From the Archive | Harper's Magazine

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From the Archive

Dreamland

I once awoke from a dream while crossing Bond Street in New York with a friend, and it was snowing hard. We had been talking, and there had been no…

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The Other Side of the Coin

The entrance to Castle Garden was blocked up with vehicles, peddlers of cheap cigars, apple stands, and runners from the boarding houses and intelligence offices that abound in the neighborhood…

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The Good Citizen

“I have just had a gratifying illustration of the conscientious perfection of the American people in enacting and enforcing a law when they are agreed that it is really for…

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Life Is a Box of Chocolates

Wise heads tell us we act first, or decide to act first, and reason afterward. What could be put down in black and white as to why we took up…

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Grand Illusion

I’ve given the Second World War a uniformly bad press, rejecting all attempts to depict it as a sensible proceeding or to mitigate its cruelty and swinishness. I have rubbed…

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The Space Coast

We have perhaps created too much history too quickly—more than we can cope with. We know the cycles: birth, growth, glory, degeneration. Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first…

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Paradise Lost

Shea Stadium is not Eden, and the picture of Tom and Nancy Seaver leaving its graceless precincts in tears did not immediately remind me of the Expulsion of Adam and…

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In the Dark

All over the world thousands upon thousands of men and women pass their whole lives denouncing, instructing, commanding, cajoling, imploring their fellows. With what results? One finds it rather hard…

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The Dying Industry

The Hemlock Quarterly, an unassuming little newsletter that until recently was the chief perquisite of membership in the Hemlock Society, may have been the only radical publication in the United…

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Radical Nostalgia

The notion of the “nostalgic American” served liberals as an ideal whipping boy at a time when the intellectual foundations of liberalism were beginning to erode. As the dogma of…

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Too Much Art

Once again, the budgets of the agencies that support the arts are to be cut. Meanwhile, costs in the arts are going up. But one continues to read and hear…

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Profit and Loss

Among those people in New York who care about newspapers and who like to think of their content as something more than amusement, it has become increasingly difficult to find…

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The Great March

Atlanta in ruins. Originally published in the October 1865 issue of Harper’s Magazine “You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine…

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The New Old Movies

I can’t remember exactly when the cinematic past became palpable for me. It was probably sometime in the late Fifties or early Sixties, when the mix of television screenings, museum…

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The Adversary

There is a large and historical callous on my right middle finger that marks how seriously I have taken the political demise of Richard Nixon. The protrusion is occasioned by…

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The Injustice Collector

Because I must, I accept that there are people who don’t care too much about those they bump into on the journey. They just want to enjoy a beer or…

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A Perfect Woman

It would be a bold writer who would attempt to have the last word on the much-­debated maternal instinct. But since so many men have had their say on the…

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The Sultan of Sewers

I never wanted to be President. This innate decision was confirmed when I became literate and saw the President pawing babies and spouting bullshit. I attended Los Alamos Ranch School,…

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Life During Wartime

Learning to Go to Sea on Shore, by George Wright. Originally published in the November 1918 issue of Harper’s Magazine It is a small hotel compared with the fashionable resorts…

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Who Is the Tyrant?

Revolver shots at three in the morning. As I stuck my head out the window, lights flared up and down the darkened block. More heads craned from open windows. Below…

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The Ideal State

People in Chicago will tell you that there is a happy land not far away. Sitting on the ash heap of their own miseries, they mournfully explain that just over…

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The Jitters

Fear is an old emotion, laid down deep in the nervous system. Without its promptings no species of animal life could have survived and civilization could not have developed. Certainly…

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The Complicating Germs

In April, an epidemic of influenza exploded in the Far East. Starting in Hong Kong, it spread thousands of miles in all directions in less than two months. As we…

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Fifty-One Percent

During the Dayton trial there was much discussion about what had happened to William Jennings Bryan. How had a progressive democrat become so illiberal? How did it happen that the…

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Who Has the Guns?

The genuine sportsman’s voice is seldom heard in the outcry against gun-control laws. The dominant note is the shrill voice of the superpatriot. His sentiments were once well synthesized by…

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The Most Hated Nation

It was the foggy end of a drizzly day. Along the lunch counter of the Ferry Dock Tavern, gray-haired men in overalls and leather jackets were eating oyster stew. A…

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The Radical Right

In tracing the pedigree of the American conservative movement we must note that from, say, 1935 to 1955 (from the rise of Father Coughlin to the demise of Joseph McCarthy),…

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Criminal Minds

Just over an hour after he had been threatened with assassinationin Sacramento, President Ford spoke about the troubling rise in crime in the United States. The little of his remarks…

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