From the Archives: Easter Island: Not So Mysterious After All

June 30, 2015

One of the other places I hang out on the internet is Shelf Awareness for Readers–a very cool review publication that reaches the e-inboxes of avid readers twice a week.* I review new history books, with an occasional excursion into cookbooks or misc. reference works. Some of those reviews find their way here. Some of […]

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The Nile

June 22, 2014

In The Nile:A Journey Downriver Through Egypt’s Past and Present, popular Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson leads the reader on a historical travelogue that moves from Aswan, home of the river’s First Cataract, to Cairo’s Gezira Island, from Paleolithic rock drawings to the Arab Spring. The voyage that shapes The Nile is not simply metaphorical. Wilkinson floats […]

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History on Display: Scenes from the Stone Age

June 11, 2013

I don’t get to Chicago’s Field Museum as often as I would like. I notice a special exhibition that looks interesting: Cleopatra, the royal courts of India, pirates. I look at how long it’s running and think, “Oh, I have plenty of time.” Then I put my head down and forget about it until it’s […]

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The Riddle of the Labyrinth

June 6, 2013

In The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest To Crack An Ancient Code, Margalit Fox adds a new layer to the story of how the ancient script known as Linear B was deciphered. In 1900, archaeologist Arthur Evans uncovered a cache of clay tablets in an unknown script on Crete. For fifty years, scholars across […]

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Prehistoric Redheads

May 14, 2013

Like every other redhead I know, I have a mental list of notable gingers from history:  Richard the Lion-Hearted, Christopher Columbus, Elizabeth I, Thomas Jefferson, Lucille Ball…*  It’s a natural defense against phrases like “red-headed stepchild” and that popular playground taunt, “I’d rather be dead than red on the head.” ** Not speaking for anyone […]

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Learning to Read Egypt: Hieroglyphics and the Rosetta Stone

April 4, 2013

As I believe I mentioned recently, European scholars at the time of the Renaissance rediscovered ancient Egypt in the writings of classical Greece.* Like the ancient Greeks before them, they believed Egypt was the source of art, religion, and science: a land of mystery and arcane knowledge. The belief in Egypt as a land of […]

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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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Déjà vu All Over Again: Fighting About Richard III

February 10, 2013

Some stories never die. For years, those who think Richard III ordered the murder of his nephews (aka the Princes in the Tower) and those who believe he was the victim of a Tudor smear campaign* have continued a low-grade specialist pissing match. With the discovery and authentication of Richard’s bones, the battle has moved […]

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Road Trip Through History: Bath

January 1, 2013

Having spent many hours enthralled by the novels of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, I was excited to arrive in Bath, our last stop in England. It was thrilling to have lunch in the Pump Room, to stroll through the Assembly Rooms where some of my favorite heroines danced the quadrille, and to see the […]

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Road Trip Through History: Dover

October 30, 2012

Image courtesy of Webzoloo via Creative Commons Dover is the reason My Own True Love and I headed to England. I had questions related to one of my personal writing projects that could only be answered on the ground. We weren’t expecting much. The guidebooks all say something along the lines of “this workaday town […]

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