Literature

It is trivializing women’s history to suggest that baby has come a long way in the last 50 years. Women have always considered their past, often through genealogies, storytelling, oral histories, and even quilts. Read more >>
On a high Vermont hill, where Robert Frost liked to summer the sound of trees, he and I talked through many afternoons, speaking, as Frost put it, “to some purpose.” He held forth on astronomy, mortality, baseball, poetry, and prose, displaying a command of phrase that I have n Read more >>
Those Yanks of World War II are white-haired now. Great-grandchildren play about their feet. The grand parades and great commemorations are over. Only a few monuments to their achievements are yet to be built. Read more >>
Few periods in the history of this country can match the impact of the years between 1917 and 1941. In less than a generation America experienced the first large-scale dispatch of U.S. Read more >>
The literature pants harder and harder to keep up with the dazof the innovations, but with a gun to my head this for the general reader looking for a short list of Jt are technically sophisticated yet comprehensible and the sense of being highly readable. Read more >>
In 1800 the United States was an underdeveloped nation of just over 5 million people. It was a society shaped by immigration, but immigrants from one country, Great Britain, made up around half the population. Read more >>
“Popular culture” is not the opposite of or the alternative to something called “high culture.” It is not degraded, debased, simple, or undisciplined. Nor is it defined primarily by its mass appeal or commercial values. Read more >>
No one has ever come up with a satisfactory count of the books dealing with the Civil War. Estimates range from 50,000 to more than 70,000, with new titles added every day. Read more >>
In a nation of immigrants, picking 10 books about the immigrant experience is no easy task. One could plausibly argue that any book about post-Columbian America concerns the immigrant experience. Read more >>
Americans have always envisioned a West. When they won independence from England in 1783, the West lay just beyond the Appalachian Mountains, a West celebrated in the adventures of Daniel Boone. Then people began to thread through the Cumberland Gap to make new homes there. Read more >>
The assignment—to select 10 books suitable for a lay reader that cover American history between the Constitution and the 1850s—sounds easier than it is. Read more >>
I’ve been fighting the war of the American Revolution (on paper, that is, and with none of the suffering the participants endured) off and on since 1962, and my research has included journals, diaries, letters, newspapers, and books on nearly all the campaigns. Read more >>
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 >>
Biography is an almost writer-proof art. Structure and raison d’être are taken care of in advance. The form—someone is born, does stuff, dies—is as rigid and soothing as the sonnet. Read more >>

A talk with the superb journalist and sports report who was the co-author of MASH and wrote Ernest Hemingway’s favorite fight novel

America acted deeply on the Elizabethan English imagination, working its magic in the minds of poets and men of science

During the reign of Elizabeth I, as the interest in and knowledge of America gathered momentum, so their reverberation in literature and the arts became louder, more frequent, and more varied. Read more >>