Thursday, July 21, 2022


April 2022

Dear Mr. Fitzhugh,

I hope you are doing well. My name is Andrew Maglio, and I am a senior at Conard High School in West Hartford, Connecticut. Over the years, I’ve emailed you intermittently with questions about my submission to the Review.

Two years ago, when the pandemic began, I took the opportunity afforded by the lack of time engaged in formal classroom learning to start a paper for submission to The Concord Review. I spent the next several months totally engrossed in this endeavor. At the end of it, I had a nearly 60-page research paper analyzing the publication and public debate around Rachel Carson’s seminal book Silent Spring.

This year, throughout the college application process and more generally as I have reflected on my life thus far as I prepare to begin a new chapter, I have considered the things that have defined my life. The Concord Review is one of the first things to come to mind. Even though my paper was not published, it is certainly the single-most transformative academic experience I have ever had. Through it, I solidified my interest in studying history and perhaps working professionally in the field. Moreover, it is the first time I conducted this type of rigorous and (equally) rewarding scholarship. Because my paper focused on the history of science, I realized that this was the specific niche I wanted to study in college (at the colleges that I applied to that offer it, of course).

While my paper’s greatest impact was on me personally, I also know it was an integral part of my applications to colleges as a prospective history major. I listed it as one of my top activities, spent considerable essays discussing it or related ideas, and the teacher who advised me in this project wrote one of my recommendations. I believe colleges recognize the immense benefit of writing a paper (published or not) for your publication: I was accepted to Harvard, Princeton, and Yale (among a few other schools) to study history next year. The paper your publication inspired certainly helped me to convey my interest in history and fascination with research to these universities.

I owe you a great debt for the opportunity you have afforded to me and so many other students. Truly The Review is such a wonderful gift to students like me. When I filled out Yale’s short essay on what inspires me, I discussed the work of Albrecht Dürer, a subtle homage to your journal, with his illustrations. Your journal continues to inspire me.

Thank you again for all that you do.

[Andrew Maglio
Conard High School Class of 2022; Yale Class of 2026]

Friday, July 15, 2022


 13 July 2022

Dear Mr. Fitzhugh,
I came across The Concord Review when BB&N’s history department recommended that my son, Timothy Guan, submit his research paper to TCR. After reading some of the student works published in TCR, I must say that I am impressed with the high quality of the research papers. As a physician and a physician scientist, I couldn’t agree more with your call for a requirement that no high school student be permitted to graduate without having produced at least one serious research paper in history. Critical thinking and writing are essential in academia and industry, as well as in our daily life. TCR simply provides the best possible forum for high school students to demonstrate their talent.
I applaud your tireless effort over the last 35 years to inspire our younger generations to seek academic excellence, and would like to make a donation of $5,000 to TCR. As Chief Medical Officer of South Cove Community Health Center and a former President of The Chinese American Medical Society in Boston, I will encourage my colleagues to support the mission of TCR as well.
 Rong J. Guan, MD
Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Chief Medical Office
South Cove Community Health Center
885 Washington Street, Boston 02111

Tuesday, July 12, 2022


Tyranny set in stone
Roger Kimball

The New Criterion
November 2009

...In 1948, The Soviets blockaded Berlin, a preliminary, they hoped, to annexing it entirely. The Berlin airlift, orchestrated by the American army general, Lucius Clay, provisioned the city with some 4,500 tons of food, fuel, and other necessities every day for nearly a year—at its peak, 1,500 flights a day were crowding in and out of Tempelhof airport. Finally, in May 1949, the Soviets gave up and lifted the blockade.

    The airlift was an extraordinary act of political defiance as well as an unprecedented logistical feat. But it did not overcome the contradiction that was Berlin. Increasingly, East Germans voted with their feet. By 1960, a thousand people a day were fleeing East Germany via Berlin. Walter Ulbricht, the GDR’s Communist dictator, pleaded with Nikita Kruschev to do something to staunch the flow of human capital. The following summer, Kruschev, having taken the measure of JFK and his lieutenants, decided to close the border. At a dinner on August 12, he gleefully announced to his companions: “We’re going to close Berlin. We’ll just put up serpentine barbed wire and the West will stand there, like dumb sheep.”

    Work began at midnight. The Russian soldiers had been told to withdraw if challenged. But no challenge came from JFK’s ovine entourage. In the succeeding months, the barbed wire was replaced by masonry and metal. The wall gradually encircled the whole of West Berlin. Some three-hundred guard towers punctuated the wall. A second, inner wall sprang up. The “death strip” between was mined and booby-trapped. Guard dogs accompanied the soldiers on their rounds. Erich Honecker, who replaced Ulbricht in 1971, issued a shoot-on-sight order. Somewhere between a hundred and two hundred people were killed trying to scale, or tunnel under, the wall, another 1,000 trying to flee elsewhere from East Germany. For Honecker, it was  a small price to pay. Between 1949 and 1962, some two and a half million people had fled East Germany to the West. From 1962 to 1989, his draconian measures reduced the flood to a trickle of 5,000.

Friday, July 8, 2022


Of a youth so successfully employed, and so conspicuously improved, a minute account must be naturally desired; but curiosity must be contented with confused, imperfect, and sometimes improbable intelligence.  Pope, finding little advantage from external help, resolved thenceforward to direct himself, and at twelve formed a plan of study, which he completed with little other incitement than the desire of excellence.  His primary and principal purpose was to be a poet, with which his father accidentally concurred by proposing subjects and obliging him to correct his performances by many revisals, after which the old gentleman, when he was satisfied, would say, “These are good rhymes.”  In his perusal of the English poets he soon distinguished the versification of Dryden, which he considered as the model to be studied, and was impressed with such veneration for his instructor, that he persuaded some friends to take him to the coffee-house which Dryden frequented, and pleased himself with having seen him.

Dryden died May 1, 1701, some days before Pope was twelve; so early must he therefore have felt the power of harmony, and the zeal of genius.  Who does not wish that Dryden could have known the value of the homage that was paid him, and foreseen the greatness of his young admirer?

The earliest of Pope’s productions is his “Ode on Solitude,” written before he was twelve, in which there is nothing more than other forward boys have attained, and which is not equal to Cowley’s performance at the same age.  His time was now wholly spent in reading and writing.  As he read the classics he amused himself with translating them, and at fourteen made a version of the first book of the “Thebais,” which, with some revision, he afterwards published.  He must have been at this time, if he had no help, a considerable proficient in the Latin tongue.

Excerpt From: Samuel Johnson. Lives of the English Poets: Prior, Congreve, Blackmore, Pope. [1779] Apple Books.

Friday, July 1, 2022


 More books have been written with Napoleon in the title than there have been days since his death in 1821….

…Given the paucity of trustworthy sources, much of Napoleon’s early childhood must remain conjectural, but there is little doubt that he was a precocious and prodigious reader, drawn at an early age to history and biography. Letizia told a government minister that her son ‘had never partaken of the amusements of children his own age, that he carefully avoided them, that he found himself a little room on the third floor of the house in which he stayed by himself and didn’t come down very often, even to eat with his family. Up there, he read constantly, especially history books.’ Napoleon claimed that he first read Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s La Nouvelle Héloïse, an 800-page novel of love and redemption, at the age of nine, and said ‘It turned my head.’ ‘I do not doubt the very powerful action of his early readings on the inclination and character of his youth,’ his brother Joseph later recalled. He described how, at their primary school, when the students were instructed to sit under either the Roman or the Carthaginian flag, Napoleon insisted that they swap places and utterly refused to join the losing Carthaginians.

 (Though he was eighteen months younger than Joseph, Napoleon was always stronger-willed.) Later in life, Napoleon urged his junior officers ‘to read and re-read the campaigns of Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Gustavus Adolfus, Prince Eugene and Frederick the Great. This is the only way to become a great captain.’

 Ancient history provided him with an encyclopaedia of military and political tactics and quotations that he would draw on throughout his life. This inspiration was so profound that when posing for paintings he would sometimes put his hand into his waistcoat in imitation of the toga-wearing Romans. Napoleon’s native language was Corsican, an idiomatic dialect not unlike Genoese. He was taught to read and write in Italian at school and was nearly ten before he learned French, which he always spoke with a heavy Corsican accent, with ‘ou’ for ‘eu’ or ‘u’, inviting all manner of teasing at school and in the army. The architect Pierre Fontaine, who decorated and refurbished many of the Napoleonic palaces, thought it ‘incredible in a man of his position’ that he should speak with such a thick accent. Napoleon was not very proficient in French grammar or spelling, though in the era before standardized spelling this mattered little and he never had any difficulty making himself understood. Throughout his life his handwriting, though strong and decisive, was pretty much a scrawl.

Andrew Roberts, Napoleon: A Life. [2014] Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.