a few days ago

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 week

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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last month

How the Western democracies stumbled into war with Nazi Germany

The events of the years 1937 through 1941 appear fixed in time. It seems foreordained that Britain, France, the US, and the USSR would have gone to war with Nazi Germany under any circumstances. But that was assuredly not the case, as historian Benjamin Carter Hett makes abundantly clear in his illuminating portrayal of the […]

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a couple of months ago

The startling Nazi plot to kill FDR, Churchill, and Stalin

Novelists including Ken Follett, Jack Higgins, Alan Furst, and Philip Kerr have indulged us with thrilling accounts of spies and saboteurs in World War II. Rarely, though, have they managed to equal in their fiction the sheer audacity of the real-world Nazi plot to kill FDR, Churchill, and Stalin which unfolded in Tehran late in […]

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a couple of months ago

How America lost its way and ended up at war with itself

Here is the story of how America lost its way and came to elect a man who rejected democracy itself. For nearly half a century, the broad-based liberal consensus that grew out of the New Deal produced robust economic growth, rich corporate profits, and an expanding middle class enabled by a powerful labor movement. But […]

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a couple of months ago

The WWII technology breakthrough with the proximity fuse

You can’t help knowing that the atomic bomb was a product of World War II and greatly influenced its outcome. If you’ve read a little, you’re aware that radar played a decisive role in the war as well, implemented both in the air, at sea, and on land. But it’s less likely you’ve heard about […]

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a few months ago

Who knew that street addresses meant so much?

So, it turns out that street names and house numbers are a pretty big deal. We’ve only got them because of the troubled and sometimes violent circumstances that brought them into being. In fact, we tend to be ignorant of what addresses really mean. And while those of us who have addresses take them for […]

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a few months ago

A scholar surveys armed conflict through the ages

Toward the end of Margaret MacMillan‘s impressive survey of armed conflict through the ages, she poses a question attributed to Pancho Villa: “What is the difference between civilized war and any other kind of war?” In fact, it might be said that most of the three hundred pages in War could be said to dramatize […]

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a few months ago

The secret mission to stop the Nazi atomic bomb

A Nazi atomic bomb? The fear that Werner Heisenberg, Otto Hahn, and other Nobel-winning German physicists would develop nuclear weapons for Adolf Hitler began to seize hold in the upper reaches of the American government when Albert Einstein’s letter to President Franklin Roosevelt arrived in the White House in August 1939. The Bastard Brigade: The […]

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a few months ago

Understanding America’s polarization and how we got to now

Does the Red State-Blue State analysis of recent US elections make sense to you? Or pointing to the difference between Republicans and Democrats to explain election outcomes? Colin Woodward doesn’t think either one is useful in explaining how and why we vote as we do. Nor, in his opinion, are the boundaries that define our […]

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