Lewis Lapham: Former Harper's editor starts history magazine





I'm an assistant editor at Lapham's Quarterly, a new history magazine started by Lewis Lapham, the editor of Harper's for many years. We're launching our first issue tomorrow, entitled "States of War," and it will be available on newsstands across the country, including Barnes & Noble and Borders. The issue includes both historical texts (ranging from Thucydides to Jessica Lynch) and contemporary commentary from Fritz Stern, Caleb Carr, Tom Holland, and John Mueller. By connecting the present with the past, we're hoping to place current political events within the context of their historical antecedents.

We also run two regularly updated history blogs on our website, www.laphamsquarterly.org. Our "Déjà vu" feature matches current events with similar stories from history. In recent entries, we've compared Nancy Pelosi's speech on the cost of the Iraq war to Dwight D. Eisenhower's speech on the cost of the Cold War (Crosses of Iron), and the Chrysler auto workers strike to the Homestead strike against the Carnegie Steel Company (Union Jacked). The endless flow of information from news outlets often makes it difficult to see the contemporary world from a broader perspective. I think the readers of HNN will appreciate our efforts to provide the public discourse with a historical backdrop.

Our second blog, "Paper Trails," will be of particular interest to your readers. It features a historical personage every week, and includes three or four original documents scanned in from the manuscripts division of the New York Public Library. These documents aren't available anywhere else on the Web, and give a colorful, human voice to individuals of distant eras. Where else can you read Alexander Hamilton's handwritten letter to Mrs. Hamilton about gardening in their Harlem home? We hope that "Paper Trails" will provide history enthusiasts everywhere with access to a treasure trove of rare items from the NYPL archive.

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