Readers Respond to the September/October 2023 Issue

Your feedback on beautiful birds, scenic Spain and more

Humanitarian Effort

“On Common Ground” (September/October 2023) was an educational awakening for me. New insights into the potato famine in Ireland were revealed, as well as the oppression of the Choctaw Nation. People in need helping and caring for each other across the globe and different cultures—what a wonderful thing. —Gina Kirby | Cresson, Pennsylvania

Music to Live For

“Songs of Survival” (September/October 2023) is a beautiful, culturally important story about classical musician/researcher Mark Ludwig, whose curiosity led to an unearthed treasure trove of concentration camp masterworks that embody the courage, defiance and artistic hunger of doomed men and women. —Thomas Giacoponello | Warwick, Pennsylvania

Hope for Birds

When I saw the photo of the dancing grouse (“Bird by Bird,” September/October 2023), it brought back memories of my childhood in Wyoming. I am saddened at the small range the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse now occupy. However, like the once thought extinct black-footed ferret and endangered bison, I am very hopeful they will make a comeback. Wyoming wildlife is extremely resilient. —Chelsey Andrew | Roswell, New Mexico

About Andalusia

Thank you very much for the excellent article on “the other Andalusia.” It brought to light the many delights of a region that is passed over by most tourists, as well as its many hidden historical gems. —Surendar Jeyadev | Rochester, New York

The Key to QWERTY

“Type Casting” (September/October 2023) brought to mind a story I heard nearly 50 years ago from a sales manager: The top row of letters was laid out to simplify sales demonstrations—it allowed the salesman or customer to easily print “typewriter” using only the top row of letter keys. —Roger Simpson | Huntington Beach, California

Down the Hatch

The day after reading the story of Charm City Meadworks (“Nectar of the Gods,” September/October 2023), I bought a bottle of the original blend. As you raise the glass to drink, you are hit by this amazing smell of honey. I thoroughly enjoyed the flavor and am excited to taste more. Cheers to the masters for taking this ancient recipe and giving it your own twist. I doubt our ancestors’ mead tasted so good. —Laura Sousa | Murrells Inlet, South Carolina

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This article is a selection from the November 2023 issue of Smithsonian magazine

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