Kenko had little trouble living with the idea that things were getting worse. "The most precious thing in life is its uncertainty," he wrote.

The Timeless Wisdom of Kenko

A 14th-century Japanese essayist's advice for troubled times runs the gamut from quirky to prescient

Lytton Strachey picked his moment to make sport of Thomas Arnold and other Victorians.

Historical Laughter

Those who don't have power tend to make fun of those who do. But what happens when the power shifts?

American myths: the Frontier and Ellis Island immigrants.

Cowboys and Immigrants

Two dueling archetypes dominated 20th-century American politics. Is it time for them to be reconciled?

Mary's marriage to Cord Meyer would reflect Washington's gender dramas.

44 Years Later, a Washington, D.C. Death Unresolved

Mary Pinchot Meyer's death remains a mystery. But it's her life that holds more interest now


Sound and Fury

Norman Mailer's anger and towering ego propelled-and undermined-his prodigious output


Plutarch's Exemplary Lives

An ancient Greek wrote the book on biography then and now

"Electric boats intensify my connection to the water," says Houghton (at tiller).

Batteries Included

Let's hear it shhhh, not so loud for electric boats

Roosevelt standing next to the elephant he shot on safari

Bears and Rhinos

Never underestimate the role of sentimentality in the making of american myths and heroes


George C. Marshall The Last Great American?

No soldier since Washington has had his Roman virtues, and so significantly shaped a peace

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