Do Californians Love Their Houses Too Much?

A Fourth-Generation Homeowner Reconsiders the California Dream

No house on earth means more to me than my paternal grandparents’ small blue home near the bottom of a windswept hill in the Bay Area city of San Mateo.

I’ve entered this place thousands of times; I even lived there for a few months when I was 7. But this visit will be different.

While 420 Voelker Drive still belongs to my family, my grandparents have died and my uncle has moved in. He has a roommate, a generous woman who will greet me warmly and make dinner, but isn’t a …

Can Criminals Be Genetically Determined?

Just Five Percent of Families Commit Half of All U.S. Crimes. Is It Bad Genes, Bad Family Values, or Both?

When veteran New York Times reporter Fox Butterfield first met the Bogle family, he believed that nurture mattered more than nature in influencing people to commit violent crimes.

But how, …

The Modesto Girls are a Family Miracle

How Five Sisters (and Their Brothers) Survived Childhood and Stuck Together in Stanislaus County

California changes too fast. The new so quickly replaces the old. People come and go with a blur. I often feel like you can’t count on anything staying here anymore.

But …

What Kind of an American Am I?

From Witches to Baptist Ministers to Native Americans, My Family Heritage Holds Many Stories. But I'm Not Sure Which Ones Are Mine.

I am American. That much I know—but my life’s experience has never taken me beyond that in any way, up until this point. While many Americans embrace their ancestry …

How Our Grandmothers Disappeared Into History

A Historian Turned Novelist Ponders the Absence of Women From America's Historical Archives

I recently Googled my grandmother’s name. I wanted to know the date she died, so I could better place a childhood memory. In the 21st century, embarrassingly, the internet has …

What America’s National Parklands Taught My Three Boys About Their Country

A Michigan Teacher Wanted His Sons to Roam the Nation's Expanses, Grasp Its Opportunities, and Understand Its Injustices

Last August, my sons and I paddled canoes through the Missouri River Breaks National Monument in eastern Montana. The Breaks is remote country, a prairie river cutting through coulees and …