Reader responses to our April issue

From the Editors “What an intriguing and exciting development,” Susan LaDuke says on Facebook, one of many readers wowed by our April cover story about a long lost city in Cambodia. The Evotourism® articles inspired heated dialogue on science, faith and history. And Alice Gregory’s essay on the zoot suit sparked wide-ranging cultural memories, from a “Tom and Jerry” episode parodying the attire to a jazz icon. “This makes me think of Cab Calloway, who I remember in film clips I used to watch as a kid,” Jayne Derwin wrote on Facebook. “He was soooo smooooth and cool!”

American Hero

William Barker Cushing, “the Civil War’s most daring naval officer” (“American Idol”), may be a forgotten man today with the general public, but he is well remembered by the U.S. Navy. His remains lie beneath an impressive monument at the Naval Academy, and five successive fighting ships have borne his name. Your article didn’t mention that the five men of his crew were individually awarded the Medal of Honor for this daring attack (officers were not eligible for the award in that era), or that Cushing died a mere ten years later at age 32, of an illness perhaps partly induced by the physical and mental rigors of his daring exploits during the war.

In addition, Cushing’s 22-year-old brother, Alonzo Cushing, died heroically at Gettysburg; he was buried at West Point and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama. And a third brother, Howard Cushing—“the Custer of Arizona”—died at age 32 fighting Apaches near Tucson in 1871. They were quite a family of whom we in western New York State are rightly proud.

Jack Horst, Westfield, New York

Buried Treasure

I enjoyed the good article by Joshua Hammer, “Invisible Kingdom,” but I wonder about the dearth of photographs of Phnom Kulen, the article’s focus. As a side note, [Marcelo de] Ribadeneira, a Roman Catholic friar cited in the piece, was an explorer in the sense that he came upon places in his zeal to convert Asians to Christianity. While history benefits from his texts, he is also remembered for justifying the enslavement of non-Europeans in Asia as Christian charity.

Wilbur Norman, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Birds of a Feather

Fossils (“Darwin’s Favorite Fossils”) have a profound way of allowing people to see the present in a different light. The Munich specimen of Archaeopteryx was discovered about the same time I was graduating from college with my geology degree. I’ve never looked at birds the same way since.

Glen Bray, Facebook

Green Book Blues

Jacinda Townsend’s fine article “Driving While Black” concentrates on risks black motorists took when driving south in the 1940s, but ones traveling west-east routes also encountered racism. For black persons who left the West Coast for Chicago, there were hardly any places along the way where they could stop for hot meals and comfortable lodging.

One was in Elko, Nevada, where my step-grandfather, Sam Hearon, owned “Sam’s Cafe & Hotel.” “Daddy Sam” opened his business after leaving Alabama to seek more opportunities. It became known as a place where black travelers could dine and rent rooms.

Hosea L. Martin, Chicago, Illinois

Animal Nature

The photos (“The Secret Lives of Animals”) are great but nothing compares to being at the Masai Mara to see these magnificant animals up close.

Al Bienstock, Facebook


The artist Molly Crabapple did not enter the solitary confinement “hole” at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution, as reported in “Drawing Fire.” She based her drawing of the facility on a leaked cellphone video.

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