One of the ways that I have typically contextualized the final pages of E. B. White’s Here is New York has been to show a clip from Edward R. Murrow’s news program See It Now, which began its life as a radio program called Here It Now, but moved to television in 1951. The show ran for two years and is remembered for the strong stance it took against Joseph McCarthy and the Red Scare. Some commentators suggest that it played a crucial role in McCarthy’s downfall.

I did not have time this year to show this clip from an eye-opening episode that aired in late 1952 and featured a simulated air raid in which New York City is attacked — a simulation of White’s dreaded “flight of planes.” Take a look and be amazed (not only by the implications of the simulation itself but by Murrow’s on-camera cigarette-smoking: it was a different age!):