Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A great gift

A friend, who used to live in France, sent me the paper edition of The Nation's 150 Anniversary Issue.

It is a history book. I didn't realise among the founders were:
  • Henry Wardsworth Longfellow
  • William Lloyd Garrison
  • James Russell Lowell
  • Frederick Law Olmstead (designer of Boston's Emerald Necklace)
Wow! Some of the best brains of their time.

They current editors have reproduced material from the beginning, including a letter from George Barnard Shaw on why he doesn't want to move to America and Mohammed Ali on why he doesn't want to enter politics.

There are editorials about after the Civil War reconstruction and the beginning of the Cuban embargo. Of course now, I know the outcome of these historic events.

Sacco and Vanzetti issues come to life again on their pages.

And the contributors...great writers, great thinkers, great poets.

One wonderful way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon several decades ago was at the Boston Public Library going through old Time Magazines. I might have known the outcome of WWII, but at the time of publication, they didn't. Sometimes the reporters got it right, sometimes horribly wrong.

Reading the past as it was written at the time, is truly a gift.

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