Thomas J. Craughwell

Thomas J. Craughwell is the author of the Thomas Jefferson’s Crème Brûlée: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America (Quirk, September 2012). His other books include The Greatest Brigade: How the Irish Brigade Cleared the Way to Victory in the Civil War (Fair Winds, 2011) and Stealing Lincoln’s Body (Harvard University Press, 2007).

A Scrap Yard Named Desire

 

Three of New Orleans’ four contentious Confederate monuments have been spotted surrounded by derelict police cars, piles of old tires, and other assorted junk in a scrap yard in the neighborhood known as Desire. The New Orleans Advocate reports that the statues of Jefferson Davis and PGT Beauregard are “sitting in an unlocked storage yard, […]

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Ecstasy on Ice — But Not the Good Kind

 

Somebody just tried to poison one of my friends. You may know him. He’s Robert Spencer, the director of the news-and-commentary blog JihadWatch and author of two New York Times bestsellers, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammed. He appears pretty regularly on cable news as an expert on Islamist […]

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Ireland’s Ayatollahs

 

Some days, it’s not easy to be Irish. I’ve been dragging around that sickening feeling since this past weekend, when I was reading the news from the Old Country and came upon a story that actor/comedian/author Stephen Fry is up on charges for blasphemy. You read that right. Blasphemy. And we’re not talking about Cotton […]

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Georgetown Gets It Right

 

You have to expect that any institution that is a couple centuries old will have a few incidents in its past it would like to forget. Georgetown University is a case in point. But to the credit of the administrators and the members of the Society of Jesus — better known as the Jesuits — […]

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Will Harvard Vote the Puritans Off the Island?

 

Somewhere, there may be an alma mater with stirring music and world-class lyrics. If it exists, I’ve never heard it. My college’s alma mater begins: Beneath New Jersey’s skies of blue, In Montclair’s mountain town, There stands our college, tried and true, And growing in renown. At least it rhymes. This year, Harvard University has […]

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A Bridge Too Far Near Philadelphia

 

I tried to come up with a title for this story that would be a clever spin on the “Why did the chicken cross the road?” gag, but I’ve got nothing. New infrastructure that eases congestion of vehicular traffic is good, right? Encouraging people to walk in safety to mass transit is good, too, right? […]

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Tom Lehrer Is Not Dead! He Just Wants You to Think He Is.

 

Tom Lehrer is the greatest comic songwriter of the last century. Okay. Maybe that’s too much. But he’s definitely the most hilarious of the last 89 years. (His 89th birthday is upon us.) At age ten, I was introduced to Tom Lehrer by one of parents’ best friends, Mr. Tully. The Tullys were the best-educated, […]

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Blazing Chasubles! The Vatican Is Right On This One

 

It’s gotta sting. The Vatican has just whupped Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio, upholding the right of the parish of Our Lady of the Atonement to place itself under the authority of a more congenial bishop. What should have been no more than a dust-up in the sacristy unexpectedly reached its “This Time He’s […]

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They’re Not Federal Prisons — They’re Factories With Fences

 

More than a decade ago, I was working with a publisher who was experiencing a crisis of conscience. Printing books in the U.S. had gotten expensive. But in Asia, printers were offering quality work at significant savings. The publisher told me from the perspective of the bottom line, the two top contenders were printers in […]

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They Published, and Their Articles Perished

 

About 100 years ago I decided to give up my job in New York, enroll at a big Midwest university, and pursue a Ph.D. in medieval English literature. I had some very good teachers in the doctoral program and a few who were not so great. But one of the things that puzzled me, now […]

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