Today in History with a Twist: October 31, 2013 | Richland Library Skip to content
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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: Describes the efforts led by the sculptor Gutzon Borglum to carve the faces of four American presidents on the side of Mount Rushmore more...
Amazon Says: Describes the efforts led by the sculptor Gutzon Borglum to carve the faces of four American presidents on the side of Mount Rushmore less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: ... detailed, well-written and thoroughly documented." ―The Journal of Military History... comprehensive, well-written, and thoroughly researched... "―Booklist... the defi 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 GrayAt last we have a complete life of [Hancock], and it, too, is superb." ―The Philadelphia InquirerJordan’s careful attention to detail and excellent use of sources highlight a lively writing style to make a highly readable book." ―America’s Civil WarJordan’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 vi 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: Churchill's Few: The Battle of Britain Remembered more...
Amazon Says: Churchill's Few: The Battle of Britain Remembered less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Draws on archival materials to shed light on the personal feud between Roosevelt and Hitler which vented itself in the undeclared German-American naval war of 1939-41 more...
Amazon Says: Draws on archival materials to shed light on the personal feud between Roosevelt and Hitler which vented itself in the undeclared German-American naval war of 1939-41 less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: A minister, historian, and scholar reassesses the life and times of Martin Luther, describing his seminal role in the Reformation, his religious beliefs and fresh interpretati more...
Amazon Says: A minister, historian, and scholar reassesses the life and times of Martin Luther, describing his seminal role in the Reformation, his religious beliefs and fresh interpretation of the human relationship with God, his conflict with Church leaders, and his lasting influence on world history and religion. 25,000 first printing. 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: HistoryWorld War II more...
Amazon Says: HistoryWorld War II less...
Amazon
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