March 2013

Black Athena

March 28, 2013

A recent exchange with a slightly disgruntled reader of Mankind: The Story of All of Us * led me to pull a book off the shelf that I hadn’t looked at for several years: the first volume of Martin Bernal’s Black Athena . Sub-titled The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, Bernal’s book was a smack […]

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History on Display: The Unexpected DeMoulin Museum Celebrates Invention, Imagination,and Industry

March 26, 2013

I freely admit that I visited the DeMoulin Museum in Greenville, Illinois, with a certain amount of trepidation. Over the years My Own True Love and I have visited plenty of small private museums that were founded to showcase an individual’s passion. All too often, they are sad, weird, and incoherent.* A museum devoted to […]

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Eighty Days

March 19, 2013

On November 14, 1889, Nelly Bly, reporter for the popular newspaper The World, sailed from New York on the trip that would make her famous: an attempt to travel around the world in less than eighty days. Eight and a half hours later, unknown to Bly, the literary editor of the monthly magazine, The Cosmopolitan, […]

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The Baburnama : An Emperor Tells His Own Story

March 14, 2013

Zahir-u-din Muhammad Babur was the first Mughal ruler of India–one of history’s great empire builders by any standard. Born in 1483 in the Central Asian kingdom of Ferghana (part of modern Uzbekistan), Babur was descended from two great conquerors: Genghis Khan and Timur (known in the west as Tamurlane). After being edged out of his […]

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The Year Without Summer: “Eighteen hundred and froze to death”

March 11, 2013

Historian William K. Klingaman and meteorologist Nicholas P. Klingaman combine forces in The Year Without Summer: 1816 And The Volcano That Darkened The World And Changed History. Working in a vein similar to Steven Johnson’s The Ghost Map, the Klingamans weave together modern scientific explanations, nineteenth-century scientific (and religious) speculations, and historical events into a […]

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What Did the Old Pretender Pretend?

March 8, 2013

The story of England’s Glorious Revolution is generally summarized as follows: In 1688, the Protestant nobility of England, outraged by attacks on their constitution, rose up against the man usually described as the last Stuart king, James II, and offered his throne to his daughter and son-in-law, William and Mary of Orange.* James fled to […]

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The Birth of the West

March 5, 2013

Several weeks ago I mentioned a Big Fat History Book that had me gasping at my own ignorance. I left you dangling, but now that the review has appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers, I can share the details with you. The Birth of the West: Rome, Germany, France, and the Creation of Europe in […]

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Road Trip Through History: Cahokia Mounds

March 2, 2013

  My Own True Love and I have put in thousands of miles over the years on I-55, the highway that leads from Chicago to Saint Louis. We’ve stopped at many historical sites–along the way and off the path. One of my all time favorites is Cahokia Mounds–the site of North America’s first city. Our […]

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