Civil War

The True Story of America's First Black Female Slave Novelist

The woman behind 'The Bondwoman's Narrative'

The once-unidentified writer of The Bondwoman's Narrative, and a stunning story that goes from North Carolina to revolutionary Nicaragua to the free North.

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Frank O'Hara died 47 years ago today. In his honor, we present two of his poems, as they appeared in The New Republic.

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Do Ideas Matter?

I. MY ROLE ON September 11 was to be a reporter for The New Republic. I was in downtown Brooklyn, and from my rooftop I watched the first tower crumble, and then I ran downstairs to the street with pen and notebook and plunged into the crowds fleeing over the bridges. I spoke with one person after another, asking what they had seen. They told me. I compiled my report.

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I. On a hot Saturday in September 1962, I crowded with my brothers and cousins into my aunt and uncle’s station wagon and drove off to war. Passing through our county in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, we headed toward Charles Town, West Virginia, then crossed over the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers at Harpers Ferry into Maryland. We had traveled through the familiar historic landscape of Stonewall Jackson’s skirmishes, Mosby’s raids, Sheridan’s ride, and John Brown’s capture and hanging to witness the centennial re-enactment of the Battle of Antietam.

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Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South By Stephanie McCurry (Harvard University Press, 449 pp., $35) We are going to be hearing a great deal about the Civil War. November 6 will mark the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s election; December 20, the secession of South Carolina, the first Southern state to withdraw from the Union; April 12, the firing on Fort Sumter; July 21, the First Battle of Manassas, the first major engagement of the war. States North and South have established sesquicentennial commissions, which are planning a wide range of observances.

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Gettysburg Regress

How the government is ruining America's most famous battlefield.

Last winter, I was walking with my wife along Seminary Ridge on theGettysburg battlefield when an odd detail drew into sight: piles offelled trees, stacked alongside a road. The cuts smelled as freshas the trees looked strong. What happened to them, we wondered? Igrew up in Gettysburg, and my mother still lives in the shadow ofLutheran Theological Seminary, low in the lap of the ridge itnames. Seminary Ridge is one of a string of ridges surrounding thetown; General Robert E.

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What the Internet is doing to scholarship.

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Devils in America

Reds: McCarthyism in Twentieth-Century America By Ted Morgan (Random House, 685 pp., $35)  NEARLY FIFTY YEARS AGO the United States Senate voted to censure Senator Joseph McCarthy. Within three years of his disgrace, McCarthy was dead, his health destroyed by heavy drinking. His time in the limelight had been brief.

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