James C. Thomson

  • How Could Vietnam Happen?

    "Many in government or close to it," The Atlantic noted in 1968, "will read the following article with the shock of recognition." An insider explained the bureaucratic imperatives that muzzled dissenters and kept policy makers ignorant of foreign cultures.

  • Recollections of a Cultural Imperialist

    "All of us have been the tools of American cultural aggression, perhaps without being wholly conscious of it."
    —Y. T. Wu, Chinese Christian leader, July, 1951

  • How Could Vietnam Happen? An Autopsy

    From the beginning of John Kennedy's Administration into this fifth year of Lyndon Johnson's presidency, substantially the same small group of men have presided over the destiny of the United States. In that time they have carried the country from a limited involvement in Vietnam into a war that is brutal, probably unwinnable, and, to an increasing body of opinion, calamitous and immoral. How could it happen? Many in government or close to it will read the following article with the shock of recognition. Those less familiar with the processes of power can read it with assurance that the author had a firsthand opportunity to watch the slide down the slippery slope during five years (1961-1966) of service in the White House and Department of State. Mr. Thomson is an East Asia specialist and an assistant professor of history at Harvard.

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Hunting With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

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A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

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I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

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Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.

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Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

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What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

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Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

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