Readers Respond to the November 2021 Issue

Your feedback on Memphis libraries, traveling to Mars, King George III and more

World War II Hero

Please ask Steven Spielberg to bring “The Righteous Defiance of Aristides de Sousa Mendes” to the big screen. What a magnificent person Sousa Mendes was. In tragic times, the best and worst of humanity rises to the top and sinks to the bottom.

—D J W | Smithsonianmag.com

 

Well Read

“New Chapter” was fabulous and inspiring! I love the innovation and trend-setting of the Memphis Public Library system. What a shining example for others to follow. Kudos to Keenon McCloy and her staff and volunteers. May this spur on libraries in many other cities and states to broaden their services and conceive new ideas to serve and educate their communities.

—Diane Busch | North Canton, Ohio

 

The Red Planet

The most striking phrase in “Welcome to Mars” for me was, “If living together on Mars can make us into better versions of ourselves....” I’ve always thought space exploration was only about technology and figuring out ways to do things we’ve never done before, but it seems that without human empathy and compassion at the foundation, any attempts at colonization will surely fail.

—Karin Spiezia | Whitestone, New York

 

When I was younger, the idea of traveling to Mars was exciting. But now I believe that we are not ready to inhabit other planets until we learn how to make the best of this one. 

—Marileta Robinson | Milanville, Pennsylvania

 

Something Fishy

As an environmental scientist and a registered nurse, I enjoyed reading about preserving culture and honoring a culture through food (“The Sauce Detectives”). As a society we are all about bonding over food and culture. With the pandemic there is no better time to experiment with new and old sauces and the food that we cook. Bringing back a lost period of history is amazing.

—Jamie Smith | Cave Creek, Arizona

 

King of America 

King George III wasn’t quite the monster he was portrayed to be (“In Defense of King George”). However, several things still taint his legacy. For one, he didn’t exactly bring an end to slavery in the British Empire, despite acknowledging its evils and the hypocrisy of slavery. Also, it was at his insistence that Britain fight to keep the American colonies, prolonging the Revolutionary War. To his credit, though, he acknowledged Washington’s virtue of not clinging to power, and he did seem to respect his limitations as a constitutional monarch. We should take the good and the bad into account when judging historical figures, as they are often far more complex than their critics and supporters make them out to be.

—John Paul Wilson | Facebook

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This article is a selection from the December issue of Smithsonian magazine