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  • The 5 Greatest Historical Graphic Novels March 26, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval
    The 5 Greatest Historical Graphic Novels

    Graphic novels must be, surely, the most underestimated genre in the modern arts: perhaps about 40% of the adult population have such strong feelings that, with the exception of Charlie Brown, they could not bring themselves to pick up a comic. This is a tragedy. There are great works out there that have been largely ignored and […]

    Dreadful Homecoming, Italy 1944 March 23, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Dreadful Homecoming, Italy 1944

    Sometimes when you read descriptions from history, something snags on your imagination and you can’t get loose: in fact the wool on your mental pullover starts to unravel… Sometimes it is hard to explain why. But for what it is worth here is a scene from history that could have featured as a vignette in […]

    Smelling Germans March 20, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Smelling Germans

    This is a weird little story that has proved frustratingly difficult to pin down: not even the original reference. 12 June 1944 Churchill, Brook, and Smuts (far right) visited Montgomery’s forward position at Creully to see how the Normandy campaign was unwinding. This much can be attained from several sources not least the photograph above: […]

    The Lie of the Lie of Christian’s Yellow Star March 19, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Lie of the Lie of Christian's Yellow Star

    One of the most attractive stories to come out of the Second World is that of Christian X of Denmark and the yellow star. When told that Jewish Danes would have to wear said star the elderly king threatened to wear one himself. The King, adored by his people and a symbol of Danish nationhood, […]

    Preserving Foolish Enemies March 15, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Preserving Foolish Enemies

    A very speculative post. In war there may be something to be said, in strategic terms, let’s forget the tiresome debates around international law, for killing enemy leaders. Sometimes this is a simple decapitation strategy (American attempts to annihilate Sadam Hussein at the beginning of the Second Gulf War or earlier US targeted bombing on […]

    He Was My Emperor! March 12, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    He Was My Emperor!

    Field Marshal Gustav Mannerheim was the man who created (once) and then saved Finland (twice). First, he commanded the White insurrection against the Reds in Helsinki in 1918 leading the country to independence from Russia (which was becoming the USSR). Second, he commanded the Finnish army in the Winter War, and third, he commanded the same army in […]

    Churchill’s Daemon March 5, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Churchill’s Daemon

    Strange History has noted before the belief in daemons, individual spirit guides, a Mediterranean tradition that matures into the guardian angel with the assistance of Christianity. The most striking example is certainly that of Socrates who had regular conversations with his daemon. Then there is Joan of Arc and St Michael (or whoever)… Beach today […]

    Tears and Bows: WW1 Ambassadors and Declarations of War March 4, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Tears and Bows: WW1 Ambassadors and Declarations of War

    A recent post looked at the tensions created by ambassadors declaring war in WW2. Today, instead, some descriptions of declarations of war from World War 1. The initial impression is that there was more formality and more old world charm. Some of the ambassadors may have believed they would be back in their host capitals by […]

    The Index Biography #16: Prize = A Good Book February 28, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Index Biography #16: Prize = A Good Book

    The Index Biography is a new form of biography pioneered by this blog and introduced in a previous post. The creator must find a biography of a famous individual from history, they must turn to the index and write down eight peripheral facts about the individual’s life. We offered up previously here Sheridan le Fanu and Joseph […]

    Good Swastikas? The Hakaristi February 24, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Good Swastikas? The Hakaristi

    When is a swastika a good sign? The answer is, crudely, when it predates the Nazi party’s adoption of the crooked cross in 1920, for the swastika is one of the most ancient and one of the most widespread of human symbols. In many countries it remained an essentially religious symbol, locked into a pre-modern memory […]

    Historical Ménage a Trois February 23, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Historical Ménage a Trois

    Beach has recently become fascinated by those who live a ménage a trois, leaving behind the conventional marriage of two and creating something like a marriage of three: a man lives with his wife and lover; a man lives with a gay policeman and his wife… etc etc Such a coupling (tripling) is difficult to pull off today, […]

    Murder and Poetic Inspiration: Killing Fanny Kaplan, 1918 February 20, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Murder and Poetic Inspiration: Killing Fanny Kaplan, 1918

    The Soviet Union is infinitely ghastly and fascinating. Sometime it is the sheer scale of horror, sometimes, as today, it is the surreally Marxist details that astonish in this case the collusion of murder and poetry. 30 August 1918 an attempt was made on Lenin’s life in Moscow. The probable assassin was a half blind, […]

    Count Teleki: The Politics of Suicide February 18, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Count Teleki: The Politics of Suicide

    The Hungarian Count Pál Teleki is a tragic Second World War figure, obit 1941 (that says it all). In the last year of his life tensions between Hungary and her neighbours were growing. Teleki was emotionally an Ally, an old fashioned conservative democrat, who would have been far more at home in Britain or France’s […]

    Scoundrels and Pisspants: WW2 Ambassadors and Declarations of War February 16, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Scoundrels and Pisspants: WW2 Ambassadors and Declarations of War

    Diplomats and ambassadors find themselves in a rather unusual situation. They are to represent their country, first and foremost, of course, but they are also to fraternize with their adopted country. This strange and strained sets of loyalties makes declarations of war particularly painful. The ambassador meets the foreign secretary with whom he has often […]

    You Can’t Go Home Again: Aunt Janey and Other Stories February 14, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    You Can’t Go Home Again: Aunt Janey and Other Stories

    Qua campis cervos agitabat sacra juventus/ Incumbit fessus nunc baculo senior./ Nos miseri, cur te fugitivum, mundus, amamus? (‘Here the holy young man who chased deer in the fields, now, stands a broken old man with a stick/ O what wretches! Why, world we love, do you flee from us?’) Alcuin O Mea Cella Beach’s […]

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