Author Archives: Doug Cumming

About Doug Cumming

Writer, W&L journalism professor emeritus

Energy is everything (almost)

“Energy” has many meanings. But there’s one way to see it as everything. Energy is Man’s discovery of fire, how civilizations ate (from hunter gathering to farming), the population-exploding Industrial Revolution, and the cause of Gulf Wars. It’s fossil fuels … Continue reading

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Political Pragmatism, 2022

Common Good Governing began in 2017 with a dream. That is, literally, “a dream,” a bad dream that Lester Levine woke up with about a week after Trump won the Election of 2016. It was also just after Levine’s first … Continue reading

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On a Passenger Train to New Orleans

I am not a train nut. But riding in Amtrak’s private sleeper car for the daylong trip from Atlanta to New Orleans – the old Southern Crescent – has me in an unusual state of elation. The perfect tracks bend … Continue reading

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A way to read Hershel’s utterances

Regarding the two Black candidates in the looming Georgia runoff for the U.S. Senate, too much has been said and written already. But the insight I heard from a panelist at the Candler School of Theology two days after the … Continue reading

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Atlanta’s Charlie Loudermilk

You could say Buckhead has changed. The place where there used to be a humble diner and neon Coca Cola sign at the intersection of Peachtree and Roswell roads is now Charlie Loudermilk Park. Metro Music is gone, but the … Continue reading

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Cherokee Footprints

When I’m in these soft green hills, around a high lake impounded around 1930 in North Georgia, I wake to an awareness of the Cherokee. By their absence, in this silence with the occasional hoot of a barred owl, I … Continue reading

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Cornershots

The Roanoke Times occasionally runs short vignettes from readers under the heading “Cornershot.” I had a couple of these published that I’m saving here. Condensation is something you learn from doing a lot of longer writing. Tranquil Moments Along the … Continue reading

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A Colossal Mistake

The thing about America that struck Gutzon Borglum was bigness. His parents had emigrated from little Denmark to the Wild West. So when their son John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum was born in Bear Lake, Idaho, in 1867, the … Continue reading

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Anna Karenina

The characters in Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina are not allegories or didactic figures that project the dogmas of Tolstoy’s Christian thought (as he does in The Kingdom of God is Within You). They are fully formed human beings, living in their … Continue reading

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The Aerobatic Swift

Out on the red-tiled terrace off the top floor of our Collegio Internazionale, there are many miracles. In one direction, the pride of Urbino – a bell tower that can surprise with alleluias through the old brick alleyways, and behind … Continue reading

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