Arthur Koestler lived a remarkable life – as dramatic a death-defying tour of twentieth century Europe as you can find. He was born in Budapest (in 1905) and went to school in Vienna.
On a mid-July day in 1939, Albert Einstein, still in his slippers, opened the door of his summer cottage in Peconic on the fishtail end of Long Island. There stood his former student and onetime partner in an electromagnetic refrigerator pump, the Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard, and next to him a fellow Hungarian (and fellow physicist), Eugene Wigner. The two had not come to Long Island for a day at the beach with the most famous scientist in the world but on an urgent mission.
Saul Friedländer’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945, argues that the Holocaust must be understood as a European event.
Just before dawn on July 16, 1942 the French Police began Opération Vent Printanier, or “Operation Spring Breeze.” That morning over 13,000 Jews were forcibly removed from their homes and trudged through the streets of Paris to the Vélodrome d’Hiver, the Winter Bicycle Racetrack, on the rue Nélaton in the city’s fifteenth arrondisement.
After a long career among both politicians and literary lights, Roy Jenkins perhaps found his ideal subject in his last great biography, Churchill. Fans of the reputation-blackening revisionism common to the genre will find little to love in this laudatory account.
Within the span of thirty years, Lev Davidovich Bronshtein (Trotsky) went from living as a revolutionary in exile to being one of the world’s most successful revolutionary leaders, only to spend the waning years of his life back in exile and on the run from the regime whose creation defined his life’s work.
A swarm of plump and colorful waxwings are feasting on rowanberries. Suddenly, a shot rings out. Suddenly, a shot rings out. “A good dozen of the birds tumble from the fruit clusters down into the snow amidst fallen berries and drops of blood.
Matthäus Schwarz of Augsburg was, in many respects, a rather typical (if unusually successful) early modern merchant: he worked his way up from an apprentice clerk to a chief accountant in the powerful Fugger banking dynasty, he married, went to war, had children, and, in 1574, he died.
Almost a century after its publication, Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians remains a landmark work in the field of biography. The author chooses four notable personalities – Henry Manning, Florence Nightingale, Thomas Arnold, and Charles George Gordon – and uses their lives to illuminate the broader history of Victorian England.
Kern calls time and space the universal, “essential” realities through which humans perceive, experience and live life, and he uses them to understand historical change.