In Articles on October 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm
Ecstatic children shriek with delight, piercing the summer humidity. Around a bend in a curving arbor, a playground comes into view. Several dozen kids scurry about, ignoring the summer heat. The first play area features a 15-foot slide, a tower, and a hand-operated fountain. From there, a footpath winds toward a huge bowl of slides and rope ladders, and then loops away to another play circle, where kids swing from maypoles. Curve again, and you see Swiss Family Robinson–style treehouses connected by a suspended rope mesh.
The playground is one of the newest features at Shelby Farms Park, one of America’s largest urban parks. Near the playground, but just inside the shade, chatty parents keep one eye on their kids. Past a stand of mature trees is Pine Lake, where a family unloads a cooler and starts to suspend a piñata. Read the rest of this entry »
In Reviews on September 1, 2012 at 10:06 am
The banana tycoon Samuel Zemurray is an attractive and difficult subject for biography. Attractive, because his life is a biographer’s playground: He ran the United Fruit Company for two decades, from 1933 to 1954, was an irrepressible meddler in world affairs, and came to be numbered among the American South’s most notable philanthropists. Difficult, because there are few clear accounts of Zemurray’s adventures, as he meticulously cultivated his privacy, as Rich Cohen writes in The Fish That Ate the Whale. And yet in this, the first full-length biography of Zemurray, Cohen builds a remarkable story from a life half lived in the shadows.
Schmuel Zmurri was born in 1877 in Bessarabia, modern-day Moldova, and emigrated to the United States at age 14. In 1893, he visited Mobile, Alabama, where the teenager spied his first opportunity in the banana trade. Read the rest of this entry »
In Articles on July 1, 2012 at 10:04 am
New York City
David Koch has George Eastman on his mind. “You know the Eastman story, don’t you?” he asks as he leans his six-foot-five-inch frame onto a large chenille sofa. Over his right shoulder, the view goes uptown along Madison Avenue.
He begins to relate the story of the entrepreneur who founded Eastman Kodak. “He put up the money—anonymously—to acquire property for MIT across the Charles River from Boston. He had a condition that his donation for the land and to put up the major buildings not be disclosed until after his death. He was an amazing guy.”
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In Uncategorized on April 1, 2012 at 10:43 am
This article originally appeared as a sidebar to “New U.”
Desires—like Tom Monaghan’s—to strengthen religious faith are responsible for a flurry of new colleges in recent decades. In 1990, Pope John Paul II issued Ex Corde Ecclesiae, a decree on Catholic identity for new Catholic colleges and universities. Ex Corde colleges submit to the authority of their local bishops and to the teachings of the Church. Twenty-three institutions now adhere to it, including several founded prior to its promulgation, like the Catholic University of America. But nine have been founded since 1970, and five since 1990—most recently John Paul the Great University, a media-focused school in San Diego, and Wyoming Catholic College in the small town of Lander. Read the rest of this entry »
In Articles on January 1, 2012 at 8:46 am
How does a country that loses up to 20 percent of its population to genocide heal the scars of hatred? Perhaps more concretely, how does a country like that deal with the challenge of criminal justice when 2 percent of its population is in prison for perpetrating genocide—killing their one-time friends and neighbors?
These very questions vexed leaders in Rwanda. Families and communities needed to heal and rebuild, and the criminal justice system would never be able to deal with the backlog of genocide trials.
Rwanda opted for the path of forgiveness. Read the rest of this entry »
In Articles on January 1, 2012 at 8:40 am
“Hold on,” says John Montgomery as he answers the phone at his desk. “I’m going to go to a conference room where it’s a bit quieter. We have an open office concept here.”
The open office is a small part of Montgomery’s powerful sense of openness and equality. He’s the founding partner of Bridgeway, an investment management firm based in Houston. It’s not a typical financial firm. Among its 30 employees—Montgomery calls them all partners—there is a seven-to-one compensation cap: the highest-earning partner makes no more than seven times the salary of the lowest-earning partner. Read the rest of this entry »