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Today in History with a Twist: October 31, 2013

Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve, can be traced back to an ancient Celtic pagan festival called “Samhain,” which was celebrated over 2,000 years ago.  The Celtic calendar began on November 1, and the Celts believed that as the old year faded and the new year emerged, the boundaries between the living and the dead became unstable.  On the night of October 31, the spirits of the deceased could walk the earth and provoke sickness or damage crops.  To combat these evil spirits and ward off wandering ghosts, the Celts built huge bonfires, left bowls of food outside their homes, and wore costumes and masks.  Although there are still plenty of ghosts and ghouls, Halloween has evolved into a secular, family-friendly event.  One quarter of all the candy sold in the United States is purchased for Halloween, and over 40 million children trick-or-treat in their neighborhood each year. (Punchbowl.com)

     1941 - Mount Rushmore was completed after 14 years of work. - Sculpting with Jackhammers! - Now is they can just finish that Crazy Horse thing.

Military History:

     1861 - Citing failing health, Union General Winfield Scott, arguably the best military mind of the era, resigns as Commander of the United States Army in the early days of the Civil War.  In the end it was basically the plan he developed that would win the war for the Union.  Lincoln understood it but couldn't find a General to implement it until Grant.  Scott was 74, suffering from several illnesses and had reached a weight of over 300 pounds and couldn't mount a horse. - He just let himself go.

     1917 - In the World War I at the Battle of Beersheba (in Palestine) was noted for having the "last successful cavalry charge in history". - As the Poles learned in World War II, you can't charge tanks.

     1940 - In World War II the Battle of Britain came to an end when the Luftwaffe realized it could not defeat the Royal Air Force (RAF).  The victory meant that Germany could not invade the United Kingdom. - Just the first of many times that Goering would over estimate his capabilities.

     1941 - In the early days of World War II the destroyer USS Reuben James is torpedoed by a German U-boat near Iceland, killing more than 100 United States Navy sailors.  It is the first U.S. Navy vessel sunk by enemy action in WWII. - Wait Pearl Harbor is still over a month away?!?

From the world of Religion:

      1517 - Martin Luther posts his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg marking the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. - What? You can't but your way into Heaven?

In Science News:

     2000 - Soyuz TM-31 launches, carrying the first resident crew to the International Space Station.  The ISS has been continuously crewed since. - What would President Kennedy think of our Space Program today?

      2011 - The global population of humans reached seven billion.  This day is now recognized by the United Nations as Seven Billion Day. - Thought it felt a little more crowded around here.

Population      Year        Years elapsed since previous milestone

1 billion           1804    

2 billion           1927             123

3 billion           1960               33

4 billion           1974               14

5 billion           1987               13

6 billion           1999               12

7 billion           2011               12

Today we celebrate the birthdays of:

     1848 - Boston Custer - American solder (d. 1876) - Just had to tag along with his brothers on that ride into the Little Bighorn Valley.

     1895 - B. H. Liddell Hart, English soldier and historian (d. 1970) - One of the noted experts on the future of tank warfare before World War II. - Too bad it was the Germans who paid the most attention to him.

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


Amazon Says: Boys and girls can make October 31 the spookiest and most festive ever with this craft book filled with Halloween fun. Easy-to-follow directions and full-color photographs sho more...
Amazon Says: Boys and girls can make October 31 the spookiest and most festive ever with this craft book filled with Halloween fun. Easy-to-follow directions and full-color photographs show young craft makers how to create frightfully funny decorations, pumpkins, gifts, masks, costumes, and so much more. All of the crafts are made of recyclable materials and everyday items found around the house. less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: The first book to tell the complete story of Rushmore. "I had seen the photographs and the drawings of this great work. And yet, until about ten minutes ago I had no concept more...
Amazon Says: The first book to tell the complete story of Rushmore. "I had seen the photographs and the drawings of this great work. And yet, until about ten minutes ago I had no conception of its magnitude, its permanent beauty and its importance."—Franklin Delano Roosevelt, upon first viewing Mount Rushmore, August 30, 1936 Now in paperback, The Carving of Mount Rushmore tells the complete story of the largest and certainly the most spectacular sculpture in existence. More than 60 black-and-white photographs offer unique views of this gargantuan effort, and author Rex Alan Smith—a man born and raised within sight of Rushmore—recounts with the sensitivity of a native son the ongoing struggles of sculptor Gutzon Borglum and his workers. less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: "... detailed, well-written and thoroughly documented." —The Journal of Military History"... comprehensive, well-written, and thoroughly researched... " —Booklist"... the more...
Amazon Says: "... detailed, well-written and thoroughly documented." —The Journal of Military History"... comprehensive, well-written, and thoroughly researched... " —Booklist"... the definitive work on the life of Winfield Scott Hancock... " —Blue and Gray"At last we have a complete life of [Hancock], and it, too, is superb." —The Philadelphia Inquirer"Jordan’s careful attention to detail and excellent use of sources highlight a lively writing style to make a highly readable book." —America’s Civil War"Jordan’s study of Hancock is an important contribution to both military and political history." —Journal of Southern History less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: The definitive and epic account of World War I in the Middle East.The Great War in the Middle East began with an invasion of the Garden of Eden, and ended with a momentous vic more...
Amazon Says: The definitive and epic account of World War I in the Middle East.The Great War in the Middle East began with an invasion of the Garden of Eden, and ended with a momentous victory on the site of the biblical Armageddon. For the first time, the complete story of this epic, bloody war is now presented in a single, definitive volume. In this inspired new work of history, Roger Ford describes the conflict in its entirety: the war in Mesopotamia, which would end with the creation of the countries of Iran and Iraq; the desperate struggle in the Caucasus, where the Turks had long-standing territorial ambitions; the doomed attacks on the Gallipoli Peninsula that would lead to ignominious defeat; and the final act in Palestine, where the Ottoman Empire finally crumbled. Ford ends with a detailed description of the messy aftermath of the war, and the new conflicts that arose in a reshaped Middle East that would play such a huge part in shaping world affairs for generations to come. 48 black-and-white illustrations less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: 1985 Paragon House Publishers HB. A history of the Battle of Britain" ...never have so many owed so much to so few."' Six men's lives are changed by participating in the air b more...
Amazon Says: 1985 Paragon House Publishers HB. A history of the Battle of Britain" ...never have so many owed so much to so few."' Six men's lives are changed by participating in the air battle that saved England from Nazi invasion in 1940. less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: Here is the first blow-by-blow account of the undeclared German-American Naval War of 1939-1941: the dramatic story of naval blockades and encounters between German U-boats an more...
Amazon Says: Here is the first blow-by-blow account of the undeclared German-American Naval War of 1939-1941: the dramatic story of naval blockades and encounters between German U-boats and American destroyers...and the burning personal hatred between Hitler and Roosevelt that lay behind these clashes. "Hitler vs. Roosevelt" traces the deterioration of German-American relations from as early as 1933, when both leaders assumed power, and provides a revealing account of the implacable hostility that festered between these two strong personalities. Authors Bailey and Ryan have combed documents recently declassified by the British government, as well as previously unused material from the Roosevelt Library at Hyde Park. They have also consulted the logs of the German U-boats and the testimony of American naval officers who took part in this lethal game of hunter versus hunted in the strategic waters of the North Atlantic, where German submarines torpedoed American destroyers and supply ships, and U.S. vessels returned the fire - with neither side really wanting a formally declared war. Together, Bailey and Ryan have written the compelling story of the many ramifications of this historic clash between these two dominant world leaders. less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: Martin Marty—professor, author, pastor, historian, and journalist—is, in Bill Moyers’s words, "the most influential interpreter of American religion." In Martin Luther more...
Amazon Says: Martin Marty—professor, author, pastor, historian, and journalist—is, in Bill Moyers’s words, "the most influential interpreter of American religion." In Martin Luther this man of unswerving faith, rooted in his own Lutheran tradition yet deeply committed to helping enrich a pluralist society, brings to powerful life the devout Reformation figure whose despair for a perilous world, felt anew in our own times, drove him to a ceaseless search for assurance of God’s love. It was one that led him steadily to a fresh interpretation of human interaction with God—as born solely from God’s grace and not the Church’s mediation—and to the famous theses he posted at Wittenberg in 1517. Luther’s persistence in this belief, and in his long battle with Church leaders—embellished by rich historical background—make Marty’s biography riveting reading. Luther’s obdurate yet receptive stance, so different from the travestied image of "fundamentalism" we currently face, restored the balance between religion and the individual. Martin Luther is at once a fascinating history, a story of immense spiritual passion and amazing grace, and a superb intellectual biography. less...
Amazon


Ten Billion by Stephen Emmott
Ron S. Says: On order
Amazon Says: A VINTAGE ORIGINAL Just over two hundred years ago, there were one billion humans on Earth. There are now over seven billion of us. And, sometime this century, the more...
Amazon Says: A VINTAGE ORIGINAL Just over two hundred years ago, there were one billion humans on Earth. There are now over seven billion of us. And, sometime this century, the world population will reach at least ten billion. Deforestation. Desertification. Species extinction. Global warming. Growing threats to food and water. The driving issues of our times are the result of one huge problem: Us.   As the population continues to grow, our problems will increase. And this means that every way we look at it, a planet of ten billion people is likely to be a nightmare.   Stephen Emmott, a scientist whose lab is at the forefront of research into complex natural systems, sounds the alarm. TEN BILLION is a snapshot of our planet, and our species, approaching a crisis, and a stark analysis of where this leaves us. TEN BILLION is not another climate book. TEN BILLION is a book about us. less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: Little Bighorn and Custer are names synonymous in the American imagination with unmatched bravery and spectacular defeat. Mythologized as Custer's Last Stand, the June 1876 ba more...
Amazon Says: Little Bighorn and Custer are names synonymous in the American imagination with unmatched bravery and spectacular defeat. Mythologized as Custer's Last Stand, the June 1876 battle has been equated with other famous last stands like Thermopylae and the Alamo. With a tightly structured narrative, Nathaniel Philbrick brilliantly sketches the two larger than life antagonists in a mesmerizing account of the archetypal story of the American West. less...
Amazon


History of the Second World War by B. H. Liddell Hart
Ron S. Says: An excellent read
Amazon Says: Sir Basil Liddell Hart joined the Army after leaving Cambridge and served in World War I. He evolved several military tactical developments, and was an early advocate of airpo more...
Amazon Says: Sir Basil Liddell Hart joined the Army after leaving Cambridge and served in World War I. He evolved several military tactical developments, and was an early advocate of airpower and armoured forces. This is the history of World War II. The author also wrote "History of the First World War". less...
Amazon

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