Indians and the American Story
Plus: Why Jacqueline Kennedy Dreaded Going to Dallas
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PETER C. MEILAENDER: Indians and the American Story.
I AM SURELY NOT THE ONLY PERSON with vague memories of learning about the first Thanksgiving back in second or third grade: turkey, corn, pumpkins, and Pilgrims in funny hats alongside Indians in headdresses, sharing a celebratory feast and pledging mutual friendship. And I imagine I’m not the only person for whom those feel-good images of colonial America marked one of the last appearances of our country’s native peoples in my history curriculum. The first Americans tend not to figure prominently when we tell our national story.
Ned Blackhawk, a Yale professor of history and American studies, aims to change that with his recent book The Rediscovery of America, which last week won the 2023 National Book Award for nonfiction.
DAVID HEAD: When Historians Complain About Movies.
“GET A LIFE!” THAT’S HOW RIDLEY SCOTT, out promoting his new epic Napoleon, responded to criticism of the movie’s historical accuracy. Scott was triggered by a TikTok video from British pop historian and documentary maker Dan Snow pointing out problems such as the emperor’s supposedly humble origins (he was a nobleman’s son); Marie Antoinette’s wild mane as she went to the guillotine (her hair was cropped short that day); Napoleon’s witnessing her execution (he was in southern France when it happened, not Paris); French troops cannonading a pyramid (the only ones at the Battle of the Pyramids were in the name); and Napoleon leading cavalry charges (the commander wouldn’t do that).
Scott bristles when journalists ask about the real history behind the movie. “Were you there?” he boasts of asking historians. “No? Well, shut the f*** up.”
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JILL D. LAWRENCE: Trump Rallies are Tutorials in Hate, Vulgarity, and Disrespect.
“MOM, I DON’T THINK YOU SHOULD SEE THIS. You should leave the room.”
That was my younger son, age 7 or 8, purportedly trying to “protect” me years ago from a risqué music video on MTV.
We were relatively permissive parents. The boys watched MTV and The Simpsons from an early age—so many episodes of the latter so many times each that even now, in their thirties, both of them can spout the perfect bit of dialogue to fit any occasion, no matter how surreal. I see now they were right—that show was hilariously and cuttingly on the nose about everything.
PAUL BRANDUS: Why Jacqueline Kennedy Dreaded Going to Dallas.
“I’LL HATE EVERY MINUTE OF IT,” Jacqueline Kennedy said, as she contemplated her upcoming visit to Texas with her husband. More foreboding words have never been spoken.
It was November 15, 1963, and the first lady was with her friend Robin Douglas-Home, the nephew of the new British prime minister, at the Kennedys’ country retreat near Middleburg, Virginia. It was a dazzling fall day, the air crisp and the leaves a palette of gold and red.
Happy Wednesday! Today’s Overtime is shorter than usual today, as we prepare for our Thanksgiving festivities at the temporary Bulwark Southwest Florida bureau, which we jokingly call “The Olive Garden” due to the Tuscan-inspired architecture. Alas, we’re having dinner from there tonight! Some housekeeping: No TNB this week.
If you have any holes in tomorrow’s meal schedule, don’t worry, we have you covered!
As readers have shared their favorite recipes in….
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Gordon W. Gilkey’s Report on German War Art… Friend of the newsletter, Washingtonian senior editor Andrew Beaujon found this missing report and transcribed it for the good of the order.
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