How Vain, Stubborn, Thin-Skinned George Washington Grew Up

Through the Trauma of War, and By Learning From His Mistakes, the First President Gained Empathy and Gravitas

At 21 years of age, George Washington was a very different man than the one we know and hold sacred, different from the stately commander, the selfless first president, the unblemished father of our country staring off into posterity. This young Washington was ambitious, temperamental, vain, thin-skinned, petulant, awkward, demanding, stubborn, hasty, and annoying.

He was in love with his close friend’s wife. He was called an ingrate by his commander. He was accused of being a war criminal, a murderer, an incompetent leader, and an international embarrassment.

What is …

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Before You Push That Big Nuclear Button, Consider the Source

From Intentional Hoaxes to Accidental Alerts, Our Interconnectedness Makes Us Vulnerable to Fear

Shortly after 8 a.m. on January 13, 2018, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency sent out a chilling alert to residents across the state of Hawaii: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO …

The Missionary Children Who Taught Empathy to Americans

Raised Abroad, John Hersey, Pearl Buck, and Others Brought Back a Faith in Open-Mindedness

Published in 1946, John Hersey’s Hiroshima, which described the impact of the atomic bomb on residents of the city, is an extraordinary book. It not only described the bomb’s effects, …

When the Great War Reached Wisconsin, Free Speech Was the First Casualty

President Wilson's Government Criminalized Dissenters, Socialists, and German Immigrants as Traitors

[wimbta]Woodrow Wilson did not want to go to war. On two different occasions during the weeks leading to the 1917 declaration of war that brought the United States into World …

The Reporter Who Helped Persuade FDR to Tell the Truth About War

After Witnessing the Bloody Struggle with Japan, Robert Sherrod Thought the Public Should Face the 'Cruel' Facts

Betio, part of the Tarawa Atoll, is a small, bird-shaped island along the equator in the central Pacific. Early in the morning on November 20, 1943, elements of the Second …

We Shouldn’t Rely on Politicians to Memorialize Our Fallen Soldiers

Gold Star Families Need to Reach out—and Communities Need to Reach Back

Five U.S. infantry soldiers died on June 21, 2007, when their 30-ton Bradley tracked vehicle hit a deep-buried bomb in Adhamiyah, Iraq.

I was embedded as a reporter with their unit …