Searching for: "Charles River Editors"

  • Charles River Editors

    The word “mafia,” Sicilian in origin,[1] is synonymous with Italy, but Italy is home to several different mafias, with three being particularly notorious. While the Cosa Nostra of western Sicily is the most infamous, other powerful groups include the ferocious ‘Ndrangheta of Calabria and the Camorra, the third-largest mafia, which is active in Naples and the Campania region.[2] A “mafia” is loosely defined as a criminal organization that is interested in social, economic and political power, combining elements of a traditional secret society with those of a business, but further levels of nuance are necessary in order to understand these groups.[3] In a general sense, this is...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 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 Bismark, 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

    While airplanes had never before appeared above the field of war, other aerial vehicles had already been in use for decades, and balloons had carried soldiers above the landscape for centuries to provide a high observation point superior to most geological features. The French used a balloon for this purpose at the Battle of Fleurus in 1794, and by the American Civil War, military hydrogen balloons saw frequent use, filled from wagons generating hydrogen from iron filings and sulfuric acid. In fact, with advances in dirigible technology, many military thinkers and even aeronautical enthusiasts believed that blimps would remain the chief military aerial asset for the foreseeable future....read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The KGB is one of the most famous abbreviations of the 20th century, and it has become synonymous with the shadowy and often violent actions of the Soviet Union’s secret police and internal security agencies. In fact, it is often used to refer to the Soviet state security agencies throughout its history, from the inception of the inception of the Cheka (Extraordinary Commission) in 1917 to the official elimination of the KGB in 1992. Whether it’s associated with the Russian Civil War’s excesses, Stalin’s purges, and even Vladimir Putin, the KGB has long been viewed as the West’s biggest bogeyman during the second half of the 20th century.  Yuri Bezmenov was among the first...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    In August 2017, Turkey's President Recip Tayyip Erdogan gave a directive to the Foreign Ministry to go into ravaged Syria and rescue an 87-year-old Turkish man stranded in Damascus by the civil war. The elderly gentleman lived his life simply and quietly. He disliked drawing attention to himself, and he was grieving for his wife who had just died. The man called himself Dundar Abdulkerim Osmanoglu, but many affixed the title Sehzade ("Prince") to his name, for he was Head of the imperial House of Osman and heir to the defunct throne of the Ottoman Empire. His ancestors had created an Empire that had lasted for over 600 years and caused the greatest rulers of both the Muslim East and the...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The 12 months known in history as the Year of the Four Emperors was a pivotal chapter in the long epoch of the Roman Empire. It marked the tumultuous end of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and the advent of a year of civil war, renewal and realignment, the result of which was the establishment of a new era and the founding of a new (and arguably more rational and responsible) imperial dynasty. The controversial year began with the decline of the Julio-Claudian dynasty under the rule of Emperor Nero. Nero was the last ruler of a dynasty founded by Julius Caesar, who was perhaps the most famous Roman emperor that never was. The Julio-Claudian succession included such names as Augustus,...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    A pack of men in sharp, tailored suits and dark sunglasses strut down the street. Their eyes are shielded, but the icy scowl on their faces is a clear sign to stay out of their paths. A few of their collars hang open, showing off a glimpse of the vibrant and intricate ink work on their chests, and presumably, their entire bodies. Tattoos are the norm these days, but then one suddenly spots a man with a peculiarly pint-sized pinkie. Perhaps it is only a deformity, but upon a closer look, it appears that the entire upper half has been sliced cleanly off, almost as if it were done intentionally. Since the beginning of civilization, crime and injustice has existed. At the same time, gangs in...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    April 7 is World Health Organization Day, in honor of the day that the World Health Organization held the first World Health Assembly in 1948. International health conferences had been held nearly a century before this date, and international health organizations had been established in the half-century prior to the creation of the World Health Organization, but 1948 marked the year that a formal institution was created to direct and implement a concerted and truly global effort to investigate, prevent, control, and cure disease. As the world recovered from the Second World War, which included the reconstruction of Europe, the emergence of the United States as a world superpower, the spread...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    It was a frosty, wintry September morning in 2012 when 11-year-old Yevgeny “Zhenya” Salinder donned his warmest quilted jacket, a knitted woolen cap, and matching mittens and headed out the door with his faithful, tail-wagging dogs in tow. Like most mornings, the kid ambled about near the Sopkarga polar weather station, an isolated region in the northern Russian Taymyr Peninsula where he resided, but this particular morning, his pace was slowed by a foul, almost eye-watering stench. Intrigued, Salinder and the dogs sniffed out the source of the strange miasma, and in the process they stumbled upon a defrosted pair of heels from an unknown creature protruding from the cold earth. By...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    After finishing with 3% of the presidential vote in 1904, Eugene V. Debs helped organize one of the world’s most notorious unions over the coming year. Debts and a number of other prominent labor activists and socialists in Chicago decided to hold a national conference in June 1905, and they extended invitations to socialists and many of the more radical unions. About 200 activists assembled for the 1905 meeting. Many of the attendees were from the Western Federation of Miners, which had been extremely active in organizing unions and strikes throughout the West, including Big Bill Haywood. A number of notable activists attended, including the famous Mother Jones, as well as Lucy Parsons,...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    "Since man cannot live without miracles, he will provide himself with miracles of his own making. He will believe in witchcraft and sorcery, even though he may otherwise be a heretic, an atheist, and a rebel." - - Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov When people hear the word "witchcraft," certain images come to mind. American history buffs will immediately think of Salem, where hysteria in the 17th century led to notorious trials that continue to be the source of several historical studies, with scholars analyzing things from every direction. Was it a religious fervor? Was it a land grab? Was there fungus in the grain? Over 400 years later, there are still fundamental questions...read more

  • Charles River Editors

     On the morning of June 22, 1948, the HMT Empire Windrush, a repurposed German troopship, drew up alongside the Tilbury docks, lowering its gangplanks onto the wide, cobbled quays. To the casual interest of the dockworkers, a small army of well-dressed, luggage laden blacks stepped onto the shores of England, looking around for the first time at their new home. Most originated from Kingston, the capital of the British island colony of Jamaica, with a few others from Trinidad and a handful of other British Caribbean dependencies. These were the men and women who led the vanguard of what would come to be known as the Windrush Generation, the first substantial wave of non-white immigration to...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Movie stars are revered for their ability to captivate audiences, and Hollywood began to flourish before the onset of television, allowing movies to enjoy relatively uncontested supremacy over American entertainment. The popularity of various actors would thus extend well beyond the success of any of their individual films, reflecting their much broader cultural significance as monuments of Hollywood during its Golden Age.  In the 1920s, the burgeoning movie industry was starting to come into its own, and while older silent film stars like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton reached the peak of Hollywood, some actors born near the beginning of the 20th century were ready to capitalize....read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Although he is often overlooked in American history today, few presidents marked a turning point for the country quite like William McKinley. As the last president to have served in the Civil War, he represented the end of an era, while at the same time his pro-business policies set in motion the Progressive Era, a period almost universally associated with Theodore Roosevelt. Of course, the reason that period is aligned with Roosevelt is because McKinley had the unfortunate distinction of being one of only four presidents to be assassinated. In September 1901, the city of Buffalo was full of celebration. The Pan-American Exposition was ongoing, and it brought notable figures to northern...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    At the start of the 1840s, the Oregon Country had no political boundaries or effective government. The only administrative organization in the territory was the Hudson's Bay Company, which applied only to British subjects, and aside from natives, the region was populated by a handful of independent traders, hunters, and prospectors, as well as those employed in the various company depots. The first to begin showing up in large numbers were missionaries. The native populations were by then diminished by disease and dispirited, which meant they were more receptive to missionary aid and the Christian message. Christianity, of course, was not entirely unknown among the indigenous populations,...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

    The Punic Wars spanned more than a century, brought the loss of approximately 400,000 lives, and eventually led to the utter defeat and destruction of Carthage, but it was no easy victory for Rome, and on several occasions the young Roman Republic was close to annihilation. Given what happened in the wake of the Punic Wars, historians have long been left to ponder what might have happened had the Carthaginians won, especially given how close Hannibal came to accomplishing such a victory against Rome during the Second Punic War. What if Carthage Won the Punic Wars? An Alternative History of the Conflict Between Rome and Carthage profiles the conflict and examines how events may have gone...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    In 323 BCE, Alexander the Great was on top of the world. Never a man to sit on his hands or rest upon his laurels, Alexander began planning his future campaigns, which may have included attempts to subdue the Arabian Peninsula or make another incursion into India. But fate had other plans for the young Macedonian king. Alexander died of still unknown causes at the height of his conquests, when he was still in his early 30s. Although his empire was quickly divided, his legacy only grew, and Alexander became the stuff of legends even in his own time. Alexander was responsible for establishing 20 cities in his name across the world, most notably Alexandria in Egypt, and he was directly...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    In today’s modern world every political regime, even the most authoritarian or repressive, describes itself as democracy or a Democratic People’s Republic. The concept of rule by the people, on behalf of the people, has come to be accepted as the norm, and very few would overtly espouse the cause of dictatorship, absolute monarchy or oligarchy as the most desirable political system upon which to base the government of any country. It is also generally accepted that democracy, as a political ideology, began in Greece, specifically in Athens, in the 7th century BCE and reached its zenith in the 5th century under the leadership of Pericles. Dating an exact starting point is impossible,...read more