Shin-Kickers From History

A Good Place to Hide

May 1, 2015

In A Good Place To Hide: How One French Village Saved Thousands of Lives During World War II, Peter Grose describes how a population with its own experience of religious persecution and two charismatic pastors with unlikely international connections turned isolated community in the upper Loire Valley into a haven for Jews and other refugees […]

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Abd al-Qadir Fights Back

January 20, 2015

  If the French hadn’t invaded Algeria in 1830, Algerian emir Abd al-Qadir would probably have been content to follow his grandfather and father as the spiritual leader of the Qadiriyah Sufi order. In the fall of 1832, when the French began to expand their control into the Algerian interior, the Arab tribes of Oran […]

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Shin-kickers From History: Dr. B. R. Ambedkar–Untouchable, Reformer, Founding Father

October 3, 2014

Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar (1891-1956) was one of the great men of the twentieth century, though he is virtually unknown in the west. Untouchable Ambedkar was born into the “untouchable” caste of Mahars in the Indian state of Maharashtra. At the time, untouchables suffered under legal restrictions that made the Jim Crow laws of the […]

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Edith Cavell: “Patriotism Is Not Enough”

September 16, 2014

Not all the heroes of the First World War fought in the trenches. Forty-nine year old British nurse Edith Cavell was the director of the first nurses’ training school in Belgium. When Germany occupied Brussels in the first month of the war, Cavell refused to leave. She turned her clinic into a Red Cross hospital […]

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Jezebel or Joan of Arc?

September 2, 2014

In June, 1857, Lakshmi Bai, the Rani of Jhansi, belatedly committed herself and her kingdom to the revolt variously known as the Indian Mutiny, the Sepoy Rebellion, or the First Indian War of Independence. A Break in Tradition The rani had long-standing grievances against the British. She was the widow of Gangadhar Rao Niwalkar, ruler […]

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Before Rosie the Riveter…

August 19, 2014

A generation before Rosie the Riveter, munitionettes “manned”* Britain’s factories and mines, replacing the men who volunteered for General Kitchener’s New Army in 1914 and 1915. Women were initially greeted in the work force with hostility. Male trade unionists argued that the employment of women, who earned roughly half the salary of the men they […]

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Shin-Kickers From History: William Wallace, aka Braveheart

August 5, 2014

In 1296, Edward I of England forced the Scottish king to abdicate and seized the throne of Scotland. Scottish unrest was immediate and widespread. It flared into full-scale rebellion in May 1297 when William Wallace led a raid against the town of Lanark, killing the English sheriff.* Under Wallace’s leadership, the Scots weakened the English […]

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Shin-Kickers From History: The Trung Sisters of Vietnam

August 1, 2014

In 39 CE, two young women led Vietnam in its first rebellion against the Chinese empire, which had then ruled the country for 150 years. Trung Trac and Trung Nhi were born in a small town in north Vietnam around 14 CE, the daughters of a Vietnamese lord who served as a prefect under the […]

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Shin-Kickers From History: Sojourner Truth

July 18, 2014

Sojourner Truth was born into slavery in 1797 as Isabella Baumfree. She spent her early life as a slave on estate in New York*–running away when her master failed to keep his promise to set her free. Active in both the anti-slavery and women’s rights movements, she was one of the most important human rights […]

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Re-Run: Cowboys and Indians, North African Style

March 4, 2014

Unlikely though it seems, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the French Foreign Legion over the last week. I bet most of you have a few stock images of the Foreign Legion in your heads: men fleeing from their past into the desert and anonymity, absinthe, burning sands and blazing sun, those funny […]

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