The TVA: It Ain't What It Used to Be

What has befallen “the greatest peacetime achievement of twentieth-century America”s since the New Deal

In recent years, as the energy crisis has developed, and bureaucracies in Washington have wrestled with little success to solve it, and Congress has moved slower than a West Virginia coal train even to agree on a battle strategy, some Americans have proposed that a public agency based in Knoxville, Tennessee, become the model for coping with the problem. Read more »

The Way I See It

A new column

The great job of the historian is to enable people to understand how things were and why they happened so in a time and at a place that are gone forever. Somehow he has to reach the irrecoverable past. Living in one era, he must work in another, trying his best to lay his hands on something that is forever beyond his grasp, to hear voices that have been stilled for generations and to interpret the aspirations and motivations of minds and hearts that returned to their elements long since in the mists beyond the Jordan.Read more »

Machismo In The White House

LBJ AND VIETNAM

He was an old-fashioned man by the purest definition. Forget that he was enamored of twentieth-century artifacts—the telephone, television, supersonic airplanes, spacecraft—to which he adapted with a child’s wondering glee. His values were the relics of an earlier time; he had been shaped by an America both rawer and more confident than it later would become; his generation may have been the last to believe that for every problem there existed a workable solution: that the ultimate answer, as in old-time mathematics texts, always reposed in the back of the book.Read more »

How Miss Perkins Learned To Lobby

Frances Perkins, Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor for twelve years during the New Deal, was the first woman Cabinet officer in this country’s history. She was well qualified for the job. After graduating from Mt. Holyoke College in 1902, she worked first as a social worker and later in increasingly important jobs among reform groups who iuere fighting for humane and safe working conditions for factory employees.

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His Most Detestable High Mightiness

Besides being a bigot, a fop, and a thief, the British governor Lord Cornbury, had some peculiar fetishes

Despite their many differences, Queen Anne’s North American colonies all shared a decent respect for propriety—or at least the appearance thereof. Why, then, did the early-eighteenth-century inhabitants of New York and New Jersey put up for years with a governor who paraded about in women’s clothes? One reason, no doubt, was that they were impressed by the governor’s royal connections and hoped to derive some benefit from them.Read more »

The Tyranny Of Oil

HOW AND WHY THE UNITED STATES GOT INVOLVED IN THE MIDDLE EAST

In October, 1973, Arab states clapped an embargo on oil shipments to the United States. All at once the nation had to go on daylight-saving time, throttle back on the highways, and turn down thermostats. Millions of baffled Americans found themselves lining up, sometimes for hours, at filling-station pumps. Up to that moment Americans had paid little heed to the quarrels of the Middle East. Until the Second World War that part of the globe had been strictly a British problem.Read more »

The Strange Mission Of The Lanikai

“My God! What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be dead!” the Admiral told Lanikai's skipper when she finally sailed into port

On March 18, 1941;, eighty-two days out of Manila, all sails set, rigging taut, a small, green, weathered schooner entered the port of Fremantle, Western Australia. Atop her afterdeck house a small-caliber, slimbarrelled cannon sat on a brass pedestal. Faded, tattered Philippine and United States flags whipped from her spanker gaff. Above them, at the main peak, floated a wisp of bunting that the intrigued onlookers aboard the Allied warships present thought might be a man-o-warsnian’s commission pennant. Read more »

FDR’s Extra Burden

WHAT POLIOMYELITIS MEANT TO A POLITICAL CAREER

This article is an excerpt from a new book on Franklin Delano Roosevelt recently published by Doubleday & Company. It is being publicized as The F.D.R. Memoir “as written by Bernard Asbell. ” Mr. Asbell undertakes to recount the story of the Roosevelt administration in the first person, as he thinks F.D.R. himself might have written it had he lived to do so. This literary ploy is sure to excite controversy, and one might reasonably fear that m years to come, confused or careless readers will attribute to Franklin D.Read more »

Churchill Talks To America

FOR SEVEN DECADES OUR EBULLIENT COUSIN INSTRUCTED US ON EVERYTHING: THE BOERS, PROHIBITION, HITLER, CHARLIE CHAPLIN’S FEET, AND THE COMMON CAUSE OF THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING PEOPLES

As our image of Winston Churchill slides back into history—his hundredth birthday comes next November 30—the fine lines of his portrait begin to fade, and he is remembered by a new generation mainly as the wartime leader who intoned of blood, toil, tears, and sweat and prodded his countrymen to their finest hours.

Through some sixty years Churchill had an auxiliary theme to his main purpose of guiding and preserving the British Empire. That was to involve the United States—the American people—in his grand design. Read more »

A Basement View Of Sir Winston

At 4:30 A.M. on a cold, drizzly day in the spring of 1944, there came a knock on the guarded door of the top-secret White House Map Room. The one officer on duty opened the door to admit a rotund gentleman in white tie and tails, smoking a cigar and offering a cordial “Good morning!” Read more »