Thursday, January 2, 2014

Jeff Riggenbach's revisionist history

In the Lewis Shiner interview, Robert Anton Wilson talks about his interest in revisionist, antiwar historians:

I'd also like to write a book about Pearl Harbor. The revisionist historians have been thoroughly slandered and are mostly out of print. I wouldn't be adding much original; I think everything worth saying has been said by Charles Beard and Harry Elmer Barnes and James J. Martin and a few others. But their books are out of print or hard to find. My book would be just one more effort against what Barnes called "the historical blackout." One more effort to put the facts on record.

That's a book that RAW never got around to. But in a sense, Jeff Riggenbach did the job for him by penning a book, Why American History is Not What They Say, which I just finished reading.

It's a book about the revisionist approach to American history, and there is a great deal of information about Beard and Barnes and Martin and about Gore Vidal's historical novels, which fit into that tradition. That's the first and major part of the book. The book has a second section offering a libertarian history of the U.S., which reclaims the term "liberal" for libertarians (who are essentially classical liberals), and there's a final section on rival accounts of U.S. history from Howard Zinn and others.

You can download a free copy of the book from the Von Mises Institute.  I chose to purchase the modestly-priced Kindle version to stave off possible attacks of guilt.

Riggenbach also did a long podcast series on libertarian writers and thinkers. I blogged about the Robert Anton Wilson episode here. 

No comments: