Kim Dae-jung & the Dawn of Korean Democracy

by Michael Breen

That day the dictator conceded, June 29, 1987, is celebrated as the starting point of democracy. It was a conception, and as is the way with power relations, more forced than gentle. People power, you might say, had shafted dictatorship and impregnated the state. The delivery was eight months later, on February  25, 1988.
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Posted in Modern History

Marilyn & Truman: Beautiful Children of NYC

by Elizabeth Winder

1955. It’s springtime in New York and unseasonably balmy. Cherry blossoms dot Central Park with pale pink, and “Melody of Love” drifts from the radio. The Pajama Game is on Broadway, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis are on Fridays at the Copa, and Truman Capote is dancing with Marilyn Monroe. Twirling to the El Morocco’s in house Cuban band, they samba and smile and swill strong martinis.  Truman sweating in his pinstriped suit and glasses, Marilyn barefoot in her simple black slip, they are two cherubic little towheads, glittering with unfettered joy.
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Posted in Contemporary History

Inside the Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa


by Dan Pearson and Larry McShane

When the call came, Ralph Natale reflected on exactly how long it had been since he’d laid eyes on Jimmy Hoffa. Their final meeting was tinged with melancholy rather than the bravura of their initial get-together—a sad coda to a close friendship. Hoffa was reaching out after a run of hard luck and hard times.
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Posted in Modern History

A Judenrat’s Financial Triumph Over the Gestapo

by Michael Bornstein and Debbie Bornstein Holinstat

It was March 1941. Nearly a year had passed since I had been born, and despite my parents’ continued optimism, conditions were getting worse, not better.

Still, Żarki remained an open ghetto and, for that, families were thankful.  Everyone returned to  his  own  home each night. And now Papa had an important role inside our community. Right after I was born, the Nazi government declared that every ghetto and town in Poland must have a Judenrat—a formal council of Jewish leaders. The Nazi regime declared that these leaders would help the German army enforce rules and maintain order among Jews. Membership on the Judenrat was not necessarily a coveted role. Jews quickly came to view Judenrat leaders as traitors, assisting the enemy. Papa wasn’t given a choice, though. The elders in his own Jewish community selected him to be president of Żarki’s Judenrat.

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Posted in Military History

Inside Egypt’s Rock-Cut Tomb Chapels

rock-cut tomb

by John Romer

For the majority of Westerners, the grand tour of Egypt had started in the 1870s when Thomas Cook & Sons obtained a concession from the Khedive Ismail to run Nile steamboats and dahabiyyas – luxurious sailing boats – from Cairo up to Aswan and into northern Nubia. Isolated on the quiet wide river, Cook’s tourists were afforded intimate views into the very heart of rural Upper Egypt. And as the boats moved gently on the stream, these privileged travelers could also spot the doors of ancient rock-cut tomb chapels, lines of shadowed rectangles standing over screes of bright white limestone chip set high up in the gilded cliffs that framed the riverside’s fields.
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Posted in Ancient History

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