Articles From This Author
Why Stalin Tried to Stamp Out Religion in the Soviet Union
When the era of Communist rule began in Russia in 1917, religion was seen as a hindrance to a thriving socialist society. As Karl Marx, coauthor of the The Communist Manifesto, declared, “Communism begins where atheism begins.” Joseph Stalin, as the second leader of the Soviet ...read more
As the Allies Closed in on Hitler, They Jockeyed for Future World Dominance
In the final months of World War II, as Nazi Germany began to crumble, capturing Berlin had become the ultimate political and military prize. For the Allies—Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union—this was the chance to take the symbolic seat of Hitler’s expansionist, and ...read more
Why Hitler Secretly Met With a Japanese General During WWII
In December 1940, three months after Japan, Germany and Italy signed their “Tripartite Pact” World War II alliance, a convoy of Japanese military leaders headed for Berlin to learn from their new allies. At the head of the group was General Tomoyuki Yamashita, a veteran ...read more
Quarantined for Life: The Tragic History of US Leprosy Colonies
For millennia, a diagnosis of leprosy meant a life sentence of social isolation. People afflicted with the condition now known as Hansen’s disease—a bacterial infection that ravages the skin and nerves and can cause painful deformities—were typically ripped from their families, ...read more
Did George Washington Believe in God?
George Washington’s writings have long served as a guide to America’s first president—what he thought, how he made his decisions, even how he felt about his wife. But when it comes to his personal religious beliefs, Washington seems to have been a closed book—or, at least, ...read more
Horrors of Auschwitz: The Numbers Behind WWII's Deadliest Concentration Camp
Auschwitz was the largest and deadliest of six dedicated extermination camps where hundreds of thousands of people were tortured and murdered during World War II and the Holocaust under the orders of Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler. As one of the greatest tragedies ...read more
Amid the Holocaust's Horrors, Many Jews Found Ways to Mark Hanukkah
There was little room for light in Theresienstadt—especially in the darkness of early December. Some 140,000 Czech Jews came through the Nazi camp-ghetto and holding pen, with almost one in four eventually submitting to disease or starvation. Those who survived were almost always ...read more
When President Carter Pardoned Draft Dodgers, Only Half Came Back
It was a move with the power to unite the country—even if it came at the cost of ruffling a few feathers. Just days after Jimmy Carter’s inauguration in 1977, the new President fulfilled a campaign promise: the granting of a blanket pardon to Vietnam War draft evaders by ...read more
The Failed Soviet Rival to the Flapper Dress
In post-revolutionary Russia, as the country’s thinkers attempted to work out a new way of life for citizens of the Soviet Union, a small number of artists grappled with a different problem: the clothes of the future. Soviet clothing, they reasoned, should be “rational,” ...read more
The Death-Defying Challenges of Military Logistics in Iraq
The first time A.J. Luna escaped death while serving in Iraq, it was thanks to a Marlboro menthol. It was a blisteringly hot day, and his unit was headed from Baghdad toward LSA Anaconda, an Iraqi air force base about 40 miles north. As part of a mile-long convoy of moving ...read more
When Dozens of Korean War GIs Claimed a UFO Made Them Sick
In May 1951, one year into the Korean War, PFC Francis P. Wall and his regiment found themselves stationed near Chorwon, about 60 miles north of Seoul. As they were preparing to bombard a nearby village with artillery, all of a sudden, the soldiers saw a strange sight up in the ...read more
9 Ways Stone Age Human Ancestors Were Like Us
The Stone Age began more than two million years ago, and ended around 3300 BC, as humans began to discover metalwork with the dawn of the Bronze Age. Compared to modern humans, Stone Age humans and human ancestors may have been primitive—but they were far more sophisticated than ...read more
How the First Foreign-Born First Lady Tackled Her Critics
When John Quincy Adams fell for the woman who would become his wife, his mother worried about the effect it might have on his political dreams, while the future bride’s American ex-pat father worried that Yankees made poor husbands. Louisa Catherine Johnson, as she was then ...read more
The Killer 1911 Heat Wave That Drove People Insane
In July 1911, along the East Coast of the United States, temperatures climbed into the 90s and stayed there for days and days, killing 211 people in New York alone. At the end of Pike Street, in Lower Manhattan, a young man leapt off a pier and into the water, after hours of ...read more
Was the First Person Executed in the Colonies a Mutineer or a Spy?
The seven original councillors of what would soon become the colony of Jamestown, Virginia, had voyaged for four long months between Great Britain and the New World. After nearly three weeks of looking, they chose the land for their new settlement of over 100 people on a swampy ...read more
Bermuda Triangle Mystery: What Happened to the USS Cyclops?
How could the biggest ship in the U.S. Navy vanish without trace? This was the question on many people’s minds in March 1918, when an enormous collier, the USS Cyclops, disappeared on a voyage between the West Indies to Baltimore. A century on, it’s no closer to being answered. ...read more
'Massive' Bones of Viking Descendants Found in an Italian Graveyard
Around 800 years ago, 10 people were laid to rest in a cemetery on the Italian island of Sicily. Three were women, two were children. But it was the male skeletons that caught the attention of local archaeologists who uncovered the bones earlier this year. They were far larger ...read more
What Sunk the Confederate Submarine the Hunley?
It was the first submarine in history to successfully sink an enemy ship. Made out of 40 feet of bulletproof iron, the H.L. Hunley was a Confederate submarine with a crew of eight. But despite its claim to fame, it was a dangerous vessel to be inside. In a career of just eight ...read more
Real 'Good Morning Vietnam' DJ Offered Escape for Young Troops
The early morning Armed Forces Vietnam Network radio show was called Dawn Busters, and began with a greeting that boomed forth into the dawn. Each day, host Adrian Cronauer would start his show with the salutation—“Goooooood morning, Vietnam!”—with the “good” stretching out for ...read more
The Sex Party-Loving Soviet Spy Who Infiltrated the CIA
In the early 1980s, Karl F. Koecher and his wife Hanna lived a gold-plated life in New York City’s swish Upper East Side. They drove a new, blue BMW and lived in a luxury co-op alongside the tennis star Ivan Lendl and the comedian Mel Brooks. Hanna was a diamond dealer, blue-eyed ...read more
Was the Escape from Alcatraz Successful?
It was one of the most ingenious prison breaks of all time—if it worked. In 1962, inmates and bank robbers Frank Morris and John and Clarence Anglin vanished from Alcatraz, the federal island penitentiary off the coast of San Francisco. They had used sharpened spoons to bore ...read more
The Trump Family's Immigrant Story
On October 7, 1885, Friedrich Trump, a 16-year-old German barber, bought a one-way ticket for America, escaping three years of compulsory German military service. He had been a sickly child, unsuited to hard labor, and feared the effects of the draft. It might have been illegal, ...read more
Two Presidents Died on the Same July 4: Coincidence or Something More?
On July 4, 1826, America celebrated 50 years of independence as, just a few hours apart, two of its Presidents took their final breaths. At the time of his death, Thomas Jefferson was 83, while John Adams had turned 90 the year before. Though both were unwell, their deaths came ...read more
The Hate Crime Solved After 34 Years
One night in October 1983, two white men waited outside a local dance club near Sunny Side, Georgia for a black man, Timothy Coggins. Coggins was young, exuberant, loved to dance—and was known to date white women. When Coggins emerged, according to court testimony, they lured him ...read more
What Drove Evel Knievel to Keep Battering His Body?
Americans loved Evel Knievel. They loved his ruggedness—a wild boy from Butte, Montana, grown into a swashbuckling superstar, King of the Daredevils, somewhere between Buffalo Bill and the Greatest Show on Earth. They loved to watch him fly. And even as it made them wince, they ...read more
O.J. Simpson's Getaway Car: What Happened to the White Ford Bronco?
For the White Bronco—perhaps the most infamous vehicle of the late 20th century—it’s been a long, strange trip since the freeway chase that riveted the world. It was midday on Friday June 17, 1994, and Los Angeles police authorities were waiting for Orenthal James “O.J.” Simpson ...read more
Heist Master Doris Payne Swiped Millions in Jewels Over 70-Year Span
Growing up in the 1930s in segregated coal mining country in West Virginia, Doris Payne played a game she called “Miss Lady.” She’d don a hat and purse, and imagine herself living a life far from her own impoverished circumstances. This ability to cast herself as someone else ...read more
Julia Child’s Spy Days Included Work on a Shark Repellent
Was Julia Child a spy? Well, sort of. During the final two years of the Second World War, the woman who would one day be renowned for bringing French cuisine to American kitchens was stationed in Asia, working with top security clearance at the organization which would ...read more
Did a Jewish Collaborator Betray Anne Frank to the Nazis?
A car pulled up outside a narrow brick building in central Amsterdam, around 10 a.m. on August 4, 1944. High up in the Annex of 263 Prinsengracht, eight Jews had been hiding since 1942. Members of the Gestapo emerged from the car and made their way inside, where they arrested ...read more
For 11 Years, the Soviet Union Had No Weekends
For the urban workforce of the Soviet Union, September 29, 1929, was a Sunday like any other—a day of rest after six days of labor. Sunday was the prize at the finish line: a day’s holiday, where people might see family, attend church or clean their homes. But in the eyes of the ...read more
Hitler’s Teeth Reveal Nazi Dictator’s Cause of Death
In a new study, French scientists analyzed fragments of Adolf Hitler’s teeth to prove that he died in 1945, after taking cyanide and shooting himself in the head. The research, published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine in May 2018, seeks to end conspiracy theories ...read more
Early Americans Buried Their Dogs Like Family
We lived alongside mammoths, had not yet discovered bronze or writing and spent our lives moving constantly from place to place. But even 10,000 years ago, human beings loved their pet dogs. This fact is borne out in an ancient gravesite in Illinois, where a trio of dogs were ...read more
New Study Debunks Tales of Mass Suicide at Custer’s Last Stand
It’s among the most famous and controversial battles ever fought on American soil. At Custer’s Last Stand, in June 1876, the U.S. Army was outnumbered and overwhelmed by Native American warriors, along the banks of the Little Bighorn River. By the end of the battle, some 268 ...read more