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ADELBERT AND BLANCHE
One function that politics serves is to embody, through parties, the sometimes startlingly different ways in which people can perceive the same situation. To a Republican during the Reconstruction era, Adelbert Ames would have seemed to be a very promising young American. He was the son of a sea captain, born in the port town of Rockland, Maine, in 1835; his family had been in America since the seventeenth century and, by the time Adelbert was a young man, had acquired enough influence to get him an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West
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Nicholas Lemann, dean of the School of Journalism at Columbia University, is author of The Big Test (FSG, 1999) and the prizewinning The Promised Land. He lives with his family in Pelham, New York.