First Step To The Moon

The first American to leave the Earth's atmosphere recalls the momentous flight that put us on a course for the moon.

THE SHRILL RINGING WOKE ME from deep sleep early in the morning of April 12, 1961. I was confused for a moment, but only a moment. I was in my room in the Holiday Inn at Cocoa Beach, Florida.

I reached for the clamoring telephone.

“What?”

The voice at the other end was soft, polite. Considerate. “Commander Shepard?” Read more »

Groping Toward Democracy

The Russians claim they want to be more like us— but do they have any idea who we are?

The Russian road to democracy is not going to be easy. In the forty-five-volume edition of Vladimir Lenin’s collected works, the index shows no entry for Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, John Adams, or James Madison. George Washington gets three mentions, but they all relate to well-wishers suggesting that Lenin is the George Washington of Russia. Monroe is listed four times—each time for the Monroe Doctrine, with nothing about the debates over the U.S. Constitution. Read more »

America And Russia, Americans And Russians

The Cold War was an anomaly: more often than not the world’s two greatest states have lived together in uneasy amity. And what now?

Exactly two hundred years after George Washington’s inauguration as the first President of the United States and three hundred years after Peter the Great’s ascent to the Russian throne, a new chapter opened in the history of the relations of the two greatest states of the world. Read more »

Homer Lea & The Decline Of The West

Early in the century a young American accurately predicted Japan’s imperialism and China’s and Russia’s rise. Then he set out to become China’s soldier leader.

In October 1941 Clare Boothe Luce, the playwright, journalist, politician, and wife of the magazine tycoon Henry Luce, had dinner with half a dozen army officers in their quarters on top of an ancient Spanish fort beside the harbor of Manila. The main topic of conversation was the threat of war with Japan. Everyone assumed that if hostilities began, the Philippines would be target No. 1 of the Japanese war machine. Read more »

The Way I See It

Back around the beginning of the twentieth century, when royalty was royalty and Imperial Pomp expressed the ultimate in human strutting, the czar of Russia one day held a grand review of his imperial guard and invited all and sundry to come and see. Read more »

The (almost) Russian-American Telegraph

As Lincoln lay dying from an assassin’s bullet across the street from Ford’s Theatre through the grim night of April 14, 1865, frequent bulletins on his sinking condition clicked between the major American cities along the country’s spreading web of Morse telegraph wires. News of his death in the morning spread from city to city within minutes. Yet eleven days passed before the tragic tidings reached Great Britain and Europe when the steamship Nova Scotian from New York docked in England on April 26. Read more »

Full House At Yalta

Vodka at breakfast was only one of the minor problems when Russians entertained Americans

It was 5 P.M. on Sunday, the fourth of February, 1945. After seven months of dispatches and a month of frantic preparation by the Soviets, the Big Three conference at Yalta on the Black Sea was about to commence.Read more »

The Voyage Of Nor’west John

Curiosity motivated the first American who crossed Siberia. But he also made a handsome profit.

In August, 1804, a young sea captain named John deWolf sailed from his native port of Bristol, Rhode Island, on a voyage to the Pacific. Four years were to elapse before he returned from a fabulous adventure that had taken him around the world. In the course of his trip, he had spent a year in the lonely outposts of Russian Alaska and had crossed the wastes of Siberia—a feat accomplished by no American before him, and few Europeans.

Where Ignorant Armies Clashed By Night

In the summer of 1918, with Russia removed from World War I as a result of the Bolshevik Revolution, the United States sent troops into Russia at two points. It did so only after the greatest soul-searching on the part of President Wilson, who had said that “the treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations … will be the acid test of their good will …” Two factors influenced the decision. In the Far East, Japan had made a move to occupy Siberia, apparently threatening America’s “open door” policy for China. In North Russia, English and French leaders had hopes of reviving the eastern front against Germany. In addition, large stores of Allied war supplies had been left at the port of Archangel. The expedition to North Russia resulted in fierce combat between American and Soviet soldiers and throws significant light on the forty years of difficult relations between the United States and the Soviet Union that were to follow.