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Contact Form Harvey J. Kaye, Historian, Author, Professor. It contains the historical truths that will set America free. Below our conversation are several links so you can see and hear Harvey in action. I received a standing ovation. Harvey J. Welcome to StudioSeeds! What inspires you? He was a criminal lawyer, a trial lawyer in New York City born in Russia in ; he came to this country at the age of five and got his law degree in His name was Kaminetsky, but he thought it sounded too Bolshevik given the Red scare in those years, so he changed it to Kaye.
So anyhow before I could read, I would climb up to his lap and sit with him in a big chair. As a teen and college student he was a Socialist, so there was this version of history I got that emphasized Exodus, dissent, rebellion and then also this Lower East Side labor point of view.
Little did I know he planted in me a kind of romantic Left understanding of history. I always had an interest in history that came along with my time with my grandfather and when in I went off to college at Rutgers in New Brunswick, New Jersey, I knew I was either going to study history or politics.
So I was a freshman in college, I had just come out of a what we used to call a recitation section which really meant a discussion section; it was with all freshman and a PhD student teacher.
I had a real fascination for the graduate student teaching us because he was the guy I enjoyed the most in the classroom. We were walking along on a beautiful, clear, sunny spring day — I can still see it — and he turned to me and asked me what I was going to major in and I said either history or political science.
I was so upset that he viewed history as just the background, that I bid him farewell for the day and ran off to the history department in Bishop House on the campus and signed up as a history major! I never wanted to be an academic; never wanted to be a writer. I had assumed I would be a lawyer like my grandfather and when the time came to begin to start thinking seriously about this it was also the time I was asked to be the guinea pig by Rutgers to go to the University of Mexico in Mexico City to see if they could work out an exchange program or at least an overseas program for Rutgers students.
The public universities in the United States were low priced, but this was even lower as a foreign student. I was in the library one day and I saw — this is all getting eventually to your question of what inspires me, because I have to get into how I was even in the position to be inspired!
Maybe I should go to grad school in Europe because it would be the only way I could travel? Harvey, , as a graduate student in London. While I was in London, my third course was basically peasants in Latin America; I really enjoyed the young guy who was teaching it. While I was there I was doing agrarian studies of Latin America and I was fascinated by this whole question of class.
Living in the South, the question of class — even though in the South it is a question of race — this was in the mid-Seventies and the question of class also very evident.
Bill Moyers and Harvey J. Kaye In fact the piece I wrote last week, David Brooks had written a column — his New York Times column — basically about his need and need of people like him to break out of their comfort zone. Link below. Kaye My first book was about a group of intellectuals in Britain, The British Marxist Historians, who transformed the writing of history and they were all engaged, to some extent, in politics at the same time.
What bugged me is that I thought people my age writing about them were missing the boat. I actually wrote the first article, never knowing I would do a book because I was just so ticked-off. In fact, yesterday or was it this morning, I listened to something — every so often I wonder if I should be writing my new book about Radicals at Heart.
So my fundamental inspiration came, I think, from my family and my grandfather, Pa Lou, in particular. All the histories I read along the way as a young person that resonated with me usually had to do with a struggle for freedom, equality or democracy and it reflected from this implanting from my grandfather.
Please connect with Harvey J. From Harvey J. Note the lower right listing.
HARVEY J.KAYE THE BRITISH MARXIST HISTORIANS PDF