Those who obeyed Greeley’s injunction and went west did not always have an easy time of it. On the Kansas prairies in the 187Os the difficulties—drought, plagues of locusts—were of biblical scope. Although many prevailed, many others gave up. This unusual firstperson account tells the story of pioneers who went through it all—and decided it wasn’t worth it.
Alfred Kazin traces the symbolic role that the city—as a fact and as an idea—has played in the American consciousness for two hundred years. The dread, he notes, seems to be increasingly well founded.
John Kenneth Galbraith writes, from a special perspective, on Franklin D. Roosevelt; Jacques Barzun tells how the philosopher-psychologist William James came to choose his career; and Malcolm Cowley remembers, with unblinking clarity, life with his difficult mother.
Lincoln was the first President to understand the importance of cooperating with the media, of getting his face before the public. In his day that meant painters and sculptors as well as photographers. The fruits of that cooperation are seen in a particularly handsome pictorial feature. … When an earthquake struck San Francisco in 1906, a studio photographer named J.B. Monaco did what any great photographer would do: he grabbed a small camera, ran outside, and photographed the real world as it disintegrated.… All this and, as always, more.