John Smith was one of the foremost leaders of early Jamestown. He’d had an interesting life before that, one which influenced the direction of this country and (as I seem to be constantly promising) which will be explored later in this blog. He was a controversial but effective leader in the settlement’s first years, and when health problems and an injury prompted his return to England in 1609, he spent his time working for the colony from there, promoting it and encouraging people to move there. Continue reading
I just want to do a quick post today about sailor shanties. They’re great! Catchy folk songs which are a little risqué and, most interestingly, mention places. It’s not surprising that they would fit that description, because they are a reflection of sailor life, but it’s still interesting to listen to songs from the 1800s which, in the course of two minutes, casually mention four continents. They’re very much a unique subset of folk songs, which I would say age better than most.
Poland has a history of fighting oppression, and World War II was hardly different. Soon after it was invaded in 1939, resistance cells began to form and join into what became known as the Armia Krajowa, or Home Army. It operated in both the Nazi and Soviet areas of the country, though for a number of reasons it was more successful in the places controlled by the Germans. Though the culmination of its activities was the 1944 Warsaw Uprising (an event which will surely get its own entry sometime soon), it was highly active throughout the war, in organizing insurrections, protecting Jews and others seeking refuge, and many other activities. It took orders from the Polish government in exile which was based in London. Continue reading
Of all the stories that belong in this blog, the Great Escape is probably the ultimate. The story itself is amazing, the biggest POW escape in history, and was the subject of a classic movie and even better book (Seriously, if you haven’t read The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill, do it. It’s everything the movie is and more, and perhaps the only book I’ve stayed up all night reading, even though I knew the ending.). Such a story doesn’t happen, though, without intriguing people, and there are innumerable fascinating details to the story which never made their way into the movie, or were only mentioned in passing. Don’t be surprised, then, if the Great Escape becomes an event that is referenced multiple times during this blog, starting today. Continue reading
Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne are both closely enough based on their model, Howard Hughes, that the similarity is immediately noticeable with just a little knowledge of the life of the filmmaker, aviator, philanthropist and world’s once-richest-man. Continue reading
History is a fascinating subject. More than just names and dates, it’s one continuing story in which everything is interconnected, the swings, trends and movements of the human species. It’s one of few subjects that grows bigger and more fascinating the more it is studied.
That said, there are some stories which are short, stand alone and simply cool, fascinating, or incredible. Maybe they have a huge impact on history or maybe virtually none at all, but if you’re looking for something interesting to read, you don’t do better than these.
So I decided to start a blog devoted to these stories. Little page long stories to read in your spare time, to use in classes to interest students in history, I don’t know. All I know is that I love these stories and I wanted to share them with other people who might enjoy them, too.