ROBERT WRIGHT

Crisis, What Crisis?

More history, less hysteria

Historians as Pundits

Harvard historian Moshik Temkin thinks "Historians Shouldn't be Pundits."  He's worried about eggheads doing "thirty-second blasts" on the tube based on superficial analogies—like Trump channeling Hitler, for instance.  Rather, Temkin wants "politically engaged" historians to ask the tough questions, like "How did a rich guy who never contributed a thing to the public good become a public figure?"  Amateurs unfamiliar with the catechism of professional historiography may be forgiven for not immediately grasping the distinction he is making here.  But here's a clue gleaned from Volker Ullrich's superb Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939.  The Führer was not a rich guy.