Category Archives: History

The Leopard, a Novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

Book Review Title: The Leopard Author: Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa Publisher: Pantheon Books (Paperback), New York (1960) ISBN-13: 978-0-679-73121-4 Lampedusa’s novel The Leopard follows the life of Sicilian Don Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina, around the time of Garibaldi, mainly … Continue reading

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Autobiography of World Chess Champion Mikhail Tal

Book Review Title: The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal Author: Mikhail Tal Publisher: Everyman Chess (London) Date: 1997, 2015 Mikhail Tal’s autobiography is in the form of an interview,

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Patrick Brontë: Man of Sorrow

Book Review Title: A Man of Sorrow: The Life, Letters and Times of the Rev. Patrick Brontë 1777–1861, 566 pages Authors: John Lock and Canon W. T. Dixon Publisher: Ian Hodgkins & Co. LTD, London (1979) ISBN-13: 978-0906460047 Patrick Brontë … Continue reading

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Kant and Critique: New Essays in Honor of W.H. Werkmeister

Book Recommendation Title: Kant and Critique: New Essays in Honor of W.H. Werkmeister Author: R.M. Dancy, W.H. Werkmeister, et al. Publisher: Springer; 1993 I attended this conference that is commemorated in this volume, where these essays were originally presented, at … Continue reading

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The Honored Guest

With the 4th of July rolling around, here is my tribute to one of our lesser-known Founding Fathers: Thomas Paine. Like a good father, he suggested names for the new baby he was creating. In Common Sense, he used phrases … Continue reading

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The Secret Lives of Codebreakers

Book Review Title: The Secret Lives of Codebreakers Author: Sinclair McKay Published: Penguin Group 2010 Recently I saw the 2014 film The Imitation Game about British Intelligence’s codebreaking of German communications during World War II. The movie was interesting enough … Continue reading

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The Education of Henry Adams

Book Review Title: The Education of Henry Adams Author: Henry Adams Published: Modern Library 1931. Originally published 1918. Privately circulated 1907 Last December I wrote about Adams’ earlier work, Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres, which I recommended for its rich blend of … Continue reading

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The Ides of March

March 15 is remembered as the Ides of March because of the assassination of Roman ruler Julius Caesar. In B.C. 49 a power struggle divided the Roman Senate. Two influential leaders controlled military forces: Julius Caesar and a man by … Continue reading

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Charles Dickens 203

Let us take a moment to remember Charles Dickens today, his 203rd Birthday. When you read novels by Charles Dickens, and then read true accounts of mid-1800s London and look at photographs of the period, you’ll find his descriptions match … Continue reading

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Poe 206

Edgar Allan Poe is not considered a top literary figure by many critics. He was considered even less during his lifetime. He was a critic himself, and his creative works did not earn him much of a living.

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Mont Saint Michel and Chartres

Book Review Title: Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres Author: Henry Adams Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (June 3, 1986). Originally published 1904. Henry Adams toured French mediæval gothic architecture, and apparently took a lot of notes, focusing on the Grande Cathedrals of … Continue reading

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Shakespeare 450

William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday is today, born 23 April 1564. Or at least it is traditionally celebrated on 4/23. He was baptized 4/26 so his birth date would be a few days earlier. Being born 450 years ago today adds … Continue reading

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Persian Carpets

Book Review Title: The Root of the Wild Madder Author: Brian Murphy Publisher: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, New York, 2005 There are plenty of dry histories of Persian carpet making, and sterile picture books of Persian carpets, but too often … Continue reading

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The Albert Effect

People have all kinds of mentors and role models. Here is a good one from the nineteenth century.

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Cicero and Lorem Ipsum

Once upon a time in 45 BC, Cicero wrote “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil), an essay on ethics. Among other topics, he talks about the virtues of seeking pleasure in the sense of long-term … Continue reading

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