One hundred years ago this spring, rowdy automobile caravans from all over the South and Midwest rolled into Chattanooga for the inaugural meeting of the Dixie Highway Association (DHA). It would have been no Sunday drive, according to Tammy Ingram: American roads at the time comprised a disconnected tangle of trails and country paths; most were shoulderless as a snake and twice as curvy, rutted tailbone breakers in good weather and bottomless bogs in the rain.Read more
In All the King’s Men (1946), Robert Penn Warren’s novel inspired by Huey Long, Warren uses a narrator, Jack Burden, to show the simultaneously corrosive and transformative effect that proximity to power can have, even on people of goodwill. We learn in James Romm’s Dying Every Day that it has ever been thus, with the stakes even higher in first-century Rome.Read more
Fantasies of the “noble savage” are nothing new, of course. There were Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s state-of-nature imaginings in the 18th century, and something similar appears even in the ancient epic Gilgamesh. In 1580, Montaigne compared holy-warring Europeans (unfavorably) with Brazilian cannibals, and the phrase itself first turns up in English in John Dryden’s 1672 play The Conquest of Granada.Read more
There’s been an Orange Revolution in Ukraine, a Rose Revolution in Georgia, and a Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia that helped launch last year’s Arab Spring. Is democracy sweeping the globe at last? Well—not yet, according to our author, a former editor at Foreign Policy who has been doing some globe-sweeping of his own (93,000 miles, give or take) over several years spent reporting for this volume.Read more
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