“After the Bomb, a War on Information”—Lapham’s Quarterly

We just published an excerpt from Susan Southard’s new book “Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War” on the LQ website. It’s a fascinating look at how the U.S systematically censored information about the bomb both in Japan and the U.S. and how everything fell apart with the publication of John Hersey’s “Hiroshima” in the New Yorker.


As the Met Abandons Blackface, a Look at the Legacy of African Americans in Opera

For the first time since the opera’s 1891 premiere, the Metropolitan Opera will not use blackface on the star role in Otello. Allison Kinney has an amazing essay up at Hyperallergic about the history of blackface in opera and the roles available to black opera singers.


Forged Lives—Lapham’s Quarterly

Belle da Costa Greene was J.P. Morgan’s personal librarian and the first head of the Morgan library. She uncovered a prolific forger of medieval manuscurpts—the Victorian-era “Spanish Forger”—all the while covering up her mixed-race ancestry.


On Chicken Tenders — Guernica

“Chicken tenders have no history, they have no metatext, they have no terroir.” Read this beautiful meditation on the chicken tender ASAP.


Confidence Codes—Lapham’s Quarterly

I’m closing out our “Swindle & Fraud” issue with a week of essays on scams and scammers. First up: the colonial origins of Indian and Nigerian 420 & 419 scams. (With awesome music videos such as the infectious “I Go Chop Your Dollar”)


By Reason of Insanity — Lapham’s Quartely

Here’s a fun historical piece we just published by Alexis Coe. It’s about the first successful use of the insanity plea in American legal history, and it involves cold-blooded murder, adultery, a teenage bridge, the son of Francis Scott Key, and an amputation by cannonball.


Can China Take a Joke? — NYT Magazine

Chris Beam just kills it in the NYT Magazine about China’s sometimes hard-to-parse relationship with comedy—especially stand-up comedy.