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


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

The first three years of the future United States

It’s funny to think back to America’s early history.  The United States is such a major world player now that it’s hard to imagine a time when it was nothing more than a small, fragile outpost in an undesirable location because the Spanish, who were far stronger than the British, dominated Central and South America. Continue reading

Poland’s Home Army

Warsaw, Poland in 1945

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

Roger Bushell

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

Batman, Iron Man and The Aviator are all movies about the same person.

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 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.