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Today in History with a Twist: August 13, 2013

War Games?

     Not having heard about the armistice that had been signed the day before, American and Spanish forces staged a fake battle that had been planned over the previous week that would end with the Spanish surrendering Manilla to the Americans. (1898) Both sides knew the fall of Manilla was inevitable and both sides wanted it to happen with as few casualties as possible.  However, to just surrender the city the Spanish would have to turn it over to the Filipinos and they were afraid of the looting and retribution that would happen in that situation.  The Americans wanted to take the city rather than let the Filipinos have it so that they could have a greater say in the control of the country after the war.  Thus in the end the mock battle was agreed upon.  It just doesn't seem right.

     Was that thought up by a couple of left handers?  Today is Left-Handers’ Day! Every year on August 13, we celebrate the 10% of the population that is left-handed.  This day is also an opportunity to raise awareness about the needs of left-handed children.  If you are left-handed, you know that living in a world designed for right-handed people can be quite difficult.  Opening doors, writing in spiral notebooks, and using a computer mouse can be awkward and frustrating.  Studies have shown that left-handedness is often associated with intellectual creativity.  Famous left-handers include Michelangelo, Mozart, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Henson, and 8 of our 44 presidents!  There are several ways you can celebrate Left-Handers’ Day.  If you’re left-handed, declare a “lefty zone” around your personal space, where everything must be done left-handed.  If you’re a righty, do something nice for your lefty friends.  Buy them a left-handed pen or can-opener to make their lives a little easier! (Punchbowl.com)

     The Aztec Empire is collapsing.  Today (1521) Tenochtitlan (present day Mexico City) fell to conquistador Hernán Cortés.  With the capture of its capital and the deaths of most of their nobility the empire has virtually come to an end.  It is amazing what a few hundred men armed with rifles can do.  Not to mention having 200,000 Indian allies who hated the Aztecs.

     In news from central Europe, the Russian Army has launched an attack against the Polish capital of Warsaw (1920).  The conflict began last year (1919) when Poland tried to take advantage of the civil war going on in Russia and expand their border eastward.  The Soviet counterattack has driven the Poles all the way back to their capital.  The battle could decide the outcome of the war.  Never pays to be greedy.

     During the night East German soldiers erected barriers along the border between the eastern and western sectors of Berlin (1961).  Construction has begun on a wall to divide the two halves of the city.  Unlike most walls this one is not to keep people out but to thwart East Berlin's inhabitants' attempts to escape to the West.  West Berlin's graffiti artists are drooling all over themselves.

      In Southampton County, Virginia there are reports that escaped slave Nat Turner is preaching insurrection after seeing a solar eclipse which he claimed to be a sign from God.  We will keep you updated on the situation.  Didn't he realize that everyone saw the sign?

      In a major change of policy (1918) Women are being allowed to enlist in the United States Marine Corps for the first time.  Opha Mae Johnson, from Kokomo, Indiana, is the first woman to enlist.  I guess growing up with a name like Opha made it easy to put with anything the Marines could throw at her.

Today we celebrate the birthday's of:

     1818 - Lucy Stone - American activist (d. 1893) - Pioneered Pre-Nup agreements and kept her own name after marriage;  Leading to other women who followed the practice being called Lucy Stoners. - Talk about words changing their meaning.

     1860 - Annie Oakley - Target shooter (d. 1926) - Wonder what would have happened if she had missed when she attempted a shot to knock the ashes off a cigarette held by the newly crowned German Kaiser Wilhelm II.

     1926 - Fidel Castro, Cuban lawyer and politician, 15th President of Cuba - How different would things be if he had stuck with baseball.

To learn more about the above topics check out the following books from the Library's collection:


Amazon Says: Weaving cultural history and scientific exploration together, The Left Stuff takes you on an adventure to discover the truth about why humans choose one hand over the other. F more...
Amazon Says: Weaving cultural history and scientific exploration together, The Left Stuff takes you on an adventure to discover the truth about why humans choose one hand over the other. From high-tech neuroscience labs to the rain forests of Africa to the bullpens of Major League Baseball, journalist Melissa Roth investigates how societies and genetics encourage us to choose sides. The Left Stuff gets to the heart of why humans are predominantly right-handed-and why a stubborn minority has persevered against the weight of history and the forces of evolution. Fascinating, provocative, and insightful, this book is a well-crafted and engaging narrative of how modern science has put the power of understanding in the palms of our hands. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: In an astonishing work of scholarship that reads like an adventure thriller, historian Buddy Levy records the last days of the Aztec empire and the two men at the center of an more...
Amazon Says: In an astonishing work of scholarship that reads like an adventure thriller, historian Buddy Levy records the last days of the Aztec empire and the two men at the center of an epic clash of cultures. “I and my companions suffer from a disease of the heart which can be cured only with gold.” —Hernán Cortés It was a moment unique in human history, the face-to-face meeting between two men from civilizations a world apart. Only one would survive the encounter. In 1519, Hernán Cortés arrived on the shores of Mexico with a roughshod crew of adventurers and the intent to expand the Spanish empire. Along the way, this brash and roguish conquistador schemed to convert the native inhabitants to Catholicism and carry off a fortune in gold. That he saw nothing paradoxical in his intentions is one of the most remarkable—and tragic—aspects of this unforgettable story of conquest. In Tenochtitlán, the famed City of Dreams, Cortés met his Aztec counterpart, Montezuma: king, divinity, ruler of fifteen million people, and commander of the most powerful military machine in the Americas. Yet in less than two years, Cortés defeated the entire Aztec nation in one of the most astonishing military campaigns ever waged. Sometimes outnumbered in battle thousands-to-one, Cortés repeatedly beat seemingly impossible odds. Buddy Levy meticulously researches the mix of cunning, courage, brutality, superstition, and finally disease that enabled Cortés and his men to survive. Conquistador is the story of a lost kingdom—a complex and sophisticated civilization where floating gardens, immense wealth, and reverence for art stood side by side with bloodstained temples and gruesome rites of human sacrifice. It’s the story of Montezuma—proud, spiritual, enigmatic, and doomed to misunderstand the stranger he thought a god. Epic in scope, as entertaining as it is enlightening, Conquistador is history at its most riveting. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Poland was in ruins after World War I. The fighting front had rolled through some areas more than seven different times, and the result was the almost complete destruction of more...
Amazon Says: Poland was in ruins after World War I. The fighting front had rolled through some areas more than seven different times, and the result was the almost complete destruction of the roads, railways, bridges, water systems, and power plants. The government was based mainly on civil servants of Polish descent who remained on the job after the fall of Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary. Even after Poland regained her independence in 1918, the borders were not yet defined and the nation was vulnerable to continued threats from Germany and Russia. This work presents the story of the Kosciuszko Squadron, a small group of American flyers that formed without the support of the State Department and the American Expeditionary Force in Europe, to defend Poland from the Bolshevik armies and to prevent the communist revolution in Russia from uniting with a Germany frustrated by provisions of the Treaty of Versaille. The book covers the events leading up to the formation of the squadron and the first efforts to enlist American military help for Poland in 1918. It explores why that small group of Americans felt compelled to fight for Poland and what they knew about who and what they were fighting for and against, and discusses the people, events, and issues that figured prominently in the war. The Squadron was named, of course, in honor of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, who famously came from Poland in 1776 to join the Colonial forces fighting the War of Independence from Britain. less...
Amazon

The Berlin Wall by D. Epler
Amazon Says: One of the few titles available for young adults on this timely subject covers the factors that led to the division of Germany and Berlin, the eventual opening of the Wall, an more...
Amazon Says: One of the few titles available for young adults on this timely subject covers the factors that led to the division of Germany and Berlin, the eventual opening of the Wall, and the recent reunification of Germany. less...
Amazon

Annie Oakley by Shirl Kasper
Amazon Says: “Nothing more simple, I assure you….But I’ll tell you what. You must have your mind, your never, and everything in harmony. Don’t look at your gun, simply follow the obj more...
Amazon Says: “Nothing more simple, I assure you….But I’ll tell you what. You must have your mind, your never, and everything in harmony. Don’t look at your gun, simply follow the object with end of it, as if the tip of the barrel was the point of your finger.” –Annie OakleyAnnie Oakley is a legend? America’s greatest female sharpshooter, a woman who triumphed in the masculine world of road shows and firearms. Despite her great fame, the popular image of Annie Oakley is far from true. She was neither a swaggering western gal nor a sweet “little girl.” Annie Oakley was a competitive and resolute woman who wanted to be the best and succeeded. In this comprehensive biography Shirl Kasper sets the record straight, giving us an accurate, honest, and compelling portrait of the woman known as “Little Sure Shot.”Born Phoebe Ann Moses in Ohio in 1860. Annie took her first shot at age eight?“one of the best shots I ever made,” Annie later said. It was the start of her lifelong fascination with shooting. Early local acclaim led to a contest with Frank Butler, a professional sharpshooter. Annie won and Frank fell in love with her. Annie and Frank (who eventually gave up his own act to be Annie’s manager) were wed not long after and remained married for forty-two years, until their deaths in 1926 just day apart.Annie’s sharpshooting career began while on the road with Frank’s show, but she rose to fame in her seventeen years with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. Her speed, agility, uncanny precision, and charm soon made Annie world famous. Shooting was her passion; apart from her career with the Wild West, Annie hunted, shot trap, entered many shooting contests, performed for World War I troops, and, in her retirement years, taught thousands of women how to shoot.Annie Oakley provides a vivid and unforgettable portrait of this American original: a prim and proper woman, conservative in her views, hand-working and frugal, whose greatest source of pride was to be accepted as “a lady.” Significant events are documented here for the first time: Annie’s decision to join the struggling Wild West show; her meeting with Sitting Bull; the nature of her feud with Lillian Smith, another Wild West markswoman; and the real reason that Annie’s hair suddenly turned white when she was only forty-one. Thoroughly researched, fully annotated, and entirely unsentimental, this volume is the most complete and record of Annie Oakley’s life and achievements. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Fidel Castro's triumphant march into Havana on January 8, 1959 signaled the end to Cuba's old order and the beginning of a new era. This one-stop guide to the Cuban revolution more...
Amazon Says: Fidel Castro's triumphant march into Havana on January 8, 1959 signaled the end to Cuba's old order and the beginning of a new era. This one-stop guide to the Cuban revolution analyzes Castro's drive to oust Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. The reader will gain an understanding of the revolt and its causes and consequences. Two additional chapters examine Castro's efforts to pursue an independent foreign policy and an analysis of the ever-changing characteristics of the Cuban-American community and its relationship to the homeland. A variety of selected documents supplement the main points of each chapter.Ready-reference features include: a chronology of events in the history of Cuba and the Cuban revolution; lengthy biographical profiles of 23 major figures in the history of Cuba and the revolution that provide the reader with insights into the political thinking and contributions each made to the Cuban historical experience; and the text of 15 key primary documents on the topics, including statements by Fidel Castro, President John F. Kennedy, and President Bill Clinton. A glossary of frequently cited terms, an annotated bibliography, and photos make this work ideally suited for student research. less...
Amazon
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