last week

The Yalta controversy and the fate of Poland

Few Americans today remember the name Yalta. But for two generations following the end of World War II, the word conjured up conflicting political visions of the war’s outcome. It was there on the shores of the Black Sea that Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin met for eight days in February 1945 to […]

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3 weeks ago

The men behind the British-American partnership in WWII

Most accounts of the British-American alliance in World War II dwell on the closeness between Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. But a more fine-toothed inspection of history reveals that others played equally significant roles in making the relationship work. And historian Lynne Olsen has dug into contemporaneous accounts, dredging up eye-opening facts about three prominent […]

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last month

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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a couple of months 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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a couple of months ago

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 few months ago

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 few 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 few 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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