Friday, April 24, 2015

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #33

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.

Liam, have you learned nothing?

Humanity: gettin' fucked up for millennia. Wearing a necklace made from the leaves of a shrub called Alexandrian laurel would do the job, according to a newly translated Egyptian papyrus.

Ceremonies are being held in Armenia and around the world to mark the centenary of the start of mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks.

Skeletons of three children thought to have been sacrificed by the Thracians in the sixth century B.C. have been discovered in one of 20 ritual pits at a site in southwest Bulgaria.

Scientists use mathematical models to simulate how the populations of modern humans and Neanderthals might have changed if modern humans were using fire more frequently than Neanderthals, and when the two groups were using fire about equally. They also looked at the reindeer population—a food source for both groups.

For decades, the remains of nearly 400 unidentified sailors and marines killed aboard USS Oklahoma during the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 have been buried in unmarked graves in a Honolulu cemetery. Now, in a policy reversal, the U.S. Department of Defense has announced it will exhume and attempt to identify the unknowns.

Orville: What’s that glued to your face?
Wilbur: It’s a beak. You know, for flying.
Orville: But beaks aren’t part of–
Wilbur: I like the beak.

Lady Astor: "If you were my husband, I'd poison your tea." 
Winston Churchill: "Madam, if you were my wife, I'd drink it." zzzzing

The Australian actor's controversial film views the legendary Gallipoli from the Turkish side.

Like, what is it? From Prince Harry on a battleship to the Queen laying a wreath, this is a guide to the Gallipoli landings and the events in Britain and Turkey to mark their 100th anniversary.

Friday, April 17, 2015

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #32

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.

Nearly 100,000 works of art are stolen every year. Though the pictures can be hard to move, thieves had a surprisingly easy time taking them.

Experts have discovered a World War II US aircraft carrier that is "amazingly intact" despite languishing on the bottom of the Pacific for more than 60 years.

So squishy.

An “up-close-and-personal” look at the Erebus, which was part of the ill-fated Arctic exploration team that set off from Britain in 1845 under the command of Sir John Franklin.

Decades after the murder of Abraham Lincoln, an Oklahoma drifter confessed on his deathbed that his true identity was John Wilkes Booth and that the man killed in the manhunt for the president’s assassin was an imposter. The story grew even weirder when the drifter’s embalmed body toured American carnivals for decades as the purported “mummy of John Wilkes Booth.”

John Wilkes Booth certainly saw himself as a dramatic figure in history. Upon shooting Lincoln, he jumped onto the stage and condemned his victim in Latin (3:17).

History's most important White House residents.

Roman general Julius Caesar may have suffered a series of mini-strokes and not epilepsy, according to a new review of his symptoms.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Queen Victoria's Children's Book to be Published

A children's book written by Queen Victoria is set to be published this June. Victoria is known for her 43,000 pages of journal she recorded beginning at the age of 13 until her death in 1901. But before her 'Dear Diary, today I painted the town black' entries, she wrote Alice at the age of 10.

The story begins first with a dedication to her mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. It reads, "To my dear Mamma, this my first attempt at composition is affectionately and dutifully inscribed by her affectionate daughter, Victoria." Victoria, you used 'affectionate' twice here. Get your shit together.

Image sources: Wikipedia and US Magazine

Image source: The Guardian

Twelve-year-old Alice is sent to Mrs. Ducombe's School for Girls after her father remarries. "'Oh do not send me away dear Pappa', exclaimed Alice Laselles, as she threw her arms around her Pappa’s neck; ‘don’t send me away, O let me stay with you.’ And she sobbed bitterly." Alice's schoolmates include Barbara, the daughter of a wealthy banker, whose pride "spoiled her otherwise fine expression"; Ernestine Duval, a "poor little French orphan" who had suffered from "the small pox, by which malady she had lost one eye"; and Diana O’Reilly, who was raised by a nurse after the death of her mother, and sent to Mrs Duncombe's when her father returned from India after 10 years to find a "tall girl of a most uncouth appearance" who spoke in an "unintelligible" brogue.

Well this is...a little dark.

The original story, published in a little red notebook, is housed in the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle. The published version, which includes illustrations using copies of paper dolls made by Victoria, will be released June 8th by the Royal Collection Trust.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

17 Carnations: The Royals, the Nazis and the Biggest Cover-Up in History by Andrew Morton

Andrew Morton writes unauthorized biographies on the royalty of England and the royalty of Hollywood. Maybe I should've known that this book would not be the history book I was looking for. It had a hook: "The biggest cover up in history." This hook intrigued me enough to bite down, yet ultimately left me back in the water where I started. But wounded.

Title: 17 Carnations: The Royals, the Nazis and the Biggest Cover-Up in History
Author: Andrew Morton
Pages: 384 pages
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: History; Biography
My Rating: 3/5

Andrew Morton tells the story of the feckless Edward VIII, later Duke of Windsor, his American wife, Wallis Simpson, the bizarre wartime Nazi plot to make him a puppet king after the invasion of Britain, and the attempted cover-up by Churchill, General Eisenhower, and King George VI of the duke's relations with Hitler. From the alleged affair between Simpson and the German foreign minister to the discovery of top secret correspondence about the man dubbed "the traitor king" and the Nazi high command, this is a saga of intrigue, betrayal, and deception suffused with a heady aroma of sex and suspicion.

Drawing on FBI documents, exclusive pictures, and material from the German, Russian, and British royal archives, as well as the personal correspondence of Churchill, Eisenhower, and the Windsors themselves, ***17 Carnations is a dazzling historical drama, full of adventure, intrigue, and startling revelations, written by a master of the genre.

***none of this I found to be true

The book gets its title from the alleged affair Wallis Simpson had with the German Ambassador to London, Joachim von Ribbentrop (a man who was to become the first person executed after his conviction at the Nuremberg Trials). Supposedly, von Ribbentrop sent Wallis multiple bouquets of 17 carnations in memory of the 17 times they....well you know. First of all, carnations are the spam of meat. You literally prefer any other kind. And who counts rendezvous? Wallis should've known this relationship would have thrown her and the Duke of Windsor into further dealings with the Nazis.

And it did. 

Von Ribbentrop ties = Hitler ties. Hitler had been scheming to overtake London and reinstate Edward to the throne. After all, Edward was a "Nazi sympathizer." Edward's estrangement from his family in London led him to say and do some things that were a bit brash. For most of his life, the House of Windsor trailed behind him, cleaning up in his aftermath. This includes the "biggest cover-up in history": a sneaky attempt by important British and American officials to destroy documents that would keep Edward's Nazi ties a secret, and keep the House of Windsor's name squeaky-clean.

The book takes you from Wallis and Edward's first meeting, their subsequent exile from England and their families, to their eventual introduction to Hitler. We see the royal couple end up in every place besides Britain, and shake up almost everyone they come across.

I think the treatment of Wallis is particularly interesting. She is more or less, slut-shamed. The girl from Baltimore was believed to have put a spell on Edward, disrupting the flow of the British Royal Family. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother referred to her solely as "that woman." Although Wallis was verbally battered by a country, she didn't necessarily help erase her tarnished image. She sent soldiers on a mission to retrieve her forgotten bathing suit at a French villa, and sent more to grab her coveted bedsheets from her apartment in Paris. This was during the war. You know, when there were more important things going on. Like the war.

The ostentatious couple's priorities were to live a lush life. They ignored the war as it was happening. They ignored their duties as Duke and Duchess. They were exiled by their country. They were alone. One thing I agree with Morton is that Edward was a nuisance, not a traitor. He belonged nowhere.

I feel like I can't honestly give any history book lower than a three star rating. No matter how dense (and this book often was at times.) It's just, there wasn't much of a story here that we didn't already know. Let alone, the "biggest cover-up in history." And I hate false advertising.

Friday, April 10, 2015

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #31

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.

US treasure hunter Tommy Thompson - who spent years evading authorities - will go to prison rather than testify about gold he discovered in a historic shipwreck. He was found in a place where he was camouflaged for years among other criminals: Florida. I'm allowed to say that.

Sweat stains included.

A long long time ago. In a place known as 'India,' an ale sat inside all year long and lost its tan. Along came Mr. Alligator as quiet as can be, stole that beer, and said, "hey this tastes pretty fuckin' good."

England has a London Blitz bomb map, the United States has a sexual predator map.

Whoa whoa whoa Pearl Harbor?

Top 10 Viking stories at History Extra
This is a great little article giving you each story, but at 1/100th of the original length.

This is considered the "Mona Lisa" of Egypt? Mona Lisa is giving you all massive side eye right now.

An insightful look into this uncelebrated minority. This is hilarious.

A bean stew, lamb, olives, bitter herbs, a fish sauce, unleavened bread, dates and aromatized wine likely were on the menu at the Last Supper, says recent research into Palestinian cuisine during Jesus's time. Aka: the Mediterranean diet.