Small, Melvin 1939–
Small, Melvin 1939–
Born March 14, 1939, in New York, NY; son of Herman Z. and Ann Small; married Sarajane Miller, October 23, 1958; children: Michael, Mark. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Dartmouth College, B.A., 1960; University of Michigan, M.A., 1961, Ph.D., 1965.
Home—Royal Oak, MI. Office—History Department, 3119 FAB, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202. E-mail—[email protected]
Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, assistant professor, 1965-70, associate professor, 1970-75, professor of history, 1976—, Distinguished Professor, 2004—, chair of department, 1979-86. Visiting assistant professor, University of Michigan, summer, 1968; visiting professor, Marygrove College, 1971, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark, 1972-74, 1983, and Windsor University, 1977-78. Restaurant critic, Metro Times, Detroit, MI.
American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, Peace Science Society (member of executive council, 1976-79), Peace History Society (member of council, 1987-89, president, 1990-92).
Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, 1969-70; American Council of Learned Societies, study fellow, 1969-70, grant, 1983; grant, Lyndon B. Johnson Library, 1982, 1988; grant, Canadian government, 1987; Michigan As- sociation of Governing Boards award, 1993; NATO research fellowship, 1996; Wayne State University Humanities Council Grant, 1996; Liberal Arts College Teaching Award, 2001; Wayne State University Exceptional Service Award, 2001; elected to Hewlett-Woodmere Alumni Hall of Fame, 2005.
(Editor) Public Opinion and Historians: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Wayne State University Press (Detroit, MI), 1970.
(With J. David Singer) The Wages of War, 1816-1965: A Statistical Handbook, Wiley (New York, NY), 1972.
Was War Necessary? National Security and U.S. Entry into War, Sage Books (Thousands Oaks, CA), 1980.
(With J. David Singer) Resort to Arms: International and Civil Wars, 1816-1980, Sage Books (Thousand Oaks, CA), 1982.
(Editor, with J. David Singer) International War: An Anthology, Dorsey (Homewood, IL), 1985, revised edition, 1989.
Johnson, Nixon, and the Doves, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ), 1988.
(Editor, with Otto Feinstein) Appeasing Fascism: Articles from the Wayne State University Conference on Munich after Fifty Years, University Press of America (Lanham, MD), 1991.
(Editor, with William Hoover) Give Peace a Chance: Exploring the Vietnam Antiwar Movement: Essays from the Charles DeBenedetti Memorial Conference, Syracuse University Press (Syracuse, NY), 1992.
Covering Dissent: The Media and the Anti-Vietnam War Movement, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ), 1994.
Democracy and Diplomacy: The Impact of Domestic Politics on U.S. Foreign Policy, 1789-1994, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1996.
The Presidency of Richard Nixon, University Press of Kansas (Lawrence, KS), 1999.
Antiwarriors: The Vietnam War and the Battle for America's Hearts and Minds, Scholarly Resources (Wilmington, DE), 2002.
At the Water's Edge: American Politics and the Vietnam War, Ivan R. Dee (Chicago, IL), 2005.
The Good Fight Continues: World War II Letters from the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, New York University Press (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to various journals. Also contributor to numerous books on history, politics, and international relations, including Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations, edited by Michael J. Hogan, Cambridge University Press, 1991; Shadow on the White House, edited by David Anderson, University Press of Kansas, 1993; Encyclopedia of the United States in the Twentieth Century, edited by Stanley Kutler, Scribner (New York, NY), 1996; Encyclopedia of U.S. Foreign Relations, edited by Bruce Jentelson, Oxford University Press, 1997; and Oxford Companion to American Military History, edited by John Whitclay Chambers, Oxford University Press, 2000.
Melvin Small's book Covering Dissent: The Media and the Anti-Vietnam War Movement debunks the myth that the American news media was sympathetic to protests against the Vietnam War, and that the media helped to undermine the U.S. government's efforts to win that war. Small notes that, while reporters gave a great deal of coverage to protests, the attention was merely because the protests made for good news. He declares that in general, media personnel do not look with favor on movements that attack official positions, and he cites many instances where the media underestimated the number of people involved in protests or misrepresented the kind of people who made up the protest groups. He focuses on news coverage by the three major television networks, Time and Newsweek magazines, and the Washington Post and New York Times newspapers.
Small discussed the same historical period in The Presidency of Richard Nixon. Library Journal contributor Karl Helicher called this book "a fair but critical investigation of the Nixon presidency." Taking a topical rather than a chronological approach, he reviews Nixon's legacy in regard to the war, foreign policy, welfare reform, women's rights, desegregation, and environmental initiative. In Helicher's view, "Small does not break any major new ground but provides a cogent overview of the conflicting interpretations of this most controversial president." A Publishers Weekly reviewer notes that the author "gently invests the conventional wisdom that the Nixon presidency was more notable for its foreign policy than for its domestic achievements…. On the domestic front, … Small argues that Nixon was the author of unheralded successes. … Devoted more to the intricacies of policy than to either the dramas of electoral politics or Nixon's tragic character, Small's book is engaging enough to serve as a good introduction for readers who are as interested in the Nixon presidency as they are in Nixon's personality."
In At the Water's Edge: American Politics and the Vietnam War, wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor, Small demonstrates that "the Vietnam War changed the tenor of American politics: thanks to lies spun out of the White House, the State Department, and the Pentagon, a sizable number of Americans came to mistrust the government—and to stop voting." At the same time that the war changed domestic politics, however, domestic politics were influencing the conduct of the war. From the time that the Viet Minh declared independence following the expulsion of the Japanese at the end of World War II, the United States had supported anticommunist forces in Vietnam, partly to show domestic voters that the government was working to contain the spread of communism worldwide. At the Water's Edge "starts in 1945 and examines the early decisions made by President Truman in regard to the French return to Vietnam," declared Phillip A. Cantrell II in History Teacher, "and then moves in a straightforward, chronological fashion through the war, highlighting the policies and decisions that each administration made, and why. The book concludes with the fall of Vietnam and a discussion of the war's lingering legacy for the American body politic." For instance, President "Kennedy was concerned that failure to suppress the Vietcong would have a negative effect on the 1964 presidential elections," explained Library Journal reviewer Stephen L. Hupp; "Lyndon Johnson had similar concerns," and his attempts to ignore Vietnam in order to concentrate on the Great Society domestic program backfired, leading to his withdrawal from the 1968 election. This "survey," concluded a Library Bookwatch contributor, "provides an important focus on the domestic front of the war."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Volume 455, Duncan L. Clarke, review of Was War Necessary? National Security and U.S. Entry into War, p. 175; Volume 475, review of Resort to Arms: International and Civil Wars, 1816-1980, p. 178; Volume 504, review of Johnson, Nixon, and the Doves, p. 157; Volume 541, Oscar H. Gandy, review of Covering Dissent: The Media and the Anti-Vietnam War Movement, p. 200.
Antioch Review, spring, 2007, Ianthe Brautigan, review of The Good Fight Continues: World War II Letters from the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, p. 393.
Editor & Publisher, October 22, 1994, Hiley Ward, review of Covering Dissent, p. 22.
Foreign Affairs, winter, 1988, Gaddis Smith, review of Johnson, Nixon, and the Doves, p. 183.
Historian, winter, 2006, Marilyn B. Young, review of At the Water's Edge: American Politics and the Vietnam War, p. 844.
History: Review of New Books, winter, 2003, Judith R. Johnson, review of Antiwarriors: The Vietnam War and the Battle for America's Hearts and Minds, p. 53.
Journal of American History, June, 1989, Andrew J. Rotter, review of Johnson, Nixon, and the Doves, p. 322; March, 1996, William S. Solomon, review of Covering Dissent, p. 1651; December, 1996, Robert J. McMahon, review of Democracy and Diplomacy, p. 107.
Journal of Southern History, August, 2006, Simon Hall, review of At the Water's Edge, p. 720.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2005, review of At the Water's Edge, p. 112.
Library Bookwatch, January, 2006, "At the Water's Edge."
Library Journal, June 15, 1988, Charles K. Piehl, review of Johnson, Nixon, and the Doves, p. 57; August, 1999, Karl Helicher, review of The Presidency of Richard Nixon, p. 188; February 15, 2005, Stephen L. Hupp, review of At the Water's Edge, p. 145.
Political Science Quarterly, spring, 2006, Robert Buzzanco, review of At the Water's Edge, p. 174.
Publishers Weekly, June 8, 1992, review of Give Peace a Chance: Exploring the Vietnam Antiwar Movement: Essays from the Charles DeBenedetti Memorial Conference, p. 59; August 9, 1999, review of The Presidency of Richard Nixon, p. 333.
Reference & Research Book News, August, 2005, review of At the Water's Edge, p. 52.
Teaching History: A Journal of Methods, spring, 2005, William F. Mugleston, review of Antiwarriors.
History Teacher, http://www.historycooperative.org/ (April 12, 2008), Phillip A. Cantrell II, review of At the Water's Edge.