American History

Manliness

“This book is about manliness,” begins the preface of a provocative new book by Harvey C. Mansfield, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Government at Harvard University. What is that? It’s best to start from examples we know: our sports heroes, too many to name; Margaret Thatcher, the British prime

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Francis Fukuyama on the Neoconservative Legacy: an Excerpt from America at the Crossroads

(From Chapter 2 of America at the Crossroads by Francis Fukuyama) In the period leading up to and following the Iraq war, an enormous amount of ink was spilled on the subject of neoconservatives and their alleged capture of the Bush administration. The story is endlessly fascinating because it appears

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Dwelling Place: A Plantation Epic

“[A] beautifully conceived and penetrating book…Clarke has produced one of the finest studies of American slavery ever written.” The glowing review, courtesy of Steven Hahn in the latest issue of The New Republic, is of Erskine Clarke’s new book, Dwelling Place: A Plantation Epic, a narrative history of the intimately

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Thomas Eakins Explained: An Interview with Sidney Kirkpatrick

Thomas Eakins was misunderstood in life, his brilliant work earned little acclaim, and hidden demons tortured and drove him. Yet the portraits he painted more than a century ago captivate us today, and he is now widely acclaimed as the finest portrait painter our nation has ever produced. This book

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Chairman of the Fed

Ben Bernanke will take over next week as Chairman of the Federal Reserve for Alan Greenspan, who is stepping down on Tuesday after more than 18 years on the job. “An extraordinary act to follow,” says Princeton Professor Alan Blinder, the Fed’s Vice Chairman under Greenspan in the mid-1990s, on

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Happy 300th Birthday, Ben Franklin!

This day marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin is perhaps the most remarkable figure in American history: the greatest statesman of his age, he played a pivotal role in the formation of the American republic. He was also a pioneering scientist, a bestselling author, the

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Spies Like Us

Back when spies were spies, they spied by the rules—with the exception perhaps of those who did their spying for totalitarian regimes. The Constitution of the Soviet Union, for example, guaranteed the privacy of correspondence, but the government still read people’s private mail. By the end of the twentieth century,

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A Symphony of a Book

“An enthralling new book,” says the Boston Globe in its recent review of Composers’ Voices From Ives to Ellington: An Oral History of American Music, by Vivian Perlis and Libby Van Cleve. The book and the two-CD set that accompanies it present a host of interviews with and about the

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Imagining America

Imagining America: Icons of 20th Century American Art, will air on PBS this Wednesday, December 28, 2005, from 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET. The film is a journey through the transformations that took place in 20th-century America, told through the words and work of some of the century’s most significant artists. “Anybody

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Ben Franklin as Himself

“If Franklin were to mount a museum exhibition about himself,” writes Edward Rothstein in the New York Times, “it might very well resemble – in its variety, intelligence and pleasures – Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World.” The exhibition, which just opened, will be on display at the

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