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Matriarch of neoconservative Kristol family dies

by Mary Hopkins
Posted 1/03/20, 10:33 am

Gertrude Himmelfarb, a historian with an expertise in the morals of Victorian England, died Monday night at her home in Washington, D.C. She was 97. Her son, political analyst William Kristol, said his mother, who was also known as Bea Kristol, died of congestive heart failure. Himmelfarb’s husband, neoconservative journalist Irving Kristol, died in 2009.

What was Himmelfarb known for? In her books The Idea of Poverty and Poverty and Compassion, Himmelfarb unearthed evidence that Victorian values could reverse social woes stemming from a downward slide in morals beginning in the 1960s. Her classic historical research techniques helped her write more than a dozen books with an approach very different from that of the “new” history with its Marxist or feminist filters.

Dig deeper: Last spring, Marvin Olasky recommended 36 books on understanding Judaism, which included Himmelfarb’s The People of the Book: Philosemitism in England, From Cromwell to Churchill.

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