American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 50, No. 5, September

A Domino Falls
April 17, 1975, at 0100 hours, Utapao Air Base, Thailand. I'm a staff sergeant in the Air Force Security Police, supervising fifteen GIs and twenty-five Thais. Guardians of the night, we're strategically posted throughout this sprawling air base, one...
All Aboard!
They were art in motion. Art Deco in motion, to be exact. Icons of speed, comfort and prosperity, the streamliners whisked passengers along ribbons of rail in elegant style. In the 1930s and 1940s, the rising popularity of air and automobile travel...
Capitol Punishment
When mudslinging in Congress led to actual bloodshed Our recent politics have brought the editorial handwringers out in force, decrying a new outbreak of "partisanship," as when, at the end of the impeachment process, The New York Times declared...
Correspondence
Overrated? Underrated? Stephen King is probably correct in naming Creedence Clearwater Revival the most underrated rock band (May/June). Characterizing all but three Beatles songs as "ballads, music-hall spoofs, or jumped-up skiffle tunes," however,...
Gettysburg, 1862
A LEADING CIVIL WAR HISTORIAN CHANGES ONE SMALL HAPPENSTANCE--WHICH IN TURN CHANGES EVERYTHING GETTYSBURG, 1862 Riding on the current tide of alternate history as well as raising it, Putnam is publishing a new book, edited by Robert Cowley, called...
How Smart Should a President Be?
Smarter than stupid, of course; but does the intellectual tradition that began with the century suggest there is such a thing as being too smart for the country's good? The century now ending opened with a political situation that is both unusual...
Lee Defeats Grant
In the world of alternative history, it all came out differently--and in an era when real history is taking some very strange turns, the genre is flourishing as never before On the fatal night at Ford's Theatre, Abraham Lincoln was carrying in his...
Past Tense
THE BEST OF TODAY'S ALTERNATE HISTORY ISN'T LIKELY TO CHEER YOU UP. BUT IT CERTAINLY WON'T BORE YOU. People have been writing alternate history since at least the early nineteenth century, but for most of that time it was a tiny subgenre of popular...
Staging War
One of the earliest and most evocative photographs of the killing fields at Gettysburg is not what it seems On July 1, 1863, Robert E. Lee ad his seventy-five-thousand-man Army of Northern Virginia collided at Gettysburg with the ninety-three thousand...
The New Old West
The pioneers came late to Sedona, Arizona. It got paved streets and electricity in the 1950s and then grew up as a New Age mecca. If the history of European settlement in America is short, and that in the West even shorter, the history of Sedona,...
The Rise and Decline of the Teenager
The word emerged during the Depression to define a new kind of American adolescence--one that prevailed for half a century and may now be ending When the anthropologist Margaret Mead journeyed to the South Pacific in 1926, she was looking for something...
The Time Machine
September 1974 Twenty-five Years Ago The Banality of Evel On September 8, at Twin Falls, Idaho, approximately fifteen thousand rowdy fans gathered to watch the daredevil Evel Knievel jump over the Snake River Canyon. Knievel, a former juvenile...
They Spoke with the Dead
A century and a half ago two young girls started hearing noises they said came from beyond the grave--and embarked on a lifetime career that began a national obsession with spiritualism that has lasted to this day "I looked down at my foot," Joseph...
Would JFK Have Pulled Us out of Vietnam?
A tantalizing archival discovery suggests the perils of historical evidence As a director of the American History Project for High School Students at the John F. Kennedy Library. I spend a great deal of time in classroom exploring the critical connection...
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