Book Review: The American Spirit

The American Spirit

David McCullough, The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For. (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2017).

Defining “The” American Spirit is a challenging proposition given America’s current division. History has been weaponized in support of political positions. Many in the academy have fostered social division to further a political philosophy. With little remnant of a common history remaining we stand at a critical juncture. Is there a common history in which we can rediscover “the” American spirit? If so, can that history heal our present fracture and nurture a promising future? A definition that brings us together, that drives us to our better nature. Few historians have the necessary cache to take on such a challenge. David McCullough is one of only a few historians with enough courage to take on that challenge. He is also one of a few with enough respect for his definition to garner serious consideration.

Dan Westcott by MB Henry

One of the greatest rewards of blogging is the people you meet and the stories they tell. Bringing exceptional people and their experiences to life. MB Henry is such a person, and Dan Wescott- On Another Battlefield is such a story. MB and her husband are special people. Please read this story. We must remember Dan Westcott and the other men of the 17th Airborne Division.

Trip To Austria: Belvedere Museum, Vienna

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Shortly after leading an Austrian Army to a remarkable victory over the Turks at Zenta in 1697, Prince Eugene of Savoy purchased a large plot of land outside Vienna. Eugene plan for the property included palaces and gardens. Johann Lukas Hildebrandt was selected as the project’s lead architect. Setting on a slope, the property rises gently from the front. Plans called for two palaces. The first, smaller palace, was built on the front (or lower part) of the property with a larger palace occupying the upper end. A large garden would stretch between the two palaces. Construction of the Lower Palace began sometime before 1712, and the Upper Palace was completed in 1723. Artists commissioned to work on the project include: painters Marcontonio Chiarini, Francesco Solimena, Carlo Carlone; and sculpture Giovanni Stanetti.

11th Airborne Paratrooper – Melvin Garten

GP Cox posted this story about a true hero, Melvin Garten. Another of the many important stories he posts.

Pacific Paratrooper

Col. Melvin Garten

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Media’s self-importance never dies

An Associated Press photographer died. He was the fellow who took the picture of a fully armed paramilitary immigration enforcement officer taking a screaming child of six by force who was hiding with an adult in a closet, as the Clinton administration had no compunction about separating a Legal Immigrant from his family on American soil.

The Associated Press ran a 749-word obituary on the photographer, Alan Diaz. It was an interesting story — AP hired him after he took the SWAT team-crying kid photo.

But the story was a bit much, and a reminder of the media’s overblown sense of importance. The word iconic appeared four times.

Which brings me to a story I read about Melvin Garten, a real hero. His death brought no AP obituary because he never got a byline:

Toby Harnden, the Times of London…

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Book Review: Iron Curtain

Iron Curtain

Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956. (New York, NY: Doubleday, 2012).

Better works of history are crafted. They begin with a question. They are created through exhaustive research, editing, and organization. A better work of history answers the original question, creates new questions considers alternative interpretations, and provides overwhelming evidence in support of their answers. Doing so by creating a readable narrative. Anne Applebaum’s Iron Curtain is a better work of history. Applebaum’s original question: How did the Soviets and their allies transform well-meaning Eastern European social/ aid organizations created, or reconstituted, in the immediate aftermath of World War II into tools of oppression?1 In a chilling but necessary read Iron Curtain provides an answer.

Trip To Hungary: Budapest Pictures

Kossuth Heros Square 3

Heroes’ Square: Statues and memorials tell the history of the Hungarian nation. At the base of the central column are the Seven Chieftains that lead the Magyar people to what is now Hungary. On top column the Archangel Gabriel holds the Hungarian Crown. In front of the central column is a monument to all heroes who fought for the Hungarian nation. Two colonnades form a semi-circle in the background. Statues depicting fourteen national heroes occupy the spaces between columns. Four statues above the colonnades represent (from left to right): Labor & Wealth, War, Peace, and Knowledge & Glory. For a list of the heroes depicted in the colonnades please click the link.

The Cold War’s forgotten Hungarian Revolution

Sixty-two years ago today the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 began.

PAUL ANDREWS

Revolution hongroise

On October 23rd 1956, thousands of Hungarian workers and students flooded the streets of Budapest. With fists raised in defiance, they shouted for Freedom from Soviet tyranny! The students issued a declaration in Parliament Square called the “Sixteen Points.” It included demands for personal freedom, economic reform, eliminating the hated secret police, withdrawing Soviet troops, and removing Communist leader Mátyás Rákosi.

Rákosi, appointed by Josef Stalin himself, had presided over a decade-long, oppressive regime that finally brought resentment to a boiling point. When crowds of unarmed civilians were gunned down by security forces 2 days later, the Rebellion became a Revolution between ragtag armed rebels and Soviet troops.

What began as peaceful demonstrations in Budapest quickly escalated into an armed resistance across all of Hungary.

Protestors tore down a statue of Stalin in Heroes’ Square, dragged its metal carcass through the city before decapitating it for all to…

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