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 »

Of A Merry Christmas Past


If ever there was a year when Americans could look on their works with pride, it was 1902. From the sparsely settled, fledgling nation of a century before, America had become one of the great industrial powers of the globe. Her cities bristled with skyscrapers. Her inventors had given the world the telephone and the electric light. People were chugging around in horseless carriages powered by fuel sucked out of the ground in Texas.Read more »

A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama!

The Big Ditch had so far been a colossal flop, and Teddy Roosevelt desperately needed an engineering genius who could take over the job and “make the dirt fly.” The answer was not the famous Goethals, but a man whom history has forgotten.

The Panama Canal was the biggest, most costly thing Americans had ever attempted beyond their borders, as was plain to everyone in the summer of 1905, and particularly to the man most responsible for the project, Theodore Roosevelt. But as Roosevelt also knew full well by then, and as the American people were beginning to suspect, the Canal was so far a colossal flop.Read more »