Readers Respond to the October 2022 Issue

Your feedback on Glen Canyon, Samuel Adams and more

Natural Beauty

“Glen Canyon Reveals Its Secrets” (October 2022) came alive with some of the most beautiful photographs it has ever been my privilege to view. I am mesmerized by the photo of cracked sediment layers. Thanks to Pete McBride for sharing his writing and photography talent with the world. —Nina Soltwedel | Boulder, Colorado

Independent Influence

Samuel Adams remains one of the great enigmas of American history (“Founding Force,” October 2022). He excelled as a pot-stirrer, but deferred to others once the flames of liberty had been lit. Author Stacy Schiff reminds me what a uniquely flawed character changed the course of the nation. —Eric Pollard | Pasadena, California

I was interested in that enigmatic hero of our Revolution, Samuel Adams. The closing paragraphs by author Stacy Schiff give credence to both beliefs that the majority of citizens will eventually do the right thing and that a vocal minority must be right. We are still trying to figure that out, often with a foot in both camps. —Phil Southworth | Odenton, Maryland

Life With Live Music

What a wonderful surprise to this New Orleans girl to see the article by Jeanie Riess about Preservation Hall (“All That Jazz,” October 2022). I moved to the French Quarter in 1962 when I was 19 years old. At night, I could lean out of my apartment window overlooking St. Peter Street and listen to the music from Preservation Hall, while watching the crowds of folks below having a grand time. I shall never forget those musicians, especially Sweet Emma playing her heart out on that old piano! —Rose Sanford | Metairie, Louisiana

The Power of Flight

I’d like to compliment Jeff MacGregor for “Breaking the Barrier” (October 2022). Maybe it is because I had a private pilot’s license for a few years, but I was incredibly moved by the final three paragraphs of the article. It’s so rare to get such high-quality writing on a scientific subject. I just want you to know that you reduced this reader to tears. —Jeffrey Harvey | Sedona, Arizona

Legendary Patronage

While I enjoyed “The Forever Legend” (September 2022) about King Arthur, it is important to note that Chrétien de Troyes was not, as Joshua Hammer says, “writing under the patronage of the Plantagenets,” but rather under the patronage of a woman named Marie de Champagne. Marie was a daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine, but she was not of Plantagenet lineage. Chrétien later wrote Perceval, which tells the story of the quest for the Holy Grail, under the patronage of Philip of Flanders. There is no evidence that he ever wrote for the Plantagenets. —June Hall McCash | professor emerita, Middle Tennessee State University

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