The Nation: Sword and Stealth

"To litter is human, to pilfer, divine." Such a maxim might well be carved on every American monument and tourist attraction. For if airmailing a beer can into Yellowstone National Park seems to give pleasure, stealing a hunk of Arizona's petrified forest seems to afford pure bliss.

Nowhere is the American penchant for pilfering more in evidence than in Boston Common. Ever since 1897, the north side of the common has been dominated by a massive monument with a bronze bas-relief of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, the white leader of the first black U.S....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!