At last, a historical perspective on the one subject that everybody talks about at least once every day. “The weather,” said Mark Twain, “is always doing something … always getting up new designs and trying them on people to see how they will go.” In the June/July issue, we reveal how wind, rain, calms, and turbulences have worked those designs on Americans over the years. The prominent weather historian David M. Ludlum surveys our climate
from the time of Cotton Mather (who brought the same heroic obsessiveness to his weather observations that he did to everything else) to the latest hardware scanning the atmosphere from space. And William B. Meyer will trace the course of our long battle to control the weather, from modest efforts like sending up dynamite kites to such epic measures as blocking the strait between Newfoundland and America.
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes had a far longer, far more influential career than most men, and yet the major experience of his life came early. It was his service in the Civil War, and it haunted him down the decades. Wounded on three separate occasions in some of the worst fighting of the war, he nevertheless felt that he had failed to do his full duty. In a moving essay, Miller B. Zobel, himself a distinguished jurist, shows how the conflict colored every aspect of Holmes’s life, filled his speech with the metaphor of battle, and kept him conscious always of his Harvard classmates whose lives the war had consumed.
The transformation that overtook our Navy when wind-driven ships became obsolete was agonizing—one officer chose to cut his throat rather than learn how steam engines worked- and grimly hilarious. Elting E. Morison shows how order finally emerged from chaos, and tells what our own technological age can learn from the ordeal of those old sailors.
The great landscape gardener Beatrix Farrand … the great Coca-Cola bottle … the great caricaturist Edward Sorel on the great caricaturist William Auerbach-Levy … and, with the profligacy to which our readers have become accustomed, more.