Char Miller


Native Grounds

It’s tempting to blame Bishop George Berkeley for all that ails the American West. After all, the 18th-century Irish cleric gave us the language that has since framed our national narrative. His 1726 poem, “Verses, on the Prospect of Planting … Read More


Rear Window

Last was a tough year for historians. Just how bad it was became clear in early October when a New York Times article with the grabber headline, “Are More People Cheating?†was accompanied by a series of mugshots of the … Read More


Wrong Way

Los Angeles is the American Gomorrah. Like that ancient den of iniquity, whose sins were so great that even Abraham’s principled plea could not shield it from the divine’s annihilating rain of “sulfurous fire,” the West Coast metropolis has long … Read More


Book Review

Road Rage

Driven Wild: How the Fight Against Automobiles Launched the Modern Wilderness Movement 343 pages, $35. During his relatively brief tenure as chief of the USDA Forest Service, Mike Dombeck launched one of the federal agency’s most controversial proposals. In 1999, … Read More



Shell Game

I don’t much like the Common Grackle. Sure, it has a lyrical Latin handle (Quiscalus quiscula), and the male’s plumage is a sharp-looking purple-black iridescence, but those qualities simply mask this truth: These birds are loud-mouthed boors. Their call–a grating, … Read More


Cloud Cover

In February 1955, Corporal Max Frankel was dispatched to Nevada on “an errand of disloyalty.” The ambitious journalist, then serving as a clerk in the Army’s Office of the Chief of Information, was ordered to Camp Desert Rock in Nevada. … Read More


Glowing Reports

UNDUE RISKS:Secret State Experiments on Humans. THE PLUTONIUM FILES:America’s Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War. Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb (1964) was not the only piece of gallows humor … Read More


Water Works

TAPPED OUT:The Coming World Crisis in Water and What We Can Do About It. The Texas summer of 1998 had its apocalyptic moments. In late June, a dome of high pressure built up, pushing the mercury over the century mark … Read More


There Was Something About Mary

A VERY PRIVATE WOMAN: The Life and Unsolved Murder of Presidential Mistress Mary Meyer. Jack Kennedy was a city slicker. “A well-manicured golf course, perhaps, or an immaculate lawn doing double duty as a touch football field” was about as … Read More