American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 55, No. 4, August-September

1929: Flying Blind
75 YEARS AGO ON SEPTEMBER 24 Lt. Jimmy Doolittle made the world's first completely blind flight--taking off, flying a prescribed course, and landing on instruments only. He was in a Consolidated NY-2 "Husky" bi-plane with two cockpits. Doolittle flew...
Actor against Actor: What Are the 10 Greatest Movies Ever about the Civil War?
SINCE MOVIES BEGAN, LESS THAN 40 YEARS AFTER THE guns had fallen silent at Appomattox, Hollywood has churned out more than 700 Civil War-related films--nearly three times the number of movies about World War II. Most of them have stressed reunification,...
A Fascinating with Coins: Blanchard & Company Helps Investors and Collectors Find Gold
Coins have long fascinated collectors and investors alike, for both their history and their solid value. In helping people make wise selections and purchases, Blanchard & Company has emerged as the nation's largest and most respected retail dealer...
A Helluva Town: Why Do They Usually Avoid Holding Conventions in New York?
THIS SUMMER MARKS A SEA change in the traditions of American party politics. For the first time the Democratic National Convention will be held in Boston, and the Republican National Convention will be held in that great Babylon, that hole of sin and...
A Life in the Loser's Dressing Room: A Talk with the Superb Journalist and Sports Reporter Who Was the Co-Author of MASH and Wrote Ernest Hemingway's Favorite Fight Novel
BY THE TIME BILL HEINZ WAS IN HIS late twenties, he had gone from copy boy to star war correspondent and had witnessed the Normandy Invasion, the execution of German spies, the liberation of Paris, and the deadly fighting in the Huertgen Forest, where...
Anniversary
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, WAS MY DAUGHTER'S FIRST day of kindergarten--a new school a long subway ride up the spine of Manhattan. Rebecca's inaugural school day consisted of half an hour meeting other children, followed by a four-hour walk home. When the...
"Boondoggle"
GENERATIONS OF SUMMER CAMPERS have whiled away rainy days plaiting leather or plastic cords into lanyards or other ornamental gadgets known as boondoggles--a harmless enough activity. In politics, though, boondoggle has become an attack term for government...
Brian Wilson's Wave: For the Brilliant Songwriter Behind the Beach Boys, the Endless Summer Gave Way to a Very Hard Winter. Now He Is Back, with a Work That Wants to Be No Less Than a Musical History of the American Dream
THE VOICES ARE CLEAR AND STRONG, THEIR SONG crackling with energy. "Early in the morning we'll be startin' out, / Some honeys will be comin' along / We're loading up our woodie with our boards inside / And headin' out singing our song.... Let's go...
Grand Motel: The Blue Swallow, the Flamingo, the Lincoln Motor Court ... These Classics Still Welcome You for the Night
THE MID-1970s HOLIDAY INN SLOGAN, "THE BEST SURprise is no surprise," may have reflected a comforting predictability in road travel, but it also signaled a decline in one of its greatest pleasures: being in a place very different from home. Before...
Miniature Sewing Machines
ISAAC MERRITT SINGER DEVISED THE FIRST commercially viable sewing machine, in 1850; by the time of his death in 1875, his company's annual sales exceeded 500,000 machines. Not long afterward miniature sewing machines began to appear. Model names...
North from Seattle: Cruising the Briefly Embattled San Juan Islands
FROM A CAB HURTLING down the West Side Highway en route to Newark Airport from New York City, I spied the looming superstructures of three giant ships. They were waiting to take on their complements of 2,000 or more passengers heading for weeklong...
Old Glory in New York City: The Stars and Stripes Take to the Streets
EVERYONE KNOWS NEW YORKERS LOVE New York, but perhaps it's not as well known that New Yorkers love America. Wherever you go in Manhattan, you can see the Stars and Stripes: in the store-window displays on Fifth Avenue, rumbling by on subway cars, draped...
Reagan: His Place in History: Six Aspects of the Man-Three Political, Three Personal-Hint at How Posterity Will View Him
CONTEMPORARY JUDGMENTS OF PRESIDENTS ARE NOTORIOUSLY ERRATIC. Consider the four who decorate Mount Rushmore, the stony seal of posterity's approval. Although Washington retired with almost universally good reviews, Benjamin Franklin's grandson did...
The Father of Us All: How Do You Bring to Life the Founder Who Shaped the Modern World but Did It Mainly by Pen?
With the advent of an impressive exhibition devoted to Alexander Hamilton, the editors asked Richard Brookhiser, a biographer of Hamilton and the historian curator of the show, how he went about rendering his subject in three dimensions. Alexander...
The Home and Family
With American Heritage approaching its fiftieth birthday in December 2004, we've asked five prominent historians and cultural commentators to each pick 10 leading developments in American life during the last half-century. In this issue Paul Berman,...
The Marx Brothers
IT MAY BE APOCRYPHAL, BUT THE LEGEND persists that Benito Mussolini banned the Marx Brothers' 1933 antiwar film Duck Soup from being shown in Italy. If he didn't, he should have. The word subversive has been much devalued by overuse, but surely no...
There We Go Again: In Their Surprisingly Short History, Presidential Debates Have Never Lived Up to Our Expectations-Yet They've Always Proved Invaluable
IN THE COMING MONTHS GEORGE W. BUSH, JOHN KERRY, AND THEIR running mates will submit themselves to a relatively new ritual in American presidential politics: a series of face-to-face debates. Broadcast on television and radio throughout the world,...
We Reap What He Reaped: Cyrus McCormick and the Problem with Agriculture
WHATEVER THE OLDEST PROfession may be, the oldest occupations are hunting and gathering. Indeed, for millions of years they were the only occupations, until farming began about 10,000 years ago and slowly spread around the world. Two hundred and fifty...
"What Is Hell to One like Me ...?"
LINCOLN'S MELANCHOLY IS FAMOUS. LESS WELL KNOWN IS THAT he not only penned thoughts about suicide but published them in a newspaper. Scholars have long believed that the only copy in the newspaper's files was mutilated to hide those thoughts from posterity,...