My ten-year old son wants to understand everything. He is a voracious reader and doesn't confine himself to kids books. He loves reading the newspaper (NYTimes, Boston Globe), fiction, and non-fiction books. He's old enough to really learn things by reading. Agatha Christie is fun, but he's ready for more than that. He's full of questions about society, politics, science, economics. I'd like to get him some books that will expand his mind, begin answering his questions, and show him how the world fits together. [more inside]
I have 30 years of family history research, documentation, photos, interviews, notes - I also have a bunch of info between my ears that I never got around to writing down. Funds are tight right now, so paying someone to write a book for me isn't going to happen. I need recommendations (as in, you've done this) for software, open source is best, which will help me organize and publish my family history as an ebook, with the option to pay a publisher some day for hard copies.
There used to be bohemians (not avant garde artists, not beats, not hippies). I'd know one if I saw one, but can't seem to bring their essential qualities into focus -- except for a distain for the bourgeoisie. Are they still around? What do we call them now? [more inside]
I was listening today to Bascom Lamar Lunsford’s “I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground”, which includes the unforgettable line, “the railroad man, he’ll kill you if he can/And drink out your blood like wine”. Who is this guy? Will he? Why? [more inside]
My wife recently pointed out my lack of good history books about the American Revolution. I have (and loved) James McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom and John Keegan's The First World War, but was struggling to come up with the best single volume history of the war in a similar style to those. There are any number of books that would be great if I wanted to find out information about single aspects of the war and the causes of it, but I want a single book that mostly focuses on the actual who was where and why. [more inside]
Was "a little girl in France" the first child to fly in an airplane? [more inside]
WY do so few people live in the state north of Colorado? It is the least populous state in the nation and almost all its neighbors have twice the population. What accounts for such a large difference?
So I just finished watching The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. I really liked it! I especially liked that it was not just an historical drama, but used the story of the Simpson murder trial as a way to comment on contemporary life. That is, the show was a vehicle for showing how the issues raised at the time -- of racism, sexism, police misconduct, domestic violence, celebrity culture, the 24-hour media cycle -- are still with us today, and lets us see how our understanding of all those issues is shaped by the impact the trial had on the public consciousness. Where can I find more stuff like this? [more inside]
Is there any evidence of herbs other than tobacco being smoked in Europe prior to tobacco, any evidence of the pipe existing prior to tobacco? [more inside]
I'm trying to figure out why my great-great-grandparents told the 1900 US census they were from Denmark, when really they were from Sweden. Would there have been some reason for the lie at that time? [more inside]
What was sugar like in Europe in 1631? If a recipe called for a couple ounces of sugar, was it conveniently granulated like it is now? [more inside]
I am looking for articles (Wikipedia is OK) about both terrible/failed attempts to pay people for x result or wildly successful ones. [more inside]
Seeking: a relatively unbiased book (or two, or three) on the history of the Republican and Democratic parties. [more inside]
I'll be in NYC from Jan 22 - Jan 24 and am overwhelmed with excitement and also panic about What To Do and What To Eat. Can you tell me what you love to do and eat given my wide range of interests? [more inside]
I'm looking for historical overviews and more specific personal accounts, with an emphasis on readability. [more inside]
As my Pathfinder gaming group just came to an abrupt end due to lack of time on the GM's end (an anthropologist who created a truly AWESOME world), I'm getting the itch to step up and create my own world to possibly GM through a campaign in the future. However, the spirit is willing, but the flesh (or mind?) is weak. I'd like some tips on reading material (either direct how-to stuff or fantasy stories with particularly fantastic worldbuilding) that will deepen my resources on which to draw from in creating my own worlds. A bit more detail within. [more inside]
What happened when someone in the Middle Ages got pink eye, or someone in Elizabethan England got athlete's foot or crotch rot? Did the infections just hang around forever? Was everyone just infected with this type of stuff? (It's pretty well-known that basically everyone had lice and fleas, I believe.)
I know there was this process in the last few hundred years of European history where newly forming nations, trying to take hold of themselves, would decree one language official (French, Spanish), and try to squelch all of the many other languages/dialects (Occitan, Catalan) spoken within their borders. Where can I learn more? [more inside]
A long-shot find-me-this-book question, academic edition! A friend has mislaid the title of a book he needs on Mexican popular religion. Do you know the book, or where else on the Internet might be a good place to ask? [more inside]
The Internet appears to have swallowed an almost ten-year old commercial from the NYTimes about its (then new) Weekender subscription service, which included the famous "Saturdays, the word alone makes me happy" comment. It was parodied here by the 92Y Tribeca (RIP) and was then revised by the NY Times. I am, however, looking for the original ad that ran in 2006 (according to this Time article). Was even able to locate the abridged version of the commercial, but can't find the original. MeFi's can you help me save this from the internet rabbit hole?
I'm looking for examples of unexpected (and not widely known) practices of everyday life from bygone eras. I'll give a few examples of the type of information I seek. [more inside]
Two years ago, we moved from Maryland to Seattle, WA, but I still feel like I don't know very much about my new home. Ideally, I'm looking for the "here's what you should have learned in 6th grade" level overview of local history and common knowledge. (I might get into deeper history later, but right now I just want to not feel like such a tourist)
Can anyone recommend a good historical examination of literary and performed works throughout all of human history that stood out from their contemporaries for containing exceptionally violent/disturbing imagery, even for their own time? (more 'recent' examples being Titus Andronicus, the various Penny Dreadfuls, de Sade, Milton, etc) [more inside]
Asking for my folks: tell me arts/ecology/sheep/theatre/rug hooking/banjo/history/alternative building materials stuff to do near Antigonish Nova Scotia in the first week of September this year.
In the novel "Wolf Hall" Liz Cromwell is shocked to realize she and Thomas are awake at 3 o'clock in the morning (quote, though no real spoilers inside). How does she know what time it is in 1527? Would a successful lawyer and merchant have a clock in his bedroom? Would a church or town clock tower ring the hours through the night? [more inside]
I just moved to Boston and don't know much of anything about it's history as a music town. I mean I'm generally aware of classic rock bands being from Boston, and then Mission of Burma, but what else? What books, documentaries, websites, magazine archives, etc should I read to find out more about the Boston (and surrounding area) scene? [more inside]
Fragments of Roman Londinium are still visible around London. Bits of old London Bridge have been worked into St. Magnus the Martyr Church. What other leftover bits of old London are still hanging around the modern-day city? [more inside]
Are there any surviving evidence of household decorations from medieval times in Europe? [more inside]
In the mid-1800s, a snail spent years glued to a specimen card in the British Museum before scientists realized it was still alive. What became of this snail? Help me solve a scientific History Mystery, AskMe! [more inside]
I'm familiar with the William the Conqueror onwards verse about English kings (Willie, Willie, Harry, Stee, etc), but I know that I saw one for the Saxon kings somewhere and I can't find it. I recall bits like "With Egbert's name our tale is led, then Aethels Wulf, Bald, Bert, and Red" and "Never-ready Aethelred" and you'd really think I would be able to google up an answer with that as a start, but I've got nothing.
My 10 year old (Caucasian) daughter wants to participate in an end-of-school-year social studies project where she has to dress up as Maya Angelou. This is part of a class presentation on famous North Carolinians (we love to claim Dr. Angelou even though she wasn't born here), and my daughter will also give a short speech. [more inside]
My 3-greats grandfather departed Liverpool, England with all of his children for America and arrived here in New York on November 18, 1866. The thing is, I am as sure as I can be that he lived in Raphoe, Donegal, Ireland. Why would he go alll the way to Liverpool when Londonderry was so close? [more inside]
Mr. K and I are interested in the history of the Oregon Trail. He's good at research, but is coming up blank on papers or discussions to help understand who went, and WHY they decided to spend six months on an incredibly difficult trek in order to try to carve out a living in Oregon. [more inside]
Severnaya Zemlya, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia is censored on Google Maps. Anybody know why? Here it is: link
In Eduard von Grützner's painting Vor der Brotzeit, the monk has something in his hand. What is it?
I'm trying to find an article by some historians that posited that the places described in the Bible we not actually in present day Israel. The historians had done some theorizing that the mountains and valleys mentioned in the bible (can't remember which book) fit better with an area in Saudi Arabia off the coast of the Red Sea. I've searched the Google but can't find any mention of this theory. I would love to find it again. Thanks, MeFi!
The impossible has happened - I am caught up with, or have finished, all my favorite history podcasts. I'm looking for some new ones to add to the line-up. [more inside]
I know you weren't there. Can you point me to a report from someone who was?
What is this intriguing device I noticed at a friend's house? Friend has no idea. It's about 6 inches in length. It was patented by Holland Mfg of Willamantic, CT, and a Google search suggests it might have something to do with 19th century silk manufacturing. Ideas?
Before Thanksgiving, construction crews working on the Massachusetts State House discovered a time capsule placed there in 1795. It was opened last night at a press conference. Will the contents be on display? [more inside]
An episode of Sports Night refers to Napoleon's Battle Plan as being: "First we show up, then we see what happens." Does this have any grounding in reality, or is it just Sorkinism gone wild? [more inside]
Every year I load up my Mom's Kindle library for Christmas. This year I'm finding a lot of stuff on the non-fiction end but very little fiction that is up her alley. Her fave books: Neal Stephenson's "The Baroque Cycle" and Gillian Bradshaw's "The Sand-Reckoner." Got a rec? Expanded explanation of her taste inside! [more inside]
I'd like to read a book with more details on this. This is a cool page. "When the Northwestern Elevated Railroad built its Ravenswood branch in 1906, [lots of cool information with pictures]. Are there any books like that? I want to read all about the development of the area, illustrated with historical photos. What kind of cars did they use? Did they have to build through neighborhoods? how did that work? etc etc etc!
I'm looking for media (books mostly) related to technical histories of engineering projects. [more inside]
Did English peasants in the Late Middle Ages--say, 14th c.--take Communion? If so, how often? How about the other sacraments?
Before Ellis Island there was Castle Garden. Before Castle Garden ...? [more inside]
I'm looking for historical/political situations or decisions that made perfect, logical sense at the time but in retrospect seem terribly misguided or worse. These should be situations that when presented very simply, it is clear and easy to say, "Obviously XYZ is the right choice " but where in fact XYZ ends up being an awful choice. Example and further details inside. [more inside]
For my son’s high school history class, he has been assigned an in-class argument/opinion essay. The teacher ended most of the lecturing this week and has given them time to prepare thesis statements for the essays. Here is where it starts to get complicated (at least to my son and me): [more inside]
Thanks to the wonderful responses I received in the question of "What would be in your best high school english class?" I've started the year by reading Art Spiegelman's Maus. What's wonderful is that my incredibly reluctant readers are actually reading and enjoying the book, what's not wonderful is they don't seem to understand that the Holocaust was a VERY BAD THING. I'm looking, ideally, for a 1 hour documentary that does just that. [more inside]
I'm a researcher with no film experience, and am beginning to think about an oral history project, which best case would become a short film. The theme is regional accents, so audio quality is important. [more inside]