The Adventure Craze

MORE AND MORE AMERICANS ARE PAYING A LOT OF MONEY TO PUT THEMSELVES IN MORTAL DANGER. WHY? AND WHY NOW?

At 14,411 feet Mount Rainier with its 26 glaciers stands a magnificent mile above the mountains that surround it. I first saw it some 30 years ago, when I was making a tour of the far West with my family. We drove north from California specifically to visit it and stay in Paradise Inn, which sits high up on the slopes next to the vast alpine Paradise Meadow. It was July, and we knew the meadows would be in flower.

 
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The Spain Among Us

After half a millennium we scarcely feel the presence of Spain in what is now the United States. But it is all around us.

In 1883 Walt Whitman received an it Santa Fe and deliver a poem at a celebration of the city’s founding. The ailing sixty-four-year-old poet wrote back from his home in Camden, New Jersey, that he couldn’t make the trip or write a poem for the occasion, but he sent along some remarks “off hand”: “We Americans have yet to really learn our own antecedents, and sort them, to unify them They will be found ampler than has been supposed, and in widely different sources.Read more »

Everything You Need To Know About Columbus

EXACTLY A YEAR FROM NOW THE WORLD WILL BE MARKING THE FIVE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT OF THE PAST MILLENNIUM. THE ZEAL OF ONE MAN BROUGHT ABOUT THAT EVENT, AND HIS NAME AND TALK OF HIS ACHIEVEMENTS WILL BE OMNIPRESENT HERE, THEN, IS A COLUMBUS CATECHISM TO HELP YOU THROUGH THE MONTHS AHEAD: WAS HE REALLY THE FIRST? IF HE SAILED FOR SPAIN, WHY DO ITALIANS MAKE SUCH A FUSS ABOUT HIS BIRTHDAY? HOW COME AMERICA ISN’T NAMED FOR HIM? WHY IS HE BEING CALLED A VILLAIN NOW? Read more »

Forts Of The Americas

On their weathered stone battlements can
be read the whole history of the three-century
struggle for supremacy in the New World

On the northwest shoulder of South America, looking out over the blue waters of the Caribbean, an ancient citadel stands guard above a Spanish city. Three thousand miles to the north, where the Gulf of St. Lawrence meets the gray rollers of the North Atlantic, the guns of another once-menacing fortress stare sullenly across a bleak, empty sea. The tropical city is Cartagena, Colombia. The northern bastion is Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island, once called the “Gibraltar of the West.” Read more »

Raiders Of The Lost City

In July 1911 the author’s father climbed a remote ridge in Peru to discover, amid an almost impenetrable jungle, the fabled lost city of Machu Picchu, last capital of the Inca Empire. Or so the story goes.

 

During the seventy-five years since Hiram Bingham first climbed the knifelike ridge above the Urubamba canyon, in Peru, and set foot in the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu, thousands following his trail have felt their spirits lifted by the grandeur of the setting and the splendor of the granite ruins. The great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda was inspired to make Machu Picchu the focus of an epic poem on human suffering and aspiration.Read more »

If Tocqueville Could See Us Now

In a new book, the political journalist and columnist Richard Reeves retraces Alexis de Tocqueville’s remarkable 1831-32 journey through America. Reeves's conclusion: Tocqueville not only deserves his reputation as the greatest observer of our democracy—he is an incomparable guide to what is happening in our country now.

When AMERICAN HERITAGE heard that Richard Reeves had undertaken to follow the route, one hundred and fifty years later, of a classic exploration of America’s people, places, and institutions, we assigned his friend and colleague Ken Auletta to ask the kinds of questions our readers might if they had the luck to find themselves sitting next to Reeves on a flight to, say, Buffalo or Memphis.Read more »

Yanks In Siberia

SENT ON A HOPELESSLY VAGUE ASSIGNMENT BY WOODROW WILSON, AMERICAN SOLDIERS FOUND THEMSELVES IN THE MIDDLE OF A FEROCIOUS SQUABBLE AMONG BOLSHEVIKS, COSSACKS, CZECHS, JAPANESE, AND OTHERS

During mid-August, 1918, American forces began landing at Vladivostok, the capital of the Soviet Maritime Territory, in one of the more curious side shows of the First World War. From Moscow it appeared that the United States had joined other western nations and Japan in supporting the White counterrevolution, which just then was making dangerous headway against the Red armies, and on August 30, in a speech before a throng of factory workers, Lenin denounced the United States as a fake democracy standing for the “enslavement of millions of workers.” Read more »

The Longest Walk: David Ingram’s Amazing Journey

He was the first Englishman to give a detailed description of the North American wilderness. Was it a pack of lies?

“Does the name David Ingram mean anything to you?” I have been going around asking. The answer is almost always no. Yet if Ingram is to be believed, he and two others with him accomplished perhaps the outstanding walk in recorded history. It seems undeniable that they were the first Englishmen to see anything of North America behind the coast, as certainly Ingram was the first to report on it. David B.Read more »

Getting To Know The National Domain

One hundred years ago, Congress created two agencies—the U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Ethnology. Both, according to the author, have since “given direction, form, and stimulation to the science of earth and the science of man, and in so doing have touched millions of lives.”

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