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These perceptive and loving letters during a time of decisive ferment are unparalleled in American history.
Birth of the Skyscraper
Louis Sullivan explores the cultural ideas as well as the engineering and architectural realities that led ...
The Influence of Democracy on the Feelings of Americans
Tocqueville’s classic analysis of how democracy influences Americans’ feelings toward equality, freedom, individualism, and religion.
The CIA's Secret Research on Torture
How the CIA coopted professional psychologists in finding ways to break prisoners through psychological torture.
Inaugural Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Roosevelt’s four inaugural addresses constitute a barometer of his presidency and the challenges it faced.
Bruce Springsteen sings of the struggles of common folk and the American Dream. June Sawyers traces ...
How the 1849 Gold Rush in California brought mob rule ...
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.
Selected Letters of John and Abigail Adams, 1774–1783American History
From 1774 to 1783, years of decisive ferment for their young country, John Adams was at the center of proceedings in the Continental Congress that were to eventuate in the Revolutionary War and the Declaration of Independence; his wife Abigail was at home on their farm in Braintree, Massachusetts, with four children—but in many ways as engaged in daily events as her husband. Their letters, displaying a keen perception and a loving devotion to each other, are unparalleled in American history.
The Inside Story of the Manhunt by the Israeli Secret ServiceMilitary History, European 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.