American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 53, No. 3, June-July

1752: Franklin Flies a Kite. (Time Machine)
250 YEARS AGO IN JUNE OF 1752, in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin performed what may be the most famous scientific experiment of all time by flying a kite in a thunderstorm. In so doing, he verified his theory that lightning is a form of electricity....
America's Southeast an Eloquent Landscape. (Special Advertising Section)
MEANDERING THROUGH THE SOUTHEAST'S storied landscape will leave every traveler with a tale or two to tell--perhaps a true one of Civil War heartbreak or a country music legend, perhaps a tall one of equestrian prowess or whitewater heroics. MINGLING...
A Taste of the Wine Country: Sonoma County Harvests a Rich Immigrant Past. (History Happened Here)
EVEN IF YOU'RE DRAWN to California's Sonoma County for its great wine and the high-style cuisine that enhances it, you can't help noticing that everywhere grapes and history blend to produce a stronger brew. Visit the small, family-run Martini &...
Beer and America: It Came over with the Mayflower and Stayed on to Be the Unchallenged Drink of Democracy
IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN BEER, THE MODERN period begins on the spring day in 1882 when the short-lived American Association of baseball teams opened for business. The establishment-leaning National League, aiming for a tonier clientele, had recently...
Burlesque: Its Last Impresario Tells Why It Is the Most American of All Entertainments. (It's Not Because of the Strippers.)
My father said, "Don't go To a burlesque show; You'll see things you shouldn't see." And he was right, For the very next night I saw Father in the row in front of me. --OLD SONG BASED ON A BURLESQUE JOKE THIS JOKE HAS NO RESONANCE FOR ME. MY...
Fighting for the Other Side: Lindh Was Hardly the First. (in the News)
"RAT!" SCREAMED THE TABloid headlines when John Walker Lindh, the "American Taliban," was hauled out of a prison basement in Afghanistan and into the public limelight. Media commentators had a field day projecting their obsessions onto Mr. Lindh. The...
Introducing Washington: Richard Brookhiser Has Spent Four Years Trying to Capture for the Television Screen the Character of Perhaps the Greatest American
BISMARCK SUPPOSEDLY SAID THAT IT WAS better not to know how governments and sausages are made. I spent almost four years helping make Rediscovering George Washington, a film by Michael Pack that I wrote and hosted and that PBS will air this July Fourth....
Liberal Imperialism: At a Time When It Can Answers to Urgent Questions, We Have Forgotten America's Long History of "Nation Building."
IN LATE JANUARY 2002 HAMID KARZAI, THE NEWLY INSTALLED leader of Afghanistan, visited Washington and New York. He received a standing ovation at the President's State of the Union address, and glowing press attention, in no small part because of his...
"O.K." (Why Do We Say That? Introducing a New Column on the Origins of American Words and Phrases)
A GOOD CASE CAN BE MADE FOR O.K. AS THE great American word. It is understood nearly everywhere, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. It also is a wonderfully mutable term. Variants include okay, okey-dokey, okley-dokley (popularized on "The Simpsons"), and...
Pushing the Envelope (in the 1860s): The Birth of the Global Village. (the Business of America)
OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II, IN "Getting to Know You" from The King and I, wrote that "If you become a teacher, by your pupils you'll be taught." In a sense the same is true of those of us who write nonfiction books. A person is asked to write on a particular...
Ring Master. (Screenings)
In 1962 a rising young heavyweight contender named Cassius Clay made his movie debut knocking out Anthony Quinn's "Mountain" Rivera in the film version of Requiem for a Heavyweight. It was the first meeting in what would become a rocky relationship...
Tales of the Texas Rangers: There Have Never Been Many of Them, and They Haven't Always Behaved Well. but for More Than a Century Now, They've Been One of the Most Famous Law-Enforcement Outfits in the World
THE TEXAS RANGERS VIE WITH THE ROYAL CANADIAN Mounted Police as a constabulary known and admired throughout the world. Both played a notable role in the past and continue to enjoy high reputation and a good press. Both attained legendary stature at...
The Tourist's Guide to Cape Cod: Were Miranda and Prospero among the First Settlers in the New World? (History Now)
FOUR HUNDRED YEARS AGO THIS SPRING, Capt. Bartholomew Gosnold sailed the Concord west from England, intending to start a settlement in the New World. After stopping in Maine, Cape Cod, and Martha's Vineyard, the passengers and crew landed on the island...