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This is the original sense of the word airline. Now obsolete, it survived in works on surveying and military history into the 1960s. The OED says: airline, n. 1. a. Chiefly U.S. A direct line through the air; a straight line between two points on the earth's surface. with citations dating back to the early 19th century: 1829   J. F. Cooper Wept of Wish-...


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Possibly the American Civil Rights Movement. Living as he did in Tennessee, in the American South, Foote would have seen a lot of changes during the decades surrounding his writing of The Civil War: A Narrative. The fact that he was writing about the US Civil War, as a man from the South, would only have complicated this further for him. From the article "...


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