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Today in History News Report

Welcome to my Today in History News Report. It is a slightly wacky look at historical events that happened on this day. If you find any of the events or people to be of interest a list of related books is included at the end.

In our top story today, Joan of Arc was handed over to Bishop Pierre Cauchon (1431) to be tried on the charge of heresy. Cauchon is expected to conduct a sham trial intended to punish Joan for her role in placing Charles VII on the Throne of France. Charles has done nothing in her defense. Do not expect this to end well for Joan. Joan is learning a hard lesson on trusting French Kings. We will keep you updated as the trial commences.

In more church news, Pope Leo X issued a papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem excommunicating Martin Luther (1521). Luther has been on the Pope's bad side since publishing his Ninety-Five Theses. The move is intended to derail Luther's rise as a political opponent. Imagine not being able to buy your way into to heaven!?!

Good news out of New Jersey General George Washington rallied his troops and defeated Cornwallis and the British Regulars near the town of Princeton (1777). After losing three battles in ten days the British have left New Jersey. Three strikes and you're out.

In an attempt at immigration reform the Mexican government has issued a land grant in Texas to Stephen F. Austin (1823). Austin has assured the Mexican government that these are just hard working farmers who will obey all Mexican laws.

In Italy Benito Mussolini announced (1925) he is taking dictatorial powers. He has called for many social reforms and public projects to boost the Italian economy. He is also planning to modernize the Italian military. It has been reported that the trains are running on time.

There are disturbing reports coming out of the Pacific Theater that the popular leader of the famed 'Black Sheep squadron', Ace Major Greg "Pappy" Boyington's Corsair has been shot down(1944). Japanese Zero pilot Captain Masajiro Kawato is claiming the victory. The Japanese are claiming that they have captured the American war hero alive. Hope he makes it back for next season.

After a ten day stand off at the Vatican embassy in Panama City the deposed leader of Panama, Manuel Noriega, surrendered to American forces (1990). The American Army had implemented a Psychological warfare campaign , including the blasting of rock music, against the embassy compound. Wonder how he would have reacted if Justin Bieber's 'Baby, baby' would have been available to play?

Happy birthday to,

106 BC - Cicero - The Roman statesman and philosopher is remembered by Historian Michael Grant who stated, "the influence of Cicero upon the history of European literature and ideas greatly exceeds that of any other prose writer in any language." - The man could really turn a phrase.

1892 - J. R. R. Tolkien - Time in the trenches can really give you an active imagination.

1939 - Bobby Hull - One of my heroes growing up, was disturbed when he started doing the hair plug commercials.

1956 - Mel Gibson - Made one of my favorite movies, but where was the Sterling Bridge in depiction of the battle for it?

Don't know what to do with that Fruitcake that you got this year? The answer; Today is Fruitcake Toss Day. Fruitcakes are the holiday gift that no one asks for, but many people receive. If you still haven't eaten or re-gifted your holiday fruitcake, today is the perfect excuse to toss it. Start the year with a clean pantry! Every year in Manitou Springs, Colorado, there is a Great Fruitcake Toss in which people compete to see how far they can throw or hurtle their fruitcakes. People also use the cakes at this event to make little cars to race during a Fruitcake Derby. The first Great Fruitcake Toss took place in 1995. The event has grown into a huge festival that attracts participants from across the country. (punchbowl.com)


Joan of Arc: Maid, Myth and History by Timothy Wilson-Smith
Ron S. Says: Good biography on this interesting little woman who captured the imagination of the world.
Amazon Says: Joan of Arc, born in Domremy in France in 1412, began to hear voices when she was thirteen and, believing they were directives from God, followed them - to the French court, t more...
Amazon Says: Joan of Arc, born in Domremy in France in 1412, began to hear voices when she was thirteen and, believing they were directives from God, followed them - to the French court, to battle to wrest France from the English in the Hundred Years War, and to defeat and capture. She was put on trial for heresy and, on 30 May 1431, burned at the stake. Even today many people are fascinated by this teenage woman who persuaded her king to believe that she could lead her nation to victory. In the retrial of 1452-6 she was vindicated, but it took almost five hundred years after an English soldier declared 'we have burnt a saint' for the Catholic Church to conclude that she was indeed one. This new book is not merely an account of a life that was cut short; its focus is also on Joan's history, which in 1431 had just begun, and which, the author shows, was influenced just as much by the transformation in Anglo-French relations and by internal politics, issues of freedom and republicanism, and by changes in society regarding secularisation and belief, as by our response to the central issue of Joan's voices themselves. less...
Amazon

Luther;: His life and times by Richard Friedenthal
Ron S. Says: Learn more about this complex man who turned the Church on its head and launched a revolution.Amazon

Ron S. Says: In the early days of the Revolution the British had our backs up against the wall learn how George Washington began to mold our country
Amazon Says: The Day is Ours! is a dramatic account of two battles that turned the tide of the American Revolution. In this distinguished, highly readable, and richly detailed narrative hi more...
Amazon Says: The Day is Ours! is a dramatic account of two battles that turned the tide of the American Revolution. In this distinguished, highly readable, and richly detailed narrative history, William M. Dwyer reveals as vivid a picture as we are likely to see of a critical period in the American Revolution. He lets the participants--from American, British, and Hessian soldiers to myriad fearful and ambivalent citizens--tell the story in their own words. "Telling the story from the perspective, and often the words, of men in the ranks, Dwyer has written a dramatic account of this turning point in the American Revolution." --James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom "[Dwyer] has cast his net wide, taking advantage of newly found or long-obscure accounts published during the celebration of the Revolution's bicentennial. We learn exactly how it was in that momentous time, from letters, diaries and recollections of officers and men on both sides and civilians caught in the middle." --New York Times Book Review "Dwyer has put together a wonderful, lively account that reflects a reporter's respect for quotes from eyewitnesses . . . He presents the facts and lets history speak for itself. The result is enthralling." --The Philadelphia Inquirer "The courage of the common soldier who stayed and fought when the sunshine patriots had all gone home is a story that deserves to be told--and Mr. Dwyer has told it well." --The Wall Street Journal less...
Amazon

Mussolini: A Biography by Jasper Ridley
Ron S. Says: Interesting book written before World War II. See how the man was viewed at the time.
Amazon Says: This biography of Benito Mussolini describes his upbringing in the violent society of nineteenth-century Italy and the revolutionary traditions of Italian Socialism; his suspe more...
Amazon Says: This biography of Benito Mussolini describes his upbringing in the violent society of nineteenth-century Italy and the revolutionary traditions of Italian Socialism; his suspension from school for attacking other boys with knives; his imprisonment in Switzerland as an anarchist tramp. He had numerous love affairs and became a brilliant orator and journalist. He founded the Fascist party and ordered his squads to burn down the party offices of the Communists and Socialists during four years of virtual civil war. Mussolini, having become Prime Minister and dictator after the March on Rome, showed his true colors as an empire builder and, eventually, as a racist and persecutor of the Jews. Hardly the buffoon he is frequently made out to be, Mussolini can also be viewed as an able politician who won the esteem of many statesman and who knew how to cooperate peacefully with foreign governments when it suited him. Jasper Ridley has written a gripping account of the life of a many regarded as one of the arch villains of the twentieth century. less...
Amazon

Ron S. Says: They were famous enough to get a TV show, find out about the real men of the 'Black Sheep Squadron'.
Amazon Says: With their renowned squadron leader Greg “Pappy” Boyington, Marine Fighting Squadron (VMF) 214 was one of the best-known and most colorful combat units of World Wa more...
Amazon Says: With their renowned squadron leader Greg “Pappy” Boyington, Marine Fighting Squadron (VMF) 214 was one of the best-known and most colorful combat units of World War II. The popular television series Baa Baa Black Sheep added to their legend—while obscuring the truly remarkable combat record of the Black Sheep and Boyington. A retired naval flight officer and former historian for the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, Bruce Gamble provides a highly readable account that serves to both correct and extend the record of this premier fighting force. From the Paperback edition. less...
Amazon

Ron S. Says: Before Bin Laden the United States was involved in another manhunt. This one for Manuel Noriega. Rock music even becomes a weapon!
Amazon Says: In the summer of 1985, General Manuel Antonio Noriega, the legendary Panama strongman, was just one of hundreds of potential suspects identified at the ground level in the dai more...
Amazon Says: In the summer of 1985, General Manuel Antonio Noriega, the legendary Panama strongman, was just one of hundreds of potential suspects identified at the ground level in the daily combat in the Drug War raging around Miami, down where the Drug Enforcement Agencys rubber met the road. How it came to pass that 20,000 soldiers would be sent to invade Panama, grab the General and haul him back to the U.S., is one of the wilder, and least known stories in modern history up to now. This is, after all, the only time in its 225 year history that the United States has captured a world leader and tried him for violations of American lawviolations committed on that rulers own native turf. less...
Amazon

Ron S. Says: The man has entertained us for decades with his stories. Now read his story which is as fascinating as his books.
Amazon Says: A biography of J R R Tolkien. more...
Amazon Says: A biography of J R R Tolkien. less...
Amazon

Ron S. Says: Broke my heart when he left the Blackhawks as a free agent.
Amazon Says: An award-winning writer sets the record straight on hockey's forgotten golden boy—Bobby HullIn his prime, few could dispute Bobby Hull's athletic brilliance—the fir more...
Amazon Says: An award-winning writer sets the record straight on hockey's forgotten golden boy—Bobby HullIn his prime, few could dispute Bobby Hull's athletic brilliance—the first to have five 50-goal seasons, the highest scorer on the 1976 Canada Cup team, the first to use the slapshot as a scoring weapon, and the first hockey player to sign a million-dollar contract. With his body-builder torso, and his 100 mph volleys across a rink, the world of hockey glory was his to lose. And he did. With his publicized marital troubles and his defection from the NHL to the WHA, Hull's star began to fall, leaving him broke and in exile from the game. In The Devil and Bobby Hull, this once great hockey player and pioneer is finally given his due.Not only are Hull's remarkable on-ice achievements finally put in perspective, so, too, are his achievements off the rink—including endorsements for a wide array of products (rare for an NHL player) and his appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated a record four times. And the book details how Hull's battle with the owners of the Chicago Blackhawks—challenging the reserve clause in his contract, a move that enabled him to move to the WHA—helped other players follow him.The author places Hull squarely in the pantheon of other hockey greats, including Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, and Wayne Gretzky—and makes the case that he is the game's most influential and important playerThis is the full, unauthorized story of Hull's life—that doesn't sidestep the controversies (including the domestic violence tainting his private life)Details Hull's recent reconciliation with the Chicago BlackhawksA candid look at one of hockey's most gifted and controversial figures, The Devil and Bobby Hull tells the story of his extraordinary career and life—and why this remarkable man has not faded into oblivion. less...
Amazon

Mel Gibson: Man on a Mission by Wensley Clarkson
Ron S. Says: The actor
Amazon Says: From cult stardom in the Mad Max movies, through the enormous box-office success of the Lethal Weapon films, to Braveheart, which earned him Oscars for Best Director and Best more...
Amazon Says: From cult stardom in the Mad Max movies, through the enormous box-office success of the Lethal Weapon films, to Braveheart, which earned him Oscars for Best Director and Best Film, Mel Gibson has firmly secured his place as a major Hollywood player. His most recent directorial project, The Passion of the Christ—as enormously controversial as it was profitable—has kept him in the spotlight. In Mel Gibson—Man on a Mission, Wensley Clarkson takes a look at Gibson’s life and career in films, including his views on the furor surrounding The Passion of the Christ; the early years of women, drinking and gambling; his Hollywood business deals; his addiction to alcohol and how he overcame it; as well as his life with wife Robyn and their six children. less...
Amazon

Ron S. Says: The real man behind the movie.
Amazon Says: Based on original research, William Wallace is the first full examinationof both contemporary sources and of the way the Wallace myth has been constructed. more...
Amazon Says: Based on original research, William Wallace is the first full examinationof both contemporary sources and of the way the Wallace myth has been constructed. less...
Amazon
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