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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.
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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.”