Bruce Catton

Notes about the famous historian and American Heritage editor

For decades, Yale history professor David Blight, an award-winning author and a preeminent scholar of the Civil War, has studied the legacy of Bruce Catton, the historian/writer who significantly shaped our understanding of the Civil War by bringing it into exhilarating, memorable relief through his books and magazine articles. “Few writers have grasped the transformative effect of the war so well,” says Blight, “along with understanding that it is ultimately a great human story.”  Read more »

Golden Anniversary

Like the nation it covers, American Heritage was revolutionary at its birth. And like that nation’s story, ours is a real cliffhanger.

It is rare for any magazine to live half a century. This one’s unusual longevity has been immeasurably helped by the circumstances of its birth, when a brilliant array of people came together hoping to produce a publication for all those interested in our American story. 1, for one, have a personal stake in this account, as my father, Robert L. Reynolds (1924-1981), was on the American Heritage staff—ending as managing editor—from 1958 through 1970.Read more »

Working With Bruce Catton

Oliver Jensen, who was for many years the editor of this magazine and who worked with Bruce Catton from its first publication in 1954, has written this account of what it was like to have him as a colleague. We are pleased to run it here as a tribute to our late distinguished senior editor, together with some side comments from others who enjoyed the privilege of “working with Bruce Catton.”Read 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 »

The Way I See It

Like most authentic folk creations, baseball is deeply and obscurely rooted in the past and its moment of origin is cloaked in legend. There are innumerable threads that go back to the beginning of things, but nobody can follow them all the way. This is partly because they lead to a thousand cow pastures and smalltown parks where no records were kept, and partly because anyone who tries to follow them must sooner or later run into the shadowy figure of General Abner Doubledav. Read more »

The Way I See It

We—the rest of the editorial staff at AMERICAN HERITAGE were pleased and proud to learn,as this issue-went to press, that BruceCatton had just been named by President Ford to receive the nation’s highest civilian award, the Medal of Freedom. Given for “meritorious contribution to the…national interest of the United States …” the medal was presented to our distinguished historian and columnist at the White House on January 10.

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Last Of Four Installments A Michigan Boyhood

A FAMOUS HISTORIAN RECALLS THE COUNTRY WHERE HE GREW UP

We lived in Indian summer and mistook it for spring. Winter lay ahead just when we thought June was on the way. The school, the town, and the people connected with both were coming to an end that seemed to be a beginning. They had been created by an era that was closing, and nothing like them would ever exist again because what had brought them forth was gone; yet twilight at the end of the day looks much as it does at the dawn unless you watch the shadows move, and for a little while time stood still. The shadows were not coming down the slope.Read more »

A Michigan Boyhood

THIRD OF FOUR INSTALLMENTS A FAMOUS HISTORIAN RECALLS THE COUNTRY WHERE HE GREW UP

This is how it was in the old days. A family that wanted to go from here to there went by railroad train because there was no other way to do it. If the distance was very short, ten or a dozen miles only, you might hire a rig at the livery stable and let the horses do the work, and if you lived on deep water you might go all or part of the way by steamboat, but as a general thing to make a trip meant to take a ride on the cars.Read more »

A Michigan Boyhood

SECOND OF FOUR INSTALLMENTS

A FAMOUS HISTORIAN RECALLS THE COUNTRY WHERE HE GREW UP

According to the Bible, a city that is set upon a hill cannot be hid. We used to repeat that text often, and I suppose we were a little smug and self-righteous about it; our city was built upon a hill, and if it was visible to all men it had been meant from the first to be a sign and a symbol of a better way of life, an outpost of the New Jerusalem sited in backwoods vacancy to show people the way they ought to go. To be sure, it was not exactly a city.Read more »

A Michigan Boyhood

A FAMOUS HISTORIAN RECALLS THE COUNTRY WHERE HE GREW UP

First there was the ice; two miles high, hundreds of miles wide, and many centuries deep. It came down from the darkness at the top of the world, and it hung down over the eaves, and our Michigan country lay along the line of the overhang. To be sure, all of the ice was now gone. It had melted, they said, ten thousand years ago; but they also pointed out that ten thousand years amounted to no more than a flick of the second hand on the geologic time clock.Read more »