Past Tense

The historical novel isn’t cool. Popular? Yes. Enduring? Yes. A bit, well — for nerds? Also yes. Coolness lies in being at the right place at the right time.
A pink, fluffy cloud raining colorful cubes, reminiscent of pieces of data.

What Do We Owe? Generosity, Attribution, and the Perilous Invisibility of Research Infrastructure

Attribution can make visible the vast infrastructure of research and display how much hard-won knowledge, including creative endeavor, it has faciliated.
Map of the Mason-Dixon line.

Mason-Dixon Lines

The boundary lines preceding Mason and Dixon, everybody knows, were a sham. What’s to follow will be no better.
Person holding a blonde American Girl doll and American Girl bag

All Dolled Up

How American Girl transformed the doll world—and why millennials love it so.
A photograph of Dennis Lehane next to the cover of his book, Small Mercies.

The Other South

Coming to terms with Boston’s racist legacy in “Small Mercies."

A Tale of Two Toms

The uses and abuses of history through the "diary" of Thomas Fallon.
A couple of "Dear America" books laid out

How The Dear America Series Taught Young Girls They Had A Place In History

History classes made it seem like young girls wouldn't ever change the course of the world. These books taught them that they could.
Bacon's Rebellion, 1676-1677

Bacon's Rebellion: My Pitch

A drama about an interracial uprising in colonial Virginia.

A Very Lost Cause Love Affair

Is it possible to write a good Civil War romance?

Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Narratives of Freedom

In Coates's debut novel, he sets out to recover the struggles for emancipation that have been lost to the past.
Rednecks by Taylor Brown.

The Battle of Blair Mountain and Stories Untold: A Conversation with Taylor Brown

An interview with Taylor Brown, author of the novel "Rednecks."
A drawing of a television screen between the fingers of someone framing an image of barbed wire.

The Problem With TV's New Holocaust Obsession

From 'The Tattooist of Auschwitz' to 'We Were the Lucky Ones,' a new wave of Holocaust dramas feel surprisingly shallow.
A photograph of the SS Eastland.

Checking out Historical Chicago: Cynthia Pelayo's "Forgotten Sisters"

The SS Eastland disaster and Chicago's ghosts.
Civil War soldiers on horseback with pistols.

The Hunt for John Wilkes Booth Goes On

A new television miniseries depicts the pursuit of Lincoln’s killer. But the public appetite for tales about the chase began even as it was happening.
The cover of "The Deadline" by Jill Lepore.

The Hold of the Dead Over the Living

A conversation with Jill Lepore about the past decade — “a time that felt like a time, felt like history.”
Israel Joshua Singer.

The Forgotten Giant of Yiddish Fiction

Though his younger brother Isaac Bashevis Singer eventually eclipsed him, Israel Joshua Singer excelled at showing characters buffeted by the tides of history.
Painting of waves crashing in the ocean by Winslow Homer

After Melville

In every generation, writers and readers find new ways to plumb the depths of Herman Melville and his work.
Martial arts fighting scene from Warrior.

Bruce Lee’s “Warrior,” and the Politics of Kung Fu

The Max series makes a radical argument for what constitutes American history.
Oppenheimer movie poster.

Fact, Fiction, and the Father of the Bomb

On Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer.”
Drawing from two perspectives of an African American man and a Jewish woman between a grocery store and a theater.

Lost Histories of Coexistence

James McBride’s new novel tells a story of solidarity between Black and Jewish communities.