The Industrial Age 1865 To 1917

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. Although some pioneers had moved west of the Appalachian Mountains, America was preeminently a seacoast settlement. A prosperous nation, it still lagged far behind England, which was industrializing furiously. And with only 10 percent of its people living in towns and cities, it was thoroughly agrarian. Read more »

My Favorite Historical Novel

American Heritage recently asked a wide range of novelists, journalists, and historians to answer a question: what is your favorite American historical novel, and why? The results made two things clear: that the question was not nearly so simple as it sounded; and that it had been well worth asking. Herewith, a vital anthology that debates the nature of the historical novel and points you toward the best examples our culture has to offer.

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What Can You Learn From A Historical Novel?

“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. It is a question most historians normally don’t brood over, although the more philosophical among them have never doubted that history always was and will be, in the words of Carl Becker, “a foreshortened and incomplete representative of reality.” To say this, he added, lessens neither its value nor its dignity. Read more »

How We Got Guantanamo

The Cuban situation was confused, but the Marines were ready. They landed, and our first overseas base was soon well in hand

By May 28, 1898, the uncertainty was over. Admiral Cervera’s fleet had been run to ground in the cliff-ringed harbor of Santiago de Cuba. “There can be no doubt,” cabled Admiral William T. Sampson to the Navy Department, “of presence of Spanish squadron at Santiago.”

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