John Simkin Posted May 22, 2006 Share Posted May 22, 2006 Gerald D. McKnight is professor of history at Hood College, where he is chair of the History and Political Science Department. He is the author of the books, The Last Crusade: Martin Luther King Jr., the FBI and the Poor People's Campaign (1998) and Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why (2005). (1) Could you explain the reasons why you decided to become an historian? (2) Is there any real difference between the role of an investigative journalist and a historian? (3) How do you decide about what to write about? (4) Do you ever consider the possibility that your research will get you into trouble with those who have power and influence? (5) Did you have any problems having The Last Crusade: Martin Luther King Jr., the FBI and the Poor People's Campaign (1998) and Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation (2005) published? (6) You tend to write about controversial subjects. Do you think this has harmed your career in any way? Have you ever come under pressure to leave these subjects alone? (7) The House Select Committee on Assassinations reported that the “committee believes, on the basis of the available evidence, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy”. However, very few historians have been willing to explore this area of American history. Lawrence E. Walsh’s Iran-Contra Report suggests that senior politicians were involved in, and covered-up, serious crimes. Yet very few historians have written about this case in any detail? Why do you think that historians and journalists appear to be so unwilling to investigate political conspiracies? (8) What is your basic approach to writing about what I would call “secret history”? How do you decide what sources to believe? How do you manage to get hold of documents that prove that illegal behaviour has taken place? (9) Why is it that most books written about political conspiracies: assassinations of JFK, MLK, RFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra, etc. are written by journalists rather than historians? Is it because of fear or is it something to do with the nature of being a historian? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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