Friday, March 27, 2015

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #29

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.

On March 26, 1920, Scribner’s publishing house released “This Side of Paradise,” the debut novel by author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald would spend spent the rest of the 1920s and 30s chronicling the excesses of the “Jazz Age” in short story collections and novels like “The Great Gatsby” and “Tender is the Night.” Ninety-five years after he published his first book, learn 10 surprising facts about the glamorous and tragic life of one of the 20th century’s most celebrated writers.

Richard III, the last English king to die in battle 530 years ago, was finally laid to rest on Thursday in a solemn ceremony in Leicester Cathedral, a few steps from the car park where his twisted skeleton was found in 2012.

For the past seven years, the United Nations has recognized March 25 as the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. For this year’s ceremony, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced the unveiling of a memorial created to honor the history of the transatlantic slave trade, and draw attention to modern day equivalents of human rights violations.

The still-life watercolor was painted when Adolf Hitler was in his mid-twenties, and sold by his Jewish art dealer Samuel Morgenstern, who was later sent to the Lodz Ghetto.

In 1969, Yoko Ono and John Lennon held two week-long Bed-Ins for Peace against the Vietnam War. While they haven't exactly been successful in ending war, they did garner a lot of attention.

Genes from frozen woolly mammoth remains have been copied and pasted into the genome of an Asian elephant. This is the first time that mammoth genes have been functional since the animals went extinct some 4,000 years ago.

As the April anniversary of Lincoln's last ride approaches, a historian recounts the president's other horse and buggie moments.

An article in The Guardian responds to reports that a Nazi hideout was excavated in northwestern Argentina by archaeologist Daniel Schavelzon, who claimed that the ruins of three stone buildings in the jungles of Teyú Cuaré National Park could have sheltered war criminals on the run after World War II.

Friday, March 20, 2015

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #28

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.

New Stonehenge theory calls the mysterious ancient site ‘Mecca on stilts’ at
APPARENTLY, we’ve all been thinking about Stonehenge the wrong way.

Final preparations are under way for the reburial of Richard III more than 500 years after his death in battle. The last of the Plantagenet kings will be laid to rest at Leicester Cathedral on Thursday, March 26, but not before a symbolic procession of his remains near the place where he met his end.

On March 18, 1990, two thieves pulled off history’s biggest art heist by stealing 13 masterpieces worth $500 million from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Twenty-five years later, the case remains unsolved and the pieces still missing. So whodunit?

Next month, 170 years after the Erebus and all its crew were lost, experts will try to reach the wreck – under thick ice on an undersea ridge.
Archaeologists and anthropologists say they have positively identified fragments from the body of literary giant who died in 1616 in Madrid.

Ancient tales about Viking expeditions to Islamic countries had some elements of truth, according to recent analysis of a ring recovered from a 9th century Swedish grave.

That image of Che Guevara — you know the one — went viral long before going viral was even a thing. All Day tells the story of how it happened.

Friday, March 13, 2015

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #27

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.

Conservationists are calling for a ban to be put in place preventing people from walking among the stones on both the longest and shortest days of the year. Keep your people in check, Arthur.

Japan must face up to its shameful Second World War past like Germany did, says Angela Merkel at Telegraph

The German chancellor speaks up on trip to Tokyo of the need for Japan to squarely confront its past ahead of 70th anniversary of country's defeat in Second World War. Am I the only one who sees the irony in this?

These are the images that reshaped our history and the way we see the world around us.

9 things you might not know about Anne Frank at History Extra
On the 70th anniversary of the death of Anne Frank, a new documentary featuring eyewitness testimony explores what happened to the 14-year-old after she and her family were captured by the Nazis in 1944.

You know it's a slow news week when stupid connections like this one are made.

Like, I said: slow news week. Looks like a cat turd.

I love that remembrance song U2 did for this voting rights movement.

3,000 Skeletons Recovered at London Train Station Site at Discovery
A team of 60 researchers will work in shifts six days a week over the next month to remove the ancient skeletons to make way for a new train station.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France by Miranda Richmond Mouillot

As the amount of time since the end of World War II continues to grow, the people of the "greatest generation" are diminishing. As they disappear, their personal accounts of the war do as well. The magnitude of the war continues to surface, whether it be digging up an undetonated bomb 70 years later, or the recent publishing of A Fifty-Year Silence. Miranda Richmond Mouillot captures the story of her grandparents, Anna and Armand, and the psyche of these two people during their flee from Nazi-occupied France. Dodging Nazis. Coping with "survivor guilt." Solving the mystery of a fifty-year estrangement. Let's do this.

Title: A Fifty Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France
Author: Miranda Richmond Mouillot
Pages: 288 pages
Release Date: January 20, 2015
Publisher: Crown
Genre: Memoir; Biography
My Rating: 3.5/5

A young woman moves across an ocean to uncover the truth about her grandparents' mysterious estrangement and pieces together the extraordinary story of their wartime experiences.

In 1948, after surviving World War II by escaping Nazi-occupied France for refugee camps in Switzerland, the author's grandparents, Anna and Armand, bought an old stone house in a remote, picturesque village in the South of France. Five years later, Anna packed her bags and walked out on Armand, taking the typewriter and their children. Aside from one brief encounter, the two never saw or spoke to each other again, never remarried, and never revealed what had divided them forever.

A Fifty-Year Silence is the deeply involving account of Miranda Richmond Mouillot's journey to find out what happened between her grandmother, a physician, and her grandfather, an interpreter at the Nuremberg Trials, who refused to utter his wife's name aloud after she left him. To discover the roots of their embittered and entrenched silence, Miranda abandons her plans for the future and moves to their stone house, now a crumbling ruin; immerses herself in letters, archival materials, and secondary sources; and teases stories out of her reticent, and declining, grandparents. As she reconstructs how Anna and Armand braved overwhelming odds and how the knowledge her grandfather acquired at Nuremberg destroyed their relationship, Miranda wrestles with the legacy of trauma, the burden of history, and the complexities of memory. She also finds herself learning how not only to survive but to thrive – making a home in the village and falling in love.

With warmth, humor, and rich, evocative details that bring her grandparents' outsize characters and their daily struggles vividly to life, A Fifty-Year Silence is a heartbreaking, uplifting love story spanning two continents and three generations.

Only within the last 20 pages or so, does Miranda question that the decline of her grandparents' relationship may have came about after the war, and not during. I thought this was obvious from the get-go. If Anna and Armand's relationship had soured during the war, why would they have stayed together for the remaining years afterwards and had children? They were both independent and resourceful. Armand was a dynamic man. Anna was a strong, successful woman. You would suppose that if something had gone so wrong during the war (resulting in a whopping 50-year silence), they would have called it quits immediately. They both seemed practical enough to do so.

It was no surprise that the Nuremberg Trials took a toll on Armand, who was hired as an interpreter for the nearly 11-month-long military tribunals. Why Miranda never considered the impact of the Trials on her grandparent's relationship in the first 90% of the book, I have no idea.

Which brings me to the biggest issue I had with this book. What type of book is this? Sometimes it read like a novel, sometimes a memoir, sometimes a how-to. Why do we need a lengthy paragraph on the step-by-step installation of a door in Miranda's house by her boyfriend? We don't. Nope. I wish Miranda would have left her personal love story out of it. I really didn't care. I didn't see any correlation between that and her grandparents and it was if she just wanted to throw her own fairytale into the mix because she could. Or for book filler.

I am going to make a guess: I think Miranda's research started off as an account of her grandparents' displacement throughout the war OR what it is like to live in provincial France. When those stories were kind of boring (sorry) she was like, "I'll focus on their mysterious breakup!" Because I'm sure no one has ever asked her grandparents why they separated in the first place. Please.

With all that was questionable about this memoir, the spunkiness of Miranda's grandparents made this book endearing. Miranda was able to capture the essence of these two people and give them such strong and distinct voices. "Intellectual understanding and brilliance in abstract notions had little or nothing to do with affection, empathic feelings, and consequently the need to respect others' aspirations and meet them." I mean, Anna's words of wisdom need to be printed onto posters and framed.

The essence of this book is that history isn't always wrapped up in a neat little package. It's random, unexplainable, and often unanswerable. While reminiscing on a visit to Notre Dame, Miranda explains how she "remembered touching the stone pillars in the nave and feeling a kind of electric ripple as I imagined the hands that had carved them. I knew my own hands were lingering in places those long-gone fingers had been. That, I thought, was history. Now I realized that the electric ripple that had so entranced me was not history but rather the gulf that separates the past from the present." Well said. Miranda can capture her thoughts and feelings in writing beautifully. 

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this honest review.

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Friday, March 6, 2015

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #26

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.

Bottles of beer recovered from a nineteenth-century shipwreck in the Baltic Sea have been sampled. It tasted watered down. Get itWatered down? *drops the mic

Nimrud: Outcry as IS bulldozers attack ancient Iraq site at BBC

Archaeologists and officials have expressed outrage about the bulldozing of the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud by Islamic State militants in Iraq. IS, which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria, says shrines and statues are "false idols" that have to be smashed. Gimme a break. Get it? A break? I'll be here all week.

Adolf, the dog that looks like Hitler at Telegraph
A Welsh woman renamed her chihuahua puppy Adolf after black slanting 'fringe' and tiny moustache prompted comparisons to the Nazi dictator. For more Hitler look-a-likes, see this house.

Wallis Simpson ordered rescue mission for her swimsuit in WW2 at Telegraph
The US-born wife of King Edward VIII made the American Minister in Lisbon and the American consul in Nice find the Nile green outfit she had left behind at her luxury villa at the height of World War II. People underestimate the difficulty of finding a good bathing suit.

Kanye West Lyrics Perfectly Describe The Story Of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra at BuzzFeed
"I know you ain't getting this type of dick from that local dude." Shakespeare would either be proud or he’s rolling in his grave.

Why Iceland is Building a Temple to Thor at Discovery

Because he's the most underrated Avenger.

Parisians carry on shopping as mass graves are exhumed below their feet at The Guardian
Shop elsewhere. Haven't you ever seen Poltergeist?

Google Built An Awesome Interactive Map to Highlight Women in History at BuzzFeed
Together, young women and the tech giant, SPARK, built a new map to bring people up to speed with women’s history in their everyday lives. Get your Women's History Month on and download Field Trip to enable your smartphone to discover information about locations you'll walk past or search for.

Impressive Tomb of Celtic Prince Found in France at Discovery
An Iron Age Celtic prince lay buried with his chariot at the center of a huge mound in the Champagne region of France. Some of the Celt's prestigious objects of Greek and Etruscan origin have been found in other monumental mounds, so we'll see what this one turns up. Excavation is expected to finish at the end of the month.