“How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler” | History | Smithsonian

“Reports on the rise of fascism in Europe was not the American media’s finest hour.”

“Dorothy Thompson, who judged Hitler a man of ‘startling insignificance’ in 1928, realized her mistake by mid-decade when she, like Mowrer, began raising the alarm. ‘No people ever recognize their dictator in advance,’ she reflected in 1935. ‘He never stands for election on the platform of dictatorship. He always represents himself as the instrument [of] the Incorporated National Will.” Applying the lesson to the U.S., she wrote, ‘When our dictator turns up you can depend on it that he will be one of the boys, and he will stand for everything traditionally American.’”

Source: How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler | History | Smithsonian

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“‘We Couldn’t Believe Our Eyes’: A Lost World of Shipwrecks Is Found” – The New York Times

This is really exciting!

“Archaeologists have found more than 40 vessels in the Black Sea, some more than a millennium old, shedding light on early empires and trade routes.”

Source: ‘We Couldn’t Believe Our Eyes’: A Lost World of Shipwrecks Is Found – The New York Times

“England’s Forgotten Muslim History” – The New York Times

Isolated from Europe, Elizabeth I turned to the Islamic world.

This is only one story among many in the complex relationship between Europe and Islam. It is also a reminder of a time when it was the Islamic World was a beacon of toleration in contrast to intolerant Europe.

To read the full story go to: England’s Forgotten Muslim History – The New York Times

“Human Skeleton Found on Famed Antikythera Shipwreck” – Scientific American

“Two-thousand-year-old bones could yield first DNA from an ancient shipwreck victim.”

This is so exciting! It could tell us more about the shipwreck and potentially about the incredible Antikythera Mechanism.

Source: Human Skeleton Found on Famed Antikythera Shipwreck – Scientific American

“The Very Great Alexander von Humboldt” by Nathaniel Rich | The New York Review of Books

“The Prussian naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) is all around us. Yet he is invisible. “Alexander von Humboldt has been largely forgotten in the English-speaking world,” writes Andrea Wulf in her thrilling new biography. “It is almost as though his ideas have become so manifest that the man behind them has disappeared.” Wulf’s book is as much a history of those ideas as it is of the man. The man may be lost but his ideas have never been more alive.”

Nathaniel Rich reviews two books on nature. The first (The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf) reminds us of Humboldt’s profound influence in science, culture, politics, and literature. His energy and curiosity took him across the New World including Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Colombia, and Peru. He met dignitaries such Thomas Jefferson, and as pointed out by Rich “exerted a profound influence on Goethe (with whom he had a deep friendship), Charles Lyell, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Jules Verne, Carl Friedrich Gauss, Flaubert, Pushkin, Emerson, Poe, Whitman, Aldous Huxley, Ezra Pound, Erich Fried, Justus Liebig, James Lovelock, and Rachel Carson.” Even more significantly, Humboldt’s ideas had a significant impact on Charles Darwin, so much so that the “crowning paragraph of Origin of Species is a nearly verbatim plagiarism of a passage in Personal Narrative.”

Clearly impressed by the research and skill Wulf put into her new book, Rich conveys an enthusiasm in his review that disappears once he turns to Jedediah Purdy’s After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene.  For the full review go to The New York Review of Books.

“Dressing for the King by Madeleine Schwartz” | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books

“The Renaissance accountant Matthäus Schwarz often took note of the outfits in which he looked particularly fine. In 1520, at age twenty-three, he hired an artist to draw his most notable getups and collected these in a book that he continued to fill throughout the rest of his life.”

I would love to see men dress like this again!! So much fun!!

Source: Dressing for the King by Madeleine Schwartz | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books

“How the Vatican Can Shed Light on the Holocaust” – The New York Times

“The Vatican has refused to open all of its World War II archives. Pope Francis’ visit to Auschwitz on Friday is the perfect moment to change policy.”

The Vatican is most likely reluctant to open the archives out of a desire to protect the image of the Catholic Church, which is understandable but misguided. The appearance of secrecy does nothing to help their image. At least if they give historians access to the WWII documents we can learn the truth and potentially undermine some of the most outrageous conspiracy theories.

Source: How the Vatican Can Shed Light on the Holocaust – The New York Times