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Today in History with a Twist: October 7, 2013

Victory in South Carolina!

     1780 - American Patriot militia defeat Loyalist militia in upper state South Carolina at the Battle of Kings Mountain.  The victory came after a string of defeats, most notably the fall of Charleston and the Battle of Camden.  The battle demonstrated that the Americans could defeat the British/Loyalists and reinvigorated the Patriot's cause.  It is considered to be a major turning point in the war. - And we let North Carolina steal the name. 

     Where ever the battle was fought it put a smile on the Patriot's faces.  Appropriately it is World Smile Day.  World Smile Day celebrates the ever popular yellow smiley.  It also offers us an opportunity to do an act of kindness.  According to the World Smile Day website, a proclamation of this day was made by the U.S. Congress.  Now that should put a smiley on your face.  The smiley face became so popular, that the U.S. Post Office issued a stamp with the smiley face.  The intent of World Smile Day is to do an act of kindness, or help one person to smile.  Why not do both!?  The yellow smiley stands brightly smiling upon this day, offering it's stamp of approval.  Harvey Ball, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts created the smiley face in 1963.  The State Mutual Life Assurance Company hired Harvey as a free lance artist to create a smiley face for use in improving company morale.  From there, the bright and cheerful smiley grew in popularity.  It's popularity grew slowly at first.  Then, it exploded in the 1970's.  Ultimately, the smiley became wildly popular.  There is some controversy over the smiley's creation.  French entrepreneur named Franklin Loufrani claimed to have invented it in 1968.  In 1971 he patented it in 80 countries.  Harvey Ball of Worcester Ma. created World Smile Day.  Concerned about over commercialization of his smiley, he felt one day a year should be dedicated to smiling and doing acts of kindness.  The first World Smiley Day celebration was on October 1, 1999.  It is unclear why the date of the celebration was moved. (http://holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/October/worldsmileday.htm)

     1777 - Another turning point in the American Revolutionary War came at the Battle of Bemis Heights, also known as the Second Battle of Saratoga.  The Americans victory ended the British drive into New York.  The battle was close fought and the victory was primarily due to the heroic actions of General Benedict Arnold. - Should have given him more credit.

     1571 - The Battle of Lepanto.  In one of the most important battles in European history, the fleet of the Holy League (Spain and Italy) destroyed the Turkish fleet.  The Holy League's victory ended the Ottoman drive to control the entire Mediterranean Sea.  The Turks would rebuild their fleet and dominate the Eastern Mediterranean but the loss of most of their skilled seamen would not allow them to seriously challenge the western Europeans again. - Kind of ironic that two of the most important battles to stop Moslem expansion into Europe were fought at sea, Salamis and Lepanto; And even more ironic we know so little about them!

     1763 - King George III of Great Britain issues British Royal Proclamation of 1763.  The decree closed aboriginal lands in North America north and west of Alleghenies to white settlements. - Wouldn't be surprised if this played as big a role in fomenting revolution as tea taxes. 

     3761 BC - The epoch reference date epoch (origin) of the modern Hebrew calendar (Proleptic Julian calendar).  Still used today, primarily for religious reasons. - Too confusing for me to explain here.

     1870 - During the Siege of Paris in the Franco-Prussian War Socialist leader- Leon Gambetta flees the city in a balloon.  He went to Metz where he raised and army that could have changed the course of the war but the French Government surrendered before he could act. - The conservatives gave up before the socialists?

     1940 - Fodder for conspiracy theorists is provided by the preparation of the McCollum memo which proposes bringing the United States into the war in Europe by provoking the Japanese to attack the United States (the attack on Pearl Harbor would occur just over a year later).  Prepared by Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum, in his capacity as director of the Office of Naval Intelligence's Far East Asia section.  It was sent to Navy Captains Dudley Knox, who agreed with the actions described within the memo, and Walter Stratton Anderson.  The memo outlined the general situation of several nations in World War II and recommended an eight-part course of action for the United States to take in regards to the Japanese Empire in the South Pacific, suggesting the United States provoke Japan into committing an "overt act of war".  The memo illustrates several people in the Office of Naval Intelligence promoted the idea of goading Japan into war: "It is not believed that in the present state of political opinion the United States government is capable of declaring war against Japan without more ado [...] If by [the elucidated eight-point plan] Japan could be led to commit an overt act of war, so much the better."  There is no evidence that President Roosevelt ever saw or even heard of the memo. - HMMMM....

     1976 - Hua Guofeng becomes Mao Zedong's successor as chairman of Communist Party of China. - Who?

     2001 - The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan begins with an air assault and covert operations on the ground. - Another empire coming down?

Today we celebrate the birthdays of:

     1728 - Caesar Rodney - Lawyer and politician, signer of the United States Declaration of Independence and President of Delaware during most of the Revolution. (d. 1784) - Delaware had Presidents? Another victim of small hand writing.

     1885 - Niels Bohr, Danish physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1962) - Amazing he is so famous for something so small.

     1900 - Heinrich Himmler - Head of the SS (d. 1945) - Really not much of a leader but he sure knew how to organize.

     1952 - Vladimir Putin - 4th President of Russia. - President for life?

 

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


Amazon Says: A classic work, by an eminent historian, it is based on material gathered over a forty-year period from survivors of the engagement, their descendants, contemporary narrati more...
Amazon Says: A classic work, by an eminent historian, it is based on material gathered over a forty-year period from survivors of the engagement, their descendants, contemporary narratives, and original documents. It contains extensive sketches, notices, and biographies of the leading figures, including considerable genealogical data. less...
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The 70's by Dan Epstein
Amazon Says: "20th Century Pop Culture" takes a trip down memory lane with its colorful, entertaining, and educational look at the trends that have gripped popular culture throughout the p more...
Amazon Says: "20th Century Pop Culture" takes a trip down memory lane with its colorful, entertaining, and educational look at the trends that have gripped popular culture throughout the past 100 years. less...
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Saratoga by Richard Worth
Amazon Says: Marathon, Hastings, Midway -- just a few of the major battles covered in this series, which introduces readers to the wartime engagements that changed the course of human hist more...
Amazon Says: Marathon, Hastings, Midway -- just a few of the major battles covered in this series, which introduces readers to the wartime engagements that changed the course of human history. Each book gives a historical account of a decisive battle -- its participants, the political climate leading to the engagement, and the deciding factors that ultimately led to a victory or defeat.These two separate military engagements in 1777, in which the Americans triumphed over Burgoyne, are considered a turning point in the Revolutionary War. less...
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Amazon Says: On the morning of October 7, 1571, in the Gulf of Lepanto on the Ionian Sea, the vast and heavily-manned fleets of the Ottoman Empire and the Holy League clashed in one of the more...
Amazon Says: On the morning of October 7, 1571, in the Gulf of Lepanto on the Ionian Sea, the vast and heavily-manned fleets of the Ottoman Empire and the Holy League clashed in one of the most significant battles in history. By four o’clock that afternoon the sea was red with blood. It was a victory of the west-the first major victory of Europeans against the Ottoman Empire. In this compelling piece of narrative history, Niccolo Capponi describes the clash of cultures that led to this crucial confrontation and takes a fresh look at the bloody struggle at sea between oared fighting galleys and determined men of faith. As a description of the age-old conflict between Christianity and Islam, it is a story that resonates today. less...
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George III: A Personal History by Christopher Hibbert
Amazon Says: In George III: A Personal History, British historian Christopher Hibbert reassesses the royal monarch George III (1738–1820). Rather than reaffirm George III’s reputation more...
Amazon Says: In George III: A Personal History, British historian Christopher Hibbert reassesses the royal monarch George III (1738–1820). Rather than reaffirm George III’s reputation as “Mad King George,” Hibbert portrays him as not only a competent ruler during most of his reign, but also as a patron of the arts and sciences, as a man of wit and intelligence, indeed, as a man who “greatly enhanced the reputation of the British monarchy” until he was finally stricken by a rare hereditary disease.Teeming with court machinations, sexual intrigues, and familial conflicts, George III opens a window on the tumultuous, rambunctious, revolutionary eighteenth century. It is sure to alter our understanding of this fascinating, complex, and very human king who so strongly shaped England’s —and America’s—destiny. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: How much do you know about Judaism?How did the Ten Lost Tribes become lost ? Are circumcisions performed on the Sabbath ? Which country first granted Jews equal rights ?When w more...
Amazon Says: How much do you know about Judaism?How did the Ten Lost Tribes become lost ? Are circumcisions performed on the Sabbath ? Which country first granted Jews equal rights ?When was polygamy outlawed for Jews ? Why does Jewish law compare gossiping to murder ? You'll find the answers to these questions -- and much more -- in this insightful and comprehensive guide. Written by esteemed rabbi and bestselling author Joseph Telushkin, Jewish Literacy has become one of the most respected and widely used reference books on Jewish life, culture, religion, and tradition. Now revised and updated, this fascinating volume distills a vast body of scholarship into 348 short, readable chapters, making the rich and complex history of Judaism accessible to any reader.Organized by subject, the book's fifteen sections include:History and Contemporary Life From the biblical and Talmudic periods through the Spanish Inquisition to modern times, with special sections on the Holocaust, Israel, and American-Jewish life.Beliefs, Ethics, and Rituals From monotheism to Judaism's views on the afterlife, "chosenness," and human relations with God; ethical concerns ranging from the proper treatment of animals to the real meaning of "an eye for an eye"; along with explanations of the major prayers and synagogue practices.Jewish Holidays and Life Cycle The origins and distinctive customs of each holiday, and the rites sanctifying every major life event from circumcision and baby naming to burial and mourning.Answers to the questions from the front flap:They were dispersed when the Kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 B.C.E. (see Chapter 45).The United States (see Chapter 203). Around 1000 C.E., when it was proscribed by Rabbi Gershom; however, most Sephardic Jews did not accept the ban (see Chapter 95).Because gossip, like murder, can do irrevocable damage (see Chapter 271). less...
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Amazon Says: First published in 1961 and now with a new introduction, The Franco-Prussian War is acknowledged as the definitive history of one of the most dramatic and decisive conflicts i more...
Amazon Says: First published in 1961 and now with a new introduction, The Franco-Prussian War is acknowledged as the definitive history of one of the most dramatic and decisive conflicts in the history of Europe. less...
Amazon

Ron S. Says: Be skeptical
Amazon Says: From a World War II veteran and longtime journalist, a shocking expose, based on decades of passionate research, that will be the last-and most revolutionary-chapter in the st more...
Amazon Says: From a World War II veteran and longtime journalist, a shocking expose, based on decades of passionate research, that will be the last-and most revolutionary-chapter in the story of Pearl Harbor. less...
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Ron S. Says: 9781598844191Amazon

Amazon Says: None of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 could have imagined a few years earlier that they would be part of such an event. All had been loyal Brit more...
Amazon Says: None of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 could have imagined a few years earlier that they would be part of such an event. All had been loyal British subjects earlier in their lives, and several had held British government posts in their home colonies. In 1743, Samuel Adams became one of the first to advocate for independence and he was gradually joined by others as English control became increasingly oppressive. A biography and genealogical history of the 56 signers, and of Secretary Charles Thomson who attended all meetings and witnessed the original broadside with John Hancock but did not actually sign it, are presented in this unique reference work. Each of the 57 entries open with a biography of the man, focusing on his education, political career and the events that led him to advocate for independence, based in large part on contemporary sources. This is followed by a narrative genealogical history, providing names, birth and death dates, marriages, children and other details of the signers ancestors. Photographs of the men are included. less...
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Amazon Says: Abraham Pais's life of Albert Einstein was one of the finest scientific biographies ever written. When it first appeared in 1982, Christian Science Monitor called it "an extra more...
Amazon Says: Abraham Pais's life of Albert Einstein was one of the finest scientific biographies ever written. When it first appeared in 1982, Christian Science Monitor called it "an extraordinary biography of an extraordinary man," and Timothy Ferris, in The New York Times Book Review, said it was "the biography of Einstein he himself would have liked best," adding that "it is a work against which future scientific biographies will be measured." As a respected physicist himself, Pais was the first biographer to give Einstein's thinking its full due, yet despite the occasional high level of science needed to discuss Einstein's ideas, the book was a national bestseller. Indeed, it was one of The New York Times's Best Books of the Year, and the winner of the 1983 American Book Award for Science. Now Pais turns to Niels Bohr, to illuminate the life and thought of another giant of 20th-century physics. Bohr was the first to understand how atoms were put together, he played a major role in shaping the theory of the atomic nucleus, he decoded the atomic spectrum of hydrogen, an achievement which marks him as the founder of the quantum dynamics of atoms, and his concept of complementarity (which provides the philosophical underpinning for quantum theory) qualifies him as one of the twentieth century's greatest philosophers. Pais covers all of these achievements with sophistication and clarity, but he also reveals the many other facets of the man. Perhaps most important, he shows that Bohr was not only a great scientist, but also a great nurturer of young scientific talent, acting as father figure extraordinaire for several generations of physicists. Bohr's Institute of Theoretical Physics, which he founded in Copenhagen and for which he tirelessly raised funds, was the world's leading center for physics all through the 1920s and 1930s, the birthplace of Heisenberg's papers on the uncertainty relations, Dirac's first paper on quantum electrodynamics, and other pivotal works. And Pais reveals as well the personal side of Bohr, the avid reader and crossword puzzle solver (Bohr loved Icelandic sagas, Goethe and Schiller, Dickens and Mark Twain--while studying in England early in his career, he improved his English by reading The Pickwick Papers with a dictionary to one side); his aid to Jews and other refugees in the 1930s and during the war; the tragic loss of his son Christian (who died in a sailing accident right before Bohr's eyes); and his attempts during and after the war to promote openness between East and West, meeting with both Roosevelt and Churchill (the former was quite courteous, the latter lectured Bohr like a schoolboy). Bohr's research, his teaching, his friendships with the major scientists of our time, his aid to refugees, his role as philosopher, administrator, and fund raiser, his devotion to science and to his family--all these qualities are illuminated by Pais in a marvelous biography that captures the essence of one of the best-loved figures of this century. less...
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Amazon Says: Anna Politkovskaya, one of Russia’s most fearless journalists, was gunned down in a contract killing in Moscow in the fall of 2006. Just before her death, Politkovskaya comp more...
Amazon Says: Anna Politkovskaya, one of Russia’s most fearless journalists, was gunned down in a contract killing in Moscow in the fall of 2006. Just before her death, Politkovskaya completed this searing, intimate record of life in Russia from the parliamentary elections of December 2003 to the grim summer of 2005, when the nation was still reeling from the horrors of the Beslan school siege. In A Russian Diary, Politkovskaya dares to tell the truth about the devastation of Russia under Vladimir Putin–a truth all the more urgent since her tragic death. Writing with unflinching clarity, Politkovskaya depicts a society strangled by cynicism and corruption. As the Russian elections draw near, Politkovskaya describes how Putin neutralizes or jails his opponents, muzzles the press, shamelessly lies to the public–and then secures a sham landslide that plunges the populace into mass depression. In Moscow, oligarchs blow thousands of rubles on nights of partying while Russian soldiers freeze to death. Terrorist attacks become almost commonplace events. Basic freedoms dwindle daily. And then, in September 2004, armed terrorists take more than twelve hundred hostages in the Beslan school, and a different kind of madness descends. In prose incandescent with outrage, Politkovskaya captures both the horror and the absurdity of life in Putin’s Russia: She fearlessly interviews a deranged Chechen warlord in his fortified lair. She records the numb grief of a mother who lost a child in the Beslan siege and yet clings to the delusion that her son will return home someday. The staggering ostentation of the new rich, the glimmer of hope that comes with the organization of the Party of Soldiers’ Mothers, the mounting police brutality, the fathomless public apathy–all are woven into Politkovskaya’s devastating portrait of Russia today. “If anybody thinks they can take comfort from the ‘optimistic’ forecast, let them do so,” Politkovskaya writes. “It is certainly the easier way, but it is also a death sentence for our grandchildren.” A Russian Diary is testament to Politkovskaya’s ferocious refusal to take the easier way–and the terrible price she paid for it. It is a brilliant, uncompromising exposé of a deteriorating society by one of the world’s bravest writers. Praise for Anna Politkovskaya “Anna Politkovskaya defined the human conscience. Her relentless pursuit of the truth in the face of danger and darkness testifies to her distinguished place in journalism–and humanity. This book deserves to be widely read.” –Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent, CNN “Like all great investigative reporters, Anna Politkovskaya brought forward human truths that rewrote the official story. We will continue to read her, and learn from her, for years.” –Salman Rushdie “Suppression of freedom of speech, of expression, reaches its savage ultimate in the murder of a writer. Anna Politkovskaya refused to lie, in her work; her murder is a ghastly act, and an attack on world literature.” –Nadine Gordimer “Beyond mourning her, it would be more seemly to remember her by taking note of what she wrote.” –James Meek less...
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