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Joan Didion wore a purple scarf and her trademark oversized glasses last night at the sold-out Harvard Book Store-sponsored event at First Parish Church in Cambridge. She was in town to promote her new book, the heartbreaking “Blue Nights,” which concerns the death of her daughter and which can, and likely will, be read as a macabre follow-up to 2005’s deeply affecting “The Year of Magical Thinking,” about the death of her husband.
In Teaching 9/11, I enlisted a Harvard professor and a dedicated Rhode Island teaher to try to figure out why the events of that day have been confined to a paragraph in most students' textbooks. It looks like we're not the only ones wondering about the ramifications of not teaching our nation's youth how to interpret history.