The American Century

The English journalist has spent more than a decade preparing a book on this country’s role in the most eventful hundred years since the race began. He liked what he found enough to become an American himself.

Evans likes to refer to The American Century as “history for browsers.” There are searching essays at the start of each chapter, but most of the book consists of tiropage spreads concerning particular people or events. Read more »

The Meaning of ’98

Our war with Spain marked the first year of the American Century

One hundred years ago, in April 1898, the American Century suddenly began. “Suddenly” because what happened then—the declaration of war against Spain—led to a rapid crystallization of a passionate nationalism. The American longing for national aggrandizement existed before 1898—indeed it was gathering momentum—but as the great French writer Stendhal wrote in his essay “On Love,” passion has a way of “crystallizing” suddenly, as a reaction to external stimuli. Such a stimulus, in the history of the United States, was the Spanish-American War in 1898.

 
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1918

Seventy-five years after the guns fell silent along the Western Front, the work they did there remains of incalculable importance to the age we inhabit and the people we are

In many ways 1918 is closer to us than we are inclined to think. Read more »

America’s True Power

At a time when many are concerned by the nation’s loss of the unassailable economic position it occupied just after World War II, one historian argues that our real strength—and our real peril—lie elsewhere

We know more about sickness than about health. This is as true of medicine as it is of history, and as true of the condition of a nation as it is of a person. Moreover, the diagnosis must proceed not only from symptoms but from retrospect. For the diagnosis of a patient, some kind of knowledge of his medical history is fundamental. Read more »