Samuel Eliot Morison Award 1978

David McCullough’s

It is very rarely that a book of history has an important impact on current events. That happy fate came to The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal , by David McCullough (Simon & Schuster, 1977), which American Heritage is pleased to announce is the winner of this year’s Samuel Eliot Morison Award.Read more »

Twain, The Patent Poet

Mark Twain, surely the most American of great American writers, was, like the country itself, a creature of stupendous contradictions—gentle and tender at any given moment, and in the next possessed of rages so intense they could rattle the bones and shrivel the mind of anyone at whom they were directed; almost hysterically prudish when his wife and daughters were concerned, yet driven time and again to exercises (though not for publication) that were both prurient and scatalogical; contemptuous of money and headlong in pRead more »

Books We Think You’ll Like

Ernest Hemingway and His World

by Anthony Burgess Charles Scribner’s Sons, 144 pages, photographs, $10.95 Read more »

Samuel Eliot Morison Award

to Joseph P. Lash for Roosevelt and Churchill, 1939–1941: The Partnership That Saved the West

If Joseph P. Lash had decided, back in 1942, to write a book on the wartime friendship between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, he would have been off to a lucky start. He happened to be a guest at the White House on the occasion of the British leader’s first transatlantic visit after Pearl Harbor, and found himself seated next to the famous man at lunch. Read more »

Jack London

The Man Who Invented Himself

Jack London carved himself a special niche in the annals of American literature. Born in poverty in the first month of America’s centennial year, he spent his boyhood suffering the rejection of an unloving mother and much of his young manhood as a careless delinquent, a waterfront roisterer, and a road bum, quite as mindless of his own self-destruction as any modern youth who wastes himself with drugs and hitchhikes the interstates from nowhere to nowhere else. Read more »

Who Started The Cold War?

The Cold War—we have spent a generation hearing about it, thinking about it, worrying about it. We all know it somehow grew out of World War II, that it involved conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union, and that it led to a series of frightening confrontations: the Berlin airlift; the escalating stages of the nuclear arms race; the Cuban missile crisis; the wars in Korea and Vietnam. But what really caused the Cold War?Read more »

Satan’s Lexicographer

“The world is my country, to hate rascals is my religion” he once said, and for more than forty years—before he mysteriously vanished—he blasted away at the delusions, pretentions, posturings, hopes, dreams, foibles, and institutions of all mankind. His name was Ambrose Bierce …

If Ambrose Bierce, America’s first exponent of black humor, crudest epigrammist, and most terrifying teller of horror tales, is now finally coming into his own, it is because thinking Americans are finally recognizing the relevance of his vision—that America is not the Peaceable Kingdom and its citizens are no less aggressive, fearful, pretentious, and greedy than all other members of the human race. Read more »

Historian And Publisher

One of America's most distinguished publishers writes of his personal and professional friendship with the famed historian, Samuel Eliot Morison.


A new annual prize in history has been established by the American Heritage Publishing Company in honor of the distinguished American historian Samuel Eliot Morison, who died last spring. The prize will be $5,000; to be given for the best book on American history by an American author that sustains the tradition that good history is literature as well as high scholarship—a tradition admirably exemplified by the many works of Samuel Eliot Monson. Read more »

Dark Carnival


In 1973 Michael Lesy published perhaps the most unusual Ph.D. thesis of all time under the title Wisconsin Death Trip . In this strange and controversial book he selected some two hundred of the thousands of photographs taken in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, by Charles Van Schaick between the years 1890 and 1910, and presented them along with clippings from local newspapers. The clippings were brief, mordant accounts of murder,.Read more »