Personal history

A thousand miles behind enemy lines, Liberator bombers struck Hitler’s Rumanian oil refineries, then headed home flying so low that some came back with cornstalks in their bomb bays

Benghazi, Libya, July 23,1943. Something new is in the air! This morning we were introduced to a Major Blank, an expert in low-level bombing, who lectured us on a new bombsight, which was a converted gunsight. He explained how A-20s had been making low-level attacks and that experiments were being made with B-24s. He said that he didn’t know if the new sights would ever be used, but we assumed the Air Force wouldn’t be running experiments that far out in the desert for nothing, so we decided to get interested in low-level bombing. Read more >>

Along this narrow stretch of sand, all the painstaking plans for the Normandy invasion fell apart. One of the men who was lucky enough to make it past the beachhead recalls a day of fear, chaos, grief—and triumph.

I WAS A CAPTAIN in the Stonewall Brigade when I first went into battle at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. Our outfit was directly descended from the famed command of Gen. Thomas J. Read more >>

Years after one of the bloodiest and most intense battles of the war in the Pacific, a Marine Corps veteran returns to Tarawa

WAR IS A COUNTRY no traveler ever forgets. It haunts those who survive the journey as no other experience. Read more >>

An extraordinary World War I naval operation is recounted by the commander of a decaying coastal steamer crammed with a terrifying new explosive

When my father, Rear Adm. D. Pratt Mannix 3rd, died in 1957, he had served as a midshipman on a square-rigger and lived to see the atomic bomb dropped on Japan. Read more >>
MY MOTHER DIED in Pittsburgh on the evening of Thanksgiving Day, that is, on November 25, 1937. If she had lived three weeks longer, she would have been seventy-three. Read more >>

It was a great life being a contract writer for a major studio during the high noon of the American movie industry—but it could also be a nightmare. A survivor recalls the pleasures and ardors of working at 20th Century-Fox forty years ago.

“COME ON OUT, DAD. SWANIE.” These homely words unlocked the gates of paradise, opened the road to fortune and easy living. They were from my West Coast agent, H. N. Read more >>

The author recalls two generations of “Cliffie” life—hers and her mother’s—in the years when male and female education took place on opposite sides of the Cambridge Common and women were expected to wear hats in Harvard Square

My mother was a member of the class of 1899 at Radcliffe College, having come east from St. Paul, Minnesota—a sort of reverse pioneer. Read more >>

… you could battle for clean government, champion virtue, improve the public school, defend the consumer, arbitrate taste, and write lean, telling prose. Or at least that was the author’s dream. Here’s the reality.

It was three in the morning, two days after St. Patrick’s Day, 1958, when I disembarked from a Greyhound bus and stepped into the snowdrifts at the entrance to the Kennebunk Inn, in Kennebunk, Maine. Read more >>

A collection of little-known early-twentieth-century photographs of St. Louis recalls the author’s unfashionably happy childhood

Fireflies? Glowworms? Whatever the right name for them, in St. Louis we called them lightning bugs. On summer evenings we used to chase them across our lawns, which were not divided from one another, and collect them, when caught, in little medicine bottles. Read more >>
Walter Cronkite , news commentator: Shortly after the turn of this century a woman who represented herself as a genealogist advertised for anyone bearing the name Cronk, Kronk, Kronkhite, Cronkhite, or several other variations to get in touch with Read more >>

The victors divided the Germans into three groups: black (Nazi), white (innocent), and gray—that vast, vast area in between

I was one of these moralists in khaki. Read more >>

How the mistress of the plantation became a slave

“WE’RE USED to living around ‘em. You Northerners aren’t. You don’t know anything about ‘em.” This is or was the allpurpose utterance of white Southerners about blacks. Read more >>

A soldier remembers the freezing, fearful retreat down the Korean Peninsula after the Chinese armies smashed across the border

THERE ARE places on this globe to which history can point and say of a people, a nation, or an empire: “This was their high-water mark. Read more >>

A Childhood in the Florida Wilderness

In 1899 when I was five years old and living in Palmetto, Florida, my father decided to take his family through the wilds of the Everglades and stake a claim on an offshore island. Read more >>

An Intimate Memoir

My husband, David Gurewitsch, was the personal physician of Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt from the White House years until her death in 1962. On a 1947 flight to Switzerland, when Mrs. Read more >>

A black chaplain in the Union Army reports on the struggle to take Fort Fisher, North Carolina, in the winter of 1864–65

Memories of Fresno

If it is true that any man’s past cannot be restored—“Turn back the universe and give me yesterday,” Ernest R. Ball sang at the turn of the century— it is even more true that nobody’s past can be obliterated, effaced, or wiped out, short of the grave. Read more >>

A Marine Remembers the Bat for Belleau Wood

During three harrowing years as a prisoner of the Japanese, an American woman secretly kept an extraordinary journal of suffering, hope, ingenuity, and human endurance

A young girl’s memories of life in a community haunted by

The mothers of my childhood friends paid special attention to me, and I never understood why. Read more >>

The life and death of the world’s largest textile mill, in the words of the men and women who worked there

Labor history is too often told in one of two equally unsatisfactory ways—in the icy language of economics, or in the fiery rhetoric of ideologues. Either way, the real people get overlooked. Read more >>

A Union seaman’s nightmarish memories of shot, shell, and shoal waters in Grant’s Mississippi River campaign, 1862–63

When in April of 1861 he first learned that the Confederate States of America had forced Federal troops to evacuate Fort Sumter, seventeen-year-old Daniel F. Read more >>
It was the time we were working out of the Diamond Hook, Davy Stevens’ starve-out operation at Cloverdale in northern Nevada. Read more >>
The exacting, colorful, and often perilous career of a whaleman of the last century is known to most readers only through such fiction a Moby Dick . Read more >>

One of America's most distinguished publishers writes of his personal and professional friendship with the famed historian, Samuel Eliot Morison.

The Seasons of Man in the Ozarks

Sometime in the sleep of every year, between the browning of the oaks and the first greening of the spring wild grasses, that country flamed. Read more >>

Eleventh in a series of paintings for AMERICAN HERITAGE

When in June of 1778 Sir Henry Clinton evacuated Philadelphia and moved his army of ten thousand British and German troops toward New York, Washington called his officers together to discuss strategy. Read more >>

NO, SAY THREE AMERICAN HISTORIANS. BUT THE PATIENT IS AILING AND THEY THINK THEY KNOW WHY AND WHAT TO PRESCRIBE.