Plus: Nuclear North Korea and Earth Day |

April 20, 2017

By Lily Rothman

The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough had a busy week. His new book, a collection of speeches, was released on Tuesday. Right after that, the new Museum of the American Revolution — for which he served on the first board of scholars — opened in Philadelphia.

TIME History’s Olivia B. Waxman sat down with McCullough in the middle of all that, and he explained how what he saw as President Trump’s dismissive attitude toward history inspired him to put the book together. He also shared his thoughts on what future historians will make of all the Facebook posts we’re leaving for them to comb through. Olivia told me that she was particularly fascinated to hear what he had to say about the Founding Fathers’ flaws, and his reminder that, in her words, “great leadership in history has always been a team effort.”

Here’s more of the history that made news this week:

'Annie Hall' at 40: Read TIME's Original Review

"At least as poignant as it is funny"

A First Look at Rare Avedon Portraits of the Kennedy Family

The Smithsonian is putting the photographs on display to commemorate the centennial of the 35th U.S. President's birth

The Guys Who Coined '420' on Their Place in Pot History

They tell TIME how it all started in 1971

Searching for the Soldier Who Saved Ernest Hemingway’s Life

No one knows his name. Until now no one cared to find it

When the U.S. Contemplated Nuclear Action in North Korea

Leaders discussed the use of atomic weapons in Korea in a meeting in March of 1953


Aug. 26, 2002

April 22 Is Earth Day

“For starters, let's be clear about what we mean by "saving the earth." The globe doesn't need to be saved by us, and we couldn't kill it if we tried. What we do need to save—and what we have done a fair job of bollixing up so far—is the earth as we like it, with its climate, air, water and biomass all in that destructible balance that best supports life as we have come to know it. Muck that up, and the planet will simply shake us off, as it's shaken off countless species before us. In the end, then, it's us we're trying to save—and while the job is doable, it won't be easy.” (Aug. 26, 2002)

Read the full story

Dec. 9, 1996

“Just Say What?”

“The young indulging in pot these days are mostly the children of the baby boomers, who, once upon a time in the '60s, took to reefer as their recreational sacrament, their generation's almost universal drug of defiance. Now the boomers, who were raised on episodes of Ozzie and Harriet (and, if anything, identified with David and Ricky), find, to their astonishment, that they themselves have become Ozzie and Harriet: middle-aged! Parents! Conventional! It is a discomfiting transition, as if former members of a Dionysus cult were asked to take up duties as parole officers.” (Dec. 9, 1996)

Read the full story

Apr. 26, 2004

The First TIME 100 List

“If you want to know the forces that are changing the world we live in, you will find some answers in maps, statistics and graphs. But you will not have met the future until you make your acquaintance with a few of the most irresistible forces of all. As history has demonstrated, a relative handful of humans with strong ideas and a determination to pursue them has an outsize impact on the rest of us. If the great men and women of ancient times were kings and queens, nautical explorers and epic poets, now we have superpower Presidents, technological titans and religious zealots who can upend the status quo in a nanosecond. Who is that core group today? Let us introduce you to the TIME 100, the most powerful and influential people of 2004.” (Apr. 26, 2004)

Read the full story


Artists Acknowledged At Artsy, Alexxa Gotthardt highlights a new book, Broad Strokes by Bridget Quinn, which attempts to remedy the absence of female artists from standard art-history curricula.

Take the Cake The fascinating history of wedding cake is explored at NPR by Nicole Jankowski, and it makes a bride of today glad she doesn’t live in Ancient Rome, where her marriage would have been celebrated by breaking the cake over her head.

Dark History The Slate Academy series on the history of fascism continues with an excerpt from Martin Pugh’s Hurrah for the Blackshirts!: Fascists and Fascism in Britain Between the Wars, which explores the appeal of fascism for some women at the time.

Revolutionary If you can’t get to Philadelphia to check out the new Museum of the American Revolution there, Jennifer Schuessler at the New York Times provides a good overview.

Nuked A very different highlight from the Times is this Susan Strasser op-ed that delves into the history of the microwave oven and its impact on American family life.

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