D. D. Guttenplan, "The Nation: A Biography" (The Nation Co., 2015)


The Nation magazine turned 150 this year, a striking achievement for a publication that is firmly on the left of the political spectrum. It was founded in 1865 just months after the Civil War ended and Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. To celebrate a century and a half in print, the magazine has published a book on its history written by D. D. Guttenplan, a Nation correspondent based in London. The Nation: A Biography (The Nation Co., 2015) traces the tumultuous history of America's oldest weekly from the causes and controversies that shaped it to the rebels, mavericks and visionaries who edited and wrote for it. Along the way, The Nation has featured the work of such notable people as Albert Einstein, Emma Goldman, Molly Ivins, I.F. Stone, Ralph Nader, Martin Luther King Jr. and Hunter S. Thompson. In this New Books Network interview, Guttenplan talks about how The Nation veered sharply right in its early years to become the voice of the eastern establishment and then, how it gradually regained its radical roots. He says though that The Nation has always been consistent on one great theme: its opposition to the growth of American Empire from conquests in Cuba, Hawaii and the Philippines in its early decades to the War in Vietnam and the invasion of Iraq in its later ones.

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