This week (actually, these past two weeks — we’re catching up from taking last Saturday off): the real Santa Claus, the Alamo, WWI talk today, interactive maps, Churchill, more on Lincoln (vs. Lincoln), and things blowing up.

• Santa Claus vs. St. Nicholas.

• See the effects of the printing press by watching this visualization of the spread of books in 15th century Europe.

The Alamo
Licensed by Creative Commons (Daniel Schwen)

• Napoleon’s plan to blow up the Kremlin! Cold War America’s plan to nuke the moon!!

• The battle over the preservation and (mis?)management of the Alamo.

• Complicating the Lincoln of Lincoln: did the author of the Emancipation Proclamation ever reject his earlier support for encouraging freed slaves to colonize Africa?

• Next up from the maker of Downton Abbey… A historical drama set in the Gilded Age?

• How theatre played its part in World War I — at home and on the front lines.

• Also from that war: lousy, crummy, blind spot, washed up, binge drinking, souvenirs, and other now-mainstays of the English language.

Mapping the Blitz: a remarkable new interactive map that lets you see where German bombs fell on England in 1940-1941, with recollections and photographs from each affected area.

• Over seventy years after the Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor, a reporter from a Honolulu paper gets her report — judged too graphic for women in 1941 — published.

• Historian Christopher Bell doesn’t lament that Winston Churchill is the “best known and most studied figure in modern British history,” but he does challenge us to “recognize that Churchill was also a supporting character” in the stories of other figures from the 20th century.

• Recommendations from the bloggers at The Anxious Bench for five of the best recent books in American religious history and five compelling religious biographies (not all new), to consider as you do Christmas shopping.

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