The Closing of the American City
May 11, 1998
From 1998, Wilson reviews books on integration and the impact of the Rodney King incident.
California, Here They Come
August 19, 1996
Before rejoining the Dole campaign I fly with my friend Barbara Feinman to Detroit. I have made a deal with myself, as an incentive to get out of bed in the morning. For every three days I spend with Bob Dole I will allow myself a day with someone who is not Bob Dole. Normally, I would have waited until I had earned the reward to collect it. But circumstances--namely Barbara--intervened. Until a few months ago Barbara was happily making a living helping famous Washingtonians—Ben Bradlee, Bob Woodward, a pride of senators—write their books.
One Nation Under a Groove
July 15, 1991
I. My dream was to become Frank Sinatra. I loved his phrasing, especially when he was very young and pure….
How Buildings Remember
August 28, 1989
“Did you see the gas vans?” Claude Lanzmann asks Mrs. Michelsohn, an old German woman, in his film Shoah. Mrs. Michelsohn lived in Chelmno, 50 yards from the spot where Jews were loaded onto the vans at the Nazi extermination center. “No,” she answers at first, with a look of annoyance. Then her face registers the recognition that Lanzmann and his movie cameras will not be deflected. “Yes,” she acknowledges, she saw the vans, “from the outside. They shuttled back and forth. I never looked inside; I didn’t see the Jews in them.
The Triumph of Asian-Americans
July 15, 1985
David A. Bell: How one group of immigrants found its place in America.
The Iacocca Mystique
July 16, 1984
Something about Lee Iacocca inspires exaggeration. Twenty years ago, as general manager of Ford, he made the cover of both Time and Newsweek with his hot new car, the Mustang. Time began its story this way, Iacocca in the driver’s seat: The trim white car rolled restlessly through the winding roads of Bloomtield Hills, like a high-strung pony dancing to get started on its morning run … The driver of a Volkswagen raised his fingers in a V-for-victory sign. As the car picked up speed and headed southward toward Detroit, a flickering trace of satisfaction crossed its driver’s hawklike face.
In Strange Company
April 21, 1982
Has Niebuhr-mania gone too far?
A House Built on Sand
September 03, 1977
Jungle Beach at Chilmark on Martha's Vineyard used to be the toniest plage in Massachusetts. A haven for bathers clothed and nude, it derived its name from the thick brush that cut it off from the island's south shore road. Reaching the beach involved hacking through the thicket, but the reward was a beach free of the crowding, vendors and photochemical oxidants of more popular spots. That was until a syndicate led by Robert Strange McNamara won control of Jungle Beach in an estate sale.
Washington's Segregated Schools
July 09, 1977
Walking along a tree-shaded avenue "west of the park" in Washington, DC, you would not guess that three-quarters of the people in the city are black. In the narrow slice of real estate above the Potomac River and west of Rock Creek, you can find the city's best houses, many of the best restaurants and virtually all of the good schools. Most neighborhoods are reasonably well off, and some are glaringly white. Yet the city's public schools, even in this far northwest section, are quite different.
July 09, 1977
Why is housing so expensive here? Some special circumstances have held down supply, notably insufficient sewer capacity. But the important factors are on the demand side. Housing prices in Washington are astronomical for the same reason that Bloomingdale's has built two stores in the DC suburbs, its first ventures outride the New York area. It is the same reason Lord and Taylor has three stores hereabouts and Nieman Marcus will be moving in shortly from Texas. Why are there six Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the Washington area and only five in Chicago?