A century ago, when Americans took an altogether more sanguine view of Columbus’s feat, the city that most epitomized the clamorous spirit of the industrial age threw a tremendous party commemorating it. Few events have been more emblematic of their age than Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition, and on its hundredth anniversary Donald Miller shows us both a serene vision of a sugar-white metropolis and the seething fang-and-claw city that mounted the show.
The modern mystery novel is as much an American invention as heavier-than-air flight. Now, one of the leading contemporary practitioners of the genre, Lawrence Block, uses his own career as a jumping-off point to examine his predecessors (they stretch back to Edgar Allan Poe) and assemble a reading list of the all-time greatest American crime novels.
The bad news from the Chicago world’s fair: Frederick Jackson Turner announces that the American frontier is gone, thereby formulating a theory of American history that retains its potency to this day … the fight for free trade—one of the hottest issues of the 1890s—is one of the hottest issues of the 1990s. John Steele Gordon gives us the big picture … Richard Reeves suggests ways that President Clinton should definitely not make JFK his role model … and, to ensure that you are well stocked with appropriate reading material for the Fourth of July weekend, more.