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Why is Russia?

I have time to read and I would like to learn about recent and current political and social events in Russia. So where is a good place to start learning about recent Russian history? Books, films, anything. (Influenced by this Meta post).
posted by smallvictories on Sep 4, 2014 - 12 answers

What modern beer tastes most like old-fashioned beer?

I was thinking about the Ken Burns Prohibition documentary today, and it got me thinking: if I wanted to find what beer tasted like in the United States a century ago, what would I try? [more inside]
posted by 4ster on Aug 23, 2014 - 23 answers

State of French scientific knowledge about the moon in 1878

need some pointers as to research strategies/leads to find out about the state of the art knowledge about the moon in 1878, with particular reference to things arising in or popular in the French scientific community. First thoughts are Times digital archive and to look for an encyclopaedia of similar date. Any leads appreciated.
posted by aesop on Aug 20, 2014 - 9 answers

Unemployment figures for Germany during the Weimar Republic?

I need to show unemployment figures for Germany during the Weimar Republic (starting no later than 1923) in a way that consistently compares apples to apples and not apples to oranges -- i.e., total number of unemployed OR total percentage of workforce, but not sometimes one and sometimes the other. (Having both would be ideal.) I would also prefer a specific month for each figure, if possible, rather than just the year (i.e., "Unemployment reaches 5.1 million in September 1932" is more useful than "Unemployment reaches 5.1 million in 1932"). [more inside]
posted by scody on Aug 6, 2014 - 3 answers

Introductory sources on biological classification

I'm beginning a project that looks partly at biological classification, primarily in western science. I have no background in this, and so I'm digging around. I'm interested to know more about the current rules for nomenclature, and also to know more about historical, philosophical, sociological, knowledge practice, ethnographic, anthropological, science technology and society (STS), sociotechnical, etc., approaches to the study of biological classification. I'll take monographs, articles, papers, web sites, etc. I have access to a university library. What are some good sources that can introduce me to this? Many thanks!
posted by carter on Jun 9, 2014 - 13 answers

Lonely Hearts Clubs before the song?

What, exactly, was a Lonely Hearts' Club? Was it a personals ad service? A "marriage bureau" such as one still sees in societies where arranged marriage is common? An actual club of people that would put on events? All of the above? [more inside]
posted by wnissen on May 21, 2014 - 7 answers

Historical novels, subtype 'just-so' stories?

I'm craving a particular subtype of historical novel: the kind that posits a dimly-remembered reality behind a famous myth/legend/story, sort of filling it out and extrapolating the details into realism. My favorite of this kind is Mary Renault's "The King Must Die" about Theseus (also the sequel). I also enjoyed "Eaters of the Dead", about the events of 'Beowulf'. But what are some other good ones you can recommend? More examples and specifics inside! [more inside]
posted by theatro on May 15, 2014 - 32 answers

Ye Olde Tyme Suicide? Okay, not that old, but...

How did people commit suicide in the US in the 1930s? Does it make a difference if it's a female? [more inside]
posted by BlahLaLa on May 9, 2014 - 35 answers

Home for unwed mothers in Indianapolis, 1960s-1970s?

Coincidence or something real? Two "relatives" have contacted me with a similar story: born to teenage mothers in Indianapolis in the 1960s or 1970s. Was there a home for unwed mothers there? [more inside]
posted by metarkest on Apr 26, 2014 - 11 answers

Help me find this news story involving a policeman and a prostitute

I am not sure I recall the details correctly, but I am amused by a news story in my memory. I think my memory is accurate, so here goes. A police officer is testifying in court about his (commercial and sexual) relationship with a prostitute, with whom he had sex in the course of an anti-prostitution sting. The officer is questioned by opposing counsel about whether he climaxed. He explains that he did, but that he didn't take any pleasure in it. Can you give me a link to this news story or tell me where I read it?
posted by Mr. Justice on Mar 21, 2014 - 3 answers

Examples of neighboring countries' involvement in domestic conflicts

I'm looking for historical cases in which a neighboring country has intervened militarily in a domestic conflict to support one side, ostensibly at its invitation. [more inside]
posted by hat_eater on Mar 13, 2014 - 18 answers

What were people paranoid about before modern technology?

Due to some personal motivations, I've been reading a lot about paranoia lately and most of the delusions I hear about involve modern technology, ie. wire taps, hidden cameras, etc. What are some examples of paranoid delusions before that technology existed?
posted by shesdeadimalive on Mar 1, 2014 - 34 answers

US elementary school teachers, two history questions.

In general, which elementary school grades cover prehistory? American colonial history?
posted by Elsie on Feb 27, 2014 - 11 answers

Help me figure out what this old-timey phrase means?

My buddy posted a link to this awesome digital collection of acquaintance cards from the 1870s on Facebook recently and we've been trying to figure out what the phrase "when are you going to pay the old lady for your last week's washing," which is printed on a couple of the cards, is referring to. [more inside]
posted by pizzaslut on Feb 20, 2014 - 6 answers

Best Books for Ancient History?

I've recently developed an interest in ancient history (yes, the recent history-related posts on the blue may have helped) and am looking for good books on the subject that I can buy/check out from the library. I'm particularity interested in technological and cultural histories of major ancient civilizations. [more inside]
posted by Noms_Tiem on Feb 7, 2014 - 15 answers

An equally true history of the world?

Is there a list of important historical events which are now regarded (by at least a majority of historians) as true/accurate, which are or were recently regarded as fringe theories, hoaxes, or legends, or which are viewed as unimportant and given short shrift in US / western public school curricula and popular narratives? Links to lists or individual items appreciated. Thanks!
posted by Chris4d on Feb 4, 2014 - 14 answers

Looking for book about American historical disasters.

This is driving me crazy...it was a very readable book that described several (eleven?) American historical disasters, including I think the S.S. Sultana tragedy. (Or, some other steamship fire.) [more inside]
posted by Melismata on Jan 20, 2014 - 10 answers

Hit me with your best music macrohistories!

Trying to find the perfect book to scratch a partner's literary itch for macrohistories related in some way to music. Details within. [more inside]
posted by Stacey on Dec 28, 2013 - 12 answers

Help me remember an influential Islamic text about the US in the 1920s

I'm trying to remember details about a book written about the US in the 1920s from the perspective of a visiting fundamental Muslim. The book, from my memory, was influential in the progress of fundamental Islamism (and later terrorism) as the book described the jazz age, black people, women's sexuality, etc. in a very bad light. Strangely Google isn't helping me with this. Thanks!
posted by reductiondesign on Dec 22, 2013 - 3 answers

What are some cool American-history-related books/games/movies for kids?

Looking for a fun gift for an 8-year-old that might fuel his interest in American history (or any history) ... Any ideas? (Some specifics provided inside.) [more inside]
posted by pokermonk on Dec 16, 2013 - 11 answers

Were/are the Taliban pro or anti-poppy? Why?

Sounds simple, but we were wondering because in 2000 for religious reasons they cut opium production and we're curious where they stand.
posted by glaucon on Nov 28, 2013 - 2 answers

Why are there multiple versions of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address?

In short, the "Question Title" provides my question... Why are there multiple versions of the Gettysburg Address? [more inside]
posted by matty on Nov 19, 2013 - 7 answers

What are some good books on the history of LGBT rights movement?

I really want to find out more about the history and progress of LGBT rights. Namely, early forms and social codes to express homosexuality, the civil rights movements and how psychology viewed before and now, and what led to finally removing homosexuality as a disorder from the DSM. [more inside]
posted by ahtlast93 on Nov 19, 2013 - 13 answers

How to delete only one site from Chrome history

So my problem is that I sometimes stalk people on facebook - come on, I'm not the only one -.- - but don't want some people/things I checked on facebook to appear in my omnisearch bar in Chrome. So I tried to go to history to delete/clear only facebook data but apparently you can't select all facebook history at once and delete it. It might take a long time if I were to select each individual item to delete. Is there a simple way to do this?
posted by iliketothinknu on Nov 9, 2013 - 11 answers

Je veux lire de l'histoire fran├žaise

I'm in the middle of In Search of Lost Time. It's interesting me in French history. It's better to learn about it from non-fiction, though, since Proust mixes real figures and facts with ones he made up. What good books are there about any period of French history between 1789 and, say, 1939? Popular or academic books are fine, and they don't have to concern themselves with wars, arms races, and treaties, either. Cultural histories are good.
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Nov 4, 2013 - 21 answers

Who is in this painting?

Who is in this painting?
posted by czytm on Oct 28, 2013 - 3 answers

Creative uses for old cut stones (blank tombstones)?

My house was built in 1890. When I had foundation work done several years ago, the workers dug out a lot of dirt from under my house, and in that dirt they found a bunch of cut and carved stones - pure white marble, limestone, and granite. [more inside]
posted by caryatid on Oct 4, 2013 - 14 answers

Best Civil War History from the Confederate Side?

I've been reading Bruce Catton's history of the Army of the Potomac, which is excellent. It occurs to me I've only ever read Civil War history from the Union side. So, it's all about those terrible Union generals and all the mistakes they made, and Lincoln's frustration, and how eventually superior manpower and manufacturing, and the Emancipation Proclamation, crushed the feisty Rebs. Now I'd like to read about what the Rebs were thinking during the Late, Great Unpleasantness. Who's the Bruce Catton of the South?
posted by musofire on Aug 14, 2013 - 9 answers

Slaveowners in the Attic

My girlfriend recently found out that one of the branches of her family owned slaves pre-Civil War era in North Carolina. This has really devastated her at some level, especially because she was previously so proud of her near generation family (1 or 2 back). Even worse, it's her last name so she feels that she's been tainted by this revelation. While I was trying to make her feel better, it occurred to me that I didn't quite know how one deals with the fact that your family history is entwined with an evil like slavery, and the fact that it was legal at the time doesn't really assuage her guilt from her ancestors' actions. [more inside]
posted by Lord Chancellor on Aug 8, 2013 - 45 answers

History Filter: Why are the US Presidents of the Gilded Age so obscure?

... or are they? My question initially stemmed from watching Spielberg's Lincoln and thinking about the fact that of the 4 assassinated U.S. Presidents, there is a lot of interest in Lincoln and Kennedy, whereas despite their being killed in office, I'm betting few high school students can even name Garfield and McKinley. I asked my fairly bright junior high son (and my wife) and neither could name "the other two" assassinated presidents at all. [more inside]
posted by randomkeystrike on Aug 5, 2013 - 21 answers

Good books about the Congolese War?

Can anyone recommend some decent general histories of the Congo War (1996-2003) and its related conflicts? [more inside]
posted by jason's_planet on Aug 3, 2013 - 6 answers

Where can I find reactions to the original Godzilla?

How did audiences in Japan 9 years out of WW2 react to the extensive use of war-imagery in the original 1954 Godzilla? [more inside]
posted by Ndwright on Jul 21, 2013 - 2 answers

Before antibiotics, was every infection fatal ?

A hundred years ago, if you had an infection that we would today treat with antibiotics, what was the typical prognosis ? Death ? [more inside]
posted by k5.user on Jul 1, 2013 - 20 answers

Dodging and burning effects in 1950s television?

Why do black-and-white shows from the 1960s, especially live ones, have what looks to be a burn (dark shadows) around bright objects (around Walt's signature and around people's heads) and dodging effects (white glowing) around dark objects (around the jet-black suit jackets of the announcer and dancers)? I originally thought it was some beleagured production assistant manually burning the What's My Line signatures so that they'd be more high-contrast and thus more readable, but now I'm seeing it everywhere!
posted by flibbertigibbet on Jun 2, 2013 - 10 answers

Where's the rest of this new york times editorial?

This quote has been going around various friend's facebook pages, supposedly from a NYT editorial opposing the 16th Amendment. I can't find the rest of the article, and would like to see the context for the quote. Any leads online or offline where I could check it out? [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on May 28, 2013 - 6 answers

Tell me what you know about the livestock feed called Chop

I live in a central Pennsylvania village that's almost 200 years old called Linden Hall. It was in the cellar of a home in our village that one of my neighbors found a bunch of old feed bags from the mill that used to be powered by the creek that runs through here. One of those feed bags looked like this. It uses this term "Chop." So we began to wonder why, if Chop was a type of feed, why did it had a protein and fat content label? And why are there horses on the bag? Was this actually livestock feed, or something else? [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on May 25, 2013 - 7 answers

What was academia like before different IT revolutions?

I've been working on putting together an annotated bibliography for my adviser over the past few days. I'm struck by how much work it is in terms of finding all of the articles, saving them, and then tracking backwards and forwards through citations to find related material. However as I've been doing this (and, in fact, each time I do any sort of review of the literature) I wonder what life was like before you had giant relational databases of material, not even counting things like writing up the report on a type writer. So, my question: if you've been in academia for a while, then what was life like before word processors / large relational databases of literature / instant collaboration and communication through email? And what sort of changes have you seen with the job as technology has advanced?
posted by codacorolla on May 24, 2013 - 20 answers

I want to take a family history. There may be a cultural barrier. Tips?

I've always wanted to learn about my family's history. I have an aunt who is nearing 75 and according to my father, she knows the most about my family. I was thinking of interviewing her this summer. [more inside]
posted by gemutlichkeit on May 14, 2013 - 8 answers

What's better than a steering wheel?

Steering wheels are an odd invention: a round object that you rotate clockwise or anti-clockwise based on whether you want to move a car left or right. The rotating of a wheel doesn't really match up with what you are trying to accomplish (unless you're used to it). [more inside]
posted by devnull on May 9, 2013 - 39 answers

How did women come to be regarded as inferior in society?

Why/how did this idea actually start? [more inside]
posted by metacognition on Apr 23, 2013 - 29 answers

HIST490: Contemporary History of Haiti from Ask.Metafilter

In a few weeks, I'll be going to Haiti, specifically the Northern region, for a couple months to work for a NGO. While I've worked and lived in other lesser developed countries and have briefly spoken to co-workers living there, I haven't been to Haiti before and I'd like to have a greater, more nuanced understanding of Haitian cultures and recent history before I arrive. I'm looking for short novels, recommended blogs, or articles - pieces on Haiti would be great posts on Metafilter (I've already read past ones on here) that give me a deeper understanding of Haitian cultures and recent political history.
posted by fizzix on Apr 15, 2013 - 6 answers

How do things get buried in dirt over thousands of years?

It doesn't rain dirt from the sky, so how do ancient buildings get covered in dirt only to be dug up by archaeologists centuries later?
posted by almostwitty on Mar 22, 2013 - 20 answers

Handling accusations of long-past misbehavior? Difficulty: Did I do it?

In 2008, due to some personal problems, I closed out a Facebook account I was using at the time. I have since been accused of saying things via that Facebook account that I don't quite believe I would have said. [more inside]
posted by Infinity_8 on Mar 16, 2013 - 25 answers

Finding a detailed history of the California Penal Code

I'm trying to find out how to find out when a particular item was added to the California Penal Code. In this particular case I'm interested in 12028.5, but I'd like to understand how to find such information in the future.
posted by Tell Me No Lies on Mar 12, 2013 - 3 answers

well known examples of power corrupts

Help me with my ten year old sons school project ! I'd like to find people - as well known as possible - to whom the adage "power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely" . So an ideal example would be someone who started off with good intentions and then on gaining power started behaving poorly . Also ideally once they'd turned nasty their actions would not be so despicable that you wouldn't mind explaining them to a ten year old Thanks
posted by southof40 on Mar 9, 2013 - 38 answers

Word Freak for Chess?

Can you recommend a good chess book with as much history, context, stories, and culture as strategy? [more inside]
posted by suprenant on Feb 27, 2013 - 10 answers

Book on Papal History (on Kindle)

Can you recommend a good book on papal history that is solid on facts and theology, honest about blemishes, but doesn't revel in scandal? Oh, and I hope I can find it in a Kindle version. [more inside]
posted by OrangeDisk on Feb 26, 2013 - 6 answers

History is divided into two roughly equal parts -- source for quote?

Can anyone give me a original source for this (almost certainly garbled) quote? "History is divided into two roughly equal parts -- that which probably never happened and that which doesn't matter much anyway". [more inside]
posted by unSane on Feb 19, 2013 - 2 answers

Looking for Books on WW1

I'm finishing up The Guns of August, by Barbara Tuchman, and while it's a really good read, it does what it says, and covers the beginning of the war. I'm interested in other books on WW1. What do you recommend? I'd like to read both a good, solid overview of the whole war, then maybe later read more in-depth books on certain parts or phases of the war. [more inside]
posted by Ghidorah on Jan 12, 2013 - 23 answers

How can I replicate the experience of the mid-90s web for a curious Generation Z tweenager?

Does such thing as an early web emulator exist? My 12 year-old stepson is learning HTML and CSS, and today I was trying to describe the web of yesteryear (for me, c. 1995-96). I'd love to show some visual aids. I have googled to no avail. [more inside]
posted by allisonrae on Dec 13, 2012 - 17 answers

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