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July 2024
1min read

“I Wish I’d Been There …”

December is the thirtieth anniversary of American Heritage magazine, and to mark the occasion the editors asked scores of public figures and writers—including the members of the Society of American Historians—to consider this question: What is the one scene or incident in American history that you would like to have witnessed—and why? The range of answers is amazing: they start with the dawn of life on the continent and run right to Watergate. Taken together chronologically, they turn out to be nothing less than an amusing, moving, and surprisingly complete history of the United States of America.

The world of Gluyas Williams …

For thirty years he produced graceful, intricate cartoons filled with humor warm enough to leave his targets amused rather than devastated, and sharp enough to make him the Hogarth of the American middle class.

American Gold …

For centuries it was our chief medium of currency, and the coins stamped from it are among our most revealing historic artifacts. A sumptuous portfolio of rare, unusual, and particularly splendid coins traces our history in this most lovely of metals and shows how their flashing surfaces reflect our national fortunes.

From the savage struggle for Missionary Ridge in 1863 …

through the miseries of a Union prison camp, and north to asylum in Canada, all young Charles Hemming wanted to do was rejoin his outfit and fight for the Confederacy. But he was drafted as a spy instead and soon found that the secret service could be at least as dangerous as the battlefield. His engrossing memoir is published here for the first time, illustrated with rousing paintings by Burt Silverman.

Plus …

A World War II Christmas story … how Edward Bok and the Ladies’ Home Journal changed the taste of America … The Year in Pictures—1885, that is … and, with the usual editorial largesse, still more.

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