The Armchair Historian
One year (six issues)
A welcome newcomer to the small firmament of popular magazines devoted to history, this trim, goodlooking bimonthly published in Chicago compresses a great deal of interesting material into a thirtytwo-page compass. Among the offerings in the first issue is a review of Patrick O’Brian’s superb—and superbly accurate—novels of British sea life in Nelson’s day by John Lehman, who, as a former Secretary of the Navy, knows something about maritime concerns. The second issue looks at subjects as diverse as the Islamic revolution, American shortcomings at the Yalta Conference, and Ted Turner’s epic movie about the Battle of Gettysburg. This last, by the way, draws pretty high marks from so knowledgeable an observer as Shelby Foote, who was impressed by Martin Sheen’s portrayal of Lee (“It was a very daring performance. … Sheen managed to communicate that he was somewhat off-balance, nervous, that he was caught in the fly-paper”) and Tom Berenger as Longstreet (although “I wish I could have given him fifty dollars and told him to go buy himself a better beard”).