Weekend Reading

Attila the Hun
15th century bronze medal showing Attila, "The Scourge of God" - Wikimedia

• The title of this article from Past Imperfect, the Smithsonian’s history blog, pretty much speaks for itself: “Nice Things to Say About Attila the Hun.”

Past Imperfect also has the terrible story of Australian explorer Douglas Mawson’s ill-fated walk across Antarctica in 1912-1913.

• Paul Harvey (Religion in American History) interviews one of the foremost historians of religion in 18th century America: Thomas Kidd, author of God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution, Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots, and a forthcoming biography of evangelist George Whitefield.

• The immodest immigrant inventor of the Monitor, the unlikely Union ironclad that fought the most famous naval battle of the Civil War.

Click this link RIGHT NOW if you’ve waited your whole life for the chance to listen to the actual voice of 19th century German chancellor Otto von Bismarck. Yes, an early Edison phonograph cylinder was recently found to contain a recording of Bismarck reciting poetry and songs — including, of all things, portions of the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise.”

• As the presidential primary season rolls on, check out a brief history of Mormons running for president: two Romneys, plus Mo Udall, Joseph Smith himself, and (kind of) Eldridge Cleaver. And then read about the history of presidential debates (especially the televised kind).

• This April marks the 30th anniversary of the brief war between Argentina and Great Britain over the South Atlantic islands that the two countries call, respectively, the Malvinas and the Falklands. Still claimed by the Argentine government, the islands are garrisoned by British forces, whose ranks will soon include a pilot named Lt. William Wales — a.k.a., Prince William, second in line to the British throne. The prince’s assignment (plus the depiction of the 1982 war in the new Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady), coming so close to the war’s anniversary, has aroused heated new rhetoric from Buenos Aires, though opinion polls indicate that 45% of the Argentinian population has little or no interest in the question of the islands.

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