Plus: Wildfires and 3D-printed guns |

August 09, 2018

By Lily Rothman

This weekend marks the release of Spike Lee’s new movie BlacKkKlansman, which is both the subject of this week’s TIME cover story and also a chance to look at one of the more surprising incidents in the history of modern American race relations: the real moment when, in the late 1970s, an African-American cop in Colorado posed as a Ku Klux Klan member to infiltrate the organization. TIME’s Olivia B. Waxman spoke to Ron Stallworth, the man whose true story inspired the film, about what the movie gets right, what it gets wrong and how things have changed since then. Click here to read the whole interview.


What I Learned Researching the Deadliest U.S. School Disaster

School tragedies have become agonizingly commonplace, but the school disaster that claimed the most lives in American history has been widely forgotten

The Way America Fights Wildfires Changed 30 Years Ago

But people keep making the situation worse

How the U.S. and Japan Became Allies Even After Hiroshima

Monday marked the anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Thursday is the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, but today the U.S. and Japan have a close relationship

The Story of the Only Known Photo of Marilyn Monroe and JFK

It was taken by the official White House photographer

The Surprising WWII History of a 3D-Printed Gun

The original Liberator that inspired the 3D-printed version was a little-known, little-used World War II-era sheet-metal pistol designed to be airdropped to resistance fighters


Aug. 10, 1981

This Week in 1981: I Scream, You Scream…

“Ice-cream sales in the U.S. hit a peak in 1975 and since then have declined slightly (from 15.69 qt. per capita last year to 14.62 qt.), but sales of the most expensive and best-tasting brands have been increasing by about 17% a year and now command 11% of the market. Americans produced 829,798,000 gal. of ice cream in all grades last year, and we eat more of it than anybody else, with Australians and New Zealanders spooning their way across the finish line a distant second and third. If all that tonnage is hard to get the teeth into, conceptually, the International Association of Ice Cream Manufacturers is happy to calculate that it would provide ten single-scoop cones for every human being on earth, an idea that might make the MX missile unnecessary—at least until the chocolate chip ran out.” (Aug. 10, 1981)

Read the full story

Aug. 9, 1982

Today in 1982: Ted Turner

“Ted Turner, 43, is a prototypical modern celebrity, famous above all for being famous. He is not so much renowned for his achievements as his achievements are renowned for being his. He became ‘an American folk hero,’ a characterization he embraces, as a once successful, twice beaten and now retired yachtsman in the America's Cup, scarcely a sporting event to figure in barroom betting. He has also been a regional billboard magnate, the owner of a newly thriving but previously cellar-dwelling baseball team and a somewhat more reliable basketball team, and the licensee of a non-network-affiliated UHF television station in Atlanta, TV's 17th largest market. Turner has vaulted past those pursuits to what he calls, with characteristic bombast, ‘the most significant achievement in the annals of journalism.’" (Aug. 9, 1982)

Read the full story

Aug. 10, 1959

This Week in 1959: Change in Hawaii

“On Kauai and the Big Island, and on each of the other luxuriant, diamondlike islands of the chain, the people of Hawaii were casting their votes in the first major election since Congress enacted the statehood bill last March. Never before had such a pageant launched an American state. To the polling places came men in bright aloha shirts and slacks, women in cotton-print Western dresses and loose-fitting, ankle-length muumuus. They were Japanese, Chinese, Korean. Filipino, Puerto Rican, purebred Hawaiian and haole (Caucasian), and combinations thereof, and they represented together the broad racial spectrum that gives Hawaii its unique vitality.” (Aug. 10, 1959)

Read the full story


Pop Quiz Lynn Q. Yu’s deep look at the time Agnes Scott College beat Princeton on the College Bowl quiz show in 1966, for Slate, is a riveting underdog story.

Prison Library Tina Jordan at the New York Times does us all a favor by rounding up book reviews that were written by Sing Sing prisoners and reprinted in the Times in 1911.

Shot Down At The Conversation, Timothy D. Lytton outlines some of his research into the history of “rogue” gun makers, in light of the news about 3D-printed weapons.

Influential Women BBC History ran a poll asking readers which woman “had the biggest impact on world history.” The results are in, and Marie Curie’s on top.

True Story NPR’s Anya Kamenetz speaks to James Loewen about the new edition of his bestselling book Lies My Teacher Told Me.

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