Reclaim old Pennsylvania Station

I recently picked up a small-town Arizona newspaper that happened to discuss the fate of the historic Grand Canyon Railway. The article reflected upon the disappearance of a railway line that, upon opening in 1901, unveiled the Grand Canyon to the American public and cemented its position in the national imagination. However, the rise of […]

The past, present and future of animated films

The birth of the “moving photograph” in 1878 guaranteed that a younger sibling, the moving drawing, would follow. With “The Horse in Motion,” the art of the motion picture was born, allowing the photographer to capture the movement of reality by rapid bursts of frames, which blurred together at the pace of human perception. It […]

The greatest threat of our century

On Jan. 23, 2023, the most-read article on the BBC website featured a warning by the Japanese prime minister regarding his country’s birth rate. In an urgent address to the lawmakers of the National Diet, Fumio Kishida declared that Japan had reached the brink of social dysfunction. He warned that if the birth rate in […]

Dispatch from Bath: Remembrance Day

On the 104th anniversary of the Armistice of Compiègne that ended the First World War, I accepted without hesitation an invitation to attend a commemorative service at Bath Abbey in honor of those across Britain, the Empire, and the Commonwealth who had committed themselves to war. Few events throughout my time abroad in Britain thus […]

The ‘right’ sort of democracies

While it might be in poor taste, given the current state of global affairs, for me to strike a critical blow at the unity of the democratic world, nothing would evoke the unity of that world like the free expression of criticism. After all, the German delegation to Taiwan certainly exercised this freedom to criticize […]

Queen of the Long Peace

“I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” This promise sprang from the lips of Princess Elizabeth on her twenty-first birthday in 1947. She had vowed, at the age […]

The great French demographic mystery

France in 1800 was a power that still could rule the world. Though Britain since 1763 had usurped the preeminent position of France among the great powers, the Treaty of Paris did not remove the foundations of French power. Only after a titanic half-century struggle could the Pax Britannica be allowed to emerge, during which […]

Americans know little of their greatest friends

The rumors in circulation over the last two centuries bear some truth: Americans determinedly perceive the world through a combination of ignorance and fantasy. This is no fault of theirs, really; the Old World has rarely furnished a sufficient reason for the American people to care about its existence, except in those rare instances in […]

Classify world regions by their histories, not geography

Any undergraduate who studies history is understandably obligated to examine many corners of the world. Globalization first makes this necessary by having successfully amalgamated the individual threads of history into a holistic tapestry. The world now contains a unified history that affects the context of all countries within. Regional histories also lend relevance in themselves. […]

Awaiting the return of the eastern cougars

The big cats, of which there are seven living members, have long dominated my imagination. As the sweet scents of springtime return to the air, their presence looms even greater in my mind as a peaceable distraction from the bitter tumult of the present world. The appeal of sunny themes, neutral and indifferent to the […]

Europe must choose

To the Anglosphere, the name Charlemagne recalls a Germanic warlord of the Dark Ages whose conquests entrenched Roman Catholicism and restored political order to post-Roman Western Europe—of consequence to Western civilization, naturally, but far removed from its classical substance. To the western Europeans, however, he amounts to something far greater than an Alaric or Atilla; […]

Who is the New England Yankee?

The distinguished American writer E.B. White had his own opinion of who the Yankee is: “To foreigners, the Yankee is an American; to Americans, a Yankee is a Northerner; to Northerners, the Yankee is an Easterner; to Easterners, the Yankee is a New Englander; to New Englanders, the Yankee is a Vermonter; and to Vermonters, […]

Oh, the places we’ll go!

As we prepare to depart for the winter, I am becoming increasingly weary of the bleak effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Even if it is a couple months too late to mark the occasion of Dr. Seuss’s death, one of his final books, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!,” offers some special solace and escapism in […]

To what do we owe the success of Halloween?

When the darkness descends on Oct. 31, one can imagine that the electric spirit of Halloween will alight with no less intensity than in years past. As an occasion that is among the most immersive of American cultural traditions, it would be foolhardy to expect the pumpkins to remain unlit. The underground parties will go […]

Remembering “The General”

This past Wednesday marked the 130th anniversary of the birth of Dwight D. Eisenhower. His rise to the rank of five-star general officer and then President of the United States, along with the monumental extent of his fame and popularity throughout the nation, was not foretold by the circumstances of his origin. The fact of […]

The common virtue of Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter

On Oct. 1, Jimmy Carter turned 96 years of age. Carter, already the oldest-living former President on the occasion of his 95th birthday last year, continues to be in good health with his wife Rosalynn following his surgery last year. He recently enjoyed a quiet birthday celebration at home in Georgia, where he has long […]

September memories of the American Revolution

It hardly needs saying that Brandeis attaches a special importance to history. On some profound level the university understands that, without history, the conditions of the present are without context and the safeguards of civilization are without recognition. Without history, there is nothing to remind us that the comforts we take for granted are, in […]

To be born in the year of 9/11

One week ago, this country observed a solemn occasion of remembrance to mark the 19th anniversary of the September 11 calamity. Flags throughout America streamed from half-mast out of respect for the fallen, public schools fell into momentary silence and the site of the fallen towers were once again illuminated in twin pillars of light. […]

Normalcy finds a way

In no year, even in wartime, has daily life on an American college campus been so thoroughly policed. The measures are, quite understandably, accepted with little protestation by a student body that is aware of the acute risks peculiar to such a novel and unvaccinated pathogen; while they themselves will be largely untroubled if infected, […]