The Times started a series a few weeks ago in its obituary section called Overlooked. It was about women that the Times through its many decades had failed to write obituaries on. They included Ida B. Wells and Charlotte Bronte. They also invited readers to nominate women for this section.
Compelling reasons for Churchill to write his much-anticipated history of World War II presented themselves forcefully by early 1946. There were also monumental obstacles that stood in the way of Churchill’s efforts to write his memoirs. Churchill either found a way around them or turned them to his advantage as he began plans for his multi-volume saga […]
An item in the newsletter a few weeks ago talked about the most nutritious foods (according to a group of scientists who looked into it). In case you missed it, number 1 on the most nutritious foods was almonds. This time we talk about what might be the least nutritious food we consume: sugar. Is […]
More than a few times, Churchill expressed the sentiment that “history will be kind to me for I will write it.” Through his life and particularly in his later years, Churchill would say that, sometimes as a threat to others but usually just as a comfort to himself. But Churchill went much farther than other […]
New biography of Agatha Christie; loving alliteration; remembering the Sabbath; newsletter March 16, 2018
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,088) on Friday, March 16, 2018. Hi, [FIRST NAME GOES HERE] Lots of readers have reacted to lots of different things in previous newsletters, and I include many of those reactions in this week’s missive. I have said this many times: I love hearing from you on […]
Despite her worldwide fame and gigantic audiences, her life was as mysterious as one of her books. Now a new biography is available to American readers (it has been available to British readers for a while), and the book is getting rave reviews.
The concept of the Sabbath, the weekend, comes from ancient Jewish culture — directly from the Fourth Commandment. It is one of the “gifts of the Jews,” according to Thomas Cahill, author of The Gifts of the Jews, the second volume of his brilliant Hinges of History series. Cahill says there is more to the Sabbath […]
Mark Forsyth, of InkyFool.com, and author of several books on the language, cites in his The Elements of Eloquence (pages 10-11) an example of William Shakespeare, our old friend, lifting a passage from Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch’s Lives for some lines in Antony and Cleopatra. From North we get this description of Cleopatra’s boat: […]
Handel, down and out; ‘Girl with the Pearl Earring’ up and away; more Shakespeare and Vietnam: newsletter March 9, 2018
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,116), on Friday, March 9, 2018. Hi, You may think that I am obsessed with William Shakespeare, that I just can’t leave him alone. Actually, it’s the other way around. He won’t leave me alone. The last three newsletters have had items about The Bard, […]
Handel, who had lived in England for more than a quarter of a century. had never really ruled the operatic circles of London. It is too tough of a town for that. But the German-born musical genius had led his faction, and they loved him for it. By the mid-1730s, however, Handel had begun to lose […]
The distrust engendered by Vietnam did not begin with the American people; it began with the American government
Proof of the government’s lies about Vietnam can be found in many people, most notably a set of documents that government officials put together while the war was still being fought that we know as the Pentagon Pap
The folks at the Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery, The Hague, Holland, where the painting resides are taking a really close look these days. They have called in experts from around the world and marshaled all of the technology and machinery they can muster to look as closely — non-invasively — at the painting as they can.
Hardback books are highly profitable. Publishers reckon they can sell a hardback for twice (or more) the price of a paperback, but a hardback doesn’t cost nearly twice as much to produce.
Shakespeare’s appearance, Eleanor’s mastery, and Cronkite’s broadcast – plus a new book giveaway: newsletter, March 2, 2018
One of the seminal events in America’s long involvement in Vietnam occurred 50 years ago this past week. CBS newscaster Walter Cronkite — often called “the most trusted man in America” — narrated a prime-time documentary that called into question the American government’s rosy predictions about the war’s progress. Cronkite did not come out against the war. […]
At no time did Cronkite express opposition to the war. He merely described what he saw and what people on the ground had said to him.
We have a general idea of what William Shakespeare looked like, but we do not have a confirmed contemporary portrait of him. Like many other things about The Bard, his appearance remains a mystery.
Dictionaries are marvels of any language. But English has resisted the orderly cataloguing that has been routine for many other tongues. Early lexicographers believed they could impose some necessary order on the language by setting down spellings and definitions and making them permanent. But the language quickly showed them who was boss.
A portrait of Jacqueline Bouvier Lee, a.k.a. Jackie Kennedy, depicting her as a teenager, has appeared in a Long Island art gallery and has sparked a federal lawsuit brought by some of her relatives. The relatives say it is stolen. The art gallery owner says it is not and that he has doubts that the […]
By their ninth year in the White House, the Roosevelts had become masters of the medium of radio. Franklin had a soft but strong modulating voice. His was a natural. He sounded like your favorite uncle: serious, cheerful, informed and confident. Eleanor, as usual, had to work harder and longer. She did that and became […]
A name for this newsletter; more on Shakespeare; the lost eloquence of the sports page: newsletter, Feb. 23, 2018
Vince’s first novel is titled Paperboy, and it’s the story of a boy growing up in Memphis who has a stutter. Vince himself is a stutterer, and the story rings true on every page. The novel was a Newberry Honor Award winner, and the Washington Post said: “[Vawter’s] characterization of Little Man feels deeply authentic, with . . . […]
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