Book Review

Gaither on Hartman’s Education and the Cold War

Review of Andrew Hartman’s Education and the Cold War: The Battle for the American School (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). ISBN-13: 978-0230600102 . 264 pages.

Guest Review by Milton Gaither, Ph.D.
Messiah College

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Andrew Hartman has written a very unfashionable book, in at least three respects. First, in an era of historiographical hyperspecialization he has given us a work of synthesis, drawing more on the published works of other historians than on his own original research. Second, he has written an intellectual history that only glances in the direction of social context or bottom-up approaches, but focuses almost exclusively on the published writings of intellectuals. Finally, the political vision informing his work is so unfashionable that it seems today almost quaint, for Hartman likes to think of himself as an unreconstructed Marxist.

Education and the Cold War’s main contribution is to place educational history at the center of the Cold War historical narrative. For him, public schools were the most prominent battleground between progressive and reactionary forces from the Great Depression to the 1960s. He demonstrates this in nine chronological chapters. …

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