5 days ago

In the Anthropocene, the chickens come home to roost

For at least 200,000 years, homo sapiens enjoyed the bounty of the Earth, rendering only minimal damage to the planet. That began to change with the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the late eighteenth century. Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, explains. “The pressures we exert on the planet have become […]

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a couple of weeks ago

The American fashion model who spied for the Allies in World War II

Most accounts of Allied spies in World War II highlight their heroic exploits. Stealing top-secret documents. Operating clandestine radios. Leading scores or hundreds of Resistance fighters in battle. Or blowing up Nazi troop trains. Aline Griffith did none of these things. But the fascinating story Larry Loftis tells in The Princess Spy reminds us that […]

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3 weeks ago

The ugly background to Japan’s unconditional surrender

Few people today wonder what led to Japan’s unconditional surrender in World War II. The United States dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Emperor caved. Job done. But of course the reality was far more complex. And the outcome was anything but certain. Twenty-two years after the war ended, […]

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last month

A supremely entertaining history of American empire

Is the United States an imperial power? No doubt, the overwhelming majority of Americans would answer the question with an emphatic no. But historian Daniel Immerwahr has a different take on the matter. In How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States, he argues with impeccable logic and entertaining detail that […]

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last month

Mission to Europa to find extraterrestrial life

On October 10, 2024, a NASA spacecraft dubbed the Europa Clipper is scheduled to launch toward the large Jovian moon of Europa. It’s expected to arrive in April 2030. The Europa Clipper is just the final expression of a long procession of planned missions to Europa and the other Galilean moons of Jupiter that began […]

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last month

Join archaeologists at work around the world

To say that Annalee Newitz’s interests are eclectic grossly understates the point. They—Newitz’s personal pronouns are they/their/theirs—are the author of two science fiction novels and two works of nonfiction that sprawl across a broad swath of issues and preoccupations. Newitz has also edited or co-edited a number of other nonfiction books and contributed chapters to […]

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last month

The racist movement that stopped immigration a century ago

The tides of otherism have ebbed and flowed throughout five centuries of American history. Racism. Antisemitism. Xenophobia. From the genocide of the continent’s native peoples, to the enslavement of millions of transplanted Africans, to the Know-Nothing fury toward Irish immigrants and Catholics, to the racist violence and perversions of justice under Jim Crow, the Chinese […]

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a couple of months ago

The four men who led the US Navy in WWII

They were children of the Victorian Era. Annapolis graduates around the turn of the twentieth century. Junior officers in World War I, captains by 1927. They gained their first admiral’s stars by the 1930s, and all four were near or past retirement age when war broke out. Yet they rose to the pinnacle of leadership […]

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a couple of months ago

Four young Chinese experience WWII and Revolution

When future historians look back at the most consequential events of the century just past, it seems likely they’ll place four or five episodes at the top of their lists. The Russian and Chinese Revolutions, of course. The thirty-year war that encompassed the two conflicts we now call the First and Second World Wars. And […]

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