Archive for the 'History' Category

Drinking Our Way Around the World at the Blackbird Bar

Published on June 21, 2013

For a “what’s local in Speyside” experience (previewed by a “what’s local in Jalisco” experience), Dibs headed for the Blackbird Bar in San Francisco two days ago. And no, Dibs did not arrive at the Blackbird to find Ewan McGregor eating haggis and scones while reading Robert Burns poems and dancing to the Bay City [...]

New Novel Twists History

Published on May 22, 2009

In the early pages of Glen David Gold’s new novel Sunnyside, Charlie Chaplin is sighted in more than 800 places at the same time on November 12, 1916. One of these places is on “a small boat bobbing in the swells” off the Northern California coast within sight of a lighthouse whose “brilliant spotlight … [...]

Pop Quiz

Published on February 3, 2009

Who said the following during a speech in Ohio? “I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white an black races … I am not, nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying [...]

Re-Animating the Dead

Published on January 2, 2009

Genuine real-life historical figures who actually lived had actual experiences: birth, life, death, interspersed with specific incidents, dialogues, emotions and actions that actually happened. Shouldn’t this be enough for us? After death, these figures remain with us in memories, in films and photographs, in documents they wrote and documents written about them. Yet a certain [...]

(Delacorte Press, $22; release date August 1, 2006)

Published on July 12, 2006

Byzantium is the forgotten empire. Spanning the ancient world and the new, the Byzantine Empire emerged at the fall of Rome and lasted all the way to the Renaissance. Perhaps because it thrived during the misnamed “Dark Ages,” and because it was headquartered where Europe and Asia meet (Byzantium is now called Istanbul), it is [...]

(Chronicle, $24.95; release date June 1, 2006)

Published on June 19, 2006

Idi Amin’s shag rug, Saddam Hussein’s murals, what appears to be colonic-irrigation equipment in Nicolae Ceausescu palace (whose construction required the demolition of 7,000 structures) … laugh and cry as you pore through vintage photographs detailing the home decor of infamous men and women whom style-guru York calls “the world’s most colorful despots,” but who [...]

SEVEN FIRES, by Peter Charles Hoffer
(Public Affairs, $27.50; release date May 30, 2006)

Published on June 6, 2006

Bringing alive in all their horrifying glory seven infernos that changed Americans’ sense of identity and brought entire urban areas to the brink — from a 1760 Boston fire to the 1967 Detroit fire to 9/11, with others in between — historian Hoffer will make you keep sniffing the air in search of smoke. Winningly, [...]

THE ANZA TRAIL, by Vladimir Guerrero
(Heyday Books, $16.95; release date June 1, 2006)

Published on May 29, 2006

California is so modern — so post-modern — that one hardly thinks of it as a place that needed to be discovered. But once, long ago, the land we now know of as California was unknown to anyone except for a few small bands of Native Americans. The Anza Trail tells a story that for [...]

STAGGER LEE, by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix
(Image Comics, $17.99; release date May 9, 2006)

Published on May 18, 2006

You’ve gotta wonder why one little murder in St. Louis, in 1895 — a guy shooting a guy in a bar — would unleash a flood of folk songs immortalizing the killer, a carriage driver whom some say was a pimp. But it did, and the legend lives on through recordings by everyone from Woody [...]

MY BAD, by Paul Slanksy and Arleen Sorkin
(Bloomsbury, $15.95; May 9, 2006)

Published on May 15, 2006

From Dolly Parton (apologizing for claiming that Jews control Hollywood) to David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz (apologizing for killing people), this densely packed grab bag — subtitled “25 years of public apologies and the appalling behavior that inspired them” presents transcripts of mea-culpas from famous figures in many fields alongside capsule reminders of what they [...]