The American story is rich and astonishingly diverse, but as Bruce Catton noted in our very first issue, everything fits in somewhere. That is one of the continuing joys of editing—and reading—this magazine. This issue, I think, offers a particularly attractive blend of the important and the entertaining. To begin with, we present the candid- and very different—views of three veteran observers of the American scene: John Huston, the master film maker who has memorably re-created so much of our past on the movie screen; James A. Michener, whose immense novels have evoked the history of places as diverse as Hawaii and the Holy Land; and Theodore H. White, the chronicler of a quarter-century of American politics. Our full-length treatment of the dramatic sit-down strikes that paralyzed the automobile industry in the winter of 1936-37 reminds us how hard it was to win the precious right to organize—a right for which the brave workers of Gdansk have so recently risked their lives.
The amusing and the bizarre also have their roles to play in the American narrative, and this issue offers its full share of diversion as well. In it we tell of Electra Webb, the tireless woman who amassed the collection of collections that is Shelburne Museum; and we reveal a curious and little-known World War II scheme to bomb the Japanese mainland and an even more bizarre plot to steal Abraham Lincoln’s corpse and hold it for ransom.
T. H. Watkins’ name will appear for the last time on the masthead of this issue. Tom, whose many ably handled assignments here have included the whole field of historic preservation, is going to Washington to become the editor of Living Wilderness , the magazine of the Wilderness Society, whose related cause is close to his heart.
With the next issue, too, a new editor, Byron Dobell, will be addressing you in this space, and I will be off to write a book. I wish him—and you—well, and I envy him the story he has to tell: it’s the best one I know.