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The Nation, America’s Oldest Weekly Magazine, Celebrates 150 Years
At Forefront of Politics, Arts, Culture, and Conversation
Blockbuster Commemorative Issue Out Today,
Free Download For All Readers
New York, NY — March 23, 2015 — The Nation, America’s oldest weekly magazine, celebrates its 150th anniversary with a quintuple-length, blockbuster edition of the magazine featuring the best and brightest of its past and present—out today. Co-edited by Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel and long-time correspondent D.D. Guttenplan, the contents are a ‘who’s who’ of the greatest American writers, thinkers, politicos, personalities and activists of the past two centuries, and a gathering of the journalists and rabble-rousers committed to instigating progress today.
“150 years as America’s oldest continuously published news weekly is a thrilling, if daunting, accomplishment,” says vanden Heuvel. "Change is inevitable, but the one constant in The Nation’s history has been faith—not in political parties or policies, but in what can happen when you tell people the truth. It is this notion that has sustained The Nation since its founding: that and the idea that there are always alternatives—in history, in politics, in life—that would make our country and the world a more humane, just and secure place. This special issue signals our enduring commitment to that philosophy."
Founded by abolitionists in 1865, The Nation has chronicled the breadth and depth of American political and cultural life from the debut of the telegraph to the rise of Twitter. This 268-page special issue revels in the magazine’s rich history, yet the issue, like The Nation, leans forward, weaving together both celebrated and surprising voices from the archives with those of friends and contributors commissioned especially for the 150th. And, while an indelible print experience, The Nation is offering the issue freely as a downloadable PDF for the first time ever. A select number of print copies are also available upon request.
In a fascinating conversation that spans generations, contemporary writers offer their own reflections on some of the most engaging articles from the archives. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio takes on a radical remedy for homelessness from 1920; MSNBC host Touré engages with Langston Hughes’s landmark commentary on black culture; historian Greg Grandin discusses William Appleman Williams and America-sans-empire; Vivan Gornick responds to Emma Goldman’s exploration of statelessness; and Paula Giddings reflects on Howard Zinn and the civil-rights movement.
Archival excerpts from every decade of the magazine’s existence feature some of the best that was thought and said in its pages—much of it inspiring and eerily prescient, some of it shocking, all of it fascinating to read. James Baldwin, Ralph Nader and Hunter S. Thompson—all of whom published their first pieces in The Nation—are featured, as are Martin Luther King, Jr., Albert Einstein, Henry James, Frederick Law Olmsted, Hannah Arendt, John Steinbeck, IF Stone, Jean-Paul Sartre, Stephen F. Cohen, Ray Bradbury, W.E.B. DuBois, Gore Vidal, Barbara Ehrenreich, Christopher Hitchens, Melissa Harris-Perry, John Leonard, Alexander Cockburn, Alice Walker, Edward Miliband, Tony Kushner, Molly Ivins, Jonathan Schell, Patricia J. Williams and Christopher Hayes, among others. Taken together, these excerpts comprise a history of the last 150 years in what The Nation called, in its very first issue, “the conflict of ages, the great strife between the few and the many, between privilege and equality, between law and power, between opinion and the sword.”
At the heart of the issue are three groups of original essays specially commissioned for this occasion, which demonstrate deep correspondences between past and present ideas about what it would mean to imagine a radically better future. In “The Nation and the Nation,” writers including Eric Foner, JoAnn Wypijewski, Rick Perlstein, Katha Pollitt, Betsy Pochoda, Peter Kornbluh and David Corn explore the magazine’s surprising influence on everything from poetry to feminism, radicalism to right-wing conservatism, Cuba to coverage of the arts.
“Fierce Urgencies” features contributors including Marilynne Robinson, Victor Navasky, Kai Bird and Michael Moore, who consider topics as pressing today as at any time in the last 150 years, including the politics of fear, from anticommunism in the 1950s to Islamophobia today, and the relationship of the left to power—in movements, in electoral politics and in government.
And with “Radical Futures,” great intellects and activists such as Toni Morrison, Rebecca Solnit, Jack O’Dell, Noam Chomsky, Stuart Klawans, EL Doctorow, Dave Zirin and Kshama Sawant map out new ideas and strategies for radicals, progressives and liberals seeking to expand the terms of public discussion and look beyond the present moment.
Throughout the special issue, The Nation also celebrates the magazine’s role as a cultural pioneer and provocateur, part of the lifeblood of American literature, by republishing a selection of the most dazzling poetry and art that has appeared in its pages, as well as newly commissioned work by some of the most exciting artists working today. There is also a selection of poetry which includes work by Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath, Amiri Baraka, W.H. Auden, Allen Ginsberg, Anne Sexton and William Carlos Williams.
Finally, preview excerpts from D.D. Guttenplan’s spirited new book, The Nation: A Biography (out in April) anchor the special issue with historical context, while selections from the transcript of a recent Nation-sponsored conversation at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture point the way toward a revival of the abolitionist project that launched The Nation in 1865, exploring what it might mean to actually finish the work of Reconstruction.
Throughout the year, The Nation is celebrating its 150th with an ongoing series of nationwide celebrations fostering dialogue, debate, reflection, and action. The magazine is also producing a variety of new print and digital products—including a masterfully revamped website in July—and a feature-length documentary, Hot Type, by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple.
For booking requests or further information please see contact information above.
ABOUT THE NATION
Founded in 1865, The Nation is America’s oldest weekly magazine, serving as a critical, independent voice in American journalism and a platform for investigative reporting and spirited debate on issues of import to the progressive community. Through changing times and fashions, The Nation and TheNation.com offer consistently informed and inspired reporting and analysis of breaking news, politics, social issues and the arts—never faltering in our editorial commitment to what Nation Publisher Emeritus Victor Navasky has called “a dissenting, independent, trouble-making, idea-launching journal of critical opinion.”
How did the United States get into another standoff with Russia—and where do we go from here? The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel and Stephen Cohen offered historical context on this question in a discussion with John Mearsheimer and moderated by Gilbert Doctorow in Brussels earlier this month.
At the March 2 discussion, “Defining a New Security Architecture for Europe That Brings Russia in From the Cold,” hosted by the American Committee for East-West Accord, Cohen explained that since the end of the Soviet regime, the United States has maintained an attitude of “winner-take-all,” refusing to negotiate with Russia and pursuing its interests at all costs.
“I would argue that since the Clinton-Bush era, triumphalism and the push for the spread of global liberalism supplanted the national interest as the true test of American foreign policy,” vanden Heuvel said. The Nation, she added, will provide a forum for the creation of a new foreign policy strategy based in progressive principles.
Read Next: Stephen Cohen on diplomacy in the Ukraine crisis
Nation contributing editor Stephen Cohen joined The John Batchelor Show on Tuesday to discuss the future of the Ukrainian crisis. In the aftermath of the implementation of the Minsk II agreements, Cohen questions whether Kiev will take the next step and give Eastern Ukraine a greater degree of autonomy. If this goes through successfully, at the end of the year, “control of the Russian-Ukrainian border…purportedly the border being crossed by Russian arms and maybe Russian troops into the war, that border will be returned to the control of the Kiev government.” But can this major step forward be accomplished with opponents of Minsk II on guard?
Read Next: Stephen Cohen on how NATO and Russia will be on the brink of war if Minsk II fails
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland has decided to retire from the NFL during the prime of his career because of concerns about the consequences of football-induced head trauma. The Nation’s sports editor Dave Zirin, joined MSNBC’s News Nation with Tamron Hall to discuss the significance of the 24-year-old’s decision to leave the game.
“Science is not the NFL’s friend,” Zirin said. “The more people know about the effects of tackle football, the more you’re going to see parents withhold their kids from playing and the more you’re going to see players make the kind of choice that Chris Borland is making.” Because a rising star like Borland was sure to receive a lucrative contract, Zirin argued, “he’s actually sacrificing something for the principle of his own health and that makes it a political act.”
—James F. Kelly
Read Next: Dave Zirin on why not even John Oliver can shame the NCAA
Will diplomacy prevail in Ukraine? The Nation’s Stephen Cohen joined The John Batchelor Show on Tuesday to discuss the feasibility of the Minsk II agreement and the increased war footing among NATO officials and policymakers in Washington.
Cohen argued that the “rhetorical war” on Minsk II is based on “political ideological imaginations,” because there is no “hard intelligence to back up the claims that there’s been this massive Russian invasion.” If Minsk II fails and fighting escalates, the United States and NATO face “a real chance of war with Russia,” Cohen said.
—James F. Kelly
Read Next: Stephen Cohen on why Minsk II may be the last chance
Is a federated state the only possibility for peace in Ukraine? The Nation’s Stephen Cohen thinks so, and he joined The John Batchelor Show on Tuesday to explain why.
On the show, Cohen and Batchelor discussed the latest developments in this month’s “Minsk II” negotiations. Cohen addressed NATO Deputy Commander Sir Adrian Bradshaw’s comment that the West should expect a Russia attack on a NATO member state, and also explained why he supports the current proposal for a Ukrainian federation. “I just don’t see why anyone who doesn’t have a primary agenda against Russia fails to understand that’s the only way to peace,” Cohen said.
Is the ongoing, brutal fighting in eastern Ukraine our Cuban Missile Crisis? On Tuesday, February 5, Nation contributing editor Stephen Cohen delivered a keynote speech at Fairfield University expressing just how high he thinks the geopolitical stakes have been raised in this conflict.
“The Europeans are in full panic and want this ended,” Cohen explained. “But they think the train may have left the station…. I look at the audience and I see people who not only were not born at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, but who weren’t alive when the Soviet Union ended. But believe me when I tell you, in the Cuban missile crisis, the discussion was, ‘Are we all gonna die in nuclear war?’”
Stephen Cohen, contributing editor at The Nation, joined The John Batchelor Show on Tuesday to talk about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, and whether or not the recent Minsk 2 deal will succeed.
“For all of us who don’t want war with Russia,” Cohen said, “Minsk 2 may be the last chance.” He explained that the recently brokered deal has a lot of “moving parts,” some of which may fail. But Cohen emphasized that the most important part is the fragile cease-fire. “Without the ceasefire,” he said, “none of the other parts—political, economic and the rest—come into play.”
Read Next: Stephen Cohen on why Obama’s actions toward Kiev are crucial in the Ukraine crisis
During a visit to The John Batchelor Show on Tuesday, Stephen Cohen, contributing editor at The Nation, spoke about the role of the United States in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. Much of the conversation centered around the White House’s statement that “if Russia continues its aggressive actions in Ukraine…costs for Russia will rise.”
“My folks in Russia tell me that Putin heard those words and his advisers interpreted those words as a direct threat by the president of the United States to Putin,” Cohen said. “That of course, is not a good way to go about this. There’s a force struggle, primarily in Washington, as to whether or not to enact this plan to arm Kiev with American and NATO weapons.”
Cohen said that Obama’s actions will be crucial in the ongoing crisis; if he does not send weapons to Kiev, he will face accusations of appeasement.
“But in this force struggle that’s going on in Washington now—as Harry Truman says—the buck stops with Obama,” Cohen said.
Read Next: Stephen Cohen on why arming Ukraine is not the answer
On Tuesday, Stephen F. Cohen joined Larry King on Politicking to talk about Ukraine as the new Berlin in today’s burgeoning Cold War. Cohen noted that Obama’s openness to providing Ukraine with lethal defensive weapons in the amount of $1 billion a year is the wrong foreign policy move in a time when negotiation and debate should be the long-term preventive solution. "We are coming to a turning point," Cohen said. "Obama will now decide."