Category Archives: History

Book Review: Isaac Babel ~ Odessa Stories (Translator Boris Dratyuk) (1910s and 20s)

Babel writes about Jewish life in Odessa at the beginning of the 20th century. Odessa’s a vibrant multi-cultural seaport with a very large Jewish population. Gangsters fascinate Babel and he creates wonderful pen portraits. He also writes about being an … Continue reading

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Cicero: he knew a thing or two about treachery

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Lenin meets a gangster and loses his Rolls-Royce in 1919

Lenin himself was not immune to the lawlessness of the period. On 6 January 1919, he, his sister Mariya and his sole bodyguard, Ivan Chabanov, were being driven in his official Rolls-Royce when they were flagged down by men in … Continue reading

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Refurbishing grade one listed buildings in Hackney

The first two years of my seven year apprenticeship was done at Sir Philip Magnus trade and academic school. Looking back at those two years I’m amazed at how much was covered. Our plumbing teacher was called Tom Freeman and … Continue reading

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Slavery and the US Constitution 1787-1860

…all slaves of a particular state are to be counted as three-fifths of a white person.1 the States were divided into different interests not by their…size…but principally from their having or not having slaves.2 Future President Madison Slavery caused mayhem … Continue reading

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The bombing of Laos: Obama and an American War Crime

The Ho Chi Minh Trail America became a full partner in the Vietnamese civil war in 1963 and north Vietnam took the strategic decision to supply the south through Laos. The CIA, without congressional approval, unilaterally decided to bomb this … Continue reading

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Italian peasants in the 1920s

Iris Origo and her husband bought an estate in Val d’Orcia, which was 3500 of parched eroded acres with 25 poverty-stricken farms: In a dark airless little room they found an old man dying and a woman giving birth in … Continue reading

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