28th 2011
Krugman on Cronon

Posted under: American history, happy endings

Paulie the K. weighs in on my man Cronon.

Those are some pretty nice words for Nature’s Metropolis (1991), a book that’s old enough to vote Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker out of office and almost old enough to have a legal beer with its author.  As commenter Kathie observed yesterday, Salon’s Andrew Leonard “mentioned that he just purchased two of Cronon’s books; when I checked at Amazon, those two books were ranked something like #45 and #51 — not bad for history publications!!”

Proving once again the old adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity.


16 Responses to “Krugman on Cronon”

  1. HistoryMaven on 28 Mar 2011 at 6:31 am #

    And Anthony Grafton in The New Yorker, which is always good publicity:

  2. Historiann on 28 Mar 2011 at 6:39 am #

    Excellent–thanks History Maven. He gets the causal factor correct, as I did not in my Saturday post. It was the blog post alone (as Brian Ogilvie pointed out) and not the NYT op-ed that inspired the FOIA request.

    Tony is right. Wisconsin Republicans seem remarkably fragile and weak when they pull stuff like this. Furthermore, Tony’s editorials about history taking a more combative stance in the public square seem all the more prescient.

    I need to move some books: who can I pi$$ of so that I can steer some traffic thisaway?

  3. Tony Grafton on 28 Mar 2011 at 9:33 am #

    Krugman’s column is fantastic. People regularly mistake me for him in the street in New York: they come up and thank me for his latest column. If that happens in the near future, I will be tempted not to explain who I really am.

    The AHA Council has also taken a strong public stand:

    and note

    Thanks so much for this great series of posts.

  4. Tony Grafton on 28 Mar 2011 at 9:36 am #

    Sorry, that second URl should be

  5. Historiann on 28 Mar 2011 at 9:52 am #

    Ha! You know that Krugman originally wanted to be a historian, right? You should ask him if he’s interested in loaning you some NYT op-ed page real estate one of these days. . .

  6. Profane on 28 Mar 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    For some alternate views see:


  7. Historiann on 28 Mar 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Profane–I think it’s fair enough that the GOP wants to dispute Cronon’s ideas, but the way to respond to a blog or blog post you don’t like is to comment or write another blog post in response. The appropriate way to respond to an editorial in the New York Times that you don’t like is to write a letter to the editor, or write an op-ed presenting your point of view for eithet the NYT or other newspapers.

    The proper, proportional response is NOT to subpoena someone’s e-mail records! I thought Chris Bray’s commentary was especially silly, BTW. The comparisons to a journalist who joins the fight and then claims the protections of the press was fatuous, and his description of Cronon’s webpage were just incorrect.

  8. HistoryMaven on 28 Mar 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    Historiann, since it’s Monday I’m a bit glum and cynical I would answer your question by saying: just wait your turn to be attacked for what you write as free and unfettered scholarly inquiry. Cuz people just don’t understand what academic freedom is and thinking is dangerous.

    Note also the recent case of Timothy Chandler, who was forced out of the provost’s position at Kennesaw State after the Marietta Daily Journal found Chandler had coauthored a paper that employed marxian analysis:

    Better to read the newspaper’s op-ed:–KSU-s-new-colors—black–gold—and-red-?

  9. Profane on 28 Mar 2011 at 11:31 pm #

    FYI – I was by no means endorsing – just making people aware of the range of opinions on this. (I would rapidly run out of offensive adjectives if I was to engage in commentary on the Wisconsin GOP).

  10. Profane on 28 Mar 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    See also now:

    and the comments.

  11. Historiann on 29 Mar 2011 at 5:59 am #

    Thanks for the links, Profane. I think Jeremy takes Bray’s silly and factually challenged analysis far too seriously. Meanwhile, Tenured Radical this morning offers a link to commentary by Jon Wiener at The Nation on l’affaire Cronon.

    I still think it’s a ridiculously disproportionate response, and one that is aimed squarely at shutting up university faculty in Wisconsin (and perhaps everywhere.)

  12. The New Badger Partnership & the Impact of the 2011 WI Budget on Higher Education: A Chronological List of Articles, Reports & Relevant For | BadgerFutures on 29 Mar 2011 at 7:47 am #

    [...] ‘Krugman on Cronon,’ Historiann, 28 March. [...]

  13. Nikki on 29 Mar 2011 at 10:32 am #

    I agree, Historiann. To quote Jon Wiener, “And of course there’s a big difference between an individual using Freedom of Information legislation to expose government misconduct, and the party in power using it to harass and intimidate a critic of the government.”

  14. Jeremy C. Young on 29 Mar 2011 at 10:40 am #

    I still disagree with Chris, don’t I? Sometimes I like to respond to views with which I disagree, but which made me think (cf. an earlier post on Mitch Daniels’s Social Security plan). I could just have agreed with all the posts that praised Cronon, and that was my original plan, but then I realized I was stimulated a lot more by the view I didn’t agree with (Chris’s) than by the ones I did.

    Anyhow, carry on…

  15. Historiann on 29 Mar 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    Jeremy–you can do whatever you want, man–it’s your blog! I wasn’t criticizing you, I was just surprised, that’s all.

  16. Jeremy C. Young on 29 Mar 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    Fair enough! I do tend to go about constructing my arguments by starting with someone I disagree with. Perhaps it’s an unfortunate tendency.

    I continue to enjoy what I read over here at Historiann!

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