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Articles written by William H. Benson

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 By William H. Benson    Opinion    May 25, 2022 

Mythology

Tony Hillerman grew up in Oklahoma, and attended St. Mary’s Academy, a boarding school intended for Native American girls. One of the few boys permitted to attend, he developed a sensitivity for the...

 

Traditions

In recent days, I have re-read David L. Lindsay’s novel, Body of Truth. In it, he describes a cruel and gruesome civil war that terrorized the people of Guatemala for 36 years, from 1960 until...

 

Maritime Losses

Maritime disasters can happen during either war or peace, but either way the loss in terms of human lives hits hard. A bomb, an explosion, a torpedo, a missile, an iceberg, no matter the cause, each...

 

Truth vs Lies

It might be fabricated, but a story I heard years ago was that Bill Cosby warned a young Oprah Winfrey, to “always balance your own check book.” In other words, he cautioned her to trust only...

 

A Tale of Two Cities

A quote I read years ago said, “The family surname of the betrothed says much about the success of the marriage.” That idea may come near to a singular truth in a general way, despite plenty of...

 

Irish Wit

The Irish have their own way of seeing the world. The American poet Marianne Moore said as much in six words. “I'm troubled. I'm dissatisfied. I'm Irish.” Frank McCourt said the same, but in more...

 

Freeze-Up in Ottawa

Kathrene and Robert Pinkerton married in 1911. He worked at a newspaper in a big city: long hours, deadlines, and stress. A doctor advised him him to “get out of newspaper offices and out of...

 

Immigration

Immigration is not for the faint of heart. With high school diploma in hand, a young African from Ghana named Robert Kosi Tette came to the United States in 1998, leaving behind family, friends, and ...

 

Abraham Lincoln's Farewell to Springfield

A favorite Lincoln biographer of mine is Carl Sandburg. In 1926, he published a two-volume work, Abraham Lincoln, The Prairie Years, and then in 1939, he published a four-volume work, Abraham...

 

Alex Haley and 'Roots'

Roots, the television miniseries, aired over eight nights, from Sunday, January 23, through Sunday, January 30, in 1977, forty-five years ago. It proved wildly successful, despite ABC executives...

 

Insurrection on the Capitol: Jan. 6, 2021

Donald Trump lost the 2020 election on November 3, 2020. Although some 74.2 million voters voted for him, 81.2 voted for Biden, a difference of over 7.0 million. Then, Biden won 306 electoral votes to...

 

Stars

The ancient Greeks pointed to as many as 88 constellations spread across a night sky, and then they pinned names to them that they took from their religion of stories and myths. They wanted to see...

 

Fruits

In 1905, the USDA published a bulletin: Nomenclature of the Apple: A Catalog, that listed 17,000 names. After removing the duplicate names, it still listed 14,000 different varieties of the apple....

 

Amendments

Senators and Representatives first met in Congress, under the U.S. Constitution, on March 4, 1789, in the Federal Building in New York City. Six months later, on September 25, James Madison, a...

 

Milton Hershey School, Part 2

Last time in these pages I began a review of a recent book, Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival and Hope in an American City.  Its author, Andrea Elliott, focused on a middle school girl named...

 

California's Farm Workers

Michael Greenberg, reporter for the New York Review, examined California in two recent articles, the first in December on agriculture, and the second in January on housing’s high cost. In the first, he paints a stunning picture of agriculture in Ca...

 

Exit Voice, and Loyalty

Economic and political ruin strikes one country after another. Yes, it seems that, on occasion, the world’s nearly two hundred countries will suffer a disaster, a disintegration of the country’s stabilizing political and economic forces that...

 

'Good Morning, Vietnam'

Two Viet Cong terrorists—Hynh Phi Long and Le Van Ray—parked their bicycles on the riverbank across from My Canh, the Mekong Floating Restaurant, in Saigon, and left behind bags strapped to their bikes’ handlebars that contained bombs aimed at...

 

Whistleblowers

In December of 1773, near the time of the Boston Tea Party, Benjamin Franklin admitted that he had passed on to the Boston Gazette twenty letters that the Massachusetts governor, Thomas Hutchison had written, calling for an “abridgment of the...

 

Norway

On January 11, President Trump met with Senators in the Oval Office to discuss immigration. At one point a Senator mentioned that the U.S. should also “admit people from Haiti, El Salvador, and certain African nations,” a suggestion that enraged...

 

Bad Weather

People on the West Coast endure droughts and forest fires. People on the Northeast Coast endure minus degree temperatures and a foot of snow. People in the Southeast endure the ferocious winds, rain, and flooding that hurricanes bring. People who...

 

Kim Jong Un

The news out of Korea is a mix of bad and good, but perhaps more lopsided on the side of bad. President Donald Trump continues to accelerate his war of words with North Korea, by calling the rogue nation’s dictator, Kim Jong Un, “Little Rocket...

 

Serendipity

About fifty years ago, my dad lost his wallet while driving his tractor in a field. From a neighbor named Sam, he borrowed a metal detector, because he had some dimes and quarters in the coin purse in the wallet, but the field was too big. Twenty...

 

March Madness

The NCAA basketball games are upon us, and March Madness has arrived. The team to watch in recent years has been the University of Connecticut, where basketball is king. The men won their last national championship, their fourth, in 2014, but the...

 

Thoughts on Campaign 2016

The United States has had two father-son presidencies. The first was John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams, and the second was George Bush and his son, George W. Bush. Because Jeb Bush withdrew from the current race three weeks ago, we will not...

 

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