T.R. And The “Nature Fakers”

The Rough Rider rode roughshod over writers who took liberties with Mother Nature’s children

It was an early spring evening in 1907. Theodore Roosevelt and Edward B. Clark, the Washington correspondent for the Chicago Evening Post , were sitting in front of a log fire in the White House talking casually of their shared enthusiasm for the campfire and the outdoors. T.R. had a high regard for Clark, his frequent hiking companion, because he was “a good fellow” and had written a monograph on the prothonotary warbler. Read more »

The Retreat From Burma

In this final installment from our series on General Joseph W. Stilwell, Barbara W. Tuchman recounts the story of the old soldier’s finest hour

 
“I claim we got a hall of a beating”

The almost antique heroism and perseverance that Joseph W. Stilwell was to display in the grim, losing battle for Burma m 1942 is the subject of this, the last of a three-part series by Barbara W. Tuchman from her forthcoming book, now entitled Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45 .Read more »

148 Charles Street

The Literary Lights Were Always Bright at

Everyone wanted to be invited to 148 Charles Street, where Charles Dickens mixed the punch and taught the guests parlor games, John Greenleaf Whittier and Harriet Beecher Stowe vied in telling ghost stories, and Nathaniel Hawthorne paced the bedroom floor one unhappy night in the final miserable year of his life.Read more »

Uncle Tom: That Enduring Old Image…

True classics never die. But sometimes second-rate works also acquire unique longevity. Take Uncle Tom’s Cabin , born in 1852. Its best-selling appeal lay in its stereotypes, such as little Eva’s childish purity, Tom’s stalwart virtue, and Simon Legree’s unalloyed villainy. These oversimplified the issues of race and slavery but gave the novel an emotional power that survived transplantation to the stage, where it remained a smash hit until almost yesterday. [See “Uncle Tom, the Theater and Mrs.Read more »

Hard Times Remembered

Mr. Terkel, who has a daily radio show on WFMT in Chicago, is the author of Division Street: America . Published in 1967, this study of the lives and feelings of a cross section of Chicagoans quickly became a best seller. In his new book, Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression , Mr. Terkel has explored a wider field. He has recorded the memories of hundreds of Americans who lived through the grim decade of the 1930’s.Read more »

Conversations With Historians

“History,” writes Professor John A. Garraty in the introduction to his new book, “is made up of facts, but also of opinions … Opinions are easily formed, but are as evanescent as ice in August. … those that retain their plausibility longest are those developed in minds steeped in knowledge of the past.” The book, entitled Interpreting American History: Conversations with Historians , represents one man’s search not for the facts but for the meaning of American history, from the nation’s beginnings down to the present day.Read more »

The Real Little Lord Fauntleroy

The lady author modelled her famous fictional creation after her own wonder boy —and condemned a generation of “manly little chaps” to velvet pants and curls

In the November, 1885, issue of St. Nicholas magazine there appeared the first installment of a romantic novel about a little American boy who inherits a British title and goes to England to live with his rich, grumpy grandfather in a suitably elegant castle.Read more »

Japan Strikes: 1941

Sixteen years before Pearl Harbor an English naval expert uncannily prophesied in detail the war in the Pacific. Now comes evidence that the Japanese heeded his theories—but not his warnings

As soon as Imperial Japan destroyed the Russian Navy in a spectacular sea battle at the Straits of Tsushima in 1905, a rash of would-be Cassandras began to foretell the day when the rays of the Rising Sun would spread eastward across the Pacific, bringing Japan head-on into conflict with the United States.Read more »

“Mama, They’ve Begun Again!”

Bronson Alcott and his transcendental friends hardly ever stopped talking. It left almost no time for mundane things like food and shelter

On the twenty-seventh of January, 1812, a five-year-old boy lay desperately ill of scarlet lever in a house on the outskirts of a New England village. The next morning, a neighbor sent his nine-year-old daughter to inquire how he was. Her knock at the door was answered by the lather of the child; the girl, wise beyond her years, took one glance at his stricken face and turned away without speaking. She did not need his few mumbled words to know what had happened.

 
Read more »

The Books We Got For Christmas

If an American child of the first half of the Nineteenth Century could see today’s flood of books for children, he might be delighted, but he would certainly be bewildered, for American children before 1850 had few books they could call their own. On long winter evenings they settled down to Cooper’s Leather-stocking Tales, or they read Washington Irving’s The Sketch Book until they knew “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” almost by heart.