There it was in huge black letters across the front page of the December 4, 1941, Chicago Tribune: FDR’S WAR PLANS . The story went on to detail how the President—who had not long before promised never to send American boys to fight in foreign wars—in fact wanted to send five million of them in an expeditionary force against Hitler’s Germany. The leak was so big it might have caused us to lose World War II—and in fact it played a major part in bringing Germany in against us. Who was responsible? Thomas Fleming draws on recently released FBI documents for a fascinating exercise in historical detection.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and historian Wallace Stegner has spent a good deal of his life thinking about the two Wests: the real one, and the one that lives in every American’s imagination. “Why hasn’t the stereotype faded away as real cowboys become less and less typical of Western life?” he asks, and answers the question in a fresh and vivid essay.
Americans have been doing just that since the 1849 gold rush, when the first wave of Chinese immigrants fed miners real Cantonese food. Over the course of the hundred and thiry-odd years since then, Chinese food has come to seem as American as chop suey (which was invented in the mining camps). In a lively survey, Bryan Johnson traces the history of the Chinese restaurant in America from its beginnings through the turn of the century to the current profusion of regional cuisines.
Last December’s feature was so well received that it has returned again to offer more indispensabilia, touching on such topics as Shays’ Rebellion, oral contraceptives, the Rockefeller dynasty, the permanent wave, and the man who didn’t invent the automobile.
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., talks with the columnist William Safire, who has recently brought his Washington insider’s knowledge to bear on the Lincoln administration … the Harvard business school reappraised … following Washington’s all-but-beaten army through present-day New Jersey … our third annual winter art show … and, it being the season of generosity, more.