American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 45, No. 7, November

As Old as the Pyramid Scheme
Several million Russians learned about the downside of capitalism this summer when they were caught in a classic swindle. An outfit calling itself MMM and operating as an investment company offered fantastic returns on investments, upward of 3,000...
Corporate America Turns to the Kennedy Center for Tools of Education Reform
THE ARTS HAVE THE POWER TO TRANSFORM EDUCATION--AND THAT'S GOOD NEWS FOR BUSINESS If you read the headlines about America's education system, the story they tell is a bleak one. More than 40 million Americans can read only at the lowest level...
Country
Country music is one of those phenomena that remind us how much we've packed into the twentieth century, for it is younger than many of our parents. This is its story. The term country music does not denote "rural people playing instruments and...
Flight of Fancy?
Our column "My Brush With History" is just a month shy of its fifth birthday, and it's a very healthy youngster. In fact, it has grown to become perhaps the most popular feature in the magazine--not merely because it is written by our readers but because...
In Love with Lawsuits
BACK BEFORE CLAUS VON BULOW ever heard of Jeremy Irons, a judge who found the news media's attitude toward the case puzzling put a question to a friendly television reporter. "Why do you people treat this as a big-deal court matter? It's not precedent-setting....
Little Fort on the Prairie
Poor Fort Scott. The Kansas military post and the town beside it had their share of bad luck from the very beginning, in 1842, when the site was picked for a fort just west of the Missouri border. The garrison's purpose was to protect something...
Oyez, Oyez, Oyez
On the morning of December 8, 1969, our taxicab stopped at the main entrance of the United States Supreme Court, and my wife and I saw through the back-seat window the long sweeping steps, a portico with massive Corinthian columns, and the words EQUAL...
Suing the Railroad
THE RAILROADS, THOSE CHILDREN OF THE INDUStrial Revolution, introduced the world's first nonmilitary instrument of widely dispersed destructive power. In so doing, they contributed mightily to the rise of litigation in America. Nearly half of all negligence...
The American Dreyfus
On an October afternoon in 1918, Maj. alexander Pennington Cronkhite took practice with a .45 at a tobacco can atop a post at Camp Lewis, Washington. With him were a sergeant and Capt. Robert Rosen-bluth, recently back from France, where he had been...
The New Creationists
The year 1963 brought the death of George McCready Price, whom the science writer Martin Gardner described as "the last and greatest of the anti-evolutionists." The greatest perhaps, but certainly not the last. That year also witnessed the birth of...
The Persistence of the Serpent
It is not exactly a historical secret that sex is here to stay. But it is only in relatively recent times in this country that sexual behavior has been so openly described, depicted, and debated in the public forum. It has also become a fit subject...
The Selling of Libby Prison
WHEN THE CIVIL War ended, a second fierce and divisive conflict began, fought on the same battlefields but over a different issue: not political secession but the commercial development of the battlefields themselves. The Civil War took four years...
The Very Best Country-Music Albums: A Personal Choice
(Note: Recordings marked by an asterisk are available directly through American Heritage's "Editors' Choice" department. See page 122 for details.) * JIMMIE RODGERS--Eight chronological CDs on the Rounder label, from First Sessions, 1927-1928 (Rounder...
Walter Winchell
"WHY WALTER WINCHELL?" I have been asked repeatedly during the years I have been working on a biography of him. Why someone so passe or someone so beneath contempt as also to be beneath biography? There are, I believe, two sets of reasons a biographer...