Title Reviewed:
American Heritage, Volume VI, Numbers 1 and 2

Author Reviewed:
Bruce Catton

Richard H. Caldemeyer


Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 183-184

Article Type:
Book Review

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American Heritage, Volume VI, Numbers 1 and 2. Edited by Bruce Catton. (New York: American Heritage Publishing Company, December, 1954, and February, 1955. Illustrations. $2.95 each.)

In 1949, the American Association for State and Local History sponsored the publication of a paper-backed quarterly called American Heritage, which was well received by the reading public. While this project was underway, another organization, the Society of American Historians, Inc., obtained pledges totaling a considerable sum of money from some influential Americans for the purpose of exploring the possibility of a magazine of history in book form. Realizing their common objective, these two groups now have pooled their resources in joint sponsorship of a periodical in book form. The result is a magazine of history which is handsomely bound between hard covers and which is to be published six times a year.

Many American historians have long recognized the need for some medium whereby history can be made more appealing to a greater number of people. Unfortunately the appeal of the many excellent scholarly articles which appear in the publications of the various historical societies is limited for the most part to the professional historian. Perhaps it is the highly specialized nature of the subject matter of these articles or it is the formidable array of footnotes which characterize the typical professional offering that has made these publications unattractive to the average lay reader. Maybe it is because the historical journals are for one reason or another inaccessible to the general public. Whatever the reason or reasons, the fact remains that comparatively few people read them.

If the first two numbers of this projected periodical are indicative of the caliber of articles to appear in subsequent numbers, American Heritage stands out as a welcome innovation in historical literature. Excellent writing combined with appropriate illustrations, photographs, and prints make for pleasant, enjoyable reading. As added attractions to the historically minded readers there are several pages of current book reviews, plus a couple of pages of notes bearing the caption "News of History." In short, American Heritage promises to bridge the gap between the offerings of the ultra-pure historians and the superficial works of popular writers.

Ball State Teachers College Richard H. Caldemeyer

Published by theĀ Indiana University Department of History.