For the fifth consecutive year, America’s first spymaster, George Washington, graced the cover of our “Secrets of American History” issue. Among the revelations was Liza Mundy’s new reporting on the unsung women code breakers of Project Venona, who toppled Soviet spies in the Cold War—a story that Fortune hailed as “fascinating.” Eleonor Moore of Roscommon, Michigan, said she’s “always in awe of stories about women who had amazing unknown roles in history.” Believe it or not, readers were most riled about “Call of the Wild Man,” our skeptical essay about Bigfoot. “Why is mainstream science so threatened by this phenomenon that it blindly refuses to even investigate it?” asked Thomas Denton of Eustis, Florida. On Facebook Andrew Gangidine mused, “The idea that there’s more than just us out there is...the driving force behind several aspects of modern science.”
GOP Road Trip
“Barnstorming America” draws many parallels to today’s conservative politics: uniting a group by what they are against rather than any ideal, anathematizing a recent popular president, casting the United Nations as a villain and denigrating the press. The rhetoric Edwin Walker and Billy James Hargis used is hyperbolic fiction and slander. In many ways, they wrote the manual for much of what we see today.
— Andrew Chalmers | Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
"Barnstorming America” was really eye-opening, and hits far too close to home. I believe our nation is facing a perilous time, with our fundamental principles under attack by the exact people “hired” to uphold them. Knowing we have come through similar situations is somewhat reassuring.
— Celine Wanner | Stanhope, New Jersey
Like too much of the media today, the article damns conservatives by saying they are one and the same as hatemongers. Please stop giving hatemongers credit for thinking.
— Herb Strentz | Urbandale, Iowa
Cold War Sleuths
Just as we recently learned the importance of women mathematicians in the space program, we now can see how important their work was in other areas (“Code Name: Venona”). What an inspiration to young women looking to enter STEM careers today!
— J. Ligget | Terre Haute, Indiana
Robert Smalls’ Revolution
I was moved by Mr. Smalls’ actions, both in his well-conceived and brave escape and his subsequent years as a prominent businessman and statesman (“The Rebels’ Revenge”). That he could function at all after enduring slavery is amazing, but add to that the horrors that occurred after the Civil War and he stands as a true hero. We need to hear more about him and the stunning number of African-Americans that he said were killed during Reconstruction. We must face the full brutality of our past to continue building a more equitable future for all citizens.
— Heather Bednorz | Phoenix, Arizona
For every Confederate statue torn down, we should erect one of Robert Smalls.
— Christa Abdul-Karim | Facebook