Why I’m Staying in Rome, Even While It Crumbles 

A British Novelist Will Remain in the Eternal City Because of What Its Past Can Teach About Surviving the Present

When I tell Romans I have been a resident of their city for the last 16 years and have no desire to live anywhere else, they’re often a little baffled. “But why?” they ask, looking a touch sorry for me. “We’re all trying to get away.” 

It’s true that Rome, which has never been an easy place to make a living, is struggling these days. The economy is stagnant, I’ve never seen so many homeless people and beggars on the streets, and many Romans look visibly frustrated. It’s no wonder that …

More In: History

Women Rocked the Ancient World—But Ruling It Was Harder

Nefertiti, Cleopatra, and Hatshepsut Commanded Empires and Flipped Gender Roles While Pushing Against the Patriarchy

Cleopatra shattered the glass ceiling of power in ancient Egypt. Boudica, the fearsome first-century Celtic Iceni queen, “leaned in” by leading a bloody uprising against the occupying Roman army.

But …

What Our Gargantuan Appetite for Meat Says About America

It Symbolizes Affluence and Social Status, Showcases Regional Differences, and Reveals Shifting Attitudes Toward Health

Americans have always been distinguished by their love of meat. Where does that love come from?

One short answer: our ethnic heritage. Among whites, the English and Germans were two of …

The Wondrous Life of America’s First Male Impersonator

Annie Hindle Scandalized and Titillated Audiences, But Her Talent Won Them Over

On June 6, 1886, Kerr B. Tupper, a Baptist minister in Grand Rapids, Michigan, presided over the marriage of a young couple. The groom gave his name as Charles E. …

The Enslaved Chefs Who Invented Southern Hospitality

Black Cooks Created the Feasts that Gave the South Its Reputation for Gracious Living 

“We need to forget about this so we can heal,” said an elderly white woman, as she left my lecture on the history of enslaved cooks and their influence on …

The 41-Volume Government Report That Turned Immigration Into a Problem

In 1911, the Dillingham Commission Set a Half-Century Precedent for Screening Out 'Undesirable' Newcomers

The Dillingham Commission is today little known. But a century ago, it stood at the center of a transformation in immigration policy, exemplifying Americans’ simultaneous feelings of fascination and fear …