in defense of channeling voices

In praise of Harvard’a Jill Lepore — including one book that goes down like an insomniac bedtime story, with endnotes nearly as mesmerizing as the text, and another about Ben Franklin’s sister, whose story is no less than his a biography of America.

PTSD in 1945: let there be truth

I was excited to see Paula Span’s piece today in the Times, “No End to Trauma for Some Older Veterans.” She follows one 80-something vet in his struggles and notes that seeking help wasn’t popular in his war: “The prevailing medical advice — even for someone like Mr. Perna, who had fought in North Africa,Continue reading “PTSD in 1945: let there be truth”

Why Bradley Manning belongs here

 I’m already getting assailed for including in my title Bradley Manning, who so many have already branded a traitor — even some vets who are themselves in the book draw the line at what he’s done. But as mesmerized as I am by the case, I’m even more mesmerized by the way it’s galvanized soContinue reading “Why Bradley Manning belongs here”

It’s showtime, folks. Will you be part of it?

That’s the tagline from one of my favorite movies — one about a dynamic creator whose CV I’ll never match, but whose example somewhat weirdly inspires me. I wonder what Bob Fosse would have thought of crowd-sourcing. I like to think he’d have admired the moxie it takes to launch something like this. Please checkContinue reading “It’s showtime, folks. Will you be part of it?”

The real Happy New Year’s of 1863

This day 150 years ago was, of course, pivotal to many of the figures in Ain’t Marching- from Quaker CO’s like Jesse Macy to Lewis H. Douglass.

So for my Civil War chapter I couldn’t resist from painting the scene myself, including its immediate aftermath. We can go on for days about who therein counts as a dissenting soldier, triply on that New Years’ Day — but how not?

Video: Michael Ratner tells Manning’s story, David Coombs explains

I mentioned this presentation in yesterday’s Manning post, and thought I’d post it at the end. But when I actually saw it, I realized that as important as David Coombs was the presentation by Michael Ratner, longtime anchor of the Center for Constitutional Rights.    When I met Ratner in 2004, was bemused when I toldContinue reading “Video: Michael Ratner tells Manning’s story, David Coombs explains”

we all have our secrets

I first saw the Manning video below last year, during the very FIRST of Manning’s pre-trial hearings. I was covering that week’s vigil outside Fort Meade, which also doubled as a Veterans for Peace convention. ( I’m the one in the beret in this photo, behind Dan Choi and Ray McGovern). Before he ever was a soldier, Manning was an out gay guy, one with a certain libertarian mindset that may sound familiar.