The Way I See It

A new column

The great job of the historian is to enable people to understand how things were and why they happened so in a time and at a place that are gone forever. Somehow he has to reach the irrecoverable past. Living in one era, he must work in another, trying his best to lay his hands on something that is forever beyond his grasp, to hear voices that have been stilled for generations and to interpret the aspirations and motivations of minds and hearts that returned to their elements long since in the mists beyond the Jordan.Read more »

The Knave Of Boston


They are all gone now—those vivid, venal characters who for a half century up to World War IIAC moved with insouciant relentlessness across the spotted field of Boston politics.Read more »

July, 1944: St. Lô

A soldier remembers a great battle

Three decades ago a battle was fought for St. Lô , Normandy, France, in the second of the great world wars of this century. To have been young at St. Lô and now to be old is a matter of personal amazement, for the time lapse seems instantaneous. In rank, the battle is in that heavily populated tier of major bloodlettings that have determined the course of campaigns, as opposed to the few decisive Gettysburgs and Waterloos on which history itself has turned. In keeping with this stature, St.Read more »

“I Am Not A Very Timid Type …”

The American public, reeling from a series of defeats at the onset of World War II, was thrilled by the dramatic announcement that, on April 18, 1942, a flight B-25 medium bombers had successfully struck Tokyo and other targets on the Japanese mainland. To keep the enemy off-balance rigid security was imposed on the details of the surprise carrier-launched raid. “Shangn-La,” a smiling President Franklin D. Roosevelt replied when asked where the attack had originated.


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The Strange Mission of the Lanikai

“My God! What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be dead!” the Admiral told Lanikai's skipper when she finally sailed into port

On March 18, 1941, eighty-two days out of Manila, all sails set, rigging taut, a small, green, weathered schooner entered the port of Fremantle, Western Australia. Atop her afterdeck house a small-caliber, slim-barrelled cannon sat on a brass pedestal. Faded, tattered Philippine and United States flags whipped from her spanker gaff. Above them, at the main peak, floated a wisp of bunting that the intrigued onlookers aboard the Allied warships present thought might be a man-o-warsman’s commission pennant. Read more »

Tales From The Black Chambers


By choice, cryptographers are an unsung and anonymous lot. In war and peace they labor in their black chambers, behind barred doors, dispatching sheets of secret symbols and reading encoded messages from the innermost councils of foreign governments. Few tales have leaked from those rooms. Read more »

My Room Mate… Is Dwight Eisenhower…”

“My room mate (tent mate, rather) is Dwight Eisenhower of Abilene, Kansas.…” On JuIy 30, 1911, Paul A. Hodgson thus informed his mother of the beginning of a close friendship, about which General Eisenhower commented in December, 1942: “The four years we spent in the same room more than a quarter of a century ago are still one of my most treasured memories.” Read more »

Hell’s Highway To Arnhem

Operation Market-Garden promised to lay an airborne red carpet to victory.

It would have taken considerable effort to locate an Allied fighting man on the battle line in Western Europe on September 10, 1944, who doubted that the end of the war was just around the corner. To American GI’S and British Tommies up front, heartened by six weeks of unrelieved victory, the chances of being home by Christmas were beginning to look very good indeed. Read more »

At War With The Stars And Stripes

Army newspapers in World War were unofficial, informal, and more than the top brass could handle

In the summer of the year 1944, in a time of world war that is already history to my children’s generation but remains vividly personal to mine as a moment of (in retrospect) astonishing simplicity and idealism, I found myself pointing a jeep in the direction of Pisa and Florence. On the so-called forgotten front in Italy, the Wehrmacht held the northern side of these cities; the line dividing their riflemen and ours was the river Arno. Read more »

The Retreat From Burma

In this final installment from our series on General Joseph W. Stilwell, Barbara W. Tuchman recounts the story of the old soldier’s finest hour

“I claim we got a hall of a beating”

The almost antique heroism and perseverance that Joseph W. Stilwell was to display in the grim, losing battle for Burma m 1942 is the subject of this, the last of a three-part series by Barbara W. Tuchman from her forthcoming book, now entitled Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45 .Read more »