I took a historical detour this week to Greece in 1821. I honestly had no idea there was a revolution in Greece in 1821-- but then again, I never realized Beethoven and Thomas Jefferson were contemporaries.
Only three presidents have formally been impeached. Andrew Johnson was the first. This week's read is a deep-dive into the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, to hopefully shed some light on current events.
"It is no exaggeration to say that the only thing I learned about slavery during my British education was that we 'ended' it." ~ Zadie Smith French asks us to re-evaluate the centrality Africa and Africans have played in the narrative of modernity in this ambitious book.
Did you know that one person was largely responsible for developing 9 of the modern vaccines you get at the doctor's office? That individual was Maurice Hilleman, yet not a lot of people know of him. Read on for Dr. Anthony Fauci cameo and a prediction of the next pandemic.
Do you remember Rutherford B. Hayes? What about Grover Cleveland? *American Colossus* covers a fascinating and underappreciated era of American history, which Brands interprets as a period of capitalism overpowering democracy.
Murder! Intrigue! Romance! (OK, not too much of that) But "July 1914" is a very engaging re-evaluation of the events leading up to WWI, centering on diplomatic relations in July. What happened before the Guns of August?
Elie Wiesel has said that to forget a holocaust is to kill twice. Iris Chang unpacks what she refers to as "the forgotten holocaust of World War II" in her book "The Rape of Nanking." This refers to the mass slaughter of civilians in the then-capital of China by the Japanese army.
A political outsider with a mass following comes to the top post in the nation at the invitation of an embattled party wanting to ride on his popular appeal. They are convinced they can control him, but woefully miscalculate. Sound familiar? I picked up Volker Ullrich's recent biography of Adolf Hitler, wanting to understand all the details that led to the fall of Weimar Germany's democracy. In this first volume of a three-part biography, Ullrich covers Hitler's beginnings as transient artist to political agitator to chancellor of Germany.
"If slavery is a manifest and universal evil, why did no one seem to realize this until relatively recently? What does that mean about our traditions of moral reasoning or divine guidance? Why do our scriptures condone slavery and why did our prophets practice it? How can we venerate people and texts-- the prophets, Founding Fathers, a scripture or founding document-- that considered slavery valid or normal? And, if we see clear and egregious moral wrongs that those people and texts so conspicuously missed, why are we venerating or honoring them in the first place?"