American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 43, No. 6, October

A Short and Scary Walk with Andrew Jackson
Despite its title, Memories of the Ford Administration, John Updike's forthcoming novel is equally about two administrations--Gerald Ford's and James Buchanan's. The link between their dissimilar epochs is Alfred L. Clayton, Ph.D., a professor of history...
Breaking the Cycle
About one week after the rebellion and looting that took place in South-Central Los Angeles as a result of the Rodney King verdict, I was watching the news when a young man was handcuffed and placed in a police car. The announcer said, "The son of...
Industrial Revolutionary
Oliver Evans did not live to see railroads. He died in 1819, and the first real American railroad line, the Baltimore & Ohio, was begun only in 1828. But in another sense he saw railroads very clearly indeed. Just look at what he wrote in 1813:...
Luck of the Toss
The simple flip of a coin between two young naval officers in Motor Torpedo boats in the South Pacific could have produced very different results for both. I won. Had I lost, I'm convinced neither of us would have survived the events that ensued, and...
My Favorite Historical Novel
American Heritage recently asked a wide range of novelists, journalists, and historians to answer a question: What is your favorite American historical novel, and why? The results made two things clear: that the question was not nearly so simple as...
Nat Turner Revisited
Twenty-five years ago this November, I found myself in Ohio, where I was being awarded an honorary degree at Wilberforce University. The university, one of the few all-Negro institutions in the North, was named after William Wilberforce, the great...
Rediscovering the Discoverer
Columbus Day, 1992, is finally here, amid the explosive echoes of the long debate over whether it should be celebrated at all, and if so, how. It has been my pleasure to stay more or less above the battle. Actually, Columbus has never been a special...
Salem at Peace
So many of the places we've visited during the course of writing this column appear to be, as we try not to say very often, "frozen in time." That is, the town or city achieved one summary moment, then the river of history or the tributary that washed...
Thank You, Mr. Waco
Fifty years ago the first GIs arrived in England. We've all read of the mighty doings of the bomber boys and their little friends in the P-47s and P-51s, but no one as far as I know has made great mention of the transports, the C-47s and the Waco CG-4a...
The Man
Stan Musial, the great St. Louis Cardinals outfielder, was close to murderous with a bat in his hand. His fellow Hall of Famer and opposing pitcher Warren Spahn said, "When Musial came up to hit, your infielders were in jeopardy." He was known as "the...
What Can You Learn from a Historical Novel?
"What if many of a so-called Fact were little better than a Fiction?" asked Carlyle. It is a question most historians normally don't brood over, although the more philosophical among them have never doubted that history always was and will be, in the...