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Archive for February, 2011

18 February

Feb 18, 1885, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Published in United States


adventures of huckleberry finn

Sequels aren’t inherently bad-remember that Huckleberry Finn was a sequel to Tom Sawyer. But Twain understood what modern storytellers seem to have forgotten-a compelling sequel offers consumers a new perspective on the characters, rather than just more of the same. -Henry Jenkins

I like the quite above. I was reading Storytelling: Branding in Practice and saw this quote. It made me miss the book. I remember thinking that I did like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer better than Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but it was a very good book still.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written by Mark Twain or Samuel Clemens (thats a whole other post). It was first published in England in 1884, then published in the United States in 1885. It is, rightly, considered to be one of the great American novels. T.S. Elliot called it a “masterpiece.” Ernest Hemingway said, it was the source of “all modern american literature.” Even though, this work of Twain’s is considered to be an American classic it has had plenty of problems:

It was condemned by many reviewers in Mark Twain’s time as coarse and by many commentators in our time as racist. In 1885 it was banished from the shelves of the Concord Public Library, an act that attracted a lot of publicity and discussion in the press. It is still frequently in the news, as various schools and school systems across the country either ban it from or restore it to their classrooms. –

Just last month, the press was light on fire with the news of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn being re-published without the N word. I’m not going to state that word, here because I believe it to be offensive as well, but I do believe that we should not be altering this great american novel. That is the way the author intended his work and it should not be altered and re-published under the same title. The book is in the public domain, so I can’t argue that it should not be changed and republished under a different name. I believe in public domain, but I don’t believe we should change Twain’s work and republish it under the same title.

Alan Gribben and publisher NewSouth Books intend to republish the book without the N word or another derogatory slang term for American Indian. Sorry for leaving out all these “bad” words. You can read all about it in this article.

I encourage you to read more about Twain. He was a truley amazing person. One of those people in our history that really stands out, not just for his amazing literature, but also for being a fascinating person. I read this autobiography, The Autobiography of Mark Twain and can tell you that you will not be disappointed if you read it. In fact, maybe it is time to go back and read some of his classic works?

17 February

Podcast Review: History According to Bob


Bob gets right into it. No, “This is Bob and the show name”, nothing. The show I listened to was called, Atlanta Campaign Part 1 of 4. It was published 2/11/11. The episode was ten minutes and 32 seconds long. This is Bob’s description of the podcast episode:

This show is about the Atlanta campaign in May 1864 Part 1 of 4 this one deals with early movements and Rocky Face Ridge.

This particular episode could have used some visuals. It was hard to visualize the battle scene and who was where.

Bob is hard-core old school. He has a very distinctive almost nasally voice. His podcast has no music, no sponsors, no picture associated with the mp3. I’m some what surprised he had the show description in the lyrics field of the mp3.

I thought this particular episode was very well done. Its pretty quick so I won’t summarize it here, just go check it out for yourself. At the end of the show he does quickly cover the name of his website and sources he used to put together this episode

Even though, what I have written above criticizes Bob’s podcast, ignore all that. It has been said that content is king and if you agree with that, you will be very hard pressed to find a better history podcast than History According to Bob [iTunes Link]. Bob’s was the first history podcast available that I know of. I would say that it was one of the first 300 podcast available in the beginning. It came before History Podcast, my own creation. I still think History According to Bob is a stellar show! No one knows their stuff better than Bob. His is the podcast that inspired me to podcast. His show is simply awesome. If you only subscribe to one podcast this should be it.

History According to Bob is number 58 in the Top 100 history podcast on iTunes. His show has 114 ratings with an average rating of 5 stars.

After listening to this episode I decided to listen to the episode entitled Questions 86 as well. These are episodes that Bob creates specifically to cover what is happening with him personally and to go over the emails that he receives.

I was sorry to hear while listening to Questions 86 that Bob’s wife has cancer.  I hope she has a full recovery and is healthy soon!  I’ve missed out on a lot since not keeping up with his episodes. He does so many that I have a hard time keeping up. Strangely enough he talks about the show Who Do You Think You Are?, something that we talked about briefly in another podcast review posting, BBC History Magazine. Bob goes on to talk about request for episodes he has received and his addiction to the video game Mass Effect 3 (gotta love a guy who is a gamer). In addition to Who do You Think You Are, he also discusses the HBO program Rome.

Below is a YouTube video that Bob did on the cold war:

16 February

Listening to Podcast on an Android Phone


I am one of the few who does not have an iPhone.  I think everyone would know how to subscribe to a podcast using their iPhone.  But, what if, like me, you have an android phone?  Well, I wanted to investigate this since I have one and sometimes I want to discover new podcast or subscribe to one and I don’t have wifi for my iPod, but I do have my trusty Android phone.  I found Google Listen.  It is an app from Google Labs.  The app allows you to search for podcast to listen to.  Once you find one you can subscribe and instantly listen to a podcast.  The podcast subscription will appear in you Google Reader under a folder called “Listen Subscriptions”.

It was hard for me to find the podcast I was looking for using my phone to search.  It was much easier to find the rss feed of the podcast, and paste it into google reader, then I dragged it to the Listen Subscriptions folder and presto, it was in my phone instantly.  That was easy, but it doesn’t solve the problem of finding and subscribing with just the phone.  It’s too bad google doesn’t have an easier way to do this.

Check out this in-depth youtube review of Google Listen:

Do you use another app for Android that you like?  Please share in the comments.

15 February

Akhenaten – the Heretic Pharaoh


Below is a guest article written by Fiona Skepper.  I have added links and images where I thought appropriate.  Those are the only changes from the original, which Fiona emailed to me.  You will see the phonetic spelling of names in the article.  Fiona put those in there to help me if I podcast about this.  I left them in because I thought all the readers could also benefit from being able to pronounce these names.  If you would like to send in a guest article just email me.  Thank you very much for this great article Fiona.  I did not know anything about Akhenaten before reading this well written account.

(please note that different publications spell the names of Akhenaten, Aten, Tutankhamen and Amen differently, I have elected to use this spelling).


Labelled a heretic king, megalomaniac, and religious zealot, Akhenaten (ah-kuh-NAT-n) (the predecessor of Tutankhamen (too-tang-KAH-mun)) is one of the most unusual and interesting of Egypt’s many Pharaohs. He turned thousand year traditions and beliefs upside down, and if it had been up to the Ancient Egyptians he would have been lost to history forever.

Akhenaten began his reign during the New Kingdom period of Egypt, in the 18th dynasty, as Amenhotep IV (Ah-mun- ho-tep) (meaning Amen is Satisfied) after the death of his father Amenhotep III, a pharaoh who was famous for his diplomacy and helped to lead Egypt to the Zenith of it’s wealth and power. Egypt was going through a golden age. Suggested dates for Akhenaten’s reign are from around 1353 BC, 1351 BC to- around 1336, 1334 BC, a period of 17 years.

Nefertiti (Nofretete in Berlin)

The young Amenhotep IV’s Queen was Nefertiti, (whose name means “the beautiful one has come”,) her image is world famous after her blue crowned head bust was uncovered near Amarna, and is now on display in the Altes museum in Berlin.

Around the 3rd year of his reign Amenhotep IV went through a religious conversion, turning away from the traditional major gods and deciding to worship the Sun itself Aten (Ah-tun). Until Akhenaten’s time, Aten had been a minor deity, the main focus was on Amen (Ah-mun) or Amen-Ra, the sun god. At the temple complex of Karnak near Thebes (modern day Luxor), a powerful Amen priesthood had developed, which had already challenged the power of Akhenaten’s father.

In the fifth year of his reign Akhenaten realised that he needed to get away from the corrupting power of the priests of Amen, so he moved the entire nation’s capital miles away to an uninhabited valley on the east side of the Nile surrounded by high cliffs, creating the city of Akhetaten (‘Horizon of Aten’), an area known today as Amarna.  You can imagine the upheaval in the lives of the ancient Egyptians, moving the heart of the Empire from its centuries old home. At the same time he officially changed his name from Amenhotep to Akhenaten (‘Effective Spirit of Aten’).

Amarna was built remarkably quickly. Today, none of the city is left standing; however archaeologists have developed a picture of the brief Capital which included formal planned gardens, buildings decorated by scenes of nature, and most importantly temples dedicated to Aten which were built open to the sun so the blessing would descend.

Akhenaten even chose a new place for the future burials of Egyptian pharaohs, in the Royal Wadi in Amarna, although his tomb ended up being the only to be built there. Akhenaten’s mummy however has not officially been found (although different archaeologists have claimed different mummies as his), and it was probably moved to the Valley of the Kings.

Akhenaten also broke with tradition in his treatment of his Queen Nefertiti. In some decorations she displayed in Pharaonic heraldry, and as the same size as Akhenaten. Nefertiti has also been shown as a ‘warrior King’ smiting Egypt’s enemies with a scimitar. A Royal consort has never before been shown in such a way and these depictions support the theory that Nefertiti was treated as a co-ruler. Together Akhenaten and Nefertiti had six daughters, whose images are displayed in the reliefs. Egyptian Royal art differed in other ways as well during the Akhanaten period, Akhenaten is often depicted with his family in domestic situations displaying affection, and nature is glorified in his art with scenes depicting animals and vegetation.

It is believed Tutankhamen (or at the time Tutankaten) was Akhenaten’s son from another wife, although it is not certain.

At first Akhenaten had portrayed Aten as the Chief God and master of Amen, and ordered a magnificent Temple to be built at Karnak / Thebes, close to the old temple of Amen. However, by the ninth year of his reign Akhenaten attempted to introduce the radical (at the time) concept of monotheism, belief in only one god – Aten, and there were no intermediary between the God and the people by Akhenaten himself. In his final years, Nefertiti’s name disappears from all records (it is assumed she died) and it corresponds with Akehenaten’s behaviour turning darker. The Pharaoh closed temples to all the other gods, and ordered the defacing of Amen’s temples throughout Egypt. There were to be no idols except for the rayed solar disc representing Aten. Messages were sent from the corners of the Empire, begging for help warning that foreign invaders were attacking. A Century earlier the great pharaoh Tutmose III (Thut- MOE-se) had won great military victories and pushed Egypt’s borders almost to southern Turkey. Historians have argued Akhenaten became something of a religious fanatic, and appeared to shut himself up in Amarna, obsessed by his new religion and ignored matters of state, and Egypt’s boarders were slowly reduced. The Hittites and Nubians took over lands previously belonging to Egypt. The country ceased to prosper. However, some historians have pointed to a cache of diplomatic documents found at Amarna known at the Amarna Letters which show he was aware of the situation and acting accordingly, (if not that successfully).

Besides foreign enemies, Egypt suffered a serious outbreak of plague, which came through Egypt and spread throughout the Middle East during the Amarna period. To the people this plague could have been evidence that the gods had turned against Akhenaten and his new religion.

After his death Akhaneten may have been succeed briefly by a figure named Smenkhare, who may have also acted as co-ruler in the last few years of Akahanten’s rule, but the records are unclear. However, the young Tutankhaten (his name meaning the living image of Aten) soon took over, changed his name to Tutankhamen (the living image of Amen), and moved the capital back to Thebes and to the old worship of Amen, and the old ways of art, building, religion and politics. Tutankhamen’s successors destroyed Akenheton’s art and buildings, using the blocks for other projects.. Akhenaten’s name was removed for the official lists of Pharaohs as well as those of his immediate successors, in an attempt to wipe from history all traces of the worship of Aten and Pharaohs associated with it. It was not until the nineteenth century that Akhenaten’s identity was rediscovered.

There have been many theories about Akhenaten’s radical monotheism, including an attempt to find a connection between early Judaism.

Freud wrote a book named Moses and Monotheism arguing that Moses had been an Aten priest who was forced to leave Egypt after Akhenaten’s death.

Another theory is Akhenaten is the model for the Greek story of Oedipus.

Whatever the truth about Akhenaten’s beliefs, they were disturbing enough to the Egyptians that they attempted to obliterate them from history, and the concept of monotheism was to slowly spread and come to dominate the World’s great religions.


The Life & Times of Rameses the Great

Nefertiti and Cleopatra: Queen-Monarchs of Ancient Egypt

The Life and Times of Akhnaton: Pharaoh of Egypt (1922)

14 February

The Origins of Valentine’s Day


The origins of Valentine’s Day go back to a holy man, just which holy man is unknown though. There are a few different possibilities: He could be a priest from Rome, the bishop of Ineramna (now Terni, Italy) or a martyr in the Roman province of Africa. The feast of St. Valentine was established by Pope Gelasius in 496 he said Valentine was among those, “…whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.” As you can see, even then, they didn’t know much about Valentine.

The first written record of Valentine appears in 1493 in the Hartmann Schedel: Nuremberg Chronicle , which was an illustrated world history written in Latin by Hartmann Shaedel. This text says that Valentine was a Roman priest (maybe just in Rome at that time and could still have been the Valentine form Terni?) beheaded during the reign of Claudius II. Valentine was arrested and imprisoned for marrying couples and aiding Christians in other ways. The marriages at the time were illegal in Rome. Valentine suffered greatly for helping Christians, before his beheading he was beaten with clubs and stoned.

Some make the case that the celebrations of Valentine’s Day did not start until after Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Parlement of Foulys, generally thought to have been written in 1381 – 1382. Could it be the author Chaucer, best known for his work The Canterbury Tales is the originator of Valentine’s Day?

“For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.”
From Chaucer’s The Parlement of Foulys

Who do you think Valentine was?

  • The bishop from Terni (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Some Priest from Rome (0%, 0 Votes)
  • A Martyr from the Roman province of Africa (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Nobody Chaucer made him up (0%, 0 Votes)
  • I don’t care I just want a boy/girl friend on Feb 14! (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 0

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In the video below the creator interviews a priest from Terni.

Text sources:,,,,,

11 February

Podcast Review: Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History Show 37


I met Dan briefly at the Podcast Expo a few years ago. It was quick, but I’m glad I got to meet him. Dan is pretty famous. He has been a radio talk show host, a television news host, an author and a journalist. Dan is the son of Academy Award nominated actress Lynn Carlin and film producer Ed Carlin. He released his first episode, Alexander Versus Hitler on July 26, 2006.

Dan started after iTunes started carrying podcast (June 28, 2005). I would consider Dan an Indie podcast even though he has a lot of professional training, since he is not working for anyone else, only himself. Dan also has another podcast called Common Sense.

Enough of Dan though, let’s talk about his show. I listened to show number 37 of Hardcore History(iTunes link), which is the fourth part of a series Dan is doing on the fall of Rome. The show was about an hour and a half long. It was released on January 28, 2011. When the show started there was a very brief ad for Audible done by Dan himself. It was no longer than 10 seconds. There was a neat intro played and then Dan starts.

I had never listened to Dan’s podcast before and I have been missing out. He has a great voice for radio and therefore podcasting, which makes sense given that he was a talk radio host. Another key reason why Dan’s podcast is doing well is that he is a great storyteller. By creating a story out of historic events Dan weaves a story that is interesting. He is able to describe complicated historic events like the fall of Rome in common language, making it accessible for everyone.

Hardcore History has 2,564 ratings on iTunes, with an average rating of 5 out of 5 stars. Wow! As I write this, Hardcore History is the number 4 rated podcast in the history section of the podcast directory on iTunes.

Many podcasts like Dan’s are overlooked because they are not paid for by a huge company. They are Indie podcast. To me these are the best podcast out there. The only reason this person is doing the podcast is for themselves. It is too bad that most of the listeners on iTunes are looking first to the company owned podcast and not giving the Indie podcast the attention they deserve.

Dan’s fourth part of the fall of Rome is very well done. I won’t rehash it here, go listen to the podcast yourself, he does a better job covering it that I could here. At the end of the podcast there is a longer Audible ad, again done by Dan, where he talks about the service and then recommends a book to listen to on the service, How Wars End: Why We Always Fight the Last Battle. Dan then moves on to go over what he will cover in the next episode. The last thing, is a woman’s voice asking for donations to keep the podcast going. $1 per episode.

The below video looks like a fan of Dan’s show put it together.

09 February

Podcast Status Update


Soon you should see a new item for History Podcast in your iTunes list. Don’t get too excited its not a full History Podcast, but just a status update. Okay, you can get excited, I am! I want you to help me pick the next episode below.

Thats right, I want to start on the next episode of history podcast.  I’m going to put out a small status update podcast to let everyone know that I have not disappeared completely.  I do want to continue podcasting, but I need your help.  Can you help me go through all the request I have received?  I still have request that I got via email in 2005!  I want to get to them all, but I don’t know where to begin, so maybe you can help?  I’m putting a poll up on this post and it will remain up until sometime in March.  Hopefully by March I will have some time to begin podcasting again.  At least this one episode that you, the listeners and readers of this blog, will choose.  So without further delay, here is the poll:

Choose the next podcast episode

  • The 30 Years War (24%, 4 Votes)
  • Japanese aspirations to Empire, leading up to WWII (18%, 3 Votes)
  • Alexander the Great (12%, 2 Votes)
  • Spanish New World Empire (12%, 2 Votes)
  • Josephus and the Jewish War (12%, 2 Votes)
  • The Mongol Empire (12%, 2 Votes)
  • Rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire (6%, 1 Votes)
  • I don't like any of those do something else! (6%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 17

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All of these choices are from a single email of requests that I received from Eric K. Don’t forget to check out our new Facebook Fan page and our Twitter! Thank you for listening and reading!

09 February

The Congress of Vienna


This is a request from Colin F. way back in October 2005. Colin asked, “…I was wondering if you had done anything on the Vienna Conference of 1815…”. So here you go Colin. First, see the timeline below, which will hopefully help you align all the events.

The congress was held to agree on a plan for Europe politically and territorially. This was done to prevent any one group from obtaining too much power, or what you could today call a monopoly. This group of people had a very altruistic attitude. The leader of the talks was an Austrian named Metternich. Their goal was to create a balance of power in order to prevent widespread conflict in the future.

The conference worked, because even though they were all there for themselves and were greedy, they were forced to concede and come to a compromise by the other members of the congress, no one person willing to give up too much. For Example, Alexander I of Russia wanted all of Poland and Prussia wanted Saxony, but Russia had to share Poland with Austria and Prussia. Only half of Saxony went to Prussia and some smaller parts of the Rhineland.

After much deliberation they came to a final settlement. In the end, the conference helped Europe has a whole, while creating a balance of power. It was the first group of international members gathered to discuss and handle European affairs. In doing so, they protected themselves from being overthrown when one member became too powerful.

Text source:

The below is the best video I could find on the Internet.  The speaker goes over everything really well.  Some of the commenters were kind of mean so if you have time give her some props she deserves it!

Learn more with these books:

The Congress of Vienna: A Study in Allied Unity: 1812-1822 Vienna, 1814: How the Conquerors of Napoleon Made Love, War, and Peace at the Congress of Vienna Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna: A Study in Allied Unity: 1812-1822 Vienna, 1814: How the Conquerors of Napoleon Made Love, War, and Peace at the Congress of Vienna Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna
08 February

Podcast Review: BBC History Magazine – February 2011


Do you know the saying, “Those who can’t, teach.” Well, this is a little like that. Since I can’t find the time to do a podcast of my own, I thought I could bring a few cool podcast to your attention. While doing so I want to also learn what other podcast are doing in my genre so that I can improve History Podcast. To find some good history podcasts, I did what anyone would do. I went to iTunes and look at the top 10 podcast. BBC History Magazine is number 9. Their most recent podcast goes over the some of the articles from their February magazine. This episode of their podcast runs 41 and a half minutes. It was released on January 1, 2011. The show begins with some light classical music. While the music plays the 3 hosts do a summary of what they will be covering in this episode.

They used the description field in the mp3 tags to show the following description if you are listening on a iPod:

Mark Ormand discusses the black death, Mark Nicholls explores the life of Sir Walter Raleigh, Simon Sebag Montefiore explains the challenges involved in writing a history of Jerusalem.

The show begins with a plug for one of BBC’s programs, Who Do You Think You Are? The show is on in the US too on NBC. It is available on Hulu as well. On the show celebrites find out about their ancestory and viewers follow them on their journey. There is also a magazine, Who Do You Think You Are.

Next the podcast moved on to interview Mark Nicholls the co-author of the book Sir Walter Raleigh: In Life and Legend. The book will be published on April 7, 2011.  Sir Walter Raleigh was a aristocrat, writier, poet, soldier, coutier, spy and explorer.

After this interview they took a quick break to plug the magazine BBC History Magazine, website, twitter and facebook page.

Next, the interviewed Mark Ormrod about his new book  The Black Death in England, 1348-1500. The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Ormrod gave a some what vivid description of the sysmptoms of Black Death, so be prepared for that. This, I thought, was the best interview of the three.

Lastly, they interviewed Simon Sebag Montefiore about his book Jerusalem: The Biography which releases on October 25, 2011. This interview takes place in a very noisy cafe and is hard to listen to, but the host does warn you of that before it starts.

The podcast ends with more about the magazine and what is coming up next episode while the same classical music we heard in the beginning plays.  I would recommend this podcast and intend to stay subscribed myself.

07 February

Feb 7, 1964 – Beatles Arrive in New York


The four young men landed in New York on Pan Am Flight 101. Brian Esptien, their manager, friends Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall, Phil Spector, their producer and the group the Ronettes accompanied them. The reason for their visit was their upcoming appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show and a few concert dates.

They were already doing really well. They had the number 1 US single “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” They also knew that Beatlemania was starting in the US. But Lennon was still pensive saying, “The thing is, in America, it just seemed ridiculous – I mean, the idea of having a hit record over there. It was just something you could never do.”

Some might say that the Beatles were so successful because the US just really needed to be happy about something, just 77 days earlier their President, John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. Martin Goldsmith, author of The Beatles Come to America (Turning Points in History) disagrees. “Lennon and McCartney were superb composers – their songs were brilliant and remain brilliant.” He didn’t think it had anything to do with the timing, the Beatles were just good!

But maybe it was the $50,000 that Capitol Records spent on the campaign or the celebrities that wore Beatles wigs. Regardless, they were huge.

Ed Sullivan realized this a few months ago when he and his wife were stuck at London’s Heathrow Airport because of the masses of fans who had come to see the Beatles arrive from Sweden.

The Ed Sullivan Show” received more than 50,000 requests for its 728 seats — more than it had gotten for Elvis Presley‘s 1956 appearance.

I for one am glad they came. And I think the 14+ million fans (thats just Facebook) are glad too.

Text source: CNN