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Yoni Appelbaum
Worked at Harvard University
Attended Brandeis University
Lives in Cambridge
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Yoni Appelbaum

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During World War II, troops were more likely to battle boredom than to see front-line service. The military wanted to purchase comic books and mystery novels to keep them entertained. Instead, publishers arranged to print and distribute classics and bestsellers, shipping 123 million copies of the finest books they had to offer - along with the lighter fare that had actually been requested. The result? Bored GIs read the books out of desperation. Many discovered they actually liked them. And the postwar publishing boom was born.
And, in the process, they created a nation of readers.
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I have no idea what to say about what happened in Boston on Monday. But I found it cathartic to explore why the marathon came to be run on Patriots' Day in the first place - and discovered that it serves as a metaphor for the resilience of our democracy.
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You hit ctrl+v twice when copying the text in from your text editor...  Nice piece though. Not at all cynical.

Liked your comment to TNC's latest, too.
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My first live radio bit, on +WNPR - Connecticut Public Radio 's "Where We Live," discussing the past and future of rail transport in Connecticut. Great show.
You've probably seen the plans: Amtrak wants to build high-speed rail in the Northeast running trains from Boston to Washington at 220 mph to make the trip in 3 hours! Amtrak is betting that rail can ...
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Last year, I wrote about a bygone civic ritual - enormous bonfires built of casks stacked in towering pyramids. And since I still like the article, I'm sharing it again.
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Wanted to share this +NPR piece on how I went from commenting on +Ta-Nehisi Coates blog to writing my own pieces for +The Atlantic
Yoni Appelbaum, a Ph.D. candidate in history from Brandeis University, was procrastinating on his dissertation. Instead of writing, he would spend his time commenting on a blog under the pseudonym, "C...
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Amazing story! I had no idea. A belated Congratulations!
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Last year, I wrote an essay tracing the curious path of the Concord grape wine, "produced from a hybrid grape, mixing European and native stock; popularized by immigrants, Americanizing an ancient ritual; imbued with nostalgia, as their children assimilated; and then embraced by the general public, as ethnic foodways fused."

Like the overly-sweet wine it examines, it's proving to be something of a perennial favorite. So here's something to talk about around the Passover table:
Wines like Manischewitz aren't very good—but we love them anyway. The story of a uniquely American tradition.
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I love concord grapes. Every fall they show up for a few weeks in the local grocery stores. They're still seasonal.
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Yoni Appelbaum

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The 2013 World Series began with a flyover by a flight of F/A-18 fighter jets. The 1918 World Series was also played at Fenway Park - but back then, the flyover was performed by a flight of carrier pigeons.
Tweets before tweets: Soldiers' "winged comrades" delivered inning-by-inning updates of the games. 
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A Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers
http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc1149.txt
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Nice article.  I'd like to see high speed rail in the DC/NY/Boston corridor. But that'd probably cost almost as much as a year of combat in Iraq did.
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A woman opens an old steamer trunk and discovers tantalizing clues that a long-dead relative may actually have been a serial killer, stalking the streets of New York in the closing years of the nineteenth century. A beer enthusiast is presented by his neighbor with the original recipe for Brown's Ale, salvaged decades before from the wreckage of the old brewery--the very building where the Star-Spangled Banner was sewn in 1813. A student buys a sandwich called the Last American Pirate and unearths the long-forgotten tale of Edward Owens, who terrorized the Chesapeake Bay in the 1870s.

These stories have two things in common. They are all tailor-made for viral success on the internet. And they are all lies.
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My favorite passage from my latest piece:

Speculative life insurance flourished. Contracts on the life of Admiral Byng saw premiums rise and fall with each day's testimony at his court martial, and paid off handsomely after his execution. When George II took to the field with his army ahead of the Battle of Dettingen, insurers offered 3:1 odds on his survival. In one particularly callous instance, when hundreds of Palatine refugees were stranded and starving on the outskirts of London, Lloyd's sold contracts on the number who would remain alive by particular dates.
Liberty Mutual was born to protect ordinary workers. Today, by funneling money from regular families into the hands of executives, it has inverted its very reason to exist.
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After +Corby Kummer helped me shape my story on the Gettysburg Cyclorama into a coherent essay, I was left with large chunks on the mechanics of its illusion and no place to put them. So I've stitched them together into a post of their own, with the aid of +Alexis Madrigal, and added in some reflections on why illusions that impress one generation rarely survive into the next.
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Have him in circles
81 people
Jeremy Rothman-Shore's profile photo
Sarda Ram Karsania's profile photo
Alexis C. Madrigal's profile photo
Alex Kingston's profile photo
Tara Husband's profile photo
Emily Q. Hazzard's profile photo
Nachshon Rothstein's profile photo
Caroline Marcelo's profile photo
Daniel Havens's profile photo
Work
Occupation
Historian
Employment
  • Harvard University
    Lecturer on History and Literature, 2014
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Cambridge
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Yoni Appelbaum is a social and cultural historian of the United States, and a Lecturer on History and Literature at Harvard University.
Education
  • Brandeis University
    PhD in History, 2014
  • Columbia University
    2003
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Gender
Male