Category Archives: Knowledge tidbit

U.S. social history

For an illuminating view of life in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, check out Richard Candida-Smith’s Fall 2012 UC Berkeley course History 124A: The United States from the Late 19th Century to the Eve … Continue reading

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History of Modern Africa Since 1880

While the first four lectures are missing from the new history course Modern Africa Since 1880 (feed), that’s no reason not to jump aboard and catch the rest of the ride. University of California San Diego (UCSD) historian Jeremy Prestholdt … Continue reading

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The Star-Spangled Banner

Some things about “The Star-Spangled Banner” you probably didn’t know: 1. The Star-Spangled Banner is a poem originally entitled “Defense of Fort McHenry” and it has 3 additional stanzas which are seldom sung. 2. The difficult, almost unsingable melody was … Continue reading

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The pursuit of happiness

Just what did Thomas Jefferson mean when he wrote that our inalienable rights include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Modern Americans are pretty sure they knew what he was talking about: our freedom to build our families and … Continue reading

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The History of Iran from Columbia University

It was part of George W. Bush’s “axis of evil.” It haunts the nightmares of the Israeli military planners. And it is heir to a rich history going back thousands of years. It is of course the Islamic Republic of … Continue reading

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The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

What did Prohibition and the income tax have in common? According to Daniel Okrent, author of the new book Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, the advent of the income tax was critical to the passage of Prohibition. … Continue reading

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Who invented the Franklin Stove?

Benjamin Franklin didn’t really invent the Franklin Stove. Who knew? The story is related in Climate Control: A History of Heating & Cooling (website), the latest episode of BackStory (website, iTunes). It seems that Franklin made some (not very successful) … Continue reading

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The truth about the Roman gladiator

Are you fascinated by gladiator, that killer-for-hire who entertained thousands back in ancient Rome’s heyday? Whether you love them or loathe them, you’ll enjoy Pennsylvania State University historian Garrett Fagan‘s talk Myths and Realities about the Roman Gladiator (iTunes). With … Continue reading

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The ‘Game of Life’ and the 1960s Counterculture

I lived through the late 1960s as a student at UC Berkeley, the epicenter of the counterculture and radical chic. And yet somehow I missed the grand intellectual underpinnings of hippie-dom and the Summer of Love. (The people I knew … Continue reading

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A great Western Civ course from UCLA

Ah, what a joy it is to discover a great teacher! Thanks to podcast reviewer Anne at Anne is a Man, I’ve discovered the truly gifted Lynn Hunt, teacher of UCLA’s History 1C – Western Civilization, 1715-Present (Youtube). I’m an … Continue reading

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