Taxonomy of Failure
Tue Jul 8 23:18:45 2008
When Fischer published Historians’ Fallacies he was only thirty-five and I hope he had a secure and established career by that time. I cannot imagine anyone writing a book that attacked so many living and working historians if he was still trying to start his career. I could well imagine this book did not win him many new friends.
On the other hand his comments about Leonard Levy may have been an inside joke. Levy had been the Dean of the Graduate School and was currently Dean of Faculty at Brandeis, the very school Fischer was, and still is, teaching at. Levy had just won the Pulitzer Prize for his The Origins of the Fifth Amendment and it is suggested that he might have become President of Brandeis had he not moved to the West coast for his wife’s health.
In any case, I am very glad he did write the book. In addition to being informative, I enjoy his sense of humor and his perverse delight in creating taxonomy of failure.