What We Are Reading Today: The War Before the War by Andrew Delbanco

Updated 01 December 2018

What We Are Reading Today: The War Before the War by Andrew Delbanco

The War Before the War — the latest book by Andrew Delbanco — covers everything that led up to the US Civil War and how much went into it. 

It traces how the compromises of the Constitution, along with the long history of compromise in the century that followed, tried to paper over the violent reality of slavery and eventually brought the nation to war. 

“This is a story about compromises — and a riveting, unsettling one at that,” Jennifer Szalai writes in the New York Times. 

Szalai also said that Delbanco “excavates the past in ways that illuminate the present. Some of the questions that preoccupied Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries continue to hold an eerie and urgent resonance in our own.”

Delbanco, born in 1952, is director of American Studies at Columbia University and has been Columbia’s Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities since 1995. He writes extensively on American literary and religious history.

A review published in goodreads.com stated: “It was well-researched and had a breadth of information to cover, which it did very well. At times it was repetitive, but it wasn’t bad enough to be a distraction and detract from the overall effect.” 


Qantas urges rapper will.i.am to withdraw racism accusation against staffer

Updated 18 November 2019

Qantas urges rapper will.i.am to withdraw racism accusation against staffer

  • Black Eyed Peas rapper will.i.am said on Twitter he was racially targeted by a Qantas airline attendant
  • Qantas, which called the incident a ‘misunderstanding,’ has requested the rapper to retract his statement

MELBOURNE: Australia’s flagship airline, Qantas, said on Monday it stood ready to offer legal assistance to a member of its flight crew named in a racism accusation by Black Eyed Peas rapper will.i.am on social media.
The US singer had taken a flight about 1-1/2-hours long to Sydney, Australia’s most populous city, from northeastern Brisbane to play at a concert on Saturday, but was met by Australian federal police at the arrival gate.
He said on Twitter he was racially targeted by an airline attendant, whom he identified by name, after failing to put away his laptop as the flight prepared to land, because he had put on noise-canceling headphones to “make beats.”
Qantas, which called the incident a “misunderstanding,” has requested the rapper to retract his statement.
“Absent a retraction, and if the crew member wanted to take the matter further, we’d certainly be willing to provide legal support for them to do this,” a spokesman told Reuters in a statement.
Police confirmed they spoke to crew and passengers at the airport, but said no further action was required. “The Australian Federal Police considers this matter finalized,” they said in a statement.
On Saturday, will.i.am said in a post on Twitter, “Is calling the police on a passenger for not hearing (the) P.A. due to wearing noise-canceling headphones appropriate?”
He added, “If didn’t put away my laptop ‘in a rapid 2min time’ I’d understand. I did comply quickly & politely, only to be greeted by police. I think I was targeted.”
As of Monday, will.i.am had not made any retraction on social media, even as other commenters pointed out that the crew member he identified had received threats on social media as a result.
He pointed out that if he were rude to a fan or journalist, he would be publicly named.
“This is what Twitter is for...we are supposed to call out wrongdoings so we can have a safer, more compassionate world,” will.i.am said.
Reuters was not able to contact the rapper through his agency, and he did not immediately respond to a request for comment on social media.