The Risk Paid Off: Bringing War to Board Games


by Tristan Donovan

In the early 1950s Albert Lamorisse, who would later win an Academy Award for his 1956 film The Red Balloon, devised a war game called La Conquête du Monde, or the Conquest of the World, during a family vacation. As the name suggests, the goal was world domination, and it had players waging war with Napoleonic armies and navies across the globe until only one remained. Read more ›

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Posted in Contemporary History, Modern History

Robert Smalls Sails out of Slavery

Robert Smalls

by Cate Lineberry

As the waves rocked the Planter, Robert Smalls proudly presented the guns to the dashing young John Frederick Nickels, the captain of the Onward, who had come very close to destroying their ship a few minutes earlier. The moment was surreal.  After years of longing to find a way out of slavery for his family, Robert Smalls had finally done it. He and his family had escaped. He would no longer have to worry about his wife or his children being sold and separated from him. He would no longer have to worry that they would be sent to the Work House or that Hannah would be raped or beaten.
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Posted in Contemporary History, Military History

The Napoleonic Wars’ Impact on Jane Austen

Napoleonic Wars

by Lucy Worsley

‘What calm lives they had . . .

No worries about the French Revolution,

 or the crushing struggles of the Napoleonic wars.’

Winston Churchill on Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen never went to France. In her lifetime, the furthest north she traveled was Staffordshire; she possibly went as far west as Wales, and definitely to Ramsgate in easternmost Kent. Critics used to comment, often, that she couldn’t be a ‘serious’ novelist because she didn’t write about the French Revolution, Napoleon, or the great events of her lifetime. France itself is only mentioned three times in all her novels.
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Posted in Contemporary History, Military History

Edward VII’s Fight Against the Queen

edward vii

by Catharine Arnold

Many of Edward VII’s friendships much distressed the Queen, who was equally disturbed by the Prince’s intimacy with such fast women as Lady Filmer and the Duchess of Manchester, a witty, beautiful Germanborn woman who enjoyed the attention of numerous distinguished admirers while her husband was alive and, when he was dead, married the most ardent and constant of her lovers, the Duke of Devonshire. The Queen did all she could to prevent her son and daughter-in-law entertaining, or being entertained by, these people and others like them.
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Posted in Contemporary History

The NYPD’s Most Decorated Detective

by Ralph Friedman, with Patrick Picciarelli

I was constantly on the prowl to make quality arrests, the important word being quality. I doubt there’s a police officer in New York who couldn’t lock someone up thirty minutes into a shift. There’s always someone doing something wrong, but most infractions are trifling, and police officers are given discretion when deciding whether to make arrests for minor transgressions. These include simple assaults (particularly when the offender and complainant are friends), personal marijuana use, and misdemeanor criminal mischief when the offender is willing to make restitution. The NYPD allows discretion.

I was after felons. They don’t get the luxury of discretion, and, even if they did, they wouldn’t get it from me. This meant both on duty and off.
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Posted in Contemporary History

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