Last year, when the New York Historical Society launched my eleventh book, The Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s, I really wanted the two high school teachers who most influenced me to attend, so I could thank them publicly. Despite Googling high and low I couldn’t find them. We Jamaica High Schoolstudents affectionately called them “the Odd Couple.” Dr. Paul had the clean-cut Fifties look; Mr. Young had the Seventies’ droopy mustache, wild hair and bell bottoms.

They taught me how to think creatively, write clearly, and make connections beyond the usual rigid categorical boxes. Beyond the skills, to this day I explain modern Zionism’s beginning with the European romantic nationalism they taught me, while most of my scholarly work, including the Clinton book, synthesizes culture and history, as we did in their innovative (double-period) humanities program.