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).


Debtor’s Prison


Wednesday, one of my closest friends was sentenced to two years in prison. He had pled guilty to squandering his investors’ money on himself and his girlfriend. Before the sentence was pronounced, he made a statement to the court admitting what he had done, expressing genuine remorse, and promising to do everything he could to […]

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Christian Iraq’s Iwo Jima


After a week of hard fighting last month, Iraqi government forces drove ISIS from the town of Bartella, liberating a stronghold of Iraqis who belong to the Assyrian Orthodox Church. In their euphoria, Christian militia, who call themselves the Nineveh Plains Force, used two broken pieces of lumber to cobble together a cross. They climbed […]

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The Western Wall? What Western Wall?


When the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization both back away from a draft resolution regarding Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, you know the guys at UNESCO are in hot water. Through a spokesman, Ban Ki-moon asserted “the religious and historical link of the Jewish, Muslim […]

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Will Scorsese’s Film, ‘Silence,’ Roar?


When Martin Scorsese makes a movie, attention must be paid. His films have been nominated for an Oscar, in various categories, 80 times, and have won the Oscar, in various categories, 20 times. Now Scorsese has a new film, Silence, which will make its debut two days before Christmas — just in time to be […]

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The Hero Priest of Pearl Harbor


It was Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, and Lt. j.g. Aloysius Schmitt, had just finished saying Sunday Mass for the men of the USS Oklahoma. He was below decks when eight Japanese torpedoes struck the ship. The damage was so severe that Father Schmitt and the sailors and Marines who were with him were trapped […]

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The Noble Tradition of Name-Calling


Oscar Wilde they’re not. Hillary Clinton’s description of Donald Trump’s supporters as “a basket of deplorables.” Trump’s weakness for dreaming up nicknames for his opponents — “Lying” Ted Cruz, “Little” Marco Rubio, “Crooked” Hillary Clinton. These ham-fisted foibles tend to generate a great groan from the pundits, who lament the decline of civility in American […]

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Sometimes a Great Slogan


The other day John Bolton, our former ambassador to the United Nations, was the guest on FOX’s noontime program, “Outnumbered.” There had been another scandal in the Clinton camp (I’m losing track of them), so Ambassador Bolton suggested that Hillary adopt as her campaign slogan, “Not Indicted Yet.” I laughed out loud. And it reminded […]

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A Patron Saint for Television


Mention the phrase “patron saints” and plenty of people, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, will think it a quaint, outdated custom that assigns a heavenly protector to keep an eye on barrel-stave makers and ward off Viking invasions. In fact, patron saints keep up with the times. Back in the early 1990s, when the Internet was […]

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The Quality of Mercy


Last Monday, my best friend went to prison. It never occurred to me that I would say or write that sentence. And yet, here we are. I love all my friends — who doesn’t — but my friend did a few foolish things, and so the court revoked his probation. He will be in jail […]

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If Only the Pilgrims Had Been Italian (November 2007)


Editor’s Note: A classic from our November 2007 issue. I would be willing to bet serious money that right now in your kitchen you have olive oil, garlic, pasta, parmesan cheese, and dried basil (maybe even fresh basil!). Nothing exotic there, right? They’re ingredients we take for granted. But their appearance in our kitchens is […]

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