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In This Issue

March 2023
2min read

Private Snafu, the reluctant protagonist of the Army’s World War II instructional cartoons mentioned in our “Letter From the Editor,” can be seen enduring “A Lecture on Camouflage” and battling “Malaria Mike” in Private S.N.A.F.U. (Rhino Home Video, 60 minutes).

The men who flew the Enola Gay on its fateful mission over Japan owed much of their knowledge of the B-29 to an exhaustive U.S. Army Air Forces manual now authentically reproduced for the anniversary of the war’s end. How to Fly the B-29 Superfortress: The Official Manual for the Plane That Bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Greenhill/Stackpole Books, 160 pages) is exactly what its blunt title suggests. Thumbing through its big manila pages, you learn about “Planning the Mission,” “Operation of the Bomb Bay Doors,” “Formation Flying,” “Standard Bombing Procedure,” “Combat Gunnery,” “Escape from the Plane,” and “First Aid in Flight.” A series of blurry photos is meant to help bombardiers distinguish between hostile and friendly vessels on the high seas.

The historian Thomas Childers opened a drawer in his grandmother’s house one sleepless night several years ago and found some V-mail letters that led him to track down the story of his uncle Howard Goodner, a young radio operator killed when the Black Cat , a B-24 bomber, went down on April 21, 1945, in Germany. It was the last American bomber shot down there during the war. After interviewing German witnesses and poring over the letters of the crew members, Childers has written a finely detailed chronicle of young men thrown into fire at the tired end of the deadliest war: Wings of Morning: The Story of the Last American Bomber Shot Down Over Germany in World War II (Addison-Wesley, 288 pages). Childers’s eloquent combination of detective story and family history climaxes with his visit to Regensburg, Germany, where he found people who still remembered the Black Cat ’s crash fifty years later.

Charles Guggenheim’s documentary D-day Remembered (Direct Cinema, 53 minutes) debuted too late for mention in last June’s issue, which contained DeRonda Elliott’s original article “D-day: What It Cost.” Since then the film has been nominated for an Academy Award and brought out on video. It is a superb piece of work and stands above anything else on the subject. Guggenheim relies exclusively on German and Allied footage from the invasion’s planning and execution. Veterans’ voices eerily overlay the black-and-white scenes of their youth, without the usual cutting between past and present or between boy and man. The lack of interruption makes the story more authentic—reminding you of the terrifying uncertainty of the enterprise without flashing forward— until by the end the old footage has become the reality.

The book that fifty years ago launched the editorial cartoonist Bill Mauldin on his long career (along with that of his hardboiled and epigrammatic GIs Willie and Joe) has been republished in a commemorative facsimile edition, Up Front (W. W. Norton, 240 pages).

The savage engagement at Okinawa is the subject of a big, thorough new study by the former 1st Marine Division veteran Robert Leckie, Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II (Viking, 220 pages).

Robert H. Ferrell, guest columnist this month, should know whereof he speaks when it comes to President Truman, having written or edited nine books on the man from Missouri, including the new Harry S. Truman: A Life (University of Missouri Press, 501 pages).

We hope you enjoy our work.

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Stories published from "May/June 1995"

Authored by: The Editors

Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia

Authored by: The Editors

All the Days and Nights
The Collected Stories

Authored by: The Editors

Reporting the War
The Journalistic Coverage of World War II

Authored by: The Editors

Rich Relations: The American Occupation of Britain, 1942-1945

Authored by: The Editors

Bud Powell
The Complete Blue Note and Roost Recordings

Authored by: The Editors

The Jazz Scene

Authored by: The Editors

Why Elvis?

Authored by: The Editors

Times Ain’t like They Used to Be: Early Rural & Popular American Music From Rare Original Film Masters (1928-35)

Authored by: The Editors

The Belle of Amherst

Authored by: The Editors

Day One

Featured Articles

Often thought to have been a weak president, Carter was strong-willed in doing what he thought was right, regardless of expediency or the political fallout.

Rarely has the full story been told how a famed botanist, a pioneering female journalist, and First Lady Helen Taft battled reluctant bureaucrats to bring Japanese cherry trees to Washington. 

Why have thousands of U.S. banks failed over the years? The answers are in our history and politics.

In his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln embodied leading in a time of polarization, political disagreement, and differing understandings of reality.

Native American peoples and the lands they possessed loomed large for Washington, from his first trips westward as a surveyor to his years as President.

A hundred years ago, America was rocked by riots, repression, and racial violence.

During Pres. Washington’s first term, an epidemic killed one tenth of all the inhabitants of Philadelphia, then the capital of the young United States.

Now a popular state park, the unassuming geological feature along the Illinois River has served as the site of centuries of human habitation and discovery.  

The recent discovery of the hull of the battleship Nevada recalls her dramatic action at Pearl Harbor and ultimate revenge on D-Day as the first ship to fire on the Nazis.

Our research reveals that 19 artworks in the U.S. Capitol honor men who were Confederate officers or officials. What many of them said, and did, is truly despicable.

Here is probably the most wide-ranging look at Presidential misbehavior ever published in a magazine.

When Germany unleashed its blitzkreig in 1939, the U.S. Army was only the 17th largest in the world. FDR and Marshall had to build a fighting force able to take on the Nazis, against the wishes of many in Congress.