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Learning the Great River
Mark Twain recalls his adventures—and misadventures—in learning to be a pilot on the Mississippi.
Putting America on Wheels
Reflecting on his success, the hero of mass production talks about his refusal to conduct business ...
Ashes of Soldiers
Walt Whitman’s record of ministering to young wounded soldiers offers one of the tenderest accounts of ...
The Solitude of Self
A champion of women's rights and the intellectual powerhouse of the woman's movement distills her most ...
The Color Line
Four essays, provocative and often poetic, about the black experience in America and the quest for ...
How the 1956 Hungarian Revolution offers a textbook portrait of an uprising against autocratic power.
The Federalist papers, first published in 1787–88, remain a brilliant analysis of the fundamental principles of ...
The Story of a Photograph
The story behind Walker Evans’s iconic photograph of Ellie Mae ...
Nonfiction Books and Essays
Featuring good writing for serious readers, Now and Then short-form nonfiction books and essays are available exclusively as Kindle books, Nook Books, iPad books or ebooks for other popular mobile devices.
Each week, we publish original titles, excerpts from forthcoming books, and reprints of work worthy of being read again. We focus on writing that is historically based but also has relevance for present day events.
Our latest titles can be found in the list below.
The Early Years of a Conspicuous American / Selections from The Education of Henry Adams
by Henry AdamsUnited States History, American History, U.S. History, U.S. Government, Biography
Henry Adams, whose distinguished family had a tradition of service to the nation, thought himself a comparative failure because his instincts ran toward literature and spiritual adventure. In his autobiographical Education he tried to make sense of his own path in a changing America.
The Inside Story of the Manhunt by the Israeli Secret ServiceEuropean History, Military History
The most celebrated accomplishment in the hunt for Nazi war criminals was the capture, trial, and execution of Adolf Eichmann in 1960—1962. As the Nazi officer overseeing the logistics of the Final Solution, Eichmann had been responsible for sending millions of Jews to their extermination in the death camps of Europe. After World War II he had been living incognito in Argentina when the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, learned of his possible whereabouts. Here is the behind-the-scenes story of Eichmann’s capture.
by P.T. BarnumUnited States History, Philosophy, American History
The greatest showman of his age, P. T. Barnum was also the most gifted advocate for the Gospel of Success in nineteenth-century America. Barnum’s autobiography, The Life of P. T. Barnum, Written by Himself, which sold almost half a million copies, included the “Rules of Success.” They were also incorporated into his lecture, “The Art of Money-Getting,” which he delivered more than a hundred times. Horace Greeley thought it “worth a hundred-dollar greenback to a beginner in life.”
The Twisted Path to a Nuclear WeaponUnited States History, Political Science, European History, Military History, American History, U.S. History, U.S. Government
Jeremy Bernstein traces the circuitous route by which Iran secured the expertise to develop a nuclear capability. Since Iran’s program appears to be aimed at weapons production, he concludes, the time of decision for action is fast approaching.
Reflections on the Father of the Atomic BombUnited States History, Military History, American History, U.S. History, U.S. Government, Biography, Biography
Jeremy Bernstein remembers the “father” of the atomic bomb—a man unsure of his identity and scarred by the famous government hearing that took away his security clearance.
Kubrick, Bobby Fischer and the Attraction of ChessUnited States History, European History, American History, U.S. History, Sports History, Essays, Sports
The 1972 world championship chess match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky was an event of international importance—and a media bonanza. Out of a heady cast of characters, Jeremy Bernstein fashions a tale of large personalities involved in an intense, brainy competition.
Learning to Love the BombUnited States History, Military History, American History, U.S. History, U.S. Government
The atomic bomb was developed at government laboratories in Los Alamos, New Mexico, by a team of outstanding physicists under the direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Upon seeing the results of the first detonation of an atomic device, the test director Kenneth Bainbridge is said to have remarked to Oppenheimer, “Now we are all sons of bitches.” Yet the physicists could scarcely contain their fascination with what they had wrought, as Jeremy Bernstein finds in this report from ground zero.
How a Couple of Bungling Sociopaths Became Bonnie and Clyde
by Steven BielUnited States History, American History, U.S. History, Biography
In their time, Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker attracted much less attention than star criminals like John Dillinger. Steven Biel plots the strange path by which this pair of ne’er-do-wells became the stuff of myth and legend.