Odd Bits

First Known Serial Killer Terrorizes The Slums of London

August 12, 2014

On August 6, 1888, Martha Tabram was stabbed to death in the Whitechapel neighborhood of London–many believe she was the first victim of the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper.* Between August and November, five more women were murdered within a one-mile radius in London’s East End. All were prostitutes and all but one […]

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A Few WWI Books From the History in the Margins Archives

August 7, 2014

Just in case you missed them the first time around: In The Lost History of 1914, NPR’s Jack Beatty takes on what he describes as the “cult of inevitability” surrounding the beginning of  the war. NPR’s Jack Beatty takes on what he describes as the “cult of inevitability” that surrounds historical accounts of the First […]

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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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Laughter in Ancient Rome

July 25, 2014

At some level, humor is a personal thing, as any one knows who’s made a joke only to be greeted with a fish-eye stare or squirmed uncomfortably as everyone around her laughs at something that seems–not funny. Humor seems to be tied to time, place, personality, age, and occasionally gender. If that’s the case, why […]

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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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In which I consider soccer, or at least books about soccer

July 15, 2014

The World Cup is over and some of you are suffering from soccer* withdrawal. Unlikely though it may seem to those of you who know me in real life,I have some reading suggestions that will let you feed both lingering soccer mania and history curiosity. Franklin Foer’s How Soccer Explains The World: An {Unlikely} Theory […]

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Timelines

July 11, 2014

A couple of weeks ago I got an e-mail from a reader in response to my post on historical periodization that cried out for for further thought. He raised the question of timelines, saying he found it useful to look at “what was happening elsewhere when this was happening to me and mine”. Personally, I […]

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We have a winner! (And a recommendation)

July 8, 2014

Thanks to all of you who threw your names in the hat for a chance to win a copy of Nick Lloyd’s Hundred Days. I’m glad I didn’t have to pick on merit: you sent me links to World War I-related blog posts, quotations from Wilfred Owen, a plea on behalf of a local library, […]

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Happy Fourth of July

July 4, 2014

4th of July picnic in Rogers, Arkansas, ca 1904 If my readers outside the United States will bear with me for a post: Dear Americans: Take a moment in your celebrations to remember what we’re celebrating: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their […]

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In which I consider historical novels

June 14, 2014

Occasionally two separate projects overlap in my head, creating bubbles of thought. (The process is a bit like pouring vinegar on baking soda: the end product is active and slightly acidic.) This is one of those times. As I mentioned before, I’ve been reading about Boudica’s revolt against the Roman empire. At the same time, […]

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