch will be here in the US soon. Come hear him speak, tune in to KQED on July 15, or catch the archive at the Forum link below!

[Update] Listen to the Forum broadcast here >>

Please check each link for specifics about each event.

July 15

KQED San Francisco

World Affairs Council, San Francisco

July 22

The Hudson Institute, Washington DC

The World Affairs Council, Washington DC


Shindler is UK’s First Professor of Israeli Studies

And it’s about time. Colin Shindler is an historian at the University of London — a place where fliers for his talks have been tagged with swastikas.

He is one of our authors, and wrote the recently-published History of Modern Israel.

The Jerusalem Post ran an article about his appointment: Read more >>

Neil Kent’s Swedish History Smorgasboard

This week — Sweden: the Colonial Power

Neil Kent’s Swedish History Smorgasboard brings us tidbits and snippets about a country that many Americans, myself included, sadly know little about. Here in New York, we have Dutch and English street names, and a flag adapted from the Netherlands’. I grew up in Pennsylvania, surrounded by the descendants of Germans and Poles. Neil Kent, author of A Concise History of Sweden informs us of some surprising colonial activity of the Swedish. They colonized “New England,” were heavily involved in the slave trade, and had their hand in the Caribbean, too.

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Sweden was a North American colonial power until the late nineteenth century. In 1637, it established the colony of New Sweden, with its capital at Fort Kristina, named after Sweden’s famous queen, popularised in the world famous Greta Garbo film of the same name. Later captured by the Dutch, it was ceded to the British and was one of the original thirteen colonies which became the United States: Delaware!

Sweden also had an important colony in the Caribbean: St Bartelemy. It acquired the island from France in 1785. During the Napoleonic Wars it was a very important entrepot for ships from the warring nations, trading with one another. It languished in the nineteenth century and was ceded to France in 1878. Today it is a thriving tourist destination for the seriously rich.

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Marci Clarifies the Decisions of the Texas Courts’ Ruling on the FLDS

Why The Texas Supreme Court’s Ruling Regarding the FLDS Mothers Is Significantly More Protective of the Children Involved than the Media Have Painted It To Be

by Marci Hamilton for findlaw

Recently, the Texas Supreme Court affirmed the state’s Third Circuit appellate court’s ruling that Child Protective Services (CPS) lacked adequate evidence to justify taking all of the children from the FLDS’s Yearning for Zion compound. However, as I will explain, there are significant differences between the two rulings, which bode well for the endangered children of the FLDS.

The Texas Supreme Court Affirms that CPS Has Ongoing Jurisdiction

The lower appellate court’s decision might have been interpreted as divesting CPS of any ongoing involvement, for the court did not make it clear what role it thought either CPS or Judge Walther might play in the future. Accordingly, that decision was misread by some as a complete vindication of the parents and as an order to return the children to the compound as soon as possible. That is certainly how the public relations people for the FLDS played it. Indeed, they tried to go further and convince the news media that the decision showed that there never was any abuse in the first place. They were wrong.

The Texas Supreme Court made it clear that CPS’s investigation of abuse was far from over. Indeed, it made a point of listing the means by which the district court could further protect the children, even as they were permitted to return to the compound. The court pointed out that the Texas Family Code permitted the court “broad authority” to prohibit the removal of the children from a designated geographical area, to direct the removal of an alleged perpetrator from a child’s home, and to issue orders assisting CPS in its investigation. Then the court pointedly stated that the “Code prohibits interference with an investigation, and a person who relocates a residence or conceals a child with the intent to interfere with an investigation commits an offense.” Finally, the decision ended with the blunt statement that the appellate decision below “did not conclude the [CPS] proceedings.” CPS then followed up in the lower court with a number of suggested conditions for release that would further the ends of preventing relocation or concealment. (Judge Walther subsequently approved an agreement between the parties consistent with the limitations approved in the Supreme Court’s opinion. The parents may not take their children out of Texas, must keep the court informed of each child’s location, and may not interfere with further investigation, among other requirements.)

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Ignorance Is the Enemy of Children

Marci Hamilton gives us an op-ed about the shocking statistics of child abuse and progress being made in her home state of Pennsylvania.

No one wants to think about child sex abuse if they don’t have to. I can think of a thousand things I wold rather think about. But once good people learn the truth about such abuse, it is impossible to put out of mind.

Experts indicate that 20% of boys and 25% of girls are sexually abused – with only 10% ever going to the authorities. The suffering of victims is extraordinary, and typically leads to addictions, lifelong difficulties with personal relationships, broken families, and suicide.

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BEA Is Coming!

Book Expo America is Coming to Los Angeles

Will you be there? I won’t, but Cambridge will! I went last year and had a great time, but this year I’ll begetting married instead, so I think that’s a reasonable excuse. Anyway, On to the fun stuff:

Our booth number is 1346. Come say hello!

Charles Bamforth, author of Grape vs. Grain will be at our booth in the afternoon of Saturday, May 31. Come meet one of the greatest brewing scientists alive, and talk about the culture and taste of his favorite beverages, beer and wine. He’ll probably have samples on hand for… uh, SCIENCE!

That’s just part of the action. You may not know this, but Cambridge is home of the Darwin Correspondence Project. Deep in the bowels of the University Library is a glass and steel climate-controlled room full of pretty much ALL of Darwin’s personal letters. What does that mean for you? Origins and Evolution are already available, and the beautiful Charles Darwin: The Beagle Letters is on the way. Yes, the great naturalist was young once. A confused 19-year-old with little direction, until he wound up on that famous boat on a 2-year (oops, make that 5-year) journey. We’ve got the full scoop of what’s to come as we roll out the letters and as his 200th birthday approaches.

Questions? Let us know!

War Poet Wednesday

Women love a man in uniform, so they say. James Winn points out that even in 1714, some women saw through the supposed dignity that the red British military uniform brings. Some things never change; the dignity of the soldier is still being attacked and defended in America today, but in a different way. While Ann Finch derided the vanity of the young soldier, critics today blast the arrogance of the government sending them off to fight, while praising the bravery of those willing to serve.

All is Vanity

James Winn

Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea, was one of the most talented woman poets of the eighteenth century. In a memorable section of a longer poem on vanity, published in 1714, Finch describes a young man who goes to war, seduced by the finery of an officer’s uniform. Splendid in his gold embroideries and feathered hat, the youth

Walks haughty in a Coat of Scarlet Die,
A Colour well contriv’d to cheat the Eye,

Where richer Blood, alas! May undistinguisht lye.

And oh! too near that wretched Fate attends;
Hear it ye Parents, all ye weeping Friends!
Thou fonder Maid! won by those gaudy Charms,
(The destin’d Prize of his Victorious Arms)
Now fainting Dye upon the mournful Sound,

That speaks his hasty Death, and paints the fatal Wound!

Trail all your Pikes, dispirit every Drum,
March in a slow Procession from afar,
Ye silent, ye dejected Men of War!
Be still the Hautboys, and the Flute be dumb!
Display no more, in vain, the lofty Banner;
For see! Where on the Bier before ye lies
The pale, the fall’n, th’ untimely Sacrifice

To your mistaken Shrine, to your false Idol Honour! (1)

The officer’s dashing uniform is a cheat, a gaudy charm that wins a foolish maid. Although his sweetheart is supposed to be the prize of his victorious arms, the soldier, slain by arms of steel, will never hold her in his arms of flesh. In Finch’s sad version of a military parade, pikes trail in the dust, banners flutter in vain, and honor is exposed as a false idol. She insists on the realities that many male poets of her era sought to banish from their poems: the hero’s death and the grief of his loved ones.

(1) Anne Finch, “All is Vanity,” in Miscellany Poems, On Several Occasions (1713), 9–10.