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Today in History with a Twist: July 31, 2013

Democracy comes to Germany! 

                                             

    The German national assembly in place of the government since the end of the war has adopted the Weimar Constitution (1919); it will come into effect on August 14.  It will be interesting to see how this fledgling democracy develops.

    Election (1932) results are in and the NSDAP (Nazi Party) has won more than 38% of the vote in German elections.  However, they do not have enough seats to win a controlling majority.  Interesting how the Nazis and Communists became the leading parties in a democracy.

    Maybe they should try some jelly bean diplomacy.  It’s National Jump for Jelly Beans Day!  Today, we encourage candy lovers everywhere to jump for joy and show your appreciation for jelly beans.  These tiny candies evolved from an ancient confection called “Turkish delight,” which was one of the earliest forms of hard candy.  Our modern-day jelly beans gained popularity during the American Civil War.  A candy company in Boston began marketing jelly beans as the perfect treat to send to soldiers, and soon everyone was hooked.  One of the most famous jelly bean fans was President Ronald Reagan.  He served them at his inauguration!  (punchbowl.com)

    Mark Antony led his forces to victory today (30 BC) at the Battle of Alexandria; however, a disastrous end seems to be in the offing.  Despite the victory, large numbers of Antony's legions are defecting to Octavian's forces.  With his army melting away, there doesn't seem to be much hope for Antony and his lover Cleopatra.  A love story for the ages. 

    Not all good news coming out of Spain, where earlier this year the king and queen sent Christopher Columbus on an expedition to find a shorter route to the Orient (1492). Today the King's Alhambra Decree to expel the Jews has taken effect.  Bankers never seem to be popular anywhere.

    She survived the Second World War, two hits from atomic bombs in postwar testing, and being the target for three other ships in training, but the USS Nevada (BB-36) was finally sunk today (1948) when she succumbed to an aerial torpedo.  That was one tough old bird!

    The Lunar Prospector mission, part of the Discovery Programcame to an end today (1999), when NASA intentionally crashed the spacecraft into the Moon.  The spaceship's mission was to try and detect frozen water on the moon's surface.  Did they do it out of frustration? 

 Today we celebrate the birthdays of:

    1837 - William Quantrill - Chemist, educator, and soldier (d. 1865) - Schoolteacher to guerilla leader, quite a resume.

    1867 - S. S. Kresge - Businessman, founded Kmart (d. 1966) - Couldn't stand toe to toe with Wal-Mart.

    1965 - J. K. Rowling - Author - True rags to riches story. 

Books related to the above topics:


How Democracy Failed by Ellen Eichenwald Switzer
Amazon Says: Analyses of interviews with various German people about national events and attitudes preceding World War II reveal why Hitler succeeded and the personal reasons Germans allow more...
Amazon Says: Analyses of interviews with various German people about national events and attitudes preceding World War II reveal why Hitler succeeded and the personal reasons Germans allowed him to come to power. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Erik Larson has been widely acclaimed as a master of narrative non-fiction, and in his new book, the bestselling author of Devil in the White City turns his hand to a remarka more...
Amazon Says: Erik Larson has been widely acclaimed as a master of narrative non-fiction, and in his new book, the bestselling author of Devil in the White City turns his hand to a remarkable story set during Hitler’s rise to power.   The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.   A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance--and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.   Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror. “Larson is a marvelous writer...superb at creating characters with a few short strokes.”—New York Times Book Review    less...
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Amazon Says: Through time and across continents, stories of sweets and their inventors intrigue and entertain us. Learn about primal sweets — from honey, sweet milk, and nuts to sugar ca more...
Amazon Says: Through time and across continents, stories of sweets and their inventors intrigue and entertain us. Learn about primal sweets — from honey, sweet milk, and nuts to sugar candy, chocolate, and “sweet” stories of success. Sweet! The Delicious Story of Candy takes us through history from 4,000 B.C., when islanders in Papua New Guinea cut sugarcane for its sap, and 2,600 B.C., when the first-known beekeepers produced honey to embalm the dead, to 500 A.D., when the Chinese made pear and plum syrups from unripe fruit, and all the way through to the world’s first chocoholics and modern-day candy factories. From cravings to the scoop on ice cream, Ann Love and Jane Drake present a comprehensive and irresistible story of candy through the ages, complemented by a detailed timeline and playful illustrations from artist Claudia Dávila. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: The story of the world’s best-remembered celebrity couple, set against the political backdrop of their time. On a stiflingly hot day in August 30 b.c., the thirty-nin more...
Amazon Says: The story of the world’s best-remembered celebrity couple, set against the political backdrop of their time. On a stiflingly hot day in August 30 b.c., the thirty-nine-year-old queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, took her own life rather than be paraded in chains through Rome by her conqueror, Octavian—the future first emperor, Augustus. A few days earlier, her lover of eleven years, Mark Antony, had himself committed suicide and died in her arms. Oceans of mythology have grown up around them, all of which Diana Preston explores in her stirring history of the lives and times of a couple whose names—more than two millennia later—still invoke passion, curiosity, and intrigue. Preston views the drama and romance of Cleopatra and Antony’s personal lives as an integral part of the great military, political, and ideological struggle that culminated in the full-fledged rise of the Roman Empire, joined east and west. Perhaps not until Joanna in fourteenth-century Naples or Elizabeth I of England would another woman show such political shrewdness and staying power as did Cleopatra during her years atop the throne of Egypt. Her lengthy affair with Julius Caesar linked the might of Egypt with that of Rome; in the aftermath of the civil war that erupted following Caesar’s murder, her alliance with Antony, and his subsequent split with Octavian, set the stage for the end of the Republic. With the keen eye for detail, abundant insight, and storytelling skill that have won awards for her previous books, Diana Preston sheds new light on a vitally important period in Western history. Indeed, had Cleopatra and Antony managed to win the battle of Actium, the centuries that followed, which included the life of Jesus himself, could well have played out differently. less...
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End of Days by Erna Paris
Amazon Says: In attempting to pinpoint the historical events that turned a culture of tolerance into an autocratic police state, Paris compares what occurred in medieval Spain to the socia more...
Amazon Says: In attempting to pinpoint the historical events that turned a culture of tolerance into an autocratic police state, Paris compares what occurred in medieval Spain to the social upheavals of 19th and 20th century France and Germany. She discovers many striking patterns and also eerie similarities with the social and political unrest in modern day North America. less...
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Amazon Says: Nearly 120 entries provide information about the capital ships of Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Austria-Hungary, Russia and the Soviet Union, the USA, Argentin more...
Amazon Says: Nearly 120 entries provide information about the capital ships of Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Austria-Hungary, Russia and the Soviet Union, the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Greece, Spain and Turkey. Aspects such as early development and twentieth-century building programmes, armament, requisitioned ships, unfulfilled orders, and ships in the two world wars are covered as appropriate for each nation. A short history of each ship or class of ship is given, as well as data tables detailing displacement, dimensions, machinery, fuel capacity, speed and range, armour thickness and weight, armament, anti-aircraft weapons and the numbers built. The name of the builder is listed with the date each ship was laid down, launched, commissioned and in service. Photographs or drawings accompany every entry. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: In The Lunar Exploration Scrapbook, Godwin combines modern computer graphics with old blueprints to create a full color history of the golden era of lunar exploration. Includ more...
Amazon Says: In The Lunar Exploration Scrapbook, Godwin combines modern computer graphics with old blueprints to create a full color history of the golden era of lunar exploration. Included in this remarkable book are over 80 different Lunar landers, over 80 lunar rovers and mobile laboratories (MOLAB), more than 50 lunar flying vehicles as well as sections on the Saturn and Nova rockets, lunar space suits, Command & Service module variants, LM laboratories and orbiters, training vehicles, lunar walkers and lunar shelters. Altogether over 750 color pictures of designs for lunar exploration vehicles, all from NASA, Boeing, Lockheed, Grumman, USAF, US Army, GE, Chrysler, North American Rockwell, Bell Aerospace, Martin, Bendix and more. No science fiction! From single-seat landers to rocket backpacks and lunar bulldozers, this study takes readers into the imagination of the world’s top aerospace engineers by presenting NASA’s lunar spacecraft research. A unique blend of history and imagination, this resource covers not only the actual exploration of the moon conducted during the Apollo program of the 1960s and 1970s, but also includes a presentation of dozens of spacecraft that were never built. Vivid, colorful renderings of the conceptual crafts—many of which are not available anywhere else—are also included, providing a visual progression of NASA’s technological advancements. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: This famous memoir by John McCorkle, reissued for the first time, is the best published account by a scout who "rode with Quantrill." John McCorkle was a young Missouri farmer more...
Amazon Says: This famous memoir by John McCorkle, reissued for the first time, is the best published account by a scout who "rode with Quantrill." John McCorkle was a young Missouri farmer of Southern sympathies. After serving briefly in the pro-Confederate Missouri State Guard, he became a prominent member of William Clarke Quantrill’s infamous guerrillas, who took advantage of the turmoil in the Missouri-Kansas borderland to prey on pro-Union people.McCorkle displayed an unflinchingly violent nature while he participated in raids and engagements including the massacres at Lawrence and Baxter Springs, Kansas, and Centralia, Missouri. In 1865 he followed Quantrill into Kentucky, where the notorious leader was killed and his followers, McCorkle among them, surrendered and were paroled by Union authorities. Early in this century, having returned to farming, McCorkle told his remarkable Civil War experiences to O.S. Barton, a lawyer, who wrote this book, first published in 1914. less...
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J. K. Rowling by Colleen A. Sexton
Amazon Says: Book by Sexton, Colleen A. more...
Amazon Says: Book by Sexton, Colleen A. less...
Amazon
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