Skip to main content

Coming Up In American Heritage

July 2024
1min read

146,000 tons of poison gas…

During World War II, America built a stockpile of chemical weapons twice the size of Germany’s and twenty times greater than Japan’s. As the war dragged on and old concepts of military morality eroded, more and more leaders began calling for chemical warfare against the Axis powers. But somehow it never happened. In an absorbing and newly documented study, the historian Barton J. Bernstein reveals why, in a conflict that gave rise to Auschwitz and the A-bomb, no nation could bring itself to use poison gas in the field.

Mailed from Tokyo Bay…

We mark the fortieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War with a most unusual pair of letters from a young Navy man to his wife back home. Vernon C. Squires was one of the first to sail into Tokyo Bay with the great flotilla that received the surrender of Imperial Japan, and his eloquent, perceptive account is as fresh now as when he wrote it.

Fighting in Nicaragua…

The Sandinistas take their name from Auguste César Sandino, who proved a canny and, ultimately, victorious foe of the United States in a vicious jungle war that began when Coolidge was President. David Haward Bain gives the background to a struggle that never really ended.

The battle for Grant’s Tomb…

It would seem a serene and benign task to build a proper repository for the ashes of a nationally revered captain. But, in fact, the choices involved triggered a series of increasingly bitter squabbles. Before the tomb was finally dedicated, it had set city against country and revealed in a unique perspective the forces that were straining turn-of-the-century America.

Silent-movie music…“

If I ever kill anyone,” D. W. Griffith once said, “it won’t be an actor but a musician.” He was inveighing against the people who, in the days before the talkies came in, had the curious power to make the director’s product either sublime or ridiculous. Paul F. Boiler, Jr., tells of the problems of playing in the ghostly light beneath the great screen, and a veteran silent-movie pianist recalls what it was like to pound away through a thousand matinées when Douglas Fairbanks was the biggest thing in pictures.

Utah vernacular…

For three-quarters of a century, LeConte Stewart has been painting his native state. His clear, unsentimental vision of such commonplace fixtures as freight yards and billboards set amid the thundering Western landscape has given us a moving record of human perseverance in a deeply inhospitable countryside. Our portfolio is introduced by Wallace Stegner.


the lost colony of Roanoke on the four hundredth anniversary of its founding … a gallery of surprising advertising photographs from over a century ago… and, though it strains credibility, even more.

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.