Winter 2024

Seeing in the Dark
It is hard to draw breath in this historical moment without feeling suffocated by sadness and anger—not to mention helplessness. The heavily armed state of Israel is systematically murdering the unarmed civilians of Gaza and reducing their neighborhoods to rubble.

Summer 2020

One Hundred Seconds
At what feels like an apocalyptic moment, the nation that has always claimed to play a uniquely redemptive role in world history has suddenly been recast in a different mold. In the richest country on earth, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have turned out to be peculiarly catastrophic. For once, America can truly claim to be exceptional. No other nation is facing as dire a combination of medical and economic calamities.

Summer 2018

Invisible Inheritance
1968 is back. Its fiftieth anniversary has produced a flood of books, articles, memoirs, even performance art. The dramatis personae in these narratives rarely vary: along with the inescapable public figures there are recurring representatives of the restless young—the SDS, the Yippees, the self-styled Maoists, the devotees of Che. I seldom see myself or anyone I knew in these accounts, though I turned twenty-one in 1968 and was profoundly affected by the events of that era.

Winter 2018

War and Forgetfulness
In the contemporary United States, as in most modern societies, collective memory is always under construction. The contributors to the project are academics, journalists, politicians, business executives, media professionals, and other public figures who have access to institutions with the power to disseminate ideas about the past. They create narratives that purport to explain how we became who we are. This requires selective remembering and systematic forgetting.

Fall 2017

Editor's Note Fall 2017
While reading proofs for this issue in August, a friend asked me whether I felt that my work at Raritan was “doing something” to stay politically engaged. She was in a woeful mood--the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, had just occurred and the news cycle was toggling between images and descriptions of the violence, and reports on the indulgent, deliberately provocative response by Donald Trump. My friend wondered whether working at Raritan felt meaningful in such a political and social climate or whether it felt too far removed from the “real” world. Her question surprised me, but I didn’t have to think too hard about my answer. I just had to turn to the proof pages at hand.

Summer 2017

Editors Note Summer 2017
"Unpredictably, but with purpose"—the last line of James Longenbach's remarkable poem "The Academy," which you'll find on page 129 of our Summer number—aptly describes the way an issue of Raritan comes together. "Unpredictably" for many reasons: we don't know what manuscripts will come in unsolicited; the imperatives to publish one piece over another vary from issue to issue; we don't plan theme issues; the line-up in our queue can change unexpectedly. "With purpose" because there is an ineffable but real Raritan spirit that governs the editorial process, from the selection of manuscripts down to the line edits.

Spring 2017

Hobson's Choice
Donald Trump embodies a rogues’ gallery of cartoonish figures: the confidence man, the master of misdirection, the buffoonish big shot, the demonic clown. But he is a clown with a semiautomatic assault weapon. In pursuing terrorists, his predecessors in the White House have provided this president with the tools to pursue executive tyranny. Trump is up to the job; his temperament is oligarchic rather than managerial. His explosive mix of appetite and impulse makes him an embodiment of license. He gives a green light to eruptions of anger that menace the least powerful groups in our society. There are innumerable reasons to challenge his reign, but what seems most menacing to me is Trump’s eagerness to strengthen and deploy the militarized police state that has been emerging alongside the “war on terror.”

Summer 2014

Home Before Dark
This issue of Raritan marks the centenaryofWorld War !-"every historian's Great War;' as Eugene Genovese remarked in one of those simplifications that nevertheless contain a core of truth. The essays in this issue by Andrew J. Bacevich, Casey Nelson Blake, Michael Kazin, and Lawrence Rosenwald all reflect on the war's significance in ways that pose alternatives to the contemporary American consensus-which holds, in effect, that World War I was a botched rehearsal for America's later, long-running role as the guardian of world order. Despite scholarly challenges, that consensus has not changed in seventy years.