Tag Archives: history

Local Lives

I found an amazing book at the used book store:  Local Lives: Poems About the Pennsylvania Dutch by Millen Brand, ©1975. He had kept a poetic diary for thirty-four years documenting the real people and real events of the community he lived in, publishing it almost as an afterthought. His character sketches are simply amazing.  …

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Less Civil

This excerpt from Leo Rosten’s People I have loved, known, or admired, ©1970, recalls an episode he uncovered while researching George Washington’s life: But I cannot forget the episode involving Washington as he was being escorted down the street of a town in New York by an official. An old Negro saw the General and …

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“Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.”

“Aut viam inveniam aut faciam” is usually attributed to Hannibal (source).  

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Topic

I was trying to think of a way to teach history other than chronologically, and the only other way I could  come up with was by topic. The problem is, politically at least, there are only two topics: “How can I acquire more things?” and “How can I re-create these people, in my own image …

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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 …

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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: …

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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 …

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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 …

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Obey

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

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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