Weekend Reading

This week: mapping ancient Rome; Roger Williams; rebellion in British India; the Homestead Act; Civil War commemoration; the Fraterville mine disaster; predicting which authors will remain famous; a previously censored WWII documentary gets a facelift; Cold War hoverboards; Castro’s American aide; and more!

• One of the hottest sites on the Internet is a model of the Roman world that acts a kind of ancient historical version of Google Maps.

Learning to pray from some of the great pray-ers in church history.

• The 375th anniversary of the founding of Providence, Rhode Island and a small revival of scholarship on Roger Williams.

• Mysterious bread and the beginnings of the most significant revolt against the British Empire since the American Revolution: the Indian “Mutiny” of 1857.

• The 150th anniversary of the Homestead Act, plus some of the oldest photos of the American West are still pretty amazing to behold.

Saint-Gaudens, The Robert Gould Shaw Memorial
Saint-Gaudens, The Robert Gould Shaw Memorial – National Park Service

• As we enter Memorial Weekend, it’s an appropriate moment to celebrate one of the artists whose works still help Americans commemorate the Civil War: the French-Irish immigrant Augustus Saint-Gaudens, most famous for his bronze relief of the African-American soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts and their white commander, Robert Gould Shaw, but also the creator of statues still adorning parks in New York, Chicago, and other cities.

• The 100th anniversary of the explosion at the coal mine in Fraterville, Tennessee that killed over 200 — leaving it still one of the five worst mine disasters in U.S. history.

• Raise your hand if you know who John Galsworthy is. If you didn’t raise your hand, then you’ll fully get the thrust of an article asking why it’s so hard to predict literary fame, since Galsworthy (best known for The Forsyte Saga) was in 1929 selected as the novelist most likely to be read in 2009.

• The restoration of John Huston’s famously censored documentary about American G.I.’s suffering from the psychological wounds of World War II.

• Speaking of futures that never came to pass… Here’s the story of the U.S. Army’s attempt in the 1950s to develop “flying platform” technology (i.e., a hoverboard).

• The story of William Morgan: the American who became a leader in the Cuban revolution, only to die at the hands of one of Fidel Castro’s firing squads in 1961.

• How to decide what to discard from a survey course in order to make room for more recent history…

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