Weekend Reading

This week: a thousand years of European history in 3+ minutes; censoring Erasmus; the Alamo; images of New York; tragedy at the South Pole; controversy about the beginning of World War I; recovering a piece of World War II history; putting breast-feeding and presidential commencement addresses in historical perspective; and great ideas in film history.

• It’s not often that the words “European history” and “viral video” appear together in the same sentence, but this time-lapse map of European borders as they’ve changed since AD 1000 was all over the place last week.

Holbein, Erasmus
Hans Holbein the Younger, Erasmus (1523)

Censorship, 16th century style: crude and elegant attempts to blot out passages from Erasmus.

• You’ll never guess which celebrity happens to be one of the world’s leading collectors of Alamo artifacts…

• Now available online for U.S., New York, urban, immigration, and other history buffs: nearly 900,000 photos, movies, maps, and other media, going back to 1858, from the New York Municipal Archives.

• The tragic story of the Scott expedition to the South Pole.

• Conventional wisdom has it that the German Army’s attempt to quickly take Paris in 1914 followed something called the Schlieffen Plan; why a debate over the very existence of such a plan has raged for going on fifteen years…

• Found in the Sahara Desert: a perfectly preserved WWII fighter plane that’s being called the “aviation equivalent of Tutankhamun’s Tomb.”

• Harvard historian Jill Lepore puts the Time magazine breast-feeding cover controversy into perspective. (Capsule summary: Ecclesiastes is right again.)

• More perspective on current events: the history of presidents using university commencement addresses for political purposes. (H/T AHA Today)

• And 100 ideas that changed the course of film history.

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