Historical fiction

In 1804 an obscure English sailor named John Davis published an imaginative account of the seventeenth-century romance between Pocahontas and Capt. John Smith and called it The First Settlers of Virginia, An Historical Novel. Read more >>

THE BEST OF TODAY’S ALTERNATE HISTORY ISN’T LIKELY TO CHEER YOU UP. BUT IT CERTAINLY WON’T BORE YOU.

People have been writing alternate history since at least the early nineteenth century, but for most of that time it was a tiny subgenre of popular fiction. Now it’s being produced in industrial quantities. Read more >>

“Good writers,” says the author, “write the kind of history good historians can’t or don’t write”

“What if many of a so-called Fact were little better than a Fiction?” asked Carlyle. Read more >>

A new novel about Lincoln examines questions about civil liberties in wartime, staff loyalties and disloyalties, and especially, Lincoln’s priorities

This interview took place at the end of May in William Safire’s office at the Washington bureau of The New York Times. Safire is a trim and affable man of fifty-seven. Read more >>

James Wilson was an important but now obscure draftsman of the Constitution. Carry Wills is a journalist and historian fascinated by what went on in the minds of our founders. The two men meet in an imaginary dialogue across the centuries.

  His red judge’s robe looked faded and theatrical by daylight. People at the bus stop stared at him, and his face flushed near the color of the robe. But he busily ignored them. Read more >>
About a year and a half ago, I wrote a column lamenting the very small number of video cassettes available to those of us who like historical documentaries. Read more >>

Vidal’s Lincoln

WHEN ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S wartime secretaries, John Hay and John G. Nicolay, serialized their life of the President in Century magazine in 1885, Lincoln’s old friend and law partner William H. Read more >>

Our most popular practitioner of the art speaks of the challenges and rewards of writing

Georg Brandes, Denmark’s leading literary critic, had a low opinion of historical novels. Read more >>