Tag: History

Book Review: ‘Ignition!’ Explores the ‘Golden Age’ of Rocketry

 

Today, rocket science commonly refers to anything dealing with space. Originally, it meant rocket design, especially fuel development. “Ignition!: An Informal History of Liquid Propellants,” by John D. Clark, harks back to those day. While informal, it is a comprehensive account of rocket fuel development.

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The temples of Cambodia are more than just Angkor Wat and that other one with the giant faces. An acquaintance, who just got back from a visit a few weeks ago, said he thought there was just two or three until his driver pulled out a map of Angkor and asked which one he wanted […]

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Words: The Power and the Glory

 

The church of my childhood was St. Mary’s, Handsworth, just outside Birmingham, in England. Although I probably attended services there only a few dozen times, while we stayed with Granny and Grandpa during my father’s infrequent “leave” periods from the Colonial Service in Nigeria, it was a bulwark of stability in my life.

Like the thousands of churches dotting the English landscape, St. Mary’s has had a presence on its site since the time of William the Conqueror, with the first known building being erected in about 1150. There are still a few surviving Norman bits in the current church, most of which dates from the mid-sixteenth century. It’s a cool, quiet church on a busy road with a terribly neglected churchyard, and memorials inside to Matthew Bolton, James Watt and William Murdoch–memorials and connections which have led to its being known as the Cathedral of the Industrial Revolution.

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Book Review: A Little History of Archaeology

 

Archaeology is the study of the history of mankind through examining its artifacts. “A Little History of Archaeology,” by Brian Fagan is the study of archaeology through examining its artifacts. The book is part of Yale University Press’s “A Little History” series. It examines different topics in a short and readable, yet comprehensive manner.

In this book, Fagan, an internationally recognized archaeologist, puts archaeology under the microscope. In 40 brief chapters he takes readers through archaeology’s past, going from the dawn of archaeology through to the present.

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I wrote this column about Paul Ryan’s retirement for USA Today, and C-SPAN was nice enough to have me on this morning to talk about it. An excerpt: More

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday. More

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On this day (variously given as March 20 and March 21, and making the usual allowances for the Julian Calendar discrepancy), 605 years ago, Henry of Monmouth, Prince of Wales, became King Henry V of England. And it’s a jolly good thing, too. More

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Totalitarianism demands, in fact, the continuous alteration of the past, and in the long run probably demands a disbelief in the very existence of objective truth. – George Orwell This is the close of a longer quote, which in its entirety reads: More

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review on Ricochet on the following Sunday. More

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Direction by Nicolai Fuglsig Screenplay by Ted Tally and Peter Craig Based on Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers Who Rose to Victory in Afghanistan “Let’s get this war started.” – CWO Hal Spencer More

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review on Ricochet on the following Sunday. More

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The Beginning and the End of History

 

One of the most cogent observations that Rush Limbaugh ever made is the axiom that “most people believe history began the day they were born.” As a nation, we have become more and more historically illiterate. The native-born voters that will be eligible to go to the polls for the first time ever this fall will be the first born in the 2000s and the 2020 election will see the ascension of the 21st-century voter. These people will vote with little understanding of their country’s history beyond the idea that it was racist, misogynistic and a backwater of religious nuttery.

With George W. Bush having left office when they were 8- to 10-years old, they will have little practical first-hand knowledge of any president other than Mssrs. Obama and Trump. They will never personally know a combatant of the two World Wars. For them, real fascism will be what the radical left tells them it is. They will never know anyone, as I did in my youth, with an inventory number tattooed on their forearm, a “souvenir” of days in one of Hitler’s death camps.

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Book Review: A Look into Sam Houston’s Life and Legacy

 

Ron Rozelle is a Texas treasure. What he writes is worth reading. Exiled: The Last Days of Sam Houston, by Rozelle, continues his string of books worth reading.

It is a biography of the father of Texas. Most biographers concentrate on Houston’s early career, especially the period where he led the Texian Army or served as the first president of the Republic of Texas. Rozelle uses a different tactic. This book focuses on the end of Houston’s public life, as Texas’ first US senator and as governor of the state of Texas.

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What History Will They Read, If Any?

 

As I sit here pouring over an account of Elihu Washburne — the onetime friend and confidant of Presidents Lincoln and Grant, and ambassador to France during a time of tremendous tumult and drama in the streets of Paris — I find myself marveling at how unaware we are of what is an undeniably riveting story of American honor and personal sacrifice, embodied in the valiant actions of a dutiful public servant in a hotbed of chaos and disorder.

If I had ever even heard of Elihu Washburne in my youth, I have long since forgotten it. Yet here I am in my mid-40s, and had I not encountered the story in the chapters of David McCullough’s The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris and my current reading of Michael Hill’s biography of Mr. Washburne (taken much from the latter’s own diary and dispatches during the Parisian tumult of the 1870’s), I would still know nothing of this remarkable piece of American history.

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review on Ricochet on the following Sunday. More

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Did anyone catch this story about the Russian war games this past September, 2017? Was it, according to sources in The Sun, a dry run for a larger invasion of Western Europe? https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5177666/russia-military-drills-invasion-europe-vladimir-putin/ More

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review on Ricochet on the following Sunday. More

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review on Ricochet on the following Sunday. More

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This Week’s Book Review – The Second World Wars

 

Books written about World War II fill libraries. Can anything new be said about that war, especially in an overview book? The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won by Victor Davis Hanson proves there is. A one-volume look at World War II, it offers surprising conclusions.

The surprises lie in Hanson’s presenting conclusions, which seem obvious once stated, but overlooked until Hanson highlights them. One example: Germany and Japan started wars they could not finish.

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This time of year seems to inspire a closer look at our human condition. As I clean up and organize in preparation for the holidays, tax season, acknowledging another year coming to a close, I seem to reflect on my spiritual condition more closely. Inspired by recent posts by @paddysiochain, @susanquinn, @skipsul, @curtnorth, @gilreich, @midge […]

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