Tag Archives: history

Signature Style

Excerpted from A Geography of Time by Robert Levine, ©1997: The Chinese developed an incense clock. This wooden device consisted of a series of connected small same-sized boxes. Each box held a different fragrance of incense. By knowing the time it took for a box to burn its supply, and the order in which the …

Continue reading

Consequences

This was excerpted from The Last Stand by Nathaniel Philbrick, ©2010.  He was writing about the difficulty in finding accurate historical depictions when taken years after an event, but he could just as easily have been writing a treatise on karma: “We interact with one another as individuals responding to a complex haze of factors: …

Continue reading

The Pinnacle of Evolution

“Each people is, I believe, inclined to believe it is the purpose of history, that all that has happened is leading to the now, to this world, this country. Few of us see ourselves as fleeting phantoms on a much wider screen, or that our great cities may someday be dug from the ruins by …

Continue reading

Changes

Adolf Hitler wasn’t born evil, he became evil. He didn’t always want to be a dictator. When they left him alone, he wanted to be a painter. Then World War I happened. He was drafted and assigned the job of litter-bearer, and spent the next several years searching among anguished and mutilated bodies for the …

Continue reading

Obey

“Historically, the most terrible things– war, genocide, and slavery– have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience.” ~Howard Zinn

Continue reading

Chang and Eng

Excerpted from The Two, the biography of the original Siamese Twins, Chang and Eng Bunker, by Irving and Amy Wallace, ©1978: On another visit to Philadelphia, the fact that the twins were genuinely united saved them from a fine or jail. A spectator, shaking hands with Chang, squeezed his hand painfully hard. Immediately, Chang punched …

Continue reading

The Outward Sign Of Inward Grace

In this excerpt from Americans: A Book of Lives, ©1946, Hermann Hagedorn describes the business environment of Theodore Roosevelt’s America: To these men the rapid development of the country seemed a definite good in itself and became, indeed, a kind of religion, not superseding so much as fulfilling the Christian principles on which most of …

Continue reading

Lens

“Of all forms of slavery there is none that is so harmful and degrading as that form of slavery which tempts one human being to hate another by reason of his race or color. One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him.”  ~Booker T. Washington …

Continue reading

Phonograph

In this excerpt from Americans: A Book of Lives ©1946. Hermann Hagedorn describes the moment Thomas Edison first tested his new invention to record and play back sounds: Three weeks after his interest had first been stirred, he (Thomas Edison) handed his chief mechanic a rough sketch of a queer-looking instrument, including a metal cylinder …

Continue reading

Special

If you could travel back in time and kill Hitler as an infant, would you? I’ve been asked that question before, and my answer is always “It wouldn’t matter.” The question presupposes that Hitler was a remarkable, irreplaceable human being, and I don’t think that’s accurate. I think he was an idiot. And in an …

Continue reading

Misguided

In this excerpt from Huey Long by T. Harry Williams, ©1969, Huey Long explains why he did not fight in the First World War: “I did not go into that war,” he proclaimed in the Senate. “I was within the draft age. I could have gone, except for my dependents. I did not go because …

Continue reading

A Horse

Excerpted from Huey Long by T. Harry Williams, ©1969: The story seems too good to be true– but people who should know swear that it is true. The first time that Huey P. Long campaigned in rural, Latin, Catholic south Louisiana, the local boss who had him in charge said at the beginning of the …

Continue reading