A SENSE OF HISTORY: The Best Writing from American Heritage by American Heritage--Eds. of
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A SENSE OF HISTORY: The Best Writing from American Heritage

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In celebration of its 30th year, American Heritage has assembled more than 50 of the finest essays that have appeared in its pages over the past three decades. There isn't a dud among them. The roster of contributors includes such as Henry Steele Commager, Barbara W. Tuchman, Emily Hahn, Louis Auchincloss, John Kenneth Galbraith, Alfred Kazin, and Ben Bradlee of The Washington Post. The subjects the authors explore are a constantly diverting blend of the not-too-familiar and the downright unexpected. Malcolm Cowley, for example, discourses on the delights of the Nathaniel Hawthorne-Sophia Peabody marfiage--""We are Adam and Eve,"" Sophia informed her mother--a topic explored often enough before but never perhaps quite so charmingly as Cowley manages. The unfamiliar is represented by the story Janet Stevenson tells of abolitionist Angelina Grimke, as exciting and moving, as filled with incident as good fiction. Between the two extremes is Francis Russell's re-evaluation of the evidence in the Sacco-Vanzetti case. With admirable candor, Russell admits he may have been wrong in maintaining the two anarchists' innocence in an earlier article. Tuchman discovers a bit of ""Big Stick"" shenanigans that swung the 1904 Republican Convention in Teddy Roosevelt's favor--and had to be hushed up later. Daniel P. Mannix writes amusingly of tire shy, retiring L. Frank Baum, ""The Father of Oz,"" while David McCullough limns Harriet Beecher Stowe's life with husband Calvin, obviously one of the 19th-century's most endearing eccentrics. These essays examine the entire scope of the American experience, from the first settlements to the Nixon resignation, Andrew Jackson to Lyndon Johnson, Bull Run to baseball, the Woolworth Building to WW II. Whether amusing, terrifying, nostalgic, ruminative, stirring, or merely superbly informative, they present in their more than 800 pages the diversity and vigor of this nation's heritage.

Pub Date: Nov. 14th, 1985
Publisher: American Heritage--dist. by Houghton Mifflin