Searching for: "Charles River Editors"

  • Charles River Editors

    Africa may have given rise to the first human beings, and Egypt probably gave rise to the first great civilizations, which continue to fascinate modern societies across the globe nearly 5,000 years later. From the Library and Lighthouse of Alexandria to the Great Pyramid at Giza, the Ancient Egyptians produced several wonders of the world, revolutionized architecture and construction, created some of the world’s first systems of mathematics and medicine, and established language and art that spread across the known world. With world-famous leaders like King Tut and Cleopatra, it’s no wonder that today’s world has so many Egyptologists. Today, the goddess Hathor is one of the...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The Boer War was the defining conflict of South African history and one of the most important conflicts in the history of the British Empire. Naturally, complicated geopolitics underscored it, going back centuries. In fact, the European history of South Africa began with the 1652 arrival of a small Dutch flotilla in Table Bay, at the southern extremity of the African continent, which made landfall with a view to establishing a victualing station to service passing Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) ships. The Dutch at that point largely dominated the East Indian Trade, and it was their establishment of the settlement of Kaapstad, or Cape Town, that set in motion...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    In terms of geopolitics, perhaps the most seminal event of the Middle Ages was the successful Ottoman siege of Constantinople in 1453. The city had been an imperial capital as far back as the 4th century, when Constantine the Great shifted the power center of the Roman Empire there, effectively establishing two almost equally powerful halves of antiquity’s greatest empire. Constantinople would continue to serve as the capital of the Byzantine Empire even after the Western half of the Roman Empire collapsed in the late 5th century. Naturally, the Ottoman Empire would also use Constantinople as the capital of its empire after their conquest effectively ended the Byzantine Empire, and thanks...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Nearly 50 years after Napoleon met his Waterloo, generals across the West continued to study his tactics and engage their armies the same way armies fought during the Napoleonic Era. Despite advances in military technology and the advent of railroads for transportation, all of which made defensive warfare more effective, acclaimed military geniuses like Robert E. Lee used flank attacks and infantry charges against superior numbers in an effort to win decisive victories, and it would not be until World War I that concepts of modern warfare made the Napoleonic Era of the early 19th century outdated. The French army which became known as the Grande Armée existed for just 10 years, from...read more

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    “Never pry into a person's personal circumstances (they'll tell you all eventually).” – “The Ten Commandments for Con Men,” attributed to Victor Lustig The art of the confidence trick is a controversial craft that is as old as time itself. In the early years of civilization, unscrupulous folks bottled and peddled assortments of fake cures and potions. Snake oil salesmen aside, charlatans posed as mystical beings with supernatural powers, promising to end droughts and other misfortunes of the gullible with what were in reality parlor tricks and illusions. Despite several famous con men, there is one con man in particular who, despite being frequently overshadowed by various...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The modern history of Africa was, until very recently, written on behalf of the indigenous races by the white man, who had forcefully entered the continent during a particularly hubristic and dynamic phase of European history. In 1884, Prince 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 fundamental rules for European seizure of Africa. The first of these was that no recognition of...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The Missouri Compromise of 1820 staved off the slavery crisis for the time being, but by setting a line that excluded slave states above the parallel, it would also become incredibly contentious. It was against that backdrop and the election of Andrew Jackson that the Whigs emerged as opponents to the Jacksonian Democrats during a period of American history known as the Second Party System (1828-1854). Initially, the conflict was rooted not only in different visions for the United States - the Whigs believed in a strong central bank and federally funded infrastructure projects (known as "internal improvements") - but also in opposition to one man: Andrew Jackson. When it first formed, the...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Mankind's obsession with felines is an enigma in and of itself. Unlike dogs, famously known as man's most excitable, trustworthy, and loyal friend, cats are oftentimes indifferent, guarded, and yet finicky little furry creatures who only yearn for attention and affection when one is neck-deep in work or otherwise preoccupied. And still, people adore them all the same. In a recent poll that surveyed 600 American college students, 60% of the participants identified themselves as “dog lovers,” whereas only 11% pledged their love for cats. The remaining 29% regarded themselves as fans of both critters or fans of neither. Be that as it may, there is said to be anywhere between a...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Modern day Lithuania is a small country bordering the Baltic Sea with a population of less than 3 million people, but despite its relative size, the nation has exerted an influential role on the history of the region. More recently, in the 20th century, Lithuania was caught between much larger powers in two world wars and then the Cold War. Along with neighbors Latvia and Estonia, Lithuania was one of the only states to truly break free of the Soviet Union when the latter dissolved in 1991. Now entrenched in the EU’s political and security bloc, Lithuania has seen unprecedented economic growth and prosperity, although Vilnius is still wary of the Russian giant on its doorstep.  Given...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The westward movement of Americans in the 19th century was one of the largest and most consequential migrations in history, and as it so happened, the paths were being formalized and coming into use right around the time gold was discovered in the lands that became California in January 1848. Located thousands of miles away from the country's power centers on the East Coast at the time, the announcement came a month before the Mexican-American War had ended, and among the very few Americans that were near the region at the time, many of them were Army soldiers who were participating in the war and garrisoned there. San Francisco was still best known for being a Spanish military and...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Along the sandy shores and ancient forests of crystal blue Lake Erie, a proud, brave, and confident people lived long ago, building homes, raising crops, hunting game, rearing children, and surviving through harsh winters and hot summers. None of their tribe remains today to tell their story, but their name lives on in the waters of a Great Lake. The Erie Tribe would have been completely lost to history if not for the archeological evidence and archival records that have been uncovered to prove that they existed. The Erie was a relatively small nation; at its height, their population numbered about ten thousand. Archeologist Frederick Houghton writes that archeological evidence proves that...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Africa may have given rise to the first humans, and Egypt probably gave rise to the first great civilizations, which continue to fascinate modern societies across the globe nearly 5,000 years later. From the Library and Lighthouse of Alexandria to the Great Pyramid at Giza, the Ancient Egyptians produced several wonders of the world, revolutionized architecture and construction, created some of the world's first systems of mathematics and medicine, and established language and art that spread across the known world. With world-famous leaders like King Tut and Cleopatra, it's no wonder that today's world has so many Egyptologists. The 5th century BCE Greek historian Herodotus wrote that...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Today, cases are often referred to as the trial of the century, but few could lay claim in the 19th century like Lizzie Borden's in the wake of her parents' murders. After all, the story included the grisly axe murders of wealthy socialites and a young daughter as the prime suspect. As Trey Wyatt, author of The Life, Legend, and Mystery of Lizzie Borden, put it, "Women were held to strict standards and genteel women were pampered, while at the same time they were expected to behave within a strict code of conduct. In 1892, Fall River, Massachusetts wealthy society ladies were not guilty of murder, and if they did kill someone, it would not be with an axe." When questioned, Lizzie gave...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The ancient world often evokes wonder, respect and even confusion, and few places accomplish any of that more than the incredible ruined stone temple of Puma Punku. Part of the larger ruined city of Tiwanaku in the altiplano plains of modern Bolivia, Puma Punku is a marvel of engineering, stonemasonry and design. These facts are obvious to even the lay observer, as Puma Punku's stonework is remarkable even for the Andes where visitors have long wondered at ancient stone joints where even a knife bade could not fit between the stones. This level of craftsmanship has caused some, mostly those who have never been to the Andes, to speculate of a fanciful origin for the site, maintaining that...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The vast expanses of southern Russia and the Ukraine provided the Eastern Front arena where the armies of Third Reich dictator Adolf Hitler and Soviet dictator Josef Stalin wrestled lethally for supremacy in 1943. Endless rolling plains - ideal "tank country" - vast forests, sprawling cities, and enormous tracts of agricultural land formed the environment over which millions of men and thousands of the era's most formidable military vehicles fought for their respective overlords and ideologies. The winner could expect to reap very high stakes indeed. If Hitler's Wehrmacht smashed the Red Army, he could no longer hope for a lightning conquest, but the Fuhrer could expect the Soviet...read more

  • 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 Mysterious...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 never...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 made...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The Parthian people created an empire that lasted almost 500 years, from the mid-3rd century BCE until 224 CE, and it stretched from the Euphrates River in the west to Central Asia and the borders of Bactria in the east (Brosius 2010, 83). In fact, the expansive empire challenged the Romans on numerous occasions for supremacy in the Near East, created the first sustainable link between the peoples of Europe and East Asia, and followed a religion that many consider to be the oldest form of monotheism in the world; but despite these accomplishments the Parthians are often overlooked in favor of the Achaemenid and Sassanid Persians who came before and after them respectively, not to mention...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Cloak and dagger espionage, assassination, dangerous adventure, and strange deceptions such as the Operation Mincemeat plan wherein the corpse of a Welsh pauper fitted with a uniform and false papers deceived the Nazi hierarchy about the location of the...read more