Education: Stormy Weather in Academe

A scholar's controversial work sets off a hail of criticism

At first David Abraham, assistant professor of history at Princeton, was rightly proud. Initial reviews of his book, The Collapse of the Weimar Republic: Political Economy and Crisis, had sung high praise. "Intellectually and stylistically weighty," declared the Library Journal. This "book's strength is its thought-provoking interpretation," wrote a second critic. And a reader of the manuscript, judging it for publication by the Princeton University Press, rated the work as "the most important book on 20th century Germany written in the past 15 years."

Such accolades are tough to come by in academe, where scholars guard their intellectual turf and rarely...

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