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  • Charles River Editors

    On the East Coast, people try to make life interesting. On the West Coast, they try to make it comfortable. The emphasis here is on fancy cars, how one looks, less on the mind per se.” – Al Seckel The West Coast of the United States has always been a center of mystery. Native American legends, tantalizing traces of Chinese visits in the Middle Ages, lost gold mines, and supernatural visitations are only some of the phenomena in a region rich with stories of the unknown. The Weird West Coast: Monsters, Mysteries, and Madmen on the Pacific Rim is part of an ongoing series by Sean McLachlan and Charles River Editors that includes The Weird Wild West, Mysteries of the South, The...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    From the “Trail of Tears” to Wounded Knee and Little Bighorn, the narrative of American history is incomplete without the inclusion of the Native Americans that lived on the continent before European settlers arrived in the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the first contact between natives and settlers, tribes like the Sioux, Cherokee, and Navajo have both fascinated and perplexed outsiders with their history, language, and culture. In Charles River Editors’ Native American Tribes series, readers can get caught up to speed on the history and culture of North America’s most famous native tribes in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Space may be the final frontier, but no frontier has ever captured the American imagination like the “Wild West”, which still evokes images of dusty cowboys, outlaws, gunfights, gamblers, and barroom brawls over 100 years after the West was settled. A constant fixture in American pop culture, the 19th century American West continues to be vividly and colorful portrayed not just as a place but as a state of mind. In Charles River Editors’ Legends of the West series, readers can get caught up to speed on the lives of America’s most famous frontier figures in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known. The Wild West has...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The U.S. Census Bureau defines the Midwest as consisting of a dozen states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Outsiders often deride the region, and for many who have never been there, America’s heartland is just a bunch of “flyover states” with little influence, little history, and little interest. However, anyone familiar with the region this couldn’t be further from the truth. The Midwest is rich in history and folklore, and it has more than its fair share of mysteries, too. Strange creatures, Native American legends, haunted houses, and unexplained phenomena are rife in these states, and...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    When one thinks of the world’s first cities, Sumer, Memphis, and Babylon are some of the first to come to mind. If the focus then shifts to India, then Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro will undoubtedly come up, but after that, India’s other ancient cities are often overlooked. This is unfortunate since India’s oldest civilization, known as the Indus Valley Civilization or the Harappan Civilization, was contemporary with ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt and had extensive contacts with the former, which makes it one of the most important early world civilizations. Spread out along the rivers of the Indus River Valley, hundreds of settlements began forming around 3300 BCE, eventually...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    In response to Sioux raids along the Bozeman Trail, the United States Army closed the trail in 1865 to mount the Powder River Expedition against the Sioux alliance that kept ravaging settlers and the beleaguered Crows. With the Civil War nearing its end, spare men were hard to come by, but still the Powder River Expedition was prepared under the leadership of Brigadier General Patrick Connor. Charged with keeping the roads and trails of the plains open, Connor’s expedition was war in all but name. Underequipped, and without enough men, the expedition turned out to be little more than a series of limited skirmishes, fortification construction, and requisitions for more men and...read more

  • Charles River Editors

     Circassia could be broadly split into a western and eastern region. Eastern Circassia was inhabited by Kabardians who mainly spoke Kabardian while Western Circassia was made up of Adyghe, who spoke the eponymously-named Adyghe. As a result, discussions about the Circassians tend to split the geography of Circassia into two portions: Eastern Circassia, or Kabardia, and Western Circassia, or Adyghe. Geographically, Kabardia was situated in the middle segment of the Caucasian peninsula, with steppes to the north, and higher mountains to the south. The two key rivers in the Circassia region are the Kuban River, originating near Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus Mountains and flowing from south to...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    By the middle of the 19th century, New York City’s population surpassed the unfathomable number of 1 million people, despite its obvious lack of space. This was mostly due to the fact that so many immigrants heading to America naturally landed in New York Harbor, well before the federal government set up an official immigration system on Ellis Island. At first, the city itself set up its own immigration registration center in Castle Garden near the site of the original Fort Amsterdam, and naturally, many of these immigrants, who were arriving with little more than the clothes on their back, didn’t travel far and thus remained in New York. Of course, the addition of so many...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    England has more often been faced with the claims of competing kings and queens than with a period of no monarch at all. The major exception to that rule came in the 11 years between 1649 and 1660, when England was a republic. Following the disastrous reign of Charles I and the civil wars that led to his execution, Parliament and the army ruled England. That situation was one that would not have been possible without the Bishops’ Wars that preceded it. In the 1630s, Charles’s high-handed approach to politics caused further trouble north of the border, and not just because of the lands he had taken back from the nobility. The Scots were Presbyterian Protestants, and Charles wanted to...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Oliver Cromwell is one of the most important men in England’s history, but everything he struggled for collapsed within two decades of his death. The army, Parliament and the citizens of London grappled with each other for control of the country, and even the army no longer remained a united political force. Civil war almost broke out again as a force under Lambert failed to prevent General Monck, the military governor of Scotland, from marching south and dissolving the Rump Parliament. Excluded MPs were restored on condition that they themselves dissolve Parliament, and following fresh elections without military intervention, a new Parliament met on April 25, 1660. Dominated by...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The famous conqueror from the European continent came ashore with thousands of men, ready to set up a new kingdom in England. The Britons had resisted the amphibious invasion from the moment his forces landed, but he was able to push forward. In a large winter battle, the Britons’ large army attacked the invaders but was eventually routed, and the conqueror was able to set up a new kingdom. Over 1,100 years before William the Conqueror became the King of England after the Battle of Hastings, Julius Caesar came, saw, and conquered part of “Britannia,” setting up a Roman province with a puppet king in 54 BCE. In the new province, the Romans eventually constructed a military outpost...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Even after the British took control of Egypt, knowledge about the Nile remained sparse, most importantly the source of the river, and exploration all over the continent took place among adventurers of various nationalities. Other countries also sought to get a foothold on the continent, to the extent that near the end of the 19th century, Otto von Bismarck, the German chancellor, brought the plenipotentiaries of all major powers of Europe together to deal with Africa's colonization in such a manner as to avoid provocation of war. This event, known as the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, galvanized a phenomenon that came to be known as the Scramble for Africa. The conference established two...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    “Had I just 10,000 Cossacks, I would have conquered the whole world.” – Napoleon Bonaparte The history of Ukraine is a fascinating story of how cultures, political systems, religions, and power have met, intersected, morphed, and expanded. The region was relatively sparsely populated for much of ancient history, a wilderness of rivers, forests, and steppes, but that does not detract from the rich historical development of the region. A huge area, Ukraine is wedged between the continents of Asia and Europe, and its position as a crossroads ensured there was fierce competition for influence there. Historians have called the formation of Ukraine the “establishment of a unity among...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The history of Ukraine is a fascinating story of how cultures, political systems, religions, and power have met, intersected, morphed, and expanded. The region was relatively sparsely populated for much of ancient history, a wilderness of rivers, forests, and steppes, but that does not detract from the rich historical development of the region. A huge area, Ukraine is wedged between the continents of Asia and Europe, and its position as a crossroads ensured there was fierce competition for influence there. Historians have called the formation of Ukraine the “establishment of a unity among three zones…the ports of Crimea and the coast, the rich steppe heartland, and the forests,” based...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The history of Ukraine is a fascinating story of how cultures, political systems, religions, and power have met, intersected, morphed, and expanded. The region was relatively sparsely populated for much of ancient history, a wilderness of rivers, forests, and steppes, but that does not detract from the rich historical development of the region. A huge area, Ukraine is wedged between the continents of Asia and Europe, and its position as a crossroads ensured there was fierce competition for influence there. Historians have called the formation of Ukraine the “establishment of a unity among three zones…the ports of Crimea and the coast, the rich steppe heartland, and the forests,” based...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    When England’s King Edward IV fell ill at Easter 1483 after coming back from a fishing trip and died shortly after on April 9, it threw a country that had already suffered a series of wars into a state of chaos. What exactly killed him is unclear, and though some people would later speculate that he had been poisoned, there is every reason to believe that he died of natural causes. Disease was common in medieval England, and doctors lacked much of the medical knowledge now taken for granted. The king's spectacular lifestyle had taken its toll, and he was significantly overweight, so it seems the lifestyle which he thought he had earned as king, and which he used to remind everyone of his...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The history of Ukraine is a fascinating story of how cultures, political systems, religions, and power have met, intersected, morphed, and expanded. The region was relatively sparsely populated for much of ancient history, a wilderness of rivers, forests, and steppes, but that does not detract from the rich historical development of the region. A huge area, Ukraine is wedged between the continents of Asia and Europe, and its position as a crossroads ensured there was fierce competition for influence there. Historians have called the formation of Ukraine the “establishment of a unity among three zones…the ports of Crimea and the coast, the rich steppe heartland, and the forests,” based...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Though few people are familiar with the story of his life, Charles Ponzi’s name is almost instantly recognizable thanks to the famous financial scandal named after him. This is somewhat ironic because, while his last name has become synonymous with financial scandal and many recognize how a Ponzi scheme works, some have argued that Ponzi really did not know what he was doing while it was taking place. When reading many of the books and articles written about him, it does seem as though Ponzi believed he would be able to pay back his investors at one point or another. In fact, the scheme that Ponzi created was not a new one – it was historically known as “robbing Peter to pay...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Today, the world is in the midst of the transformative and ever-developing Digital Age, otherwise referred to as the “Age of Information.” It has been an unprecedented, remarkable, and explosive era marked by social media and computer-generated imagery (and with it, deep fakes), among other novel, previously unimaginable concepts. The bulky monitors and blocky towers of personal computers and laptops, which were once upon a time considered fashionable, futuristic contraptions, have since been replaced with a sleek and stylish array – both multi-functional and specialized – of aerodynamic, minimalistic devices, ranging from smartphones and tablets to lightweight laptops and...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    However diverse Sicily might be, it is also paradoxically considered to be an emblem of Italy itself, a paradox it shares with Naples. In fact, Frederick II was the last ruler of a fully autonomous Sicily, and his son, Manfred (r. 1254-1258), was the final Norman ruler in Sicily. Manfred met his death heroically on the battlefield, fighting the army of Charles of Anjou after Charles was made King of Rome by the Vatican in 1266. Charles chose Naples as the capital of his lands, and this created tensions between his people and the Sicilians, culminating with a rebellion known as the Sicilian Vespers of 1282. According to legend, the rebellion started after a French soldier harassed a Sicilian...read more