American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 48, No. 6, October

Birth of the Sonic Boom
On October 14 Air Force Capt. Charles E. ("Chuck") Yeager, flying a Bell X-1, became the first pilot to break the sound barrier. Today, with supersonic flight routine, the sound barrier seems an arbitrary figure, like a .300 batting average. But during...
Discovering the Essence of America: The Heritage Traveler
One of the great pleasures of traveling around our relatively new country is coming upon landmarks from our history, from the earliest English settlements to Revolutionary and Civil War battlegrounds to frontier outposts. Wherever our journeys take...
Oh Chesapeake, My Chesapeake
If there is one corner of this land absolutely earmarked for happy wandering, it is the Chesapeake Bay. You may get lost once or twice amid the squiggles of land, hidden inlets, and remote ports of Maryland's Eastern Shore, but that's part of the...
Sputnik
It wasn't the best of times, but it wasn't the worst of times either. Although a mild recession had cooled down the post-Korean War economy, many families were living comfortable lives in the autumn of 1957. There were 170 million Americans now, and...
Tea and Antipathy
In the summer and fall of 1772, panic took hold of London's financial circles. It began with the collapse of a firm called Neale, James, Fordyce, & Down. Alexander Fordyce had been speculating successfully for a decade, but in the early 1770s...
The First Annual American Heritage Great American Place Award Goes to Saratoga Springs, New York
Someone once said every man's life is worth a book. I wrote mine in 1987. In its early pages I told of my 1948 Adirondack Mountains busboy employment. "The hotel was magnificent, a relic of the General Grant and Second Empire style of the last century...
The People's Plane
During the 1920s and 1930s the Soviet Union was putting all its energy and money in a frantic effort to convert from an agricultural to an industrial economy, so that it could compete with the nations of the Western world. To help in this momentous...
The Return of Pragmatism
In ordinary speech, pragmatism connotes practicality, common sense, feet on the ground -- virtues Americans like to think of as specifically American virtues. One thing the term does not connote is philosophical speculation. When we say someone is...
The Words of Watergate
"I will repeat again today that no one presently employed at the White House had any involvement, awareness or association with the Watergate case." Just twenty-five years ago this month, with national elections less than three weeks away, President...
Topless Body in Humorless Town
On October 1 Isadora Duncan, the world-renowned pioneer of modern dance, arrived in New York City to begin her latest American tour. The trip started poorly when Duncan and her new husband, the Russian poet Sergei Esenin, were detained on suspicion...
When the Hereafter Was Now
It is easy to give offense when talking about religion -- which is one of the reasons it's so inviting for historians, especially in a secular culture, to avoid the subject. The trouble is that ignoring religious motivations in United States history...