American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 46, No. 5, September

Bundesfuhrer Kuhn
There are adherents of even the most repellent concepts who with a stretch can be seen as motivated by perverted idealism. No such claim can be made for Fritz Julius Kuhn of the German American Bund. Great liar, thief, forger, adulterous womanizer, braggart,...
Commerce Raider
In the years between 1989 and 1994, the big-three American automobile companies (with combined annual sales of well over two hundred billion dollars) contributed about two million dollars to congressional-election campaigns. The ten largest American...
Hold until Relieved
I volunteered to be an air liaison officer, an ALO or forward air controller, with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) for a number of reasons--high among them the division's legendary status. With a tradition going back to the Civil War, this...
Hollywood History
I'D LONG SUSPECTED THAT colleagues in the profession shared my illicit interest in historical movies; their detailed contempt, like mine, betokened intimate familiarity. My recent experiences as editor of PAst Imperfect, a collection of essays on Hollywood's...
Home-Grown Terror
For a sense of the continuity of the terrorist tradition in America, consider this actual sequence of events: The FBI smashes a dead-serious plot to overthrow the federal government and reveals that for more than a year the right-wing militias involved...
Quiz Show
What I'm about to record is true, including the parts I've forgotten. Seeing the movie Quiz Show disinterred a memory almost half a century old. On the way back there, though, I must pause first at 1958, when Charles Van Doren was holding forth on the...
Screen Rights
A FEW YEARS AGO I SERVED AS one of the historical advisers for the movie Glory, which told the story of the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry and its brave and calamitous attack on Fort Wagner in the summer of 1863. This sort of consultation makes...
Shanghaied!
WILLIAM Davis, A CABINETMAKER left his home near Great Salt Lake in the Utah Territory in the mids 1870and headed for Northern California, a fast-growing region where he hoped to earn up to six dollars a day by adapting his expertise to ship carpentry....
Terror, Practical or Impractical
At Oberlin College one day in the autumn of 1961, I happened to find myself at the same lunch table with my classmate Rennie Davis. He was a quiet government major then, close-cropped, bespectacled, a former 4-H Club member, but already caught up in...
The Artistic Triumph of New York
Mark Tansey is a definitively post-modernist painter. His pictures stand at two removes from nature; not art but art history (or art theory) is his subject. Tansey deals in theories and notions, presenting them with the sort of sharp irony found in editorial-page...
The FBI Unbound
In the grim aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, the historian's antennae quickly picked up signals from the White House and Congress of an intent to use some recent history to justify changes in the government's rules of engagement with violence-prone...
The Hazards of American Individualism
QUENTIN ANDERSON, JULIAN Clarence Levy Professor in the Humanities Emeritus at Columbia University, argues in his bestknown book, The Imperial Self: An Essay in American Literary and Cultural History, that the writings of three of our most representatively...
The Real Antique Land
While reading up on Arizona preparatory to a trip there, I came upon the following remark by the English author J. B. Priestley: "There is no history here because history is too recent. This country is geology by day and astronomy at night." Given the...