“If God were suddenly to call the world to judgment,” a South American observer wrote in 1818, “He would surprise two-thirds of the American population on the road, like ants.” It’s still true. And wherever we’ve been, we’ve left something of ourselves behind. Once again the editors devote an issue to seeking the past in the places around us. Among the journeys:
The mystery writer Lawrence Block and his wife have been spending a lot of time on a weirdly rewarding quest—they’ve set out to visit every town in America named Buffalo.
Thomas Fleming explores the Naval Academy at Annapolis, a place where American history expands to encompass the history of the world.
The Nebraska town that informs Willa Gather’s writing is still eloquent of the woman, her world—and ours.
World War II’s biggest aircraft carrier was England. Half a century after the great air armadas rose and flew east to destroy Germany, John McDonough visits the green and pleasant land that welcomed them back after every raid.
The greatest ghost town of them all … the gunpowder maker’s ravishing gardens … cruising to Canada … and, because the Americans we serve are never content to stay put for too long, more.