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Readers respond to our June issue

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From the editors Our June cover story captivated readers­, who expressed great admiration for Kevin Richardson’s work—and concerns for his safety. “He is amazing,” Lucy Davis writes on Facebook, “still, these are unpredictable lions and caution is the word of the day.” Jennifer C. Ward, a former U.S. ambassador to Niger, was so moved she sent a letter to the ambassador of South Africa calling for an end to commercial lion hunting in the country: “These practices damage South Africa’s reputation and the many efforts, both public and private, to conserve endangered species in your country.”

Good Napoleon?

The article that examined the Battle of Waterloo and the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte [“Napoleon’s Last Charge”] was as historically enlightening as it was relevant to current geopolitical thought. I was unaware of the full extent of Napoleon’s progressive political platform. He championed ideas that fuel our desires for equality and freedom. From income inequality to immigration, the Napoleonic concepts of rights and freedoms to the non-aristocrat, proletariat classes are the subject of debate and friction throughout several world theaters.

- Barry Watson  | Baltimore, Maryland

Writer Andrew Roberts’ admiration for Napoleon is too rosy. Far from being an enlightened progressive, Napoleon was a reactionary who wanted to turn back the clock. He reinstituted slavery in the Caribbean and wasted tens of thousands of lives trying to put down a rebellion when the Haitians objected. By crowning himself emperor, Napoleon, already a military dictator, cast aside even the form of republicanism. The relatives he appointed as kings hardly reflected the ideals of a meritocracy. And does anyone really believe that the former emperor would have been content within the borders of France? Napoleon did change history, but not always for the best.

- William Stevenson | Huntsville, Alabama

Native Honor

I was struck by the powerful photograph [“True West”] of a young Nakoda man, but I was disturbed that the accompanying text explains that he was “unnamed.” The photographer, Richard Phibbs, says he “aims to restore the ‘honor and dignity’” that First Nations people deserve, but to deny this young man the acknowledgment of his own name in no way provides honor or dignity to him.

- Melinda Yaskoff | The Plains, Ohio

Lascaux Lives

I was surprised to find myself being quoted by Joshua Hammer in his article “Dream Machine” [April 2015] with a statement I never made. I did not say that the president of France’s 2010 visit to Lascaux was a “funeral service.” Given my leadership role in preserving the site, for me to say that would be an oxymoron. Mr. Hammer’s use of a quotation from the Independent does not help our mission to safeguard Lascaux. Instead, it leads the reader to think that the cave is lost or doomed. Thus Mr. Hammer not only reports inaccurately on its present condition, but induces the fading of its memory in the public’s mind. That memory is essential to keep Lascaux alive as one of the most famous World Heritage sites and to hold the people in charge of its paintings accountable for their long-term preservation.

- Laurence Léauté Beasley Chair, International Committee For the Preservation of Lascaux | Oakland, California

Corrections

In a brief item we mistakenly implied that James Smithson was born in June. The month of his birth is unknown.“The Wheel, Re-Invented” said the Eiffel Tower is made of steel. The material is actually wrought iron.

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