American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 52, No. 6, September

A Great Lake
EARLY NAVAL HISTORY AND TODAY'S URBAN ENERGY ON CHAMPLAIN'S SHORES IN FEBRUARY 1998, VERMONT'S senator Patrick Leahy attached few words to a bill pending in Congress: "The term `Great Lakes' includes Lake Champlain." With President Clinton's signature,...
Apocalypse New
To some film-goers, Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now is the ultimate Vietnam movie. To many more, it is one of the great disappointments of the 1970s. That decade, after all, is regarded by critics today as the moment when American film came of...
Ball and Chain
WHY BASEBALL DOESN'T PLAY BY THE RULES OF BUSINESS AS BASEBALL'S PENNANT races approach their climax, we all can look forward to that furious, no-holds-barred competition that enlivens nearly every season of our national pastime. I'm referring,...
Eisenhower the Dove
His farewell speech as President inaugurated the spirit of the 1960s WHATEVER THE CALENDARS SAY, IN SOME figurative sense America's 1950s ended, and the 1960s began, on January 17, 1961, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered the most memorable...
Main Line to Front Line
PHILADELPHIA'S CITY TROOP STAYS COLONIAL IN AN M1-A1 WORLD WHAT IS A SOLDIER OF "cornet" rank, dressed in an 1830s-era uniform with bearskin plumed helmet, doing in the modern, high-tech U.S. Army? Plenty, it turns out, for the cornet is a member...
Military-Historical Complex
WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE IN THE LATE 1960s, my disaffected classmates and I spent a good deal of time decrying the "military-industrial complex." I thought that Jerry Rubin probably had coined the phrase, but it might have been Abbie Hoffman. I certainly...
The Buyable Past Electric Toasters
THE FIRST ELECTRIC TOASTER, introduced by General Electric in 1909, didn't look anything like the long-handled tongs that had previously been used to toast bread over fire. GE was best known at the time for making equipment for huge transforming stations,...
THE IMMORTALITY of MAE WEST
Nearly a century after she came on the scene, her wit, bravado, and sexuality are a bigger presence than ever WHEN MAE WEST SHOWED A TRUSTED FRIEND THE MANUSCRIPT OF HER 1970 autobiography, Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It, he complained that...
The Renegade
Etienne Brule was one of the great explorers--the first white man to see Lakes Ontario, Erie, and Superior, the first to set foot in Michigan. Why have you never heard of him? GROWING UP IN THE GREAT LAKES REGION OF NORTH America, I developed an...
Time Machine September
225 YEARS AGO ONE NIGHT IN EARLY September, in New York Harbor, a small vessel called the Turtle made the world's first submarine attack on a warship. The pilot, Ezra Lee, was a sergeant in the Continental Army. He began by riding the tide at surface...