Plus: Spelling bees and ‘Roots’ |

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May 26, 2016

By Lily Rothman

This week, Katy Steinmetz offered us a behind-the-scenes look at how the wine world shifted on its axis 40 years ago—thanks, in part, to a former TIME reporter who happened to accept an invitation to a tasting. Katy caught up with that reporter, George Taber, as well as the people who made it possible for California wine to best French wine in a blind tasting. Taber was the only reporter to see California’s victory and the article he wrote, as Katy puts it, “reoriented the world of wine forever.”

“The four paragraphs he wrote not only helped put Napa on the map,” she says, “but proved the power of journalism.”

It’s a riveting read for anyone who loves wine, America or just a good underdog story. And we can all drink to that. You can click here to read the whole thing.

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

HISTORY ON TIME.COM
Past Winners of the National Spelling Bee: Where They Are Now

In their own ways, these champs found out that their skills would spell success

Why the United States Dropped Atomic Bombs in 1945

We may debate the morality of the choice, but history can show why American officials would have thought the bomb was necessary

D.A. Pennebaker: Behind the Making of Dont Look Back

On the occasion of Bob Dylan's 75th birthday and a new gallery exhibit, the Dylan doc filmmaker talks to TIME

How Lincoln Became the Only U.S. President to Hold a Patent

His "manner of buoying vessels" was patented on May 22, 1849

Dunkirk's Aftermath as Seen by Hitler's Personal Photographer

These images from Dunkirk—the WWII evacuation of which began on May 26, 1940—were never published by LIFE Magazine

FROM THE TIME VAULT

Feb. 14, 1977

The Original Roots

“For eight consecutive nights, tens of millions of Americans were riveted by [Alex] Haley's story of his family's passage from an ancestral home in Africa to slavery in America and, finally, to freedom. Along the way, Americans of both races discovered that they share a common heritage, however brutal; that the ties that link them to their ancestors also bind them to each other. Thus, with the final episode, Roots was no longer just a bestselling book and a boffo TV production but a social phenomenon, a potentially important bench mark in U.S. race relations.” (Feb. 14, 1977)

Read the full story

May 25, 1998

This Week in 1998: Remembering Sinatra

“The title of an early Sinatra-James hit was one of those anthemic declarations of defiance that, over the years and through the decades, was to form the Sinatra autobiography: All or Nothing at All. That was Sinatra, then, now and ever: how he took and what he gave. Only his passing was uncharacteristic. It should have been something quick, furious, defiant. Instead, when he died of a heart attack last week at 82, it was lingering, pernicious, sad.“ (May 25, 1998)

Read the full story

910624

25 Years Ago: Thelma & Louise

Thelma & Louise is a movie whose scenes and themes lend themselves to provocative discussions. What business it's doing is in all the right places — the big cities and college towns where opinion makers are ever on the alert for something to make an opinion about. For their purposes, this movie is a natural. In the most literal sense of the word. For the picture has a curiously unselfconscious manner about it, an air of not being completely aware of its own subtexts or largest intentions, of being innocently open to interpretation, appropriate and otherwise.” (June 24, 1991)

Read the full story

HIGHLIGHTS FROM AROUND THE WEB

Georgetown Families Following up on its own investigation into the slaves who were sold to save Georgetown University in 1838, the New York Times reports on their descendants, who contacted the paper after reading the story.

Stamped Out Another from the Times: an Inverted Jenny, one of the most famous postage stamps in history, has been missing for decades and seems to have turned up at an auction in April. But what happened in between?

Parked Ahead of the 100th birthday of the National Parks System, David Rosenberg of Slate’s photo blog features some great highlights from the George Eastman Museum exhibition on the history of parks photography.

Harsh Climate The Guardian’s opinion section has this op-ed from Claudia Black-Kalinsky, who writes about her father’s work with Exxon in the 1970s and how he briefed the company on climate change.

Radical Feminist Babysitter Did you know that Mary Wollstonecraft worked as a governess? In a Longreads exclusive, Emma Garman dives into her lasting imprint on at least one of her charges.

 
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