As always — but even more so than usual — I have piles of books on my desk and strewn throughout my apartment. The review pile by itself is fairly hefty, with volumes by Bill Kauffman, William F. Buckley Jr., Alan Crawford, Dan Flynn, and Paul Gottfried. Some of the reviews are for quarterlies, so it may be a while before they appear in print. (On the other hand, I have one or two pieces already queued up to appear in the next month or so. Will post details as soon as I know they’re out.)
On top of that, I have various bits of research reading ongoing at the moment. In what spare time I have left, though, the book that has my attention is Carl Oglesby’s Ravens in the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960s Antiwar Movement. Actually, I’ll review it somewhere or other eventually too, if there are any editors interested. Or maybe I’ll see if I can get a magazine interested in a longer essay on the student Left and Right in the 1960s. Oglesby was a leader of SDS, for a while its president, and he made a point to learn about the anti-interventionist tradition on the Right. He even made the occasional appeal to YAF to join forces with SDS, which earned him denunciation from his Marxist colleagues. He wasn’t apologetic about it:
If it was an error, it was one I kept on making. I even put it into print at the end of my contribution to a two-part book Containment and Change, published in early 1967. The book had grown out of a “dialogue” with Professor Richard Shaull at Union Theological Seminary in February 1966. Shaull, whose specialty was the political history of Protestant theology, had recently discovered two historians who rang my bells and had talked about them a lot at the Union session. One was the liberal William Appleman Williams, and the other was the conservative Murray Rothbard. They were both libertarians, and that is what I had begun calling myself.
That’s from page 120 of Ravens in the Storm. Unfortunately, SDS and its spin-offs kept getting pulled further and further to the left, deep into Marxism and revolutionary rhetoric (as well as some comical, but occasionally deadly, attempts at revolutionary action). The damage that did to the noninterventionist cause is still being felt to this day — not least in that the backlash against such radicalism made the Right even more militaristic than it had been before. The hawks on the Right could now always set up a cardboard sixties radical as a symbol of everything that patriotic Americans had to oppose. On the other hand, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you go against the war with the activists you have, not necessarily the activists you want.
Update: I should have linked to Bill Kauffman’s interview with Carl Oglesby before now.