History

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The Never-Healing Wound

The Never-Healing Wound

THE NUMBERS continue to astound. Of the more than 47 million men mobilized by the five great powers in 1914 (Austria-Hungary, Germany, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom), about 18.5 million would...

The Brilliance of "Five Came Back"

The Brilliance of "Five Came Back"

IN THE PENULTIMATE episode of Band of Brothers, the award-winning World War II miniseries from Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, the soldiers of Easy Company, an infantry company in the United States A...

Hans Fallada

Hans Fallada

NIEDERKIRCHNERSTRASSE IN BERLIN must be the eeriest street I have ever walked down. Its old and notorious name, Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse, pulses through Hans Fallada’s rediscovered 1947 novel Every Ma...

Seeds of Grass

Seeds of Grass

IN LOWER MANHATTAN, artists, writers, actors, boozers, braggarts, wits, political activists, journalists, drug adventurers, and assorted hangers-on congregate at a raucous, welcoming watering hole. Bu...

Civil Disobedience

Civil Disobedience

KAREN ABBOTT’s Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy features four of the most influential and celebrated women in the Civil War: Belle Boyd, a native of Martinsburg, Virginia (now West Virginia), and a Con...

The Afterlife of Pompeii

The Afterlife of Pompeii

IN POMPEII, a funny thing could happen to you on your way to the forum. Let’s say you were one of those who survived the initial waves of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, having dodged the dense h...

Apocalypse Then

Apocalypse Then

IN THE THIRD HORSEMAN: Climate Change and the Great Famine of the 14th Century, William Rosen examines distant historical events whose contemporaneity, try as he might, cannot be denied. Between 1314 ...

Painting World War I, Not Quite by Number

Painting World War I, Not Quite by Number

14, 15, 16. THE FIRST FIGURE is the original title of Jean Echenoz’s critically acclaimed novel on World War I. The second is the number of chapters that compose it. The third, “seize” in French...

The Lost Domain of Childhood

The Lost Domain of Childhood

WALLS COMING DOWN, barriers dismantled, curtains or clothes lifted, all hold a promise of clarity, freedom, and — think Herrick’s “brave vibration each way free” — ecstasy. Yet when the gate...

Revolutionary Performances

Revolutionary Performances

THE FIGURE of the Black Revolutionary, to a particular and change-minded audience, appeals for many reasons. The figure can represent not only who we want to be, but also what we want the nation to b...