June 14, 2018

RAF Pilots with Scramble Bell

Perhaps the most iconic item associated with the RAF involvement in the 1940 Battle of Britain are the large bronze Station (or “Scramble”) bells that once adorned British airfields.  These impressive bells were used to signal incoming enemy raids to waiting RAF pilots.  From the Imperial War Museum to the museums at the old Tangmere and Duxford airfields, the display of th...

May 15, 2018

Fascism: A Warning by Madeleine Albright (with Bob Woodward) New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2018.  $27.99 288pp.

Fascism: A Warning is the latest book by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.  Albright writes that while she never thought she would author another book after the publication of her memoirs in 2003, she had been pondering writing a book on fascism prior to the 2016 preside...

April 7, 2018

There were many different types of bullets used by the opposing armies during the battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. Cavalry troopers used brass, rubber, or paper cased bullets for their carbines, while infantry used a wide variety of types and calibers of lead bullets. The “bullets,” more accurately called minie balls in honor of their French inventor, Claude-Etienne Mine (1804-1879), could once be fo...

April 1, 2018

While it is the brave Fighter Command pilots who flew during the Battle of Britain that stir the imagination and conjure up Churchill’s proud remembrance of “The Few,” there were many RAF pilots who were lost in action during the Battle of France or who died unceremoniously during training missions whose memory has faded into history.  During the Battle of France more than 1,000 British aircraft were d...

March 3, 2018

Senator Robert F. Kennedy in Albany, New York on September 19, 1964 (Credit: Albany Times-Union)

Living in the long public shadow of John F. Kennedy, his younger brother Robert, had a difficult time.  Robert was the thoughtful, less “spur of the moment type”, than his elder brother, and at the start of his public career, was not known for memorable public speaking.  Words did not come easy for one who p...

March 3, 2018

Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit by Chris Matthews.  Simon & Schuster, 416 pages, $28.99

Robert F. Kennedy was born a son of privilege. For much of his short, but vibrant life, he struggled to find his own identity.  Kennedy was compelled by family and political consequences to live in the shadow of his older brothers; first the sacrificial war hero Joe Kennedy Jr., and then President John F. Kennedy.  Hi...

February 25, 2018

The American Civil War is often described as a young person’s fight.  While many of the soldiers who fought in the war were less than 18 years of age, there were also thousands of older soldiers who filled the ranks.

The average Civil War soldier was about 25 years of age.  Although one-quarter of the 2.1 million men who served in the Union military forces were foreign-born, the majority of the soldiers...

February 18, 2018

Over the course of the long history of the American presidency, few of those whom have led our nation have been viewed as true visionaries. Of all of the Presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower, celebrated as a great military leader in World War II, is rarely perceived as a creative or innovative thinker off the battlefield.

February 11, 2018

Killing England: The Brutal Struggle for American Independence by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.  (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2017). 340 pages. $30.00

While historians might abruptly dismiss the historical volumes produced by the partnership of former Fox television commentator Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard as “History-lite,” the books do serve to fill a certain void in historical scholarship...

February 4, 2018

Although the two World Wars of the Twentieth Century are viewed as modern wars, it is stunning to consider that many of the soldiers who fought in these conflicts went into battle wearing armor plating that resembled the chest plates that had been worn centuries earlier by medieval knights.

During World War 1, elite German, Russian and British combatants, such as sappers or “trench-raiders,” were provid...

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A Stirring Relic of War: RAF “Scramble” Bells

June 14, 2018

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