A Rumor of War

by Philip Caputo

For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. —Matthew 8:9

The old salts used to tell us that the most memorable experience in an officer’s life is his first command. It is supposed to be like first love, a milestone on the road to manhood. They claimed, these veteran majors and colonels, to remember almost everything about the first platoons they led on Guadalcanal, or in Tientsin, or in Korea. “Why, it seems like yesterday, lieutenant . . . I had this rifleman, Lance Corporal . . . poor guy was killed by a Jap machine gun when we were taking Bloody Nose Ridge . . . And there was this sergeant in mortars, big redhead, damn if he couldn’t put an eighty-one down a smokestack at maximum range.”

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Posted in Contemporary History, Military History

The Importance of “America’s Oldest” Alliance

by Tom Shachtman

In Paris for Bastille Day, President Donald Trump said, “France is America’s oldest ally.  A lot of people don’t know that,” and added, “France helped us secure our independence, a lot of people forget.”

My new book, How the French Saved America: Soldiers, Sailors, Diplomats, Louis XVI and the Success of a Revolution, will bring us further down the road to appreciating the extent and the importance of that alliance, and its lessons for today’s world.

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The Last Words of John Wilkes Booth

by Philip Jett

“Did Jett Betray Me?”

Many years before Ancestry.com, my uncle researched the genealogical history of the Jett family and discovered some were Virginian colonists of English descent. My father, however, did not share his brother’s inquisitiveness. “Just check the prison records,” he remarked. At the time, I was reading an account of the Lincoln assassination entitled, Twenty Days, by Dorothy and Philip Kunhardt Jr., and made a discovery of my own. More than forty years later, I was reintroduced to my find while watching Smithsonian Channel.

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Paris Through the Eyes of Henri IV

Henri IV

by Susan Cahill; Photographs by Marion Ranoux

The story of Henri IV in Paris is best told from high on the Pont Neuf, the New Bridge, the best-loved creation of France’s most beloved king. Henri IV (1553–1610) sits here on the bronze horse in the middle of this street over water, the longest and widest of the Parisian bridges that connect the Left and Right banks. The statue faces the elegant triangle of Place Dauphine, another jewel designed by the king who professed himself a simple cowboy: “I rule with my arse in the saddle and my gun in my fist.” Centuries after his death by assassination, the streets of Paris were still singing his praises. Read more ›

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Posted in Contemporary History

Q&A with The World Broke in Two Author Bill Goldstein

Bill Goldstein looks back at the intersecting lives and works of the esteemed authors who wrote during the 1920s—Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, and D. H. Lawrence—in his new book The World Broke in Two.

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Posted in Contemporary History

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