eign policy starts as a moral embarrassmentnand becomes a psychological impossibility.nThis attitude has grownnstronger in the last 20 years with thentrauma of Vietnam, which may explainnwhy no JFK admirer has come forward tondefend him. How could they: the samenpeople who supported JFK now claimnthat Reagan’s budget provides too manynguns and not enough butter. JFK’s anticommunismn(“we shall bear any burdenn. . .”) has become an embarrassment tonthe liberals who once supported him.nOne final point on Wills’s concept ofnthe morality of power: unlike manynothers who share his attitude, he is nonmoral relativist. Wills is a Catholic whonbelieves that the only moral validation annation may claim is that it permits itsncitizens to live in relative peace. Thus, anclaim of moral righteousness can nevernbe a legitimate basis of foreign policy,nand the duty of the truly righteousnamong us is to recognize the moral vacuitynof American foreign policy and to denouncenit. Wills seems to share the ideanthat the United States should unilaterallynrenounce nuclear weapons; then,neither the Russians would do the same ornthe Chinese would attack them. Such arenthe lessons of history that Wills andnothers on the left have learned from thenwar in Southeast Asia.nOf course, if anyone is expected tonlearn lessons from history, it is the historiansnthemselves. These lessons would notnbe answers to large questions aboutnmeaning, which might provide a plan fornAmerican policies, but about the technicalnissues involved in the writing of history—thenevaluation of certain types ofndocumentary evidence, for example.nAfter the Fact: The Art of HistoricalnDetection by James Davidson and MarknLytle explicitly intends to draw lessons onnthe technical questions of writingnhistory. Each chapter describes an episodenin American history chosen to illustratena particular probleln or techniquenof the practicing historian. Thenbook also has the aim of interestingnreaders in written history—which thenauthors perceive no longer appeals tonpeople the way it once did. The story ofnabolitionist John Brown, for instance, isnwritten as psychohistory to show the usenof Freudian analysis in the writing ofnhistoriography; the development of thenA-bomb is used to illustrate how historiansnmust appreciate the influence ofnbureaucracies to understand decisionmaking;nAndrew Jackson’s career is usednto illustrate how theories, in this case thenfrontier theory, guide the historians’nselection of facts. There is a peculiar sensationnin rereading about these events, sonfamiliar to us and yet told in a new way.nTo see in the career of Huey Long not justnthe familiar story of the Southern demagoguenbut an illustration of the “GreatnMan” theory is to gain a new perspectivenon American history that raises it fromnthe local and parochial to the universal.nAfter the Fact, written by two young historiansnwith Yale pedigrees, is interestingnand well written and will reacquaint thenreader with significant events in a newnand refreshing light.nIf we do not really learn lessons exceptnin a technical sense, and otherwise tendnto see only what we bring to our observationnof history, then how can history be ofnuse to us? The answer may lie in the factnthat history can be a living tradition asnwell as a set of facts or a historical narrative,nand can thus influence ournthoughts and actions. This kind of historynis experienced—felt, not read, or atnleast felt after it is read. It constitutes an”usable past” because it becomes an extensionnof our personal memories. Wash-nSend for your complimentary copy of The Rockford Institute’sn1982 Annual Report featuring the work of the eminent artist andndesigner Warren Chappell. Write to The Rockford Institute,n934 N. Main Street, Rockford, Illinois 61103.nnnington at Valley Forge, Lee and Grant atnGettysburg, MacArthur in the Philippinesnare not simply events in Americannmilitary history; they form a traditionnwhich, when imbibed, will inspire militarynofficers in the 21st century. FrancoisnKersaudy’s Churchill and de Gaullengives a clear indication of how history cannfiinction in this mode by what it tells usnabout its subjects. It provides a clear portrayalnof these men which, while concentratingnon their personal relationship,nalso enables the reader to see the kind ofnmen they were and the historical forcesnagainst which they worked. Churchillnand de Gaulle were both deeply immersednin the histories of their respectivennations, which helped form their consciousnessnof the role that they and theirnnations should play in World War II.nDe Gaulle’s France and Churchill’snEngland, as they perceived them, hadnspecial places as originators and protectorsnof the best of the Western traditionnof civility. They hterally made history,nnot just by learning lessons from it but byncreating a historical memory for fiiturengenerations. The people who onlynlearned from history were the designersnof appeasement and Vichy, for they hadnlearned the lessons of World War I. Alas,nthey were the wrong lessons.nHistorical knowledge is not only thenknowledge of the past; it is also the kindnof knowledge which enables us to use thenpast as guide for the future. Yet, if we donnot learn lessons from it, how can historynguide us? Ironically, a passage fromnGarry WiUs’s Confessions of a Conservativenexplains it:nInsofar as we steer rationally towardnthe future, we do so by our rear-viewnmirror. There is no windshield, becausenthere is nothing to ‘see’ upnahead. We go forward by seeing backward.nBy tracing the trajectory of pastnevents we extrapolate to fiiture positions.n. . . The best guides to thenfiiture are those whose knowledge ofnthe past is broadest and deepest, whonare most cautious and aware of complexity,nleast confident that they cann’see’ something up ahead. •niifiif 13nJanuary 1983n