American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 53, No. 6, November-December

1952 the Big Bang. (Time Machine November/December)
50 YEARS AGO ON NOVEMBER 1, ON the island of Elugelab in Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission detonated the world's first thermonuclear explosion. Within seconds of ignition, there appeared a fireball three miles across,...
A Table with a Past: America's Greatest Historic Restaurants. (History Now)
With the holidays approaching, we asked Tim Zagat, the creator of the slim, ubiquitous oxblood guidebooks that have colonized America's dining-out habits, to choose his favorite historic restaurants. Herewith a baker's dozen, along with excerpts from...
Editor's Bookshelf. (History Now)
* In the introduction to her Rodeo Queens and the American Dream (Perseus, 320 pages, $26.00), Joan Burbick writes: "Telling the stories of rodeo queens necessarily raises the history of settlement and conquest, ethnic conflict, racism, blindness and...
Frankophilia: Why Sinatra Is Our Greatest Singer, Period
AT ZITO'S BAKERY ON BLEECKER STREET, a Greenwich Village institution, there are two framed photographs on the wall behind the counter. One is a picture of the Pope. The other is a picture of Frank Sinatra smiling broadly and holding a loaf of Zito's...
General Discontent: Blaming Powell-And Eisenhower-For Not Having Pushed through. (in the News)
EMBATTLED, SCRUTINIZED, POWELL SOLDIERS ON, ran the headline on the front page of The New York Times, as if the writer was astonished to find Colin Powell still at the State Department despite his disagreements with some of the more overweening members...
History and Hope. (Letter Form the Editor)
THIS IS A VERY INTERESTING PLACE TO WORK. TWO days after the September attacks, a group of us were standing in the hallway, listening while one of the editors explained, at length and with considerable passion, her view that President Bush could have...
Lavish Legacy: A Huge New Lincoln Museum Divides His Hometown. (History Now)
NEARLY HALF A CENTURY AGO Illinois schoolchildren donated pennies--$45,000 worth in all--to help purchase a handwritten copy of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address for the state's official history collection in Springfield. At last Lincoln's towering call...
Lost Tracks: A Streetcar Fan's Photo Album Is a Window Opening on the Vanished Workaday Beauty of Downtown
HOW ODD THAT THE STREETCAR, THANKS TO STAGE and song, should be associated with woozy precincts of Desire and the romantic coup de foudre, that moment when it's grand just to stand with your hand holding that of your just met but consenting fellow...
Showplace: In the 1870s, Wealth from the North Transformed Thomasville, Georgia. (History Happened Here)
AS SEEN ON THE CUSP of spring, Thomasville, Georgia, might be any small town in the Deep South. But beneath the sultry perfume and soft palette of wisteria and azalea, wisps of Spanish moss drifting from gnarled live oak trees, and big, white-columned...
Special Forces: The Least-Understood Branch of Our Military Was Born 60 Years Ago but Today Is Coming into Prominence as Never Before
"BUT, DAD, THOSE DON'T LOOK LIKE American soldiers." My son was right. The bearded young men leaping from a white pickup truck in a TV news clip were dressed in an curious assortment of Western and Afghan garb. Yet even in the few seconds of broadcast...
St. Croix: America's Caribbean Is Swimming in History. (Special Advertising Section)
Over sparkling sands and emerald waters, a forbidding sentinel silently watches the sea, as it has for 250 years. The first foreign salute to the flag of the new United States was fired from it in 1776. Today, the Stars and Stripes fly above it. ...
"Talking Turkey". (Why Do We Say That?)
Eating crow and talking turkey are venerable American metaphors for different forms of speech, in the first case to consume that most unpleasant of all dishes, one's own words, and in the second to speak plainly. Both appear to come from nineteenth-century...
The Churchill-Roosevelt Forgeries: The Campaign to Revise Hitler's Reputation Has Gone on for 50 Years, but There's Another Strategy Now. Some of It Is Built on the Work of the Head of the Gestapo-Who May Have Enjoyed a Comfortable Retirement in America
RECENTLY, ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS, the American public has been made aware of evidence of plagiarism practiced, alas, by celebrated American historians. This is regrettable, but nothing new. All kinds of writers have borrowed and, worse, stolen from others...
The German Plan to Invade America: Newly Revealed: How Kaiser Wilhelm Planned to Keep America from Becoming a Global Power. (History Now)
THE ANNOUNCEMENT EARLIER THIS year that military archivists had found nineteenth-century plans for a German invasion of America attracted curiously little attention in this country. There are several possible explanations: The idea of Germany's being...
The Measurement That Built America: The Little-Appreciated U.S. Public-Land Survey Not Only Opened Up Our Frontier but Made Possible Our Freedoms
LOOK OUT THE AIRPLANE WINDOW ON A flight from Los Angeles to Chicago, and you can see below one of the most astonishing man-made constructs on earth. It is more extensive than the Great Wall of China, yet it remains almost invisible unless you're looking...
The Myth of the Paperless Office and Why Yours Is Messier Than Ever. (Behind the Cutting Edge)
IN 1970 THE FUTURIST Alvin Toffler proclaimed that "making paper copies of anything is a primitive use of machines and violates their very spirit." Five years later the head of Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center began to see the paperless office on...
What History Means to Me
Three years ago American Heritage inaugurated an annual contest, established in partnership with the textbook publisher Prentice Hall, in which students wrote the theme WHAT HISTORY MEANS TO ME. This year, more than 5,000 essays came in to the Prentice...
Why Enron Always Happens: And How History Show It's Actually Good for Us
THERE'S AN OLD JOKE ABOUT A COMPANY'S NEEDING TO hire a new accounting firm. The chief executive invites the heads of eight firms to come in for interviews and hires one right away. A friend asks him how he did it. "Simple," the chief executive replies....