Author Archive

Opium, Hypocrisy, and Amnesia

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Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. Edmund Burke (1729-1797) This much-abused quote is frequently tweaked to say “ignore” or “forget” history. Sometimes people simply choose to ignore it, particularly… Continue reading

The Surveyor in Snowshoes

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Wandering around the great medieval cathedral of St. Magnus in Kirkwall, Scotland I came upon an unusual monument among the 14th century stones and 18th century funerary inscriptions. The life-sized statue depicted a… Continue reading

Tracking the Great War

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Historical tourism is big business. While U.S. citizens have tended to travel to Normandy and sites associated with the Second World War, it became obvious to me during my travels that folks from… Continue reading

The Butcher’s Son

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Activity in England’s dockyards reached intense levels during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The Royal Navy Dockyard at Chatham in Kent was no exception. During the first decade of the 19th century… Continue reading

Caroline Warfield interviews Fred Wheatly from The Reluctant Wife

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Source: Caroline Warfield interviews Fred Wheatly from The Reluctant Wife

The Desert Queen

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Among the colorful personalities of the late Georgian/Early Victorian world of the 1830s Lady Hester Stanhope stands out for her brilliance, independence, and sheer brazen disregard for social mores. If ladies rode sidesaddle;… Continue reading

The Stargazer Who Counted

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Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet may have been a stargazer, a musician, and even a poet, but he was no dreamer. His work regarding the collection and quantification of data influenced science and social… Continue reading

The Cosmetic Huckster

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This week’s Victorian character impresses as more than just colorful. Madame Rachel, notorious con artist and flamboyant celebrity, made a fortune off the vanity and gullibility of high society. She may have been… Continue reading

The Bridge Builder

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Victorian England, as I pointed out in my earlier post, The Pastry Chef, produced a bumper crop of genuine characters: rogues, villains, explorers, heroes, geniuses, entrepreneurs, and colorful eccentrics. This week I highlight a… Continue reading

After the Bonnie Prince—the Jacobite Succession

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…lonely cairns are o’er the men,  Who fought and died for Charlie!                         Sound the Pibroch, traditional ballad If the men who fell at Culloden lie under lonely cairns, where is Bonnie Prince… Continue reading