Friday, August 21, 2009

Great Rivals in History

I just finished reading an incredible book by Joseph Cummins on some of the Great Rivalries in History. The work is detailed and easy to read and is available at Amazon. (isn't everything).

Rivalries documented are:

Alexander the Great and Darius III
Hannibal vs Scipio Africanus
Juilius Caesar vs Pompeius
King Henry II vs Thomas Becket
Richard I vs John
Pope Boniface VIII vs Philip IV
Pizarro vs De Almagro (Conquistadors)
Elizabeth I vs Mary Queen of Scots
Charles XII vs Peter the Great
Benedict Arnold vs Horatio Gates
Aaron Burr vs Alexander Hamilton
Napoleon vs Wellington
Earol of Lucan vs Earl of Cardigan (Crimean War)
Disraeli vs Gladstone
Pancho Villa vs Emiliano Zapata (Mexico)
Hitler vs Rohm
Stalin vs Trotsky
Chiang Kai-Shek vs Mao
Chuikov vs Paulus (Battle of Stalingrad)
Patton vs Montgomery
Truman vs Macarthur
Giap vs De Casteries (Battle of Dien Bien Phu)
Kennedy vs Nixon

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

An Amazing Military History Website

This site has exactly what I crave in a history source...detail. On top of that it is extremely well organized.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Storm of War by Andrew Roberts

Looking forward to reading this book.........

I have posted a review with its link.

The Second World War was undoubtedly the greatest conflict in history and probably the worst single catastrophe the human race has suffered. For people today, 70 years after the start of that conflict, it is almost impossible to imagine the scale of the war. Some 50 million people were killed between 1939 and 1945 – or, to put it another way, one person every four seconds for six long years. In the west, where the Nazis controlled an area twice the size of the Roman Empire, the fighting took place almost everywhere from the northernmost tip of Finland to the edges of the Sahara Desert. In the Far East, it raged from China all the way to the shores of Australia, as the Japanese conquered more than 32 million square miles of the Earth’s surface. There was barely a man, woman or child on this planet who was not affected.

Source: Storm

Harry Patch, last British WWI soldier, dies at 111

LONDON — Harry Patch, the last British army veteran of World War I, has died at 111, the nursing home where he lived said Saturday.

The Fletcher House care home in Wells, southwest England, said Patch died early Saturday.

He just quietly slipped away at 9 a.m. this morning," said care home manager Andrew Larpent. "It was how he would have wanted it, without having to be moved to hospitals but here, peacefully with his friends and carers."

Source: Patch

Dreyfus in Rehearsal

One of the first plays I reviewed was "Dreyfus in Rehearsal," which was about a troup of amateur actors in a small town in Poland rehearsing a play about the Dreyfus Affair, about which they knew surprisingly little. The action takes place in 1931 when flames of anti-semitism are being fanned all over Europe.

That original production, which opened in the fall of 1974, starred Sam Levene and Ruth Gordon. It had an actor named Allan Arbus (who, though he had a very strong career, will probably always be better known as the husband of Diane.) It also had a young actress named Tovah Feldshuh.

"Dreyfus" was produced by David Merrick, part of a long collaboration he had with writer/director Garson Kanin, who adapted the play from the French of a playwright named Jean-Claude Grumberg. I don't remember what I wrote 35 years ago, but I do remember praising the drop curtain by Boris Aronson in the style of Marc Chagall, a poetic evocation of the richness and tenuousness of European Jewish life. Like the sets for most flops ("Dreyfus" barely ran two weeks), I suspect it was just taken out and burned. Today there would be any number of museums thrilled to have it.

Source: Dreyfus

End of an Era: Mississippi Steamboats

The overnight steamboat, a majestic feature of the Mississippi since before the days of Mark Twain, has been forced off the river by the current recession after nearly two centuries of continuous service on the river.

This year, there are no river boats offering Mississippi cruises that come with night cabins and last more than a few hours.

It was in 1811 that the New Orleans, the first steamboat in western waters, was piloted down the Mississippi. For nearly two centuries, steamboats plied the waters from St Paul, Minnesota down to New Orleans. During the late 19th Century, there were some 10,000 of them.

But the last remaining successors of the storied vessels that Twain, himself a riverboat pilot, immortalised in his 1883 work Life on the Mississippi, are now out of commission and may never again leave their berths.

Source: Mississippi

Ancient Ruins uncovered in Lebanon

BEIRUT, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- A British Museum delegation have excavated a large number of valuable ruins in an archaeological site in Sidon, south Lebanon, which date back to the Canaanite period of Sidon, one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities, local Daily Star reported on its website Thursday.

"We uncovered the biggest number of ruins this year and this helped complete the cycle of historic periods discovered in the site," Dr. Claude Doumit Serhal, head of the British delegation, was quoted by the paper as saying.

The delegation, consisting of 90 Lebanese and foreign professionals, uncovered this week 13 burial sites, temples and personal items, which "reveals the religious rituals and lifestyle during the Canaanite period (3,500 BC - 1,150 BC)," according to Serhal.

Source: Lebanon

The Roots of Beer in Ancient History

Beer is one of the oldest foodstuffs produced by human beings; it shows up in written history as early as 6000 B.C. Ancient Sumerians actually developed a prayer to the goddess Ninkasi that doubled as a beer recipe. This prayer is the oldest surviving beer recipe in existence.

The discovery of beer was probably an accident, with some wild, airborne yeasts interacting with stored barley and then spontaneously fermenting. Beer quickly grew to become an important part of many developing cultures. Anthropologists have uncovered evidence dating back to 3000 B.C. that in ancient Iraq, each city-state had its own brewmaster who was responsible for all of the beer production in that city.

For the rest go to Beer