December 1954

In This Issue

Explore the December 1954 print edition below. Or to discover more writing from the pages of The Atlantic, browse the full archive.


  • An Old Picture

  • Christmas Catalogues

    Does anyone really want Krust-Off Oven Cleaner for Christmas?

  • From Us to You

    The campy humor and covert bragging of the family Christmas letter

  • Epistle to All My Friends

  • s.r.o. On the r.f.d

    WEARE HOLBROOK, who lives in Hartsdale, New York, has written frequently for our Accent on Living pages.

  • In the Stream

    Those who would like to write a stream of consciousness novel will find many well-tried devices of the technique in this example from MARGARET TANNER, a native New Yorker who now makes her home in Monmouth Beach, New Jersey.

  • Choosing a Speaker

    JOHN M. CONLY is a former New York and Washington newspaperman, now editor of High Fidelity Magazine. “They Shall Have Music" is a quarterly feature in the Atlantic.

  • Sweden and Finland

  • The Atlantic Report on the World Today: Washington

  • Independence at Yorktown: Chance or Destiny?

    “Pondering the degree to which accident could overturn the schemes of wise men, Prince Bismarck once concluded that there was a special providence for drunkards, fools, and the United States. Indeed there is much to be said for the argument that America has survived and grown strong by a miraculous streak of luck that, at one turning point after another, has directed fortune its way.”So writes OSCAR HANDLIN, Professor of History at Harvard and author of The Uprooted, which won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1951. This is the first of a series of five articles, each focused on a major event in American history.

  • The Last Spring

    This is the account of a young inventor overtaken in his thirtieth year, on the verge of his first success, by a rare and disfiguring disease. MARGARET RICHARDSON, his wife, tells the story of the vigil she kept, and of the reverence and love that overwhelmed her as she watched the accepted armor of living disintegrate and the reality of a spirit emerge, to grow and to live beyond its ruined flesh.

  • London

  • The Perfect Flying Machine

    A graduate of Harvard, class of 1929, GUY MURCHIE, JR., was a navigator of transport planes from 1942 to 1945. In the process he acquired an unusually observant knowledge of all things pertaining to the sky, including the wind, the clouds, the birds, and those cumbersome devices with which, over the centuries, man has striven to keep himself aloft. Mr. Murchie’s new book, Song of the Sky, from which the following article has been drawn, is the December selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and is being published by Houghton Mifflin.

  • Candle Salad

    A graduate of Exeter and Harvard, RICHARD BISSELL knows our inland waterwaysthe Ohio, the Missouri, and the Mississippi (on all of which he holds a pilot’s license) — as well as Mark Twain knew them. From this river experience came the source material for his first novel, A Stretch on the River; his second, if 7½ Cents, the story of a strike in a pajama factory, was converted into a highly successful musical comedy, The Pajama Game; and his third, High Water, made its debut in September under the Atlantic-Little, Brown imprint.

  • Wilbury Hill

  • Partners in Freedom

    What can we do to help the underdeveloped and uncommitted countries in Asia, Africa, and South America? Military power is not enough, says CHESTER BOWLES,who, as our former Ambassador to India and Nepal, had the opportunity to study Asia at first hand, and who was shocked to discover that the Russians are starting to adopt ideas which we originated and then backed away from. Mr. Bowles, who was Governor of Connecticut from 1949 to 1951, entered public service after a highly successful career in business.

  • A Father Looks at Progressive Education

    A long and energetic newspaper career in this country and overseas afforded GLADWIN HILL opportunities to scrutinize many varied systems of public education as they affected his own family and the communities where the Hills lived. As an undergraduate, Mr. Hill was Harvard correspondent for the Boston Evening Transcript, and continued as a reporter for that paper before joining the Associated Press in New York. He covered World War II in Europe, and for the past eight years has been chief of the New York Times Bureau in Los Angeles.

  • Portrait of a Poker Player

    Author of the delightful I and Claudie stories which have been running in the Atlantic in recent years, DILLON ANDERSON is a Houston lawyer who enjoys nothing so much as a relaxing game of poker. The mentor of his poker table is his friend Billingsley, and Billingsley’s methods of wearing down the opposition will be relished by every Atlantic reader who ever tries to bluff with a broken straight. Mr. Anderson’s new book, Claudie’s Kinfolks, has just appeared under the Atlantic-Little, Brown imprint.

  • A Head for a Head

    Works Manager of an aircraft factory in northeast London at a spot where Jerry dumped most of his scrap iron, GERARD NEWTON made a determined bid for quiet at the end of World War II. He bought a cottage in the New Forest, and there settled down to keep a garden and write books about it. Thus far he has published four books on gardening — two of them about dahlias — and with this encouragement he has begun to branch out into fiction.

  • The Charm of Light Verse

    Poet, editor, and anthologist extraordinaire, LOUIS UNTERMEYER is an authority on light verse, and to him we have turned for an appraisal of four new volumes which have added laughter and the light touch to this season’s reading. Mr. Untermeyer’s best-known anthology is A Treasury of the World’s Great Poems (1942); his most recent, The Magic Circle (1952).

  • Prose and the Playwright

    The liveliest of London critics, KENNETH TYNAN, now in his twentyeighth year, worked for some time as the director of a weekly repertory theater before settling down to criticize the productions of others. He is the author of three books on the theater, and since 1951 has been the drama critic first of The Spectator, then of the Evening Standard, and presently of the Observer.

  • The Peripatetic Reviewer

  • Books: The Editors Like

  • Reader's Choice

  • Potpourri

  • New Books for Children

    DEAR MR. WEEKS: Twice a year I look at hundreds of new books for young people, and heretofore, following your instructions, I have always made a selection of eighteen or twenty which seemed to me to be top-notch. This year I am not able to do it. The books are getting better and better. I select twenty fine ones and the next mail brings in ten more that cannot be ignored. My book conscience will not permit me to eliminate as many this fall; so with your permission I will devote a little less space to individual selections in order that many more titles may be called to your readers’ attention. And I’ll begin with the best group of picture books (for age six and under) you’ve ever seen in your life. Cordially, M.F.K.

  • Accent on Living

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