The Press: Merchant of History

Five years ago, when James Parton and associates came out with a bimonthly magazine exclusively devoted to history, their publishing future seemed hardly more hopeful than the starting stake ($64,000) and their first print order (80,000 copies). After all, how many history buffs were there around—and how many of them would take a magazine that cost $2.95 a copy? By last week, reviewing American Heritage's past and present, Publisher Parton, 47, could supply a jubilant answer: history is hot.

"All America is on a history kick," said Parton, a onetime TIME staffer, and...

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