A friend called me last May with the stunning news that American Heritage had suspended publication.
I was shocked. The idea that an institution so important to the historical community—indeed, to the intellectual life of our nation—would simply no longer exist seemed unthinkable.
Some things are just too important to lose: the fields of Manassas once soaked with the blood of brave young men; the vaulted ceiling of Grand Central Station; the tinny first recordings that mark the beginning of the Information Age.
And American Heritage. That labor of love crafted by generations of gifted historians, marching across our bookshelves stacked shoulder to shoulder. It couldn’t be allowed to just fade away.
Like many of you, I spend many an afternoon pouring over the white, hard-bound issues of American Heritage, reveling in rich illustrations and fascinating articles.
Are the “experts” correct that Americans no longer care about history? I don’t think so. There are now more hours of history programming on TV in a single week than there was in a full year not long ago. Americans are rediscovering their own story in the inspired words of a new generation of historians—writers who can tell a good story as well as dig up new facts and insights.
American Heritage was created to find the best of these storytellers and give them a medium for their message.
In this issue, no less an authority than David McCullough (once a junior editor of this magazine) weighs in on the importance of appreciating our history, telling us that we can’t know where we’re going unless we know where we’ve been.
And so, starting last May, I and a dedicated (and rapidly growing) team of concerned editors, writers and business people have come together in the important task of saving America’s oldest, largest and most respected history publication for the general public. The result, I hope you’ll agree, is lively, timely, entertaining and relevant.
The story of the American experience cannot, it must not, be silenced.