America: First Impressions

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

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It just didn’t occur to him…

This story will have more impact after you have read about the people subjugated by the Japanese in WWII.  Their treatment of their POWs and citizens of the countries they occupied was so horrific as to be incomprehensible.  We hear so much about the tragedies of history, especially that time period, that it’s easy to be desensitized to them to some extent, but events such as the Rape of Nanking and Bataan Death March are so perverse, even otherworldly in their construction that they bypass any desensitization and render attempts to understand them futile. Continue reading

Sailor Shanties

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.

History provides the best stories.

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.