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I want to know the history of the city without a history

Please recommend some books about the history of Southern California. I'm specifically interested in the evolution of car culture and the L.A. area as a cultural incubator. [more inside]
posted by Sara C. on Apr 9, 2013 - 36 answers

What to do with a BA in History? (Redux)

This is a followup to this question from almost five years ago. I am about to graduate from a not-very-well-known State University in the southwest with a BA in History. My problem is that I am now rudderless, with a great deal of debt and virtually no real job prospects. I am staring down the barrel of paycheck-to-paycheck poverty, forever. Please help. [more inside]
posted by Avenger on Apr 4, 2013 - 43 answers

Philosophy of the Occult?

I am looking for books investigating the occult as a phenomenon, its history, and its possibilities. Maybe that sounds simple, but I'm also picky. [more inside]
posted by parkbench on Apr 4, 2013 - 19 answers

name my kid for a hero of cosmopolitanism

So my wife is pregnant. Hooray! (Still early enough that we don't know the gender). We're starting to think about names. It seems to me that the world's great hope and story of progress is the expansion of rights and consideration of the views & interests of an ever-widening swath of humanity. Which historical figures stand for pluralism, for rejecting provincialism, in word or deed? I've picked up, but haven't yet read Kwame Anthony Appiah's Cosmopolitanism; I'd be grateful for suggestions of books or other resources that might be useful. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Mar 29, 2013 - 30 answers

Looking for the other side of Iran Contrahistory

Has there been a definitive account of the Iran-Contra Scandal written from the vantage point of either Iran or Nicaragua? [more inside]
posted by history is a weapon on Mar 27, 2013 - 2 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

Identify a turn-of-the-century man-flying-with-umbrella postcard meme?

My friend found a number of European postcards from around 1904 to 1907, each with a similar motif -- a mustachioed, suit-wearing man flying above the city using an umbrella, holding a suitcase in his other hand. You can see some examples here. Do you know more about this meme? [more inside]
posted by grey_sw on Mar 21, 2013 - 2 answers

Looking for books about the resiliency of the California Economy.

I'm trying to prove the historic strength and resiliency of California. From the Gold Rush on. Being the birthplace of aerospace manufacturing, the cradle of film and digital. Basically something that puts into perspective all the slowdowns and eventual recoveries that California has always bounced back from. Ideally from a kosher academic perspective. I'd rather not have this from the tome of an avowed Marxist as an example. Who should I read and what did they write?
posted by rileyray3000 on Mar 20, 2013 - 6 answers

Help me make my grad student status good to the last drop.

Graduating with an MS in May, an independent historical research project on my brain, and time. What should I do NOW while I'm still a student? [more inside]
posted by deludingmyself on Mar 20, 2013 - 2 answers

an AskMe named Desire

I'd like to read about the extensive streetcar networks that serviced most US cities in the late 19th / early 20th century. Any recommendations? [more inside]
posted by threeants on Mar 18, 2013 - 11 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

How would things be different if the ERA had passed?

In the 1970s and 80s, when I was a kid, an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, barring discrimination on the basis of sex, was passed by Congress and very nearly adopted. How would the United States be different if three more states had ratified the ERA and the Constitution had actually been amended? To make it more precise, what current federal laws or practices would be struck down if the U.S. Constitution included the ERA?
posted by escabeche on Mar 16, 2013 - 9 answers

Storytellers, thinkers, and musicians who are worth fully engaging with?

I believe I may suffer from a derth of artistic and intellectual heroes. Help me fix that. What artists and thinkers are worth engaging with fully as an adult? By "engaging with fully," I mean making a concerted effort to consume all of their output, several times, as well as seeking out supplementary information about them by way of interviews, criticism, documentaries, collected letters, biographies, etc. etc. [more inside]
posted by jsturgill on Mar 15, 2013 - 50 answers

What ancient Anatolian alphabet is this?

I found some stone tablets written in a strange alphabet amongst a bunch of graves from different eras at the city museum of Tire, Turkey. The guy working the desk at the museum didn't know what they were. Pictures in extended. [more inside]
posted by Theiform on Mar 15, 2013 - 12 answers

I think we're beIng followed!

Here's one I've had no luck finding: A) in the movies, is there a name for those films they used to project behind actors in a movie car to make it look like they were actually on the road? You know the ones: the slightly out of focus view out the rear window. Maybe a chase scene with the bad guy car in pursuit... Or just plain ol' traffic... B) are any of these background films archived online? Tried Prelinger archives but no luck.
posted by ecorrocio on Mar 14, 2013 - 8 answers

Decode This German Shorthand Mystery Letter From 1939!

This envelope with a letter inside was found inside a large decaying bound edition of Shakespeare auf Deutsch in a junk shop in Bushwick that was only apparently open for a few months before disappearing. The letter, postmarked 15 March, 1939 - was sent to Paris by a Mr. Henri Wolf. The contents of the letter appear to be German shorthand. Included was small piece of what looks like code, there's nothing else on the back.The letter, envelope, postcard, etc in question are at this imgur album. Hivemind: What the hell is this?
posted by The Whelk on Mar 14, 2013 - 28 answers

Etruscan resources

I'm learning that many of the customs and traditions that I think of as Roman actually originated from the Etruscans instead. Can anyone recommend some good books, videos, or websites about ancient Etruscan culture and history?
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 13, 2013 - 12 answers

Birds and Battlefields

Mixing military history and natural history, I'm looking for information regarding bird behavior during wartime. An example: would one hear bird songs on the battlefield during pauses in fighting? [more inside]
posted by josephtate on Mar 12, 2013 - 13 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

A race by any other slur

How do other languages (non-English) express the scientific term 'race?' vs the colloquial? In taxonomic terms, the word "race" is 90% used as a misnomer in US discourse. This is rooted in "Social Darwinism," or contemporary racist applications of seminal evolution concepts. This colors verbiage across the sciences, especially the social sciences. To wit, the term 'racism' is in fact based on a dehumanizing paradigm. So, um, how does this shake out elsewhere? [more inside]
posted by es_de_bah on Mar 11, 2013 - 9 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

Help me learn more about the labor and leftist movements via audio

I'd like to learn more about the history of the left, particularly the far left, particularly as it relates to me, a late-20's north american male. I'd love to learn more about the left, labor, unions, communism, socialism, labor laws, etc., particularly in what factors and machinations gave and took away rights and freedoms. Here's the kicker - I'm really, really hoping to find them in audio format so I can learn while I exercise. Audiobooks, podcasts, lectures, etc. [more inside]
posted by rebent on Mar 8, 2013 - 8 answers

History of Rape

I'm interested in learning about rape in 19th century America for a fictional piece I'm writing. I'm not really sure where to start in researching this, but I'd be grateful for any resources or information. [more inside]
posted by Put the kettle on on Mar 8, 2013 - 8 answers

Massachusetts history trip and Maine scenic ocean trip, t minus two hour

My friend is visiting me in Rhode island today through Sunday night and has her heart set on historical sights in Boston and going to the coast of Maine (maybe acadia). Given weather, Boston traffic, and driving times, what is the best way to do this? [more inside]
posted by geegollygosh on Mar 8, 2013 - 23 answers

Where can I learn about man's interaction with new ingredients?

What was Italian food like before the tomato? When coffee houses started popping up in Europe what establishments lost business as a result? Did Marco Polo really bring noodles to Europe from China? Where can I find the answer to all these questions and more? [more inside]
posted by any portmanteau in a storm on Mar 6, 2013 - 29 answers

Who said this?

Looking for a quote from Napoleon about women. [more inside]
posted by _DB_ on Mar 5, 2013 - 2 answers

Mormon History?

How does Brigham Young University teach American History? Do they tell students that Jesus actually came to America? And how do they deal with the story that Missouri was the real Garden of Eden?
posted by mmf on Mar 4, 2013 - 14 answers

Sailing away on the Ship of Theseus

I'm taking up restoration of mechanical calculators as a hobby. To what extent would repairs/part replacements constitute "restoration", and when does it become "reproduction" instead? [more inside]
posted by jackbishop on Mar 1, 2013 - 2 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

Ancient greek origins of separation of powers?

Somewhere I read an interpretation of the development of democracy in Ancient Greece that went something like this: A king died and three princes struggled to seize power. No one prince was strong enough to defeat the others. They made a deal that one would be responsible for military matters, the second for administrative matters, and the third for religious. This system proved relatively effective and was continued, eventually on a non-hereditary basis, and is the original source for the separation of powers between different branches of government. [more inside]
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy on Feb 13, 2013 - 6 answers

Visual references for armor?

I'm looking for visual references for medieval / faux-medieval armor. Bonus points for something lightweight / leather and I'm really looking for rear views but anything would be useful. I've tried a bit of googling but haven't really found what I want.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 13, 2013 - 8 answers

150 years, 10 people

The London overground is celebrating 150 years. There are these posters hanging around. Can you help me identify the different decades that each person is supposed to represent? [more inside]
posted by like_neon on Feb 8, 2013 - 21 answers

What techniques should be used to find the already written future of me?

Let's say that certain phases of my life were already written in a book 70 - 100 years ago by someone, who was either a futurist of a scifi-writer. Let's also say that there are people, who want to make sure - for some yet unknown reason - that I live through those phases and that my personality gets developed similarly to some character's personality in that book. The book would have been written a long time before I was born. Now, what kind of search engines and what kind of search strategies I should use to become sure that there actually is such a book? There might exists traces of revitalizing of the book, if the original writer didn't make good enough guesses about the future.
posted by spctrm on Feb 5, 2013 - 13 answers

Need non-racist-affiliated Viking jewelry and traditions for a wedding

My fiance is half-Norwegian, and all the family he's in contact with are pretty Norwegian. We're having a wedding and trying to honor each other's heritages. I need touches and customs that can be added to said wedding. Problem: while googling on the internet for Viking stuff and/or meaningful runes, I'm finding a ton of racist stuff. My fiance has done antifa work and I just plain hate Nazis. How can I find cool customs that have not been appropriated by horrible people, and how can I buy jewelry (particularly ring-type) that isn't going to racist pockets? [more inside]
posted by corb on Feb 4, 2013 - 24 answers

Recommendations of books about unconventional defectors

I've been listening to 'Escape from Camp 14' on audiobook for the past few days, and I was struck by a brief overview of & reference to the story of Charles Robert Jenkins, an American defector to North Korea. I found the concept as mystifying as it was intriguing, so I would like to know if any of you have heard of any non-fiction books about other defection stories that involve citizens of democratic nations obtaining residency in nations that would be deemed objectively totalitarian and renouncing their countries of origin. I'm on the lookout for his book, 'The Reluctant Communist,' but I'd like to hear about other stories of this type as well.
posted by Selena777 on Feb 3, 2013 - 13 answers

Is it possible to track the history of someone's fortune over centuries?

Let's say someone (anyone) made a fortune in the early 18th century - would it be possible to track their fortune over time to see where it is in the present day? I can imagine this being relatively simple if the money just stayed in the family, but what if you wanted to track the fortunes made during something like the Gold Rush?
posted by domakesaypat on Jan 26, 2013 - 8 answers

Roma æterna

Where can I find some educated speculation about how the Roman Empire might have avoided its decline, and how it might have developed (and affected world history) had the empire not fallen? Would prefer works by historical scholars, but alternative history works would be OK if thoroughly researched and detailed.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico on Jan 25, 2013 - 19 answers

Books on the history of photography?

I only really have time to read a single book on the origins of photography. What do you recommend? Think Daguerre and Talbot, no need for hundreds of pages devoted to the camera obscura. I'd also prefer something heavier on text than actual photographs.
posted by Lorin on Jan 25, 2013 - 5 answers

visualizing human history in the context of earth's history

Can you recommend web-based tools for visualizing human history/civilizations in the context of larger geological timescales and weather changes? [more inside]
posted by par court on Jan 18, 2013 - 3 answers

History of Christianity(focus on Britain) for law degree.Where to start?

Hi. I was wondering if anyone here could help to recommend resources for a complete beginner to better understand the history of Christianity, etc so I may have a deeper, more contextualised understanding of british history and politics. Some stuff I'd like to know better are: [more inside]
posted by ethelwulf on Jan 17, 2013 - 8 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

Have norms surrounding eating chicken changed over time?

Was there ever a period in time before widespread acceptance of germ theory, or, is there a current culture where raw or undercooked chicken is an accepted part of cuisine? [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Jan 10, 2013 - 19 answers

Spoiler-free guide to the history behind The Tudors?

Where do I find Nitpickers Guide to The Tudors? Or something like that. [more inside]
posted by The corpse in the library on Jan 5, 2013 - 2 answers

I Want My 80's TV

Are there any good drama series from the eighties available streaming online? [more inside]
posted by Sara C. on Jan 4, 2013 - 26 answers

Real Life Royston Vasey?

Are there any real-life historical examples of the Small Town With A Terrible Secret horror trope? Towns where long-term, ongoing crimes (or unsavory religious practices one supposes) where purposefully covered up and kept hidden from the outside world and any attempt to investigate them resulted in the investigator being detained, thrown out, or killed?
posted by The Whelk on Jan 4, 2013 - 35 answers

Peace corps medical history

For current and previous peace corps volunteers, Have you lied on your peace corps medical clearance? What did you lie about and how did it end up working out? [more inside]
posted by Globallife12 on Dec 31, 2012 - 8 answers

What are the greatest (yet most original) love affairs of all time?

What are the greatest (yet most original) love affairs of all time? [more inside]
posted by skylar on Dec 22, 2012 - 76 answers

Studies of actual "False Flag" operations?

Are there any good historical/scholarly studies of false flag operations? Not so much chroinicles of a specific single event, but more about how common they've actually been throughout history, how effective they tend to be, how they are eventually disclosed (whether on purpose or not), etc. They seem to be the core of a lot of conspiracy theories ("9/11 was an inside job", "Oswald was a tool of the CIA", and so on), and I'm curious about how prevalent the real thing is.
posted by Lentrohamsanin on Dec 20, 2012 - 2 answers

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