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Doomsday, Take Two

Posted May 31st, 2011 at 12:18 pm (UTC-4)

You know how it is when you tell people a riveting story about a good movie or book or sporting event? They want to know how it turned out.  So I waited to be sure it hadn’t really happened before I wrote about the most recent End of the World. By now you have probably […]

Civil War Photo Bonus

Posted May 26th, 2011 at 3:39 pm (UTC-4)

In preparing the previous four stories about U.S. Civil War sites and their histories, I gathered and posted a number of related photographs. And I was left with dozens more to choose from. If you’re one who believes the old adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and that photographs as well as […]

Gettysburg to Surrender

Posted May 24th, 2011 at 7:21 pm (UTC-4)
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Like a pesky fly that neither swatter nor sledgehammer can seem to catch and crush — or a hero who lived to fight another day in cliffhanger movie serials a couple of generations ago — undermanned but determined Confederate forces kept eluding certain destruction in the first two years of the American Civil War.   […]

Second Bull Run Through Chancellorsville

Posted May 23rd, 2011 at 1:47 pm (UTC-4)
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In our short course on the U.S. Civil War, we — or rather Union forces —made it as far as the outskirts of Richmond, Virginia, in 1862.  There the grinding war, barely a year old, might have been brought to a triumphant close had cocky, but overcautious, Union general-in-chief George McClellan pressed his advantage in […]

Fort Sumter Through the Peninsula Campaign

Posted May 20th, 2011 at 9:51 am (UTC-4)
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As I told you when I first started this written adventure, I’d be asking you to put up with occasional sorties into American history as a backdrop to what our nation has become today.  So pack your imaginary bags! I promised last time that I’d take you on a two- or three-part written and visual […]

A Poor Man’s Fight

Posted May 18th, 2011 at 12:19 pm (UTC-4)

The transcendent U.S. Civil War historian Shelby Foote came across a slogan used by southern opponents of secession and war — of which there weren’t many in a region that romanticized the rectitude of the cause. Poking the mighty northern bear, they warned, would lead to “a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight.” […]

The Last Days of Conversation

Posted May 16th, 2011 at 4:15 pm (UTC-4)
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The “Ted Landphair’s America” blog that provoked the most feedback was “Math, Smath,” about the pluses and minuses — if you’ll forgive the pun — of requiring high-school students to take Advanced Algebra. Some of the replies broadened the issue into a discussion about modern education.  They were illuminating, and I particularly want to call […]

Oh Happy Day

Posted May 12th, 2011 at 1:44 pm (UTC-4)

Money is often said to be capitalist America’s brass ring.  But judging by a recent spate of media stories, I believe that it’s happiness instead. There’s an old saying that “money doesn’t buy happiness,” but those who say it are usually quick to add that a few bucks in your pocket make the road there […]

Reparations Simmer — On a Far Back Burner

Posted May 9th, 2011 at 7:00 pm (UTC-4)
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You may have heard the term “reparations.” It comes from the same root word as “repair,” and it refers to repairing, or correcting, a past wrong with some sort of tangible payment. The idea of compensating victims of terrible mistreatment is not new. Ten years ago or so, Austria established a $380-million fund to recompense […]

U.S.A. “The Uninformed States of America”?

Posted May 5th, 2011 at 2:18 pm (UTC-4)

A while back, Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker wrote a troubling piece in which she described a trend that doesn’t seem to bother the country much.  But it worries me! She laid out the appalling results of two national studies, one that tested the “civic literacy” of freshmen and seniors at 50 universities across the […]

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Ted Landphair


This is a far-ranging exploration of American life by a veteran Voice of America “Americana” reporter and essayist.

Ted writes about the thousands of places he has visited and written about as a broadcaster and book author. Ted Landphair’s America often showcases the work of his wife and traveling companion, renowned American photographer Carol M. Highsmith.

Ted welcomes feedback, questions, and ideas. View Ted’s profile. Watch a video about Ted and Carol by VOA’s Nico Colombant.

Photos by Carol M. Highsmith


May 2011
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