American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 49, No. 4, July-August

All the President's Bugs
Watergate broke slowly upon us. It was simply a nuisance story throughout the presidential campaign of 1972 and still appeared as barely a blip on our national radar as winter gave way to spring in 1973. But several events occurring in a short period...
Celebrity Conquers America
If celebrity death tells us about celebrity life, then one great celebrity death of 1997 was a mother lode of information. The untimeliness contributed to the universal sense of shock, as did the violence, while the unsolved mysteries of the case added...
Consequences of the Skirmish at Lewis Farm, March 29, 1865
A shot fired in the last days of the Civil War has kept its power to wound I don't believe in god the father, but i grant that the sequences of misery He visits upon sinners "unto the third and fourth generation" are as common as grass. They often...
Dutch Retreat
On July 28 Thomas Lovelace, brother of the royal governor of New York, rowed to Manhattan from his Staten Island farm with an urgent message: Dutch warships had been spotted approaching the city. Nine years earlier, with a similar naval invasion,...
Farthest Forward
Tough, nimble, and pound for pound the most heavily armed ships in the U.S. Navy, PT boats fought in the very front line of the greatest sea war in history. But even today hardly anyone understands what they did. One night in August 1943 PT-105 was...
"Four Good Legs between Us." (Racing Horse Named Seabiscuit)(includes Related Article on Horse Racing in the Past Compared to Modern-Day)
When the lives of a failed prizefighter, an aging horsebreaker, and a bicycle-repairman-turned-overnight-millionaire converged around a battered little horse named Seabiscuit, the result captivated the nation and transcended their sport On a drab detroit...
Inside the Worker's Paradise
In November 1932, when I was twelve years old, my parents decided to return to what was then called the Soviet Union. They had emigrated, separately, to America in 1917, when both were about seventeen years old, my father from near Minsk and my mother...
Plastics, Chance, and the Prepared Mind
In a century of technological revolutions, this was perhaps the quietest It is one of the most famous one-word lines in the history of Hollywood: "Plastics." But however intergenerationally challenged that half-drunk friend of Dustin Hoffman's parents...
Popgun in the Cold War
It was March 1961, and I was a thirty-year-old cultural affairs officer with the U.S. Information Agency assigned to our embassy in Buenos Aires. My job had a faintly sub rosa flavor. I was to induce Argentine publishers to produce Spanish translations...
Reflecting on Sandwich
In a tranquil Cape Cod village, the past is writ in glass A tourist's itinerary published by the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce deals briskly with the Cape's oldest town: "11:00 A.M. Arrive Sandwich, Visit Sandwich Glass Museum, Dexter Grist Mill,...
Smoking and 'Business.' (Smoking in Motion Pictures)
There was a "Nightline" A while back during which Jeff Greenfield delivered a puzzled examination of smoking in the movies. The gist of it was that while smoking has declined in real life in the last thirty years, characters in movies smoke as much as...
The Deal of the Century
It took place very early, but its unexpected consequences have vibrated through every decade When J. P. Morgan formed U.S. Steel, the first billion-dollar corporation, in 1901, it marked not only his signature deal but the apogee of banker power...
The Death and Demise of Harding
At 7:30 P.M. on August 2, President Warren G. Harding died suddenly, from either a stroke or a heart attack, in the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. His death came near the end of a planned seven-week tour of the Midwest, the West, and Alaska, after...
The Most Scandalous President
Everyone who knows anything at all about American history believes that Warren G. Harding was our worst President--Harding, the affable fool from Marion, Ohio, who, after passing two utterly undistinguished terms as state senator and one as lieutenant...
The Out-of-Date Army
Brief and successful as it was, the "splendid little war" (in John Hay's phrase) pointed up the need for a pair of overdue reforms in America's military. In the course of overwhelming the Spanish defenders in Cuba, some American military units had fared...
The White Man's Burden
When an armistice ended the Spanish-American War on August 12, the United States found itself with three major new territories obtained in three different ways. The first was Hawaii, annexed on July 7 with the President's signature on a joint congressional...
Through Hirschfeld's Eyes
They are not a particularly remarkable pair of eyes: chocolate brown, droopy-lidded, shaded by thick salt-and-pepper brows. But what they look like doesn't matter; how they see does. They are the eyes of Ad Hirschfeld, now ninety-five, the artist...
When Tariffs Were in Flower
In the past century the two major opponents on the question of free trade have changed sides completely The thunder of distant drums is sounding again as protectionists and free traders respond to President Clinton's efforts to get fast-track authority...
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