Entering the World of Franz Kafka. He May Predict Our Future By Describing the Czech Republic’s Authoritarian Past

(Photo by Eddie Boyd, from Flickr.com) I was disturbed and entranced while in Prague to visit a museum dedicated to the life and work of Czech writer Franz Kafka (1883-1924). In describing Central and Eastern Europe's past, I fear he may be describing the modern world's authoritarian future. His letters, diaries, and photographs are on... Continue Reading →

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Outline of European History, Over-Simplified

The traditional division is into eras: Ancient (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic eras; Bronze Age, Iron Age); Classical (Greece and Rome), Medieval (Post-Roman Antiquity; Carolingian Era [Charlemagne]; Post-Carolingian Era [Viking and other European invasions -- Anglo-Saxons; Normans; High Middle Ages; Late Middle Ages;  Modern Era (beginning with Renaissance; continuing with Reformation; Baroque Era; Age of Empires; Colonialism; Revolutions;... Continue Reading →

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American History from European Perspective Offers New Insights

Studying European history, an American can gather new insights into American history. A few insights I have gathered so far: Without the ability to deport or encourage hundreds of thousands of dissidents, malcontents, criminals, rugged individualists, and religious fanatics to leave their home countries for North America, Europe would have exploded into hopeless centuries of... Continue Reading →

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500 Years Later, Assessing the Impact of Martin Luther’s Famous Break With the Catholic Church

Five hundred years after Saxon priest Martin Luther declared 95 Theses or complaints against the Catholic Church, resulting in his excommunication, the media is full of assessments of what this means for us today. Professor Andrew Pettegree, an expert on the Reformation from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, told Time magazine;  "There’s been a fair... Continue Reading →

How Accurate Are Genealogical Records?

My DNA analysis suggests Swedes, Vikings, Northern and Southern European, including from the Iberian Peninsula in my ancient past. And about one percent of my DNA comes from sub-Saharan Africa. My oldest recorded Buie ancestor, Archibald Buie, was born on Jura in 1640. But according to Ancestry.com records, he died in Midlothia (Edinburgh, rather far... Continue Reading →

Delightful Night of Irish Storytelling

At the Brazen Head in Dublin, Ireland's "oldest pub," we spent a wonderful evening listening to music and Irish folk tales, eating good food and learning about the culture and history of the country. Highly recommended. I love Irish music and the exuberant spirit of the Irish.

Wealthy London Vs. The Rest of Britain

"While much of the UK still struggles after the financial crash, one city is thriving. Money, companies and people are pouring into London like never before. Why is the capital so dominant? Is its success good or bad for Britain? And what should the rest of the country do? Evan Davis explores the story of... Continue Reading →

Who’s Like the Scots?

"The average Englishman, in his home he calls his castle, puts on his national costume - A shabby Raincoat patented by Charles MacIntosh of Glasgow, Scotland. "He drives a car fitted with tires invented by John Boyd Dunlop of Dreghorn, Scotland. "At the office he receives his mail with adhesive stamps which, although they bear... Continue Reading →

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