Culture & Literature
American History

American History December 2018

Get American History digital magazine subscription today and see how the American experience comes alive through thoroughly researched stories, outstanding photography and artwork. The magazine’s lively storytelling, thought-provoking essays and more bring America’s past alive in every issue.

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6 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
american history online

Visit HistoryNet.com/American-History and search our archive for great stories like these: Saddle to Screen: Songs of the Cowboys “Red River Valley” and others actually soothed herds, but many more range tunes had their roots in Hollywood. Heroic Union Army Medic Was a Woman In battle, “Michigan Annie” Etheridge earned a medal for valor by tending wounded soldiers where they fell. My Enemy’s Enemy: Vietnam in WWII The OSS helped Vietnamese insurgent and future foe Ho Chi Minh battle Japanese forces holding Indochina. HISTORY NET NOW Love history? Sign up for our FREE monthly e-newsletter at: historynet.com/newsletters FOLLOW US AT facebook.com/AmericanHistoryMag…

7 min.
whaling panorama restored

In 1848, when the American whaling industry was near its height, New England maritime artist Benjamin Russell and sign painter Caleb Purlington unveiled Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ’Round the World. The pair's collaboration, in tempera on a canvas 8.5 feet high and 1,238 feet long, carries viewers from the harbor in New Bedford, Massachusetts, to locales ranging from the Cape Verde Islands and Rio de Janeiro to Cape Horn and Tahiti, along with images of the pursuit, killing, flensing, or skinning, and rendering of cetaceans for their oil and byproducts. The New Bedford Whaling Museum—whalingmuseum.org—accepted the painting as a donation from a local grocer in 1918; until recently, the canvas had languished in storage. Now the museum has restored the panorama, which is too fragile for display, and…

1 min.

Liesl Bradner (“Restless Eye,” p. 48) writes for HistoryNet’s Military History, the Los Angeles Times, and other outlets. Author of Snapdragon: The World War II Exploits of Darby’s Ranger and Combat Photographer Phil Stern (Osprey, 2018), she most recently contributed “Troublemaker,” about muckraking journalist Nellie Bly, in the February 2018 American History. She tweets as @lieslbradner. Jessica Wambach Brown (“The Great War in the Big Woods,” p. 56) writes about history, travel, and veterans’ affairs from Kalispell, Montana. She writes frequently for History-Net magazines World War II and Wild West. Her most recent contribution to these pages was October 2018’s An American Place; she profiled the Hotel Del Coronado in Southern California. Wambach Brown picked up the trail of the Spruce Production Division at a historical society gathering in western Washington…

1 min.

Richards Rules I am a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Ellen Swallow Richards (Cameo, October 2018) is a legend, known as the first female student but little else. The article “Couldn’t Stop, Wouldn’t Stop” is illuminating and what Richards actually did is impressive. She entered the world of fiction in The Technologists, a 2012 novel by Matthew Pearl. Her character is so heroic readers have written Mr. Pearl asking for more ESW adventures. Delanco, New Jersey…

5 min.
capitol crimes

Today’s polarization in Congress has nothing on its antebellum antecedent. In her new book, The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War, Yale historian Joanne B. Freeman documents dozens of literal brawls involving congressmen and senators as the conflict over slavery reached a boil. Members of Congress now insult each other regularly, but they don’t often fight. Before the Civil War, however, insults could lead to fisticuffs, and drawn knives and pistols. Why the difference? America was different, Washington was different, and Congress was different. Violence was taken for granted in life and in politics, and Congress reflected the country. The atmosphere in the Capitol made matters worse; the building was hot, airless, and smelly, and representatives were sometimes drunk and often armed. Add the simmering…

6 min.
’twas ever thus

Not since Senator Joseph McCarthy’s heyday have Americans been as worried about Russian interference in our domestic affairs. In June Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, said that in 2016 Russia had “conducted an unprecedented influence campaign to interfere in the U.S. electoral and political process.” Special counsel Robert Mueller has been running a fine-toothed comb through Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, seeking evidence of Russian skullduggery. The largest trace uncovered so far has been a June 2016 sit-down at Trump Tower between son Donald Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner, and campaign honcho Paul Manafort with a Brit publicist and a group of dodgy Russkies. For months young Trump claimed the topic to have been adoption policy, although in July 2017 he acknowledged that he wanted to learn what dirt the Russians had…