the first African-American to serve as the chairman of a university history
department, but that’s not what makes
small thing to change the way a generation eats, but
Sheila Lukins (b.
1942), co-author of the Silver
Palate Cookbook and its many sequels, is in the same league as
culinary upstarts like Irma Rombauer and Julia Child. The
Silver Palate Cookbook, co-written with
Julee Rosso and published
in 1982, was the first cookbook designed for a truly feminist generation:
working women who wanted to serve sophisticated food but didn’t have hours to
spend preparing it. It’s still a brisk seller, and countless guests, served the easy-to-make
postwar suburban boom was the product of new highways, cheap cars, and the G.
I. Bill. But once you had the two-car garage, you needed to drive somewhere.
That’s where Melvin Simon
(b. 1926) came in. The Bronx-born, Indianapolis-based real estate developer
built the first strip mall in 1960, then used the
profits to build another. As the country expanded, he did, too, building
grander, enclosed shopping malls, including the
a hero or villain? One of JFK’s best and brightest, he
managed to get the lion’s share of the blame for Vietnam. Unlike many of his
colleagues, though, he eventually
came to blame himself. Can his arrogance and lies ever be excused? Not
really. But those final years of relentless truth-telling made him an unusual
figure in American life.
From an early age,
Stanley Kaplan (b. 1919) suspected that the SAT had built-in
biases, favoring affluent students over immigrants and the poor. His inexpensive
courses leveled the playing field, and Stanley H. Kaplan Inc. became known as
“the poor man’s private school.” As his empire grew, fees steepened, and
ironically, Kaplan courses are now out of
reach for many of the students who could benefit from them most. Still, through
his methodical approach to standardized tests, Kaplan forever upended the
notion that test-taking excellence cannot be taught.
Tiller (b. 1941) was a happy abortionist. For three decades,
he was one of
the few doctors in the country to whom women could turn for an abortion late in
a pregnancy. He unapologetically performed late-term abortions in his Wichita,
Kansas, clinic, until this year, when he was shot in his own church by an
anti-abortion zealot. His thoughtful approach to abortion,
and the shocking circumstances of his death, have made him the
pro-choice movement's most important martyr.
Kristol (b. 1920) may not have been the
sole inventor of neo-conservatism, but he presided over the movement and
nurtured it in ways that were his alone. Kristol and
his colleagues—a small group of New York Jewish intellectuals and an even
smaller contingent of goyish fellow
travelers—used ideas, not political demagoguery, to change the world.
That his movement gets credited or blamed for everything from the Reagan
Revolution to welfare reform to the war in Iraq is testimony to his impact.