Magazine | December 31, 2018, Issue


Pump jacks in an oil field in Midland, Texas. (Nick Oxford/Reuters)

Why Kansas City?

In a recent letter to the editor following Allen C. Guelzo’s informative piece “The Great War’s Great Price” (November 12), Colin Calhoon pointed out that a memorial does exist in Washington, D.C., honoring District of Columbia residents who bravely served during the war. In his response, Mr. Guelzo commented that a national World War I memorial also “oddly” exists in Kansas City, Mo. To briefly shed light on this fact: The National World War I Museum and Memorial is located in Kansas City because the citizens of this region possessed the willingness to build it.

Shortly after the Great War’s conclusion, residents made a commitment to build a museum and memorial to those who served — similarly to residents in thousands of cities and towns across the world. In this case, the difference was that in a span of ten days, more than 83,000 residents contributed to a fund totaling about $2.5 million (more than $35 million today). Following two years of construction, in 1926, President Calvin Coolidge addressed a crowd of more than 150,000 people at the opening ceremony of this majestic museum and memorial.

Since then, the National World War I Museum and Memorial has amassed the most comprehensive World War I collection in the world and has been designated by Congress as the official U.S. World War I museum and memorial. A self-sustaining nonprofit organization that receives no federal funding, the museum and memorial annually welcomes more than 500,000 people from all 50 states and more than 80 nations in its mission to remember, interpret, and understand the Great War and its enduring impact.

Matthew Naylor
President and Chief Executive Officer
National World War I Museum and Memorial
Kansas City, Mo.

Santa Rita No. 1

Kevin D. Williamson’s article “Pillars of Fire” (December 3) was an excellent description of the recent oil-and-gas boom in the Permian basin of West Texas. The oilfields of West Texas have an interesting history.

Early in the 20th century, the region was known for scam artists who made money selling leases of dry wells. Nevertheless, a pair of enterprising wildcatters and their friends managed to raise the money to secure the use of an old cable drilling rig and to hire a crew to drill a well just outside of Big Lake, Texas. The well was spudded in early in 1921. They began drilling into hard rock, so the bit drilled through a few feet per day. About five months later, the natural-lift well delivered a “gusher,” and the oil boom was on. Oil and gas wells are given a name and a number. The name of this well? “Santa Rita No.1,” after the saint of the impossible.

I recall working on a gas-well blowout outside Wink, Texas, early in my career with a crew from Boots & Coots. If y’all like to experience being in close proximity to a gas-well blowout, stand next to a jet engine at full throttle.

Dave Leidel
Arlington, Texas


 “TERF Wars” (Madeleine Kearns, December 3) stated that transgender British prisoner Karen White had raped other inmates. In fact, White, who was convicted of rape in a separate case, sexually assaulted the prisoners but was not convicted of raping them.

NR Editors includes members of the editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners




Readers weigh in on Allen C. Guelzo’s “The Great War’s Great Price” and Kevin D. Williamson’s “Pillars of Fire.”
The Week

The Week

The worst part about getting coal in your stocking isn’t the indignity; it’s the notice of violation from the EPA.
The Long View

Holiday Revisions

From “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” words and music by Frank Loesser, with revisions and amendments by the women’s-studies department at Bard College...


“Though slave to him I plan to kill, From here on in I mean to do the things I will...”

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Ten Questions for the ‘Squad’

Democratic infighting reached a fever pitch last week with bickering and personal attacks between members of the “Squad” and other House Democrats. During that period, Squad members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley mostly avoided doing interviews. However, that all ... Read More

Who Is Boris Johnson?

By next week at this time, Boris Johnson will be prime minister of the United Kingdom. Not since Margaret Thatcher has such an outsized personality resided in Number 10 Downing Street. Not since Winston Churchill has such a wit presided over Her Majesty’s Government. Wit is actually the chief reason for ... Read More

The Rise of the Chinese-American Right

On June 13, during a nasty storm, a group of Chinese New Yorkers gathered in front of the gates of Gracie Mansion, the New York mayor’s residence on the Upper East Side, to protest. Inside, Mayor Bill de Blasio was meeting with two dozen or so representatives of the Asian-American community to discuss his ... Read More