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A Less Perfect Union

An editor at Viking Press once told me that there are two ways to sell books: Put on the cover either a swastika or Lincoln’s face. I wasn’t sure about the Nazis, but he’s surely right about Honest Abe. I’ve watched ordinary people climb the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, pull out their . . . . Continue Reading »

Audacious Abe

Abraham Lincoln loved to tell stories. But many of them, as one political acquaintance tactfully admitted, “would not do exactly for the drawing room.” Lincoln had been raised in what he once called “the back side of this world,” and he had learned many a tale of how backsides worked. One of . . . . Continue Reading »

The Politics of Memory

In January 2020, the Socialist government of Spain, led by Pedro Sánchez, proposed a bill of profound cultural and political significance: a “Law of Historical and Democratic Memory.” If adopted, this law will bring to completion a twenty-year effort on the part of the Spanish left to limit . . . . Continue Reading »

The Real Sherman

If William Tecumseh Sherman is known for one thing, it is the scorching of Atlanta in November 1864 as he and his army set off on their March to the Sea. Like so much else that is associated with Sherman, the popular image of ruined Atlanta is an exaggeration. (About 70 percent of the city’s . . . . Continue Reading »

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