Sunday, November 22, 2015

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #55

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb is a round-up of brand spankin' new history articles, selected by yours truly. Click on the link to be directed to the home site where you can read a professional being professional in their entirety.

An international team of archaeologists believe they had discovered an island in the Aegean Sea that was once the ancient city of Kane, site of an epic sea battle between the Athenians and the Spartans in 406 B.C.

The oldest fragments date to the 1830s, when the roof was last replaced.

A century after Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated expedition, descendants of one crewmember hope to complete the family’s “unfinished business” and trek to the South Pole while another adventurer with ties to the voyage continues a historic solo crossing of Antarctica.

Seventy years after the death of Anne Frank, her famous diary is getting a co-author—her father. The decision to list Otto Frank as a co-writer will extend the European copyright on “The Diary of Anne Frank,” due to expire at the end of the year, by another 35 years. The move, however, has stirred considerable controversy.

On 22 November 1963, Dallas Morning News reporter Hugh Aynesworth, inadvertently became an eyewitness to one of the biggest turning points in history. He is credited as being the only journalist to have witnessed the assassination.

Discovered hidden in a wall cavity by a couple renovating their Budapest apartment, the haul of 6,300 documents are from a 1944 census that was a precursor to the intended liquidation of the Hungarian capital's 200,000 Jews in Nazi death camps.

Broadcast for the first time in the U.S., these exclusive clips from a Smithsonian Channel program feature recently unearthed archival footage.

Lincoln is Kennedy is Lincoln

Today marks the 52nd anniversary of JFK's death and there's nothing I love more than a good Kennedy conspiracy, so here's one of my favorites. Featuring arguably the best president we've ever had.

Image sources: Wikipedia and the JFK Library
Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.
Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.
John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.
Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.
Both Mary Todd and Jackie lost a child while living in the White House.
Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy.
Kennedy's secretary was named Lincoln.
A week before Lincoln was shot, he was in Monroe, Maryland.
A week before Kennedy was shot, he was with Marilyn Monroe.
Both presidents were shot on a Friday.
Both presidents were shot in the head.
Both presidents were shot while seated beside their wives.
Both presidents were accompanied by another couple.
The male companion of the other couple was wounded by the assassin.
Both were assassinated by white male Southerners, who were in their mid-20s.
John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839.
Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939.
Both assassins were known by their three names.
Both names are composed of fifteen letters.
Lincoln was shot at the theater named "Ford."
Kennedy was shot in a car called "Lincoln" made by "Ford."
Lincoln was shot in a theatre and the assassin ran to a warehouse.
Kennedy was shot from a warehouse and the assassin ran to a theater.
Both assassins suffered injuries during escape.
Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials, by men who reared from the North, who changed their names as adults, and were bachelors.
Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.
Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

*not all of these have been proven (namely Lincoln having a secretary named Kennedy), but then it wouldn't be a conspiracy NOW WOULD IT?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson

Title: Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter
Author: Kate Clifford Larson
Pages: 320 pages
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: History; Biography
My Rating: 3/5

They were the most prominent American family of the twentieth century. The daughter they secreted away made all the difference.

Joe and Rose Kennedy’s strikingly beautiful daughter Rosemary attended exclusive schools, was presented as a debutante to the Queen of England, and traveled the world with her high-spirited sisters. And yet, Rosemary was intellectually disabled — a secret fiercely guarded by her powerful and glamorous family. 

Major new sources — Rose Kennedy’s diaries and correspondence, school and doctors' letters, and exclusive family interviews — bring Rosemary alive as a girl adored but left far behind by her competitive siblings. Kate Larson reveals both the sensitive care Rose and Joe gave to Rosemary and then — as the family’s standing reached an apex — the often desperate and duplicitous arrangements the Kennedys made to keep her away from home as she became increasingly intractable in her early twenties. Finally, Larson illuminates Joe’s decision to have Rosemary lobotomized at age twenty-three, and the family's complicity in keeping the secret. 

Rosemary delivers a profoundly moving coda: JFK visited Rosemary for the first time while campaigning in the Midwest; she had been living isolated in a Wisconsin institution for nearly twenty years. Only then did the siblings understand what had happened to Rosemary and bring her home for loving family visits. It was a reckoning that inspired them to direct attention to the plight of the disabled, transforming the lives of millions.

This bio contains never-before-seen early notes, letters, journal entries, etc. between Rosemary and others. This was the most interesting part of the book. The rest of it seemed to be speculation. Especially the last 60 years of Rosemary's life. It's hard writing a book on someone who people tried to erase. I get it, there are limits. 

So yeah, this is more of a Kennedy family biography with a greater focus on Rosemary. A huge chunk of the book was about her mother, Rose, and her life before Rosemary was born. I didn't see how this was relevant?

Other than correspondence between Rosemary and members of her weird family, this biography doesn't contain anything we haven't heard before.

Except this awful high schoolish generic last sentence: "Through the loving indomitable spirit of Rosemary, the Kennedys found one of its greatest missions and in doing so changed millions of lives." (I did NOT get the impression that Rosemary was "indomitable")

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #54

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb is a round-up of brand spankin' new history articles, selected by yours truly. Click on the link to be directed to the home site where you can read a professional being professional in their entirety.

A book containing unseen prose, poems and doodles by the Brontës has just been purchased from a private seller and will go on display.

A "joke" gone wrong in Missouri sheds light on deep-seated race issues in the community.

The mysterious sign was possibly destroyed by the legendary Boudica, the rebel queen of the Iceni (a British tribe) who unsuccessfully attempted to defeat the Romans in the first century AD.

Anomalies have been found in Egypt’s Khufu pyramid two weeks into a thermal scanning project aimed at discovering the famed pharaonic monument’s secrets including possible hidden burial chambers, officials have said.

A small photo gallery.

Desperately seeking attention This cultural experiment seems to be a theme lately

Monday, November 9, 2015

Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith

Title: Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch
Author: Sally Bedell Smith 
Pages: 828 pages
Release Date: February 1, 2012
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Genre: History; Biography
My Rating: 4/5

A New York Times Bestselling Author -- A major, revelatory, compulsively readable biography of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, published to coincide with the Queen's 60th year on the throne -- her Diamond Jubilee -- in 2012. The most prominent monarch of our time, Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in 1952 at the age of twenty-five. Now Sally Bedell Smith offers a penetrating view of Elizabeth the leader, strategist, diplomat, daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother; as well as fresh insights into the Queen's professional and family relationships, especially with her husband of nearly 65 years, her four headline-grabbing children, and her grandchildren, William and Harry.

Princess Diana (and every other divorced spouse of Queen Elizabeth's children) was hated by the author. Diana was painted as an unstable, scheming, cheating manipulator. I only knew of her as the poor charitable mommy-princess who was cheated on by her weird husband very publicly, chastised by the royal family, and killed in a car accident. Maybe I just don't know the full story. Maybe she is all of the above. I'm not sure if this book is biased, but it damn sure seemed like it.

I was annoyed by the book continuously mentioning how hard the Queen continues to "work". "Working" like jet setting all over the world, shaking hands, attending grand openings, going on tours, dinner parties, brunch parties, garden parties, any party. Call it "engagements" or something. Anything. I refuse to acknowledge this as work. I. Refuse.

I love the Queen. She's a professional badass and a badass professional.

I listened to the audiobook, which I highly recommend. This is a long one, and the idea of sitting down and reading this lengthy biography scares me.