American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 44, No. 1, February-March

Author's Choice: The 10 Greatest Musicals
The first musical I ever saw was South Pacific. I was taken to see it on my fifth birthday, only a month after it opened. Overprivileged brat that I was, I had no idea that I was being treated to the toughest ticket in the history of Broadway. My...
Founding Father: One Man Invented the Modern Narcotics Industry
Very late on the night of November 4, 1928, Arnold Rothstein was found shot and critically wounded in the Park Central Hotel in Manhattan. Identified by The New York Times as "Broadway's greatest chance-taker" and the accused but acquitted fixer of...
No
One thing that all parties in the American drug-policy debate agree on is that they want to eliminate the traffic in illicit drugs and the criminal syndicates that control it. There are two divergent strategies for achieving this end: the drug war...
Oklahoma! It Opened Fifty Years Ago and Changed Broadway Forever
Only in retrospect does it seem surprising that there were empty seats in the St. James Theatre the night Oklahoma! opened, on March 31,1943. After all, no member of the cast could have remotely been called a star. The Theatre Guild, which produced...
Selling Poor Steven
The struggles and torments of a forgotten class in antebellum America: black slaveowners. In the 1640s John Casor was brought from Africa to America, where he toiled as a servent for a Virginia landowner. In 1654 Casor filed a complaint in Northampton...
Should We Legalize Drugs? History Answers: Yes
How are we to win our national struggle with cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and other illegal drugs? Everyone agrees that drugrelated problems are a plague on our society, destroying lives, helping wreck neighborhoods, poisoning schools, feeding crime,...
Spring Break
From early times the Bahamas have enjoyed the notion of themselves as the "Isles of Perpetual June," and more than one piece of tourist literature has assigned that sentiment to George Washington, who supposedly visited as a young man. In fact there...
'The Chinese Must Go.' (Racism in US)
One splendid morning during a recent West Coast vacation, I was turning the pages of a San Francisco newspaper over my coffee when I came upon a headline that douded my cheerful mood: GERMAN POLL FINDS SENTIMENT AGAINST FOREIGNERS RUNS DEEP. According...
The Greatest Gift
When the picture of Hungarian immigrants arriving in America ran in the magazine a year ago, several readers wrote in to ask why they had evidently flown here on the President's private plane. We helplessly replied that we had no idea. Now we know....
The Titan
Theodore Dreiser's stark realism brought the American novel into the twentieth century. He paid a heavy price for his candor. Theodore Dreiser dominated the American literary landscape in the first quarter of the twentieth century. To his contemporaries...
USS Boondoggle
Many historians have argued that whatever their function in the state religion, the pyramids of Egypt were also politically useful make-work projects. By employing peasants during the season when the Nile flooded the fields, pyramid building provided...
Who Was Washington?
Gilbert Stuart flattered himself -that the prominent men and women whose portraits were his fortune admired him almost as much for his good manners and genial gossip as for his skilled artist's hand. And so, when he was warned that George Washington...