The Sarcastic Civil War Diarist Who Chronicled the Confederacy’s Fall

Raised in Plantation Privilege, Mary Boykin Chesnut Was Unprepared for the Trauma of War and Defeat

“February 18, 1861…. I do not allow myself vain regrets or sad foreboding. This Southern Confederacy must be supported now by calm determination and cool brains. We have risked all, and we must play our best, for the stake is life or death.”

With that entry, Mary Boykin Chesnut began her diary, chronicling the momentous four years that encompassed the American Civil War. Chesnut’s diary is one of the most significant and intimate sources for understanding the Southern Confederacy. Chesnut and her husband, James Chesnut Jr., moved within the highest …

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 …

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 …