American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 47, No. 4, July-August

A Share in the Whole Ship
Just about this time last year I came across a scene that chimed with the season, and that stayed with me. It was in a book called Heart of Oak, by Tristan Jones, a Welsh adventurer who died last year after a life that began on his father's tramp steamer...
Big Bang at Bikini
In the autumn of last year, France's Prime Minister Jacques Chirac ordered a series of test explosions of French nuclear weapons at the center that his government maintains for this purpose on Fangataufa and Mururoa atolls in French Polynesia. He thereby...
Exploring the Pacific Northwest
Towering stands of timber. Majestic mountains, snowcapped the year round. Rushing rivers teeming with trout and salmon, and fertile valleys where deer roam. These are the natural wonders that drew trappers, explorers, and then settlers to the Pacific...
General Lee's Daughters
Had he been a Catholic, the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, self-effacing in victory an noble in defeat, would likely today be known as St. Robert of Appomattox idol as he was of his people, their lode-star. It is not so easy to be the daughter...
Mother's House
Vanna Venturi used to sit at her dining-room table and talk to visitors about her house in Chestnut Hill, "This facade will tell you a lot of stories, if you will listen to it," she would say. One of those stories is about how her son grew up to be...
Our First Olympics
There were surely moments during the long journey to Greece when James Connolly was seized with foreboding, convinced this antic venture was doomed to failure. Connolly and a dozen countrymen, who constituted America's first Olympic team, certainly had...
Revolution in Indian Country
Micki's Cafe is, in its modest way, a bulwark against the encroachment of modern history and a symbol, amid the declining fortunes of prairie America, of the kind of gritty (and perhaps foolhardy) determination that in more self-confident times used...
Sawdust Pudding
In 1 Timothy, St. Paul advises his young disciple: "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and for thine often [i.e., common] infirmities." It might amuse St. Paul to learn that after nearly two thousand years the United...
Sumptuous Summer in the Florida Keys
No one ever thought that George Gershwin had the Florida Keys in mind when he penned his lilting ballad for Porgy and Bess. But no song more perfectly describes life in the Keys after the snowbirds have packed up and departed. Memorial Day weekend has...
The Best of the Big Sky
If you ever want to get your heart poundIng, take a helicopter ride over the rugged peaks in Glacier National Park. When I did last summer, it started out calmly enough. After lifting off near the park's west entrance, we gently bobbed up over the silvery...
The Last Powder Monkey
In the age of sail every fighting ship had its complement of powder monkeys, boys in their early teens or even younger whose duty was to carry bags of gunpower from the ship's magazines to her cannon in time of battle. The Navy used powder monkeys for...
The Texas City Horror
April 16 1947, in Texas City, Texas, started out as a beautiful spring day. I was in my last year of high school, practicing for the senior play, making plans for the prom, and looking forward to going to college in the fall. I was having a lot of fun...
Thomas Jefferson Takes a Vacation
On it he gave the new nation a new industry, wrote a protoguide to New England inns and taverns, (probably) did some secret politicking, discovered a town that lived up to his hopes for a democratic society, scrutinized everything from rattlesnakes to...
U.S.A
The publication of U. S. A. nearly sixty years ago secured John Dos Passos's place in American literary history. Thereafter his reputation gradually faded, and his rowdy, acrid masterpiece petrified into a "classic." When he died in 1970, the obituaries...

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