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On the last page of the magazine, we always tell you what’s coming up in the next issue. We write this at the last minute to avoid the remote but dread possibility of a story that fails to materialize. Meanwhile, of course, we always keep a much longer list of stories we plan to run in the future. As 1986 winds down, this seems like a good time to offer a sneak preview of the shape of some of the editorial things to come in the seasons ahead:

Even though it’s described in more detail on page 112, we especially want to recommend the profile of Winston Churchill’s life in the 1930s by William Manchester that will be published in our February/March issue. This is a truly extraordinary feat of historical reconstruction in which one day in the great man’s life encapsulates everything that he was—up to that point—and everything he was to be. It will also have the distinction of being the longest article ever to run in our pages.

In the spring we’ll be devoting most of an issue to a subject dear to our hearts: traveling around America with a sense of history. The keynote article is by Otto Friedrich, a senior writer at Time , who has crossed and recrossed the United States since boyhood. He has had the advantage and perspective of a mother whose ancestors go back to colonial days and a father, exiled from Nazi Germany, who was a Harvard professor of government. Other articles in the issue will include a travel diary of the historic Southwest by Alfred Kazin, the eminent literary and social critic; a tour of Hyde Park by the biographer of Franklin Roosevelt (and American Heritage columnist) Geoffrey Ward; a fresh look at Cape Cod through the eyes of Henry David Thoreau and an American Heritage founder, Joseph Thorndike; a survey of the architecture and decor of that most charming of all American cities, Charleston, South Carolina, by Shirley Abbott; and a love song to San Francisco by Richard Reinhardt on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The most important issue of the year will appear next summer when we, along with the rest of the American people, celebrate the two-hundredth anniversary of the Constitutional Convention. We have called on such distinguished historians as Carry Wills, A. E. Dick Howard, and John Lukacs to take us through those astounding summer weeks of 1787. But the feature we await with greatest curiosity is our survey of hundreds of jurists, historians, and thinkers on the great document itself. We’ve asked them to answer one of two questions: “What single change would you like to see in the Constitution and why?” or “What article of the Constitution is of particular significance to you—and in what historical, political, or personal connection?” We’ve asked for short replies and will run as many as we can.

Of course we’re not about to tell you everything that’s coming up in the next year—even if we could. We have plans for stories with a sense of history on women, arts and antiques, business, photography, and sports. But much of the fun in editing a magazine (as in reading a magazine) is the unexpected—the articles or illustrations that no one could have foreseen and that are all the more marvelous because they drop into our lives like sunny and unplanned holidays.