American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 58, No. 2, April-May

A Funny Man Writes a Serious Historical Novel: Gene Wilder Discusses His New World War I Adventure
GENE WILDER, THE SON OF RUSsian Jewish immigrants, was born in Milwaukee in 1933. A graduate of the University of Iowa, he studied with the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School before embarking on a film career that over the last 40 years has included such...
Alfred Hitchcock's America: It Was All in the English Director's Mind, of Course. but What He Thought about This Country Was Passionate, Scary, Fond, Funny, and Profound
WHEN I THINK OF ALFRED HITCHCOCK'S AMERICA--THE vision of America that you get from watching the films that he made during his prime Hollywood period--these are some of the images that come to mind: Heavy rain, poor visibility. The exhausted driver...
An Invitation
WORKING ON THIS, OUR TWENTY-FIRST ANNUAL travel issue, reminded me that I am fortunate enough to have a most agreeable travel destination virtually under my feet. This is the Forbes Galleries in the company's headquarters at 62 Fifth Avenue in New...
Bootleg Paradise: Seeking a Monument to Prohibition's Immense Impact on American Society, the Writer Finds It in a French Colony
PROHIBITION RANKS AMONG AMERICA'S most vivid historic epochs. Yet the era of flappers and jazz is also curiously Oz-like. The drinking ban dominated the American social and cultural conversation between 1920 and 1933. Then one day the country awoke...
"Don't Be a Show Off": The Book That Taught GI's How to Behave in England
THERE WERE THREE DEADLY SERIOUS CRIMES A serviceman could commit, said the United States Army Air Corps commander Carl ("Tooey") Spaatz; "Murder, rape, and interference with Anglo-American relations. The first two might conceivably be pardoned, but...
Hitchcock on Location: You Can Go There Too, Even to the Bates Motel
ALTHOUGH ALFRED HITCHCOCK LIVED IN the United States for more than 40 years, becoming an American citizen in 1955, five years after his wife, Alma, he carefully retained his Britishness. Even in the warm sunshine of Southern California he always turned...
On the Trail of Benedict Arnold: Some of the Infuriating Questions Surrounding the Great Hero-Traitor Can Be Answered by Visiting the Fields Where He Fought. the Trip Will Also Takes You to Many of the Most Beautiful Places in the Northeast
NO ONE HAS EVER FULLY EXPLORED THE INNER GEOGRAPHY of Benedict Arnold's beam. The springs whence flowed his mad, desperate courage lie so close to the sources of his cynical, calculated treachery that the channels quickly merge, making it impossible...
The Buyable Past: The License Plate
BEFORE BACK-SEAT VIDEO screens, countless children amused themselves on road trips by looking at license plates, thrilled to spot their initials, birthdates, or examples from distant states. Thousands of adult collectors share that enthusiasm. Plates...
The Monitor Makes Port; after a Century and a Half, the Warship That Changed the World Is Back
ON MARCH 9, 1862, A NAVAL ENGAGEMENT near Chesapeake Bay in Virginia ended with no decisive victor and without claiming a single life. Yet no one has ever doubted that the bloodless fight changed naval warfare forever. Now, only a few miles from the...
Time Machine April/May: 1832 Lincoln: Indian Fighter
ON APRIL 5 BLACK Hawk, a chief of the Sauk tribe, accompanied by several hundred warriors and their families, crossed the Mississippi River and set out for Rock Island, in northwestern Illinois. Back in 1804 Sauk and Fox leaders had agreed to abandon...
Why Do We Say ...? Pork Barrel
"CALL IT PORK OR NECESSITY, BUT ALASKA Comes Out Far Above the Rest in Spending." This headline--from The New York Times-was for a story about the $388 billion federal Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2005. "Consolidated" is an apt word for this...
Wildwood: A New Jersey Seaside Resort Struggles to Save the Architecture-And the Memories-Of the Eisenhower Years
IF YOU HAVE 20 CENTS, YOU CAN RECAPTURE YOUR childhood on the Wildwood boardwalk. For that price, you can play a round of Flipper's Fascination, a strangely hypnotic, and once widespread, midway game that is a cross between bingo and Skee-Ball. And...