Searching for: "Daniel Houle"

  • 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

    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

    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

    The ambitious and fearless emperors who built the legendary Roman Empire from scratch, the broad-shouldered and bronzed gladiators with their iconic plume helmets and glinting swords, and elaborate parties attended by toga-wearing Romans fueled by alcohol, violence, orgies, and other godless acts all paint a picture of Roman life. Indeed, many people are well-versed with these unique scenes of Roman history, but few are familiar with the equally riveting years preceding the dawn of the Roman Republic, and even less people are acquainted with the fabled Seven Hills sitting east of the Tiber River – the core geographical components of Rome, and the very foundations that the Eternal City was...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Over the last 2,000 years, ambitious men have dreamed of forging vast empires and attaining eternal glory in battle, but of all the conquerors who took steps toward such dreams, none were ever as successful as antiquity’s first great conqueror. Leaders of the 20th century hoped to rival Napoleon’s accomplishments, while Napoleon aimed to emulate the accomplishments of Julius Caesar. But Caesar himself found inspiration in Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE), the Macedonian king who managed to stretch an empire from Greece to the Himalayas in Asia by the age of 30. It took less than 15 years for Alexander to conquer much of the known world. At one point in antiquity, the Achaemenid...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    One September day, New York City suffered a devastating act of domestic terrorism, but that day was not the 11th, and the attack took place over 80 years before the most notorious terrorist attack on America. In 1920, an explosion in the Financial District of New York City killed 38 people, injured hundreds more, and caused damage that is still visible on some of Wall Street’s most famous buildings today. Although the attack has largely been forgotten, in terms of casualties, it was the worst act of terrorism in the United States until the bombing in Oklahoma City conducted by Timothy McVeigh in 1995. The investigation into the bombing involved 10 government agencies and extended...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The split between the two forms of Islam was already in the process of forming upon the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad had constructed around himself not only a potent new religious movement but also a powerful young state called the Ummah (the 'Community' for lack of a better translation). Belonging to the Islamic faith also meant belonging to the Ummah, which was governed by its own laws and had many of its own institutions. In his own lifetime, Muhammad had ruled the Ummah through what sociologists call 'charismatic authority,' a term coined by Max Weber that is defined as 'resting on devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual person,...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The fighting in North Africa during World War II is commonly overlooked, aside from the famous battle at El Alamein that pitted the British under General Bernard Montgomery against the legendary “Desert Fox,” Erwin Rommel. But while the Second Battle of El Alamein would be the pivotal action in North Africa, the conflict in North Africa began all the way back in the summer of 1940 when Italian dictator Benito Mussolini declared Italy’s entrance into the war.  Dealing with the Italians was one thing, but the British faced an entirely different monster in North Africa when Erwin Rommel, a German general who had gained much fame for his role in the invasions of Poland and France, was...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The island of Hispaniola is the second largest island in the Antilles chain behind Cuba, and host to the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti, however, covering the western third of the island, is a French-speaking territory while the Dominican Republic, which occupies the other two thirds, is a Spanish-speaking territory. The Dominican Republic, although classified as a developing nation, has never been struck to the same degree by the malaise of poverty, corruption of its neighbor, languishing in the lower ten percent of nations ahead only of some of the most conspicuous failed states in Africa. Many historians and analysts have posed the question of why, and the answer seems...read more

  • Phaistos Publishers

    “Shining shoes as a boy, shining on-screen as a star, shining even among the blinding bright lights of Las Vegas that became his adopted home, Tony Curtis was never less than a megawatt personality, one that always seemed lit by a childlike glow of wonderment.” Start naming superstars from the enchanted Golden Age of Hollywood, and chances are that Tony Curtis shared a marquee with them—and when it comes to many of the women, he also shared a bed. Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Burt Lancaster? Yup. Marilyn Monroe, Janet Leigh, Natalie Wood? Yup. Kirk Douglas, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin? Yup. Debbie Reynolds, Yvonne De Carlo…well, you get the idea. Curtis appeared in more than 100...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The Apollo space program is the most famous and celebrated in American history, but the first successful landing of men on the Moon during Apollo 11 had complicated roots dating back over a decade, and it also involved one of NASA’s most infamous tragedies. Landing on the Moon presented an ideal goal all on its own, but the government’s urgency in designing the Apollo program was actually brought about by the Soviet Union, which spent much of the 1950s leaving the United States in its dust (and rocket fuel). In 1957, at a time when people were concerned about communism and nuclear war, many Americans were dismayed by news that the Soviet Union was successfully launching satellites into...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    In 1831, a 26-year old French foreign service official by the name of Ferdinand de Lesseps was sent to Alexandria to serve as vice-consul. While undergoing an obligatory period of quarantine, the French Consul-General, Monsieur Mimaut, sent his new understudy a number of books to help pass the time, and one of these books proved to be a lengthy memorandum composed by French engineer Jacques-Marie le Père, writing on instructions from Napoleon Bonaparte. The subject was the linking of the Red Sea with the Mediterranean by the construction of a canal. This study made a deep impression on the mind of the young diplomat, and for the remainder of his term of service in Egypt, he applied himself...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The people that came to be known as Germans originally came from Scandinavia and were mainly shepherds and hunters, but they comprised a number of distinct groups. Within each group, there were separate tribes, and as their populations grew, the land they occupied in Scandinavia was unable to support them, so they began migrating south, settling outside the borders of the Roman Empire. The Germans were fierce warriors who employed rather crude but effective tactics in battle. Their main approach was one of charging directly at an enemy and fighting hand-to-hand using their long swords and shields. Body armor was unknown, and they wore only animal-skins. Most warriors wore their hair long,...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The people that came to be known as Germans originally came from Scandinavia and were mainly shepherds and hunters, but they comprised a number of distinct groups. Within each group, there were separate tribes, and as their populations grew, the land they occupied in Scandinavia was unable to support them, so they began migrating south, settling outside the borders of the Roman Empire. The Germans were fierce warriors who employed rather crude but effective tactics in battle. Their main approach was one of charging directly at an enemy and fighting hand-to-hand using their long swords and shields. Body armor was unknown, and they wore only animal-skins. Most warriors wore their hair long,...read more

  • Phaistos Publishers

    “The automobile has come to stay. But when a man has no business, it is a rather expensive luxury, and I would advise no man, be he farmer or merchant, to buy one until he has sufficient income to keep it up. A horse and buggy will afford a great deal of enjoyment…” – John M. Studebaker Every year, thousands of automobile enthusiasts from different states near and far – and at times, flying in from other countries – flock to their nearest Studebaker car show, hosted by a local chapter of the Studebaker Driver's Club, without fail. Car fanatics and avid collectors alike congregate at these wholesome, family-friendly events to admire and pay homage to the long-lived company's...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    A generally accepted figure for the larger Stone Age featuring the first use of stone tools begins at 3.4 million years in the early Paleolithic Age. In a brief interim period of two thousand years following the end of the most recent Ice Age, the Mesolithic period serves as a transition to the Neolithic running from 8700 to 2000 BCE. More conservative estimates place the span of the Stone Age at 2.5 million years, ending around 3000 BCE. Modern dating systems are intended to provide approximate conclusions within large epochs, not pinpoint calendar dates, and shifts of opinion are ongoing. Grouped together, the Stone Age phases for the tripartite Stone Age are drawn from the Greek words...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    In the wake of taking Constantinople, the Ottoman Empire would spend the next few centuries expanding its size, power, and influence, bumping up against Eastern Europe and becoming one of the world’s most important geopolitical players. It was a rise that would not truly start to wane until the 19th century, and in the centuries before the decline of the “sick man of Europe,” the Ottomans frequently tried to push further into Europe. Some of those forays were memorably countered by Western Europeans and the Holy League, but the Ottomans’ most frequent foe was the Russian Empire, which opposed them for both geopolitical and religious reasons. From negotiations to battles, the...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Most Americans know that slavery is a central part of the nation’s history, but the common perception of that history is selective because the general understanding is that slavery was characteristic of the states that seceded from the Union to form the Confederacy, and that slavery ended with the North’s victory in the Civil War. People with a more thorough knowledge of the history of slavery are aware of the Emancipation Proclamation, the amendments that made slaves citizens and gave them the right to vote, the complex history of Reconstruction and its ultimate failure, the long history of Jim Crow and white supremacy, and the Civil Rights Movement. However, slavery was not...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    In the wake of taking Constantinople, the Ottoman Empire would spend the next few centuries expanding its size, power, and influence, bumping up against Eastern Europe and becoming one of the world’s most important geopolitical players. It would take repeated efforts by various European coalitions to prevent a complete Ottoman takeover of the continent, and one of the most important battles among those efforts took place at Vienna in 1529. At the time, the Ottomans were led by one of their most famous sultans, Suleiman the Magnificent, and different chroniclers have analyzed Suleiman's behavior in different ways. There is a plethora of opinions as to his motives for attempting the...read more