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History Magazine cover
The 1650s
Victoria L. King examines a decade of civil unrest and enlightenment in Europe.

Birth of the Boardwalk: A Sandy History
Russell Roberts looks at the illustrious beginning of the "walk of boards".

David A. Norris looks at the plastic of the Victorian Age.

The Battle of Cannae
Nicky Nielsen tells the story of the ancient battle between Hannibal Barcas and his sworn enemy, Rome..

Barter and Trade in Colonial America
Joanne Liu looks at the early history of Colonial America where currency as we know it was scarce.

Chroniclers & Scribes — Medieval Historical Writers
William Stroock chronicles some of the great medieval documents that have survived.

The Pedigree of Platinum
Steve Voynick relates the fascinating history of the "other" precious metal.

Pyramids and the Occult — Fact or Fiction?
Pamela D. Toller chronicles the search for the magical meaningn of the pyramids.

The Early Days of Radio
From the book With Amusement For All: A History Of American Popular Culture Since 1930, author LeRoy Ashby looks at the early programs that made radio so popular.

"The Storm": Killer Hurricane Devastates Galveston, Texas
Joanna Bostwick Backman tells the story of a killer hurricane.

Fire Below! The Devastating Reality of Coal Bunker Fires
Patrick McSherry chronicles the dirty and dangerous history of coal bunker fires and the men that fought them.

The Timeless Appeal of Clocks
Phill Jones chronicles the history of timekeeping and its impact on history.

Lizzie Borden and the Fall River Axe Murders
Daniel M. Hoenig describes the enduring interest in this case of murder most foul.


A selection of new books and products we believe may be of interest to History Magazine readers.

Medicine as a profession attracted many German Jews from the Middle Ages onwards. Medicine and the German Jews: A History by John M. Efron examines the relationship between German Jews and medicine. Special attention is paid to the Jewish Enlightenment of the 18th century, when Jews were allowed to attend German universities, and the anti-Semitism of the 1930s, which sought to erase the centuries-old bond between Germans and the Jewish doctors. From Yale University Press, hard cover, 343 pages, black and white illustrations, with an index and extensive notes. Priced at about $35 US or $54 Cdn. Available in bookshops everywhere.

Part of the Penguin History of Britain series, New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors, 1485-1603 looks at the dynasty that shaped England. Religion weaves throughout the book, from the break with Rome under Henry VIII to the brief restoration of Catholicism under Mary I and the uneasy religious peace that marked Protestant Elizabeth I's reign; religion shaped the Tudors' legacy. Author Susan Brigden's choice of title also reveals other threads within the book such as the waning of the Middle Ages and the expansion of English interests in the New World. From Penguin Books, hard cover, 448 pages, black and white illustrations, with bibliographical essay and an index. Priced at about $26 US or $45 Cdn. Available in bookshops everywhere.

Storytelling is a universal pleasure and as the nights grow longer during this time of year tales of the supernatural are certain to be popular. Stories of the supernatural that entertained our ancestors were collected by John Greenleaf Whittier in Supernaturalism of New England, originally published in 1847. Gathering the stories as a source for creative writing, Whittier was one of the first people to record the folklore of our ancestors. These tales of ghosts and witches, along with superstitions, reflect the innocence of the period. 93 pages, soft cover with two introductions. Available at about $13 US. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202, 1-800-548-1806 or

The women profiled in Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives: Women in American History are not well known, but their achievements are worth reading. Edited by Kriste Lindenmeyer, this collection of 17 mini-biographies tells the stories of ordinary women from the American Revolution to the 1980s. Women such as Susanna Haswell Rowson, America's first best-selling author, and Ethel Thomas Herold, who lived in the Philippines for 38 years, are profiled. These profiles reveal details of women's lives, what was presumed of them and what they accomplished within and around these expectations. Each profile has endnotes and a suggested reading list. From Scholarly Resources, soft cover, 282 pages with an index. Priced at about $20 US or $31 Cdn. Distributed through John Cotts Library Services Ltd.

If you are interested in the Dark Ages of Britain and the time of legendary King Arthur, this book probably contains all you want on the subject. With over 600 pages, The Age of Arthur: A History of the British Isles from 350 to 650 author John Morris covers the history of Britain from the end of Roman Britain to the birth of England and Wales. Everything from P & Q Celtic to monasticism to Geoffrey of Monmouth is included here. From Phoenix Press, distributed by Sterling. Soft cover, 665 pages, with 36 black and white maps and an index. Priced at about $21 US or $31 Cdn. Available in bookshops everywhere.

Fascinating reading for the young and old alike, Technology's Past: Volumes I and II are excellent introductions to the lives of inventors and those who made improvements to existing technology. Each subject's life and invention are profiled in a three-page illustrated biography. Volume I is devoted to over 80 US inventors, such as Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, and the not-so-famous inventors who changed the world with inventions like the superheterodyne circuit used in nearly all radios and the ever-so-humble nylon. Volume II has international profiles of such inventors as Johann Gutenberg and Alfred Bernhard Nobel, along with the inventors of stream-powered threshers and the founder of the field of electrodynamics. Each entry has its own references and resources. Volume I has 262 pages and Volume II has 264, both volumes are soft cover, with many black and white illustrations and an index. Each priced at about $30 US or $40 Cdn. From Tech Directions Books 1-800-530-9673 x 200 or

Most history books are sober affairs. A World Full of Gods: The Strange Triumph of Christianity is anything but. Author Keith Hopkins, a professor of ancient history at King's College, Cambridge, tells the story of a time-travel trip to ancient Egypt, Italy, Syria and Turkey by two people, Martha and John. The book unfolds with the recollections of the travelers upon their return, with the addition of other literary inventions added for good measure. Though not for all history buffs, this book is interesting, original and thought provoking, which is what all good history books should be, sober or otherwise. From Plume, soft cover, 402 pages, with two indexes. Priced at about $14 US or $20 Cdn. Available in bookshops everywhere.

Taking its title from Lord Ashburton's summary of negotiations over the Canada-US border, A Good And Wise Measure: The Search for the Canadian-American Boundary, 1783-1842 details the history of the world's longest undefended border. Stretching from the East Coast between New Brunswick and Maine to the Lake of the Woods, which crosses the border of Minnesota and Manitoba, the Canada-US border has shaped the relations the two great North American neighbors. Author Francis M. Carroll begins with the border's establishment at the Treaty of Paris in 1783 through to the 1840-41 meetings of Lord Asburton and Daniel Webster when the border issues were settled. 462 pages, soft cover, with endnotes and an index. At about $30 from University of Toronto Press, 5201 Dufferin St., Toronto, ON M3H 5T8 Canada. Tel: (800) 565-9523, fax: (800) 221-9985.

History Magazine will consider any history book, publication, product, service, convention, website etc., for inclusion in Hindsight. This is an editorial service: items are chosen solely on merit and there is no charge for inclusion. Send information to: Hindsight, History Magazine, 505 Consumers Road, Suite 500, Toronto, ON, M2J 4V8, Canada.

This article originally appeared in our October/November 2001 issue.