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Today in History with a twist: August 5, 2013

The Noose is Tightening!

 

     News out of Mobile, Alabama (1864) is that the Union Navy has begun its assault on Mobile Bay.  The Yankee fleet began advancing past the Confederate guns and soon lost one ironclad to one of the numerous torpedoes that the Rebels have placed in the bay.  Eyewitness say that the fleet commander, Admiral David Farragut, lashed himself to his flagships mast to better maintain his control of his flotilla through the heavy smoke and fire.  As his fleet slowed due to fear of the enemy torpedoes Farragut was heard to yell, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead."  Mobile Bay is one of the last major Southern ports and its fall would cut off a major source of supply for the Confederate armies.  Probably embelished but the story makes for a great recruiting tool. 

     When the battle is over they will probably celebrate with a beer.  Beer drinkers rejoice - it's International Beer Day!  Founded in 2007, this international holiday was created to celebrate the production, consumption, and enjoyment of beer.  Did you know that beer may have been invented before bread?  That’s right - legend has it that our prehistoric ancestors brewed the first beer from grain before they baked the first loaf of bread!  Whether or not this story is true, sources up to 6,000 years old have documented the creation of beer in Mesopotamia.  Talk about an ancient art! Today, many varieties of beer exist across the globe. In fact, beer is the third most popular beverage in the world, behind water and tea.  That’s why in some countries, you’ll find beer vending machines! (Punchbowl.com)

     Reports out of China (25) are that Han leader Guangwu has reclaimed the throne for the Han Dynasty and has been proclaimed Emperor.  The Han had lost control in 9 AD in a period of political turmoil which saw the Xin take control for a short period. In a major change the capital has been moved from Chang'an to Luoyang.  To differentiate between the two eras the Kingdom before the collapse will be known as the Western Han Dynasty and after the restoration the Eastern Han Dynasty.  Had to distance themselves from their ancestor's failure somehow.

     In Europe another Empire is being brought down. In a move to avoid a full blown war in Europe the Prussians, Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires have each seized land from the once powerful Polish-Lithuanian Empire. (1772)  Poland's curse from history, being caught in the middle. From South Africa we have learned the government has jailed political dissident Nelson Mandela (1962).  There is outcry around the world about this total disregard of civil rights. Maybe not so loud at this time but it should be. Krugerrands carry a lot of weight. 

     A landmark legal decision was handed down today (1735) when lawyer Andrew Hamilton won the acquittal of New York Weekly Journal writer John Peter Zenger on charges of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York.  Hamilton won the case on the defense that what Zenger had written could not be libel on the basis that what he had published was true.  This establishes the precedence that truth is a defense to an accusation of libel. His eloquent defense concluded with saying that the press has "a liberty both of exposing and opposing tyrannical power by speaking and writing truth." (His success in this case has been said to have inspired the term, "Philadelphia lawyer," meaning a particularly adept and clever attorney.) The truth can hurt but its not a crime.

     Driving in Cleveland, Ohio will be a little bit safer now that they have installed the first electric traffic light (1914).  Now we all have to remember that red means stop; green means go; and yellow means go real fast. ABC has debuted (1957) a new television show that is guaranteed to be a hit with teens, it is called American Bandstand.  The show is dedicated to the teenage "baby-boomers".  The whole premise of the show is playing the songs and showing the currently popular dances.  Wonder what the New Year will bring?

     The whole world held its breath (1926) as Harry Houdini performed his greatest feat, spending 91 minutes underwater in a sealed tank before escaping.  Don't ask where he hides the keys. 

Today we celebrate the birthdays of:

     1862 - Joseph Merrick - Proteus Syndrome sufferer and 'Elephant Man' (d. 1890) - Does make you think.

     1937 - Herb Brooks - American ice hockey player and coach (d. 2003) - Gave us reason to believe in miracles. Books in the Library's collections related to the above topics

 

Below is a list of boooks from the Library's collection related to the above topics:


Amazon Says: In this collection of essays a distinguished team of naval historians examines nineteen of the most important battles fought by American naval forces. Edited and introduced by more...
Amazon Says: In this collection of essays a distinguished team of naval historians examines nineteen of the most important battles fought by American naval forces. Edited and introduced by retired Naval Academy professor Jack Sweetman, the volume includes battles from the War of Independence, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War II, and the postwar period. Based on the latest scholarship and written to both educate and entertain, each of the essays provides a scene-setting overview of the strategic situation at the time of the action, a description of the battle itself, and an examination of its significance. Biographical profiles of American commanders illustrate the critical influence of leadership in combat. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: A worldwide directory with more than 4,500 listings of breweries, pubs and restaurants, stores, places of historical interest, festivals, celebrations, publications, organizat more...
Amazon Says: A worldwide directory with more than 4,500 listings of breweries, pubs and restaurants, stores, places of historical interest, festivals, celebrations, publications, organizations, and travel groups and agencies. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Han emperors ruled ancient China for more than 400 years. Under their rule, education, the arts, and the sciences grew in importance, and China came to rival the Roman Empire more...
Amazon Says: Han emperors ruled ancient China for more than 400 years. Under their rule, education, the arts, and the sciences grew in importance, and China came to rival the Roman Empire in power and in size. less...
Amazon

Nelson Mandela: A Biography by Martin Meredith
Amazon Says: From prison to the presidency, Meredith paints a vivid portrait of Mandela's inspiring life and times, providing fresh insight into the history of the anti-apartheid movement more...
Amazon Says: From prison to the presidency, Meredith paints a vivid portrait of Mandela's inspiring life and times, providing fresh insight into the history of the anti-apartheid movement and new revelations about its most compelling figure. Written with Mandela's cooperation and unique access to his inner circle, this definitive biography is sympathetic yet balanced--a brilliant study of a complex and mythic leader. 16 pages of photos . less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: In vivid biographical sketches, McWhirter chronicles the lives and accomplishments of the individuals who have most influenced the law in the last 4,000 years. more...
Amazon Says: In vivid biographical sketches, McWhirter chronicles the lives and accomplishments of the individuals who have most influenced the law in the last 4,000 years. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Americans for years have treated the automobile as a form of freedom. People can now live in the country and work in the city. Suburbia and shopping malls were made possible b more...
Amazon Says: Americans for years have treated the automobile as a form of freedom. People can now live in the country and work in the city. Suburbia and shopping malls were made possible by the automobile. And none of this would have been possible without huge legal and financial commitments made by all levels of government to expand America's interstate freeway systems, regional highways, expressways, arterials, commercial avenues, and residential streets. Our society now has a number of significant diseconomies associated with the individual use of the automobile. Traffic congestion and pollution in inner cities have led to a new wave of policies and practices to improve these conditions. The focus of public officials and citizens in most large urban centers is on public mass transportation, such as trains, light-rail systems, and the increased use of buses. In the interim, traffic management practices have increased in importance. This volume collects outstanding recent essays on all aspects of this complex subject. It includes numerous case studies on how cities, towns, and communities throughout the nation are managing the unrestricted use of the personal automobile. Other chapters discuss the future of urban transportation and examine evolving trends. Also included are appendices containing important information in the field. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: "I don't make culture, I sell it" Dick Clark once remarked. Indeed, the man who reigned as host of American Bandstand for nearly four decades may not have invented rock 'n' ro more...
Amazon Says: "I don't make culture, I sell it" Dick Clark once remarked. Indeed, the man who reigned as host of American Bandstand for nearly four decades may not have invented rock 'n' roll, but he sold it to the American public better than anyone before or since. Before Clark, rock 'n' roll was the step child of radio--which took to playing records as a cost-saving measure after television siphoned off radios most lucrative sponsors. But it was network television--and specifically Clarks Bandstand--that ultimately legitimized what was then viewed by most adults as vulgar, low-class music, broadcasting a sanitized vision of rock 'n' roll straight into Americas living rooms five afternoons a week. Here is the first book to tell the full story of what happened in front of--and behind--the cameras on Dick Clark's American Bandstand, providing both a history of this landmark show and of the changing styles of rock 'n' roll over four decades. Based on extensive interviews with music business figures, recording stars, and Clark himself, and featuring dozens of rare or never before published photographs, this is a riveting and uncensored account of a show that managed to survive countless revolutions in popular music. Jackson describes Bandstands humble beginnings in Philadelphias blue collar south side, the sex scandal that scuttled the first host of Bandstand and enabled Clark to launch his career, the glory days when an appearance on Bandstand was one of the most prized gigs in the music business and when teenagers lined up for blocks hoping to enter the studio, and memorable Bandstand appearances by rock 'n' roll royalty from Chubby Checker and Frankie Avalon, to Jerry Lee Lewis and Jefferson Airplane, to Pink Floyd and Madonna. Here as well is a candid look at the backstage financial maneuvering that allowed Clark to launch a video and entertainment empire worth nearly $200 million dollars today. Voted Most Likely To Sell The Brooklyn Bridge by his high school classmates, Clark emerges as a cunning business impresario determined to make millions. Readers learn how Clark decided which eager young singers would appear on the show, how he managed to survive a 1959 Congressional payola investigation that destroyed the careers of many other popular disc jockeys, how much money he earned from his personal financial investments in many of the songs played on Bandstand, and his importance to ABC in its fledgling days as a national television network. As entertaining as it is eye-opening, Dick Clark's American Bandstand will bring back a flood of memories to everyone who lived through that era. It will fascinate everyone interested in popular American culture or in rock 'n' roll history. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: A biography of the world's greatest magician draws on personal diaries and scrapbooks, as well as previously on unavailable materials, to provide a close-up look at the life more...
Amazon Says: A biography of the world's greatest magician draws on personal diaries and scrapbooks, as well as previously on unavailable materials, to provide a close-up look at the life and career of the legendary Harry Houdini. 25,000 first printing. less...
Amazon

The Elephant Man by Frederick Drimmer
Amazon Says: Traces the history of Joseph Merrick, called the Elephant Man because of a deformity, from his birth in central England to his death in a London hospital in 1890. more...
Amazon Says: Traces the history of Joseph Merrick, called the Elephant Man because of a deformity, from his birth in central England to his death in a London hospital in 1890. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: From fond memory or through the film Miracle, most Americans know about the stunning upset of the Soviet Union by the underdog U.S.A hockey team at the 1980 Olympics—engagin more...
Amazon Says: From fond memory or through the film Miracle, most Americans know about the stunning upset of the Soviet Union by the underdog U.S.A hockey team at the 1980 Olympics—engagingly retold in this book—but after this most unlikely of achievements, what do the authors consider to be the top twenty sports upsets of all time? Their answers in this entertaining volume will surprise some, perhaps appear obvious to others, but will no doubt prove to be fodder for bar-room arguments and spirited debate over sports talk radio. Ranking the miracle at Lake Placid in 1980 as the hands-down, undisputed greatest sports upset ever, the authors go on to describe nineteen others whose ranking may prove to be more controversial. Which team was the most improbable World Series winner—the 1969 New York Mets or the 1914 Boston Braves? What was the sport of boxing’s greatest upset—Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson in Tokyo in 1990, or Cassius Clay (Mohammad Ali) over Sonny Liston in 1964? How surprising was Billy Mills’ 1964 Olympic marathon win? Or seventeen-year-old Michael Chang’s triumph at the French Open in 1989? The authors make their case for each of these “miracles, shockers, and upsets” in convincing style, and also include sidebars on upsets that didn’t “make the cut” but still qualify as compelling stories, such as “Cinderella Man” James Braddock and the 1950 World Cup shocker that was the subject of the film “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” less...
Amazon
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