Women Writers as Scolds, Again

by Jeff Biggers

Brand her a “common scold.”

That, in a nutshell, has been the “enough already” sentiment cast at Hillary Clinton’s new memoir, What Happened, by everyone from late night TV hosts to newspaper columnists. An ancient common-law crime applicable only to women, “common scold” once referred to “angry” and “troublesome” females who supposedly sought to “break the public peace, increase discord, and become a public nuisance.” Communis rixatrix, as a federal judge explained in 1829, “for our law-latin confines it to the feminine gender.” Two centuries ago, the court was bound to “inflict the punishment of ducking” in a river on a common scold.

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Posted in Contemporary History, Modern History

The Story of the Real Ichabod Crane

by Philip Jett

“It was the very witching time of night that Ichabod, heavy-hearted and crestfallen, pursued his travel homeward. . . ” In Washington Irving’s 1820 classic short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the principal character (with a head still on his shoulders) was Ichabod Crane, an itinerant schoolmaster, whose physical description has been seared into our memories since childhood:

He was tall and exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, and feet that might have served for shovels. His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose . . . To see him striding along on a windy day, with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him, one might have mistaken him for some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield.

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Posted in Contemporary History, Military History

The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Angleton

by Jefferson Morley

CIA spymaster James Angleton was one of the most powerful unelected officials in the United States government in the mid-20th century, a ghost of American power. From World War II to the Cold War, Angleton operated beyond the view of the public, Congress, and even the president. He unwittingly shared intelligence secrets with Soviet spy Kim Philby, a member of the notorious Cambridge spy ring. He launched mass surveillance by opening the mail of hundreds of thousands of Americans. He abetted a scheme to aid Israel’s own nuclear efforts, disregarding U.S. security. He committed perjury and obstructed the JFK assassination investigation. He oversaw a massive spying operation on the antiwar and black nationalist movements and he initiated an obsessive search for communist moles that nearly destroyed the Agency.

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Posted in Contemporary History

Eisenhower and the Road to D-Day

by Michael E. Haskew

The marshaling and training of the Allied forces that were to strike Hitler’s Fortress Europe on D-Day were collectively a massive undertaking. Airborne exercises took place throughout the winter and spring of 1943–44, including night jumps, since the operation was to take place in darkness roughly five hours ahead of the scheduled amphibious landings in Normandy.
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Posted in Military History

Israel Bissell: The Bearer of Revolution

Jonathan Trumbull

by Willard Sterne Randall

On April 19, 1775, a decade of ideological ferment and partisan protests over Britain’s fumbling attempts to formulate imperial trade policies finally turned into open rebellion in a deadly clash of arms between Massachusetts militiamen and British regulars on the outskirts of Boston. Read more ›

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Posted in Military History

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