On the Moon Landing, Nixon Was Prepared For A Worst-Case Scenario

Featured image From the Daily Mail, a fascinating historical document that I had never seen before: in July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon for the first time. In those days, America’s space program took real risks–remember Apollo 13–and it was by no means certain that Armstrong and Aldrin, having landed on the moon, would be able to return. So William Safire, one of Richard Nixon’s speechwriters, prepared »

Democrats: A concise history

Featured image Former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis has found a home in the Republican Party and now needs a mission to suit his talents. I hope he’ll find it in 2014. Among other things, Mr. Davis is a serious reader. In the American Spectator’s Christmas books symposium, he recommends The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln by Sean Wilentz (among other interesting selections). A Bancroft Prize-winning book, The Rise of American »

From the Hanoi Hilton

Featured image In today’s New York Times Richard Goldstein recalls: As Christmas 1970 approached, 43 American prisoners of war in a large holding cell at the North Vietnamese camp known as the Hanoi Hilton sought to hold a brief church service. Their guards stopped them, and so the seeds of rebellion were planted. A few days later, Lt. Cmdr. Edwin A. Shuman III, a downed Navy pilot, orchestrated the resistance, knowing he »

A Christmas Eve message to the troops, 1943

Featured image My friend Ray Hartwell describes his father’s experiences fighting the Germans in Italy as part of Company H of the 143rd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division during the latter part of 1943. Casualties were extremely high, especially during the battle for San Pietro in December, where the 143rd lost 80 percent of its strength according to Rick Atkinson’s book The Day of Battle. On Christmas Eve of 1943, 70 years »

A Whittaker Chambers Christmas

Featured image A friend asked me to recommend a book about Whittaker Chambers as a Christmas gift for her smartly conservative daughter. Chambers stands at the center of an incredible drama and four fantastic books that I know of about him. There is still much to be learned from him and his case. It occurred to me that these books might be worth a mention in the spirit of the season. 1. »

Whatever happened to Vladimir Pozner?

Featured image Readers with a long memory may recall Vladimir Pozner, the native English speaker who served in the United States as a spokesman for the Soviet Union during the 1980′s. With the Reagan administration undertaking the policies that ultimately brought us victory in the Cold War, Pozner was an incredibly popular voice of opposition here. In Useful Idiots: How Liberals Got It Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America »

This Is Indeed Out of Proportion

Featured image From Phil Terzian at the Weekly Standard: Number of US presidents attending funeral of Nelson Mandela: 4 Number of US presidents attended funeral of Winston Churchill: 0 (Actually, Phil adds, Eisenhower did attend–as a private citizen–but LBJ did not, and didn’t send VP Humphrey either.  The official U.S. delegation was headed by . . . Earl Warren.) JOHN adds: The whole Mandela thing is, to put it gently, out of »

Pearl Harbor In Color

Featured image This is, apparently, the only video footage of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor–which occurred, of course, 72 years ago today–that was shot in color. The short video below includes that footage, plus some interesting scenes from Japan and of a captured mini-submarine, also in color. It is interesting stuff: »

Happy Genocide Day!

Featured image It happens every Thanksgiving: leftists crawl out from under their rocks and tell us that the holiday is a shameful celebration of “genocide.” These days, their preferred medium is Twitter. Here are a few samples: Most of the killjoys are unknown leftists, but the genocide theory of Thanksgiving may now be official dogma at MSNBC, which is a notch or two above “unknown.” Actually, some Indian tribes were victims of »

America’s first socialist republic

Featured image We provided the platform launching Professor Paul Rahe into the blogosphere. He is one of the country’s most distinguished scholars, but he has also proved to be a natural blogger as well. He now posts regularly at Ricochet. In view of his study of Republics Ancient and Modern, Professor Paul Rahe is the academy’s foremost authority on the history of republics. Although his recent work on “soft despotism” (cited below) »

Lee Harvey Oswald: Epstein’s short course

Featured image Thirty years ago the Wall Street Journal published Edward Jay Epstein’s essay “Who was Lee Harvey Oswald” on the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. Ed has sent along his draft of the essay with the question: “How much has changed?” If anything has changed, it is the ever increasing quantity of ignorance and stupidity abroad in the land on the subject of the Kennedy assassination. Here is Epstein’s 1983 short »

The JFK Assassination Diary: Q & A with Ed Epstein (bumped)

Featured image Edward Jay Epstein is incapable of writing a dull book. He is the author, for example, of three fascinating books on the Kennedy assassination: Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth, Counterplot: Garrison vs. Oswald, Ferrie, Shaw, Warren Commission, FBI, CIA, the Media, and the Establishment and Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald. His three books on the assassination have been collected in The Assassination Chronicles. »

Gettysburg Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Featured image Brother Mathis (Joel Mathis of Philly Mag) takes me to task by alleging a willful distortion of President Obama’s invocation of the Declaration of Independence in his second inaugural address in my Forbes column on Obama’s skipping out on the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address today.  He thinks it sly of me that in focusing so heavily on Obama saying the truths of the Declaration “may be self-evident” rather »

Peter Baker’s Days of Fire, live from gate 21

Featured image Peter Baker is the distinguished New York Times reporter and author, most recently, of Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House. The New York Times Magazine published a lengthy excerpt of the book here. I admire the fairness of his work. He is my ideal of a reporter; he digs for the story and tells it straight, reserving judgment to the intelligent reader. I was delighted to »

A salute on Veterans Day

Featured image Today is Veterans Day. I’m thinking about Leo Thorsness, the native Minnesotan who served in Vietnam and was awarded the Medal of Honor for one helluva mission he flew in 1967, shortly before he was shot down. Every ounce of the courage he displayed on his Medal of Honor Mission was required to endure his six years of confinement in the Hanoi Hilton and its Heartbreak Hotel section, which the »

Collier & Horowitz: Goodbye to all that

Featured image David Horowitz’s Black Book of the American Left was published by Encounter Books this past Tuesday. We previewed it here. The book covers a lot of ground since David left the radical left behind. Among my favorite pieces are those in which he explains how he came to abandon his radical faith. One such essay is the article written with Peter Collier and published as “Lefties for Reagan” in a »

Jackson at Nuremberg

Featured image Reading a book on cross examination twenty years ago, I got interested in the Nuremberg trial. I followed up reading several books about the trial and then discovered that the whole trial transcript is accessible online. I read enough of the trial transcript to write an article about Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson’s famously failed cross examination of Hermann Goering. Could it really have been so bad? I wrote an »