Readers Respond to the June 2020 Issue

Your feedback on home brewing, Alexander the Great and Kangaroo Island

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Precious Land

One thing left out of “Hallowed Ground” (June 2020) was how national monuments often are precursors to national parks. Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to use the Antiquities Act of 1906 to create national monuments. One of those was Grand Canyon National Monument (later a national park). Just as author Rahawa Haile described cuts to Bears Ears National Monument today, back then a local newspaper called protection of the canyon “a fiendish and diabolical scheme,” one “limiting development of [Arizona’s] mineral resources.” History, especially that involving exploitation of natural resources, often repeats itself.

— Thomas J. Straka | Pendleton, South Carolina

Beer Pioneers

I enjoyed your beer-making article featuring Charlie Papazian (“Home Brew Hero,” June 2020). Papazian’s influence was certainly great, but he was just one of many regional “Godfathers of Craft Brewing.” In the mid-1960s, my friends and I bought our beer-making materials and supplies in Berkeley, California. The local beer guru then was Bill Owens, a professional photographer and homebrew pioneer who lobbied to legalize the serving of beer made on-site. His 1981 book, How to Build a Small Brewery, described the method for replicating traditional brewpubs in England and he opened Buffalo Bill’s Brewery in Hayward, California, which claims to be America’s first modern brewpub.

— Jeffery Luhn | Avery, California

Virtually Preserved

“Return to the Sacred” (June 2020) is an important article, especially in light of the rising anti-Semitism seen over the past five to eight years. I like to believe that as more information is circulated regarding our collective human past, we have the power to develop more caring and understanding between humans.

— Ira Smith | Arvada, Colorado

Alexander Not So Great

I would like to toss in my two cents about your June cover (“The King and the Conqueror,” June 2020). Is it cultural imperialism to keep declaring Alexander “great”? I’m sure that’s how he thought of himself and how we in the same cultural victory chair see him, but probably not so much the people he subjugated, pillaged, raped and destroyed. Why are Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan invading savages, but Alexander is great for doing the same thing?

— Roger Ziegler | New York City

Don’t Forget Australia

Thank you for “The Search for Life on Kangaroo Island” (June 2020), describing the true horror of the Australian bushfires and the brave souls who worked to rescue injured wildlife under extraordinary conditions. Sadly, the Covid-19 pandemic has relegated this disaster to all but faint memory. It is important to keep the plight of our unique wildlife in focus. Thank you from a grateful Australian.

— Robina Bamforth | Smithsonianmag.com

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