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In History

The dirt swept under the carpet of centuries of history
The Formation of NATO
published 4/1/1999
This week is NATO’s fiftieth anniversary. While most history books credit the expansion of the Soviet Union into Poland and Czechoslovakia in the postwar 1940s as the rationale for this defensive group, its precursor was actually initiated by Roosevelt in an effort to curb - yes, you guessed it - the French. Given the traitorous nature of the frogs during Nazi occupation, Roosevelt opted to join forces with Stalin to keep the cheese-eating nation under a collective, international thumb. This went along grandly until Roosevelt had the temerity to die. Once Truman stepped aboard, all bets were off, and before you know it, we had an Iron Curtain on our hands. Read the article

What We're Reading

Not as much as we'd like
click to purchase Theodore RexTheodore Rex by Edmund Morris (4/5)
Derided as an American Imperialist, praised as an environmental visionary, and confused with his famous (far-removed) cousin, Theodore Roosevelt is an under-reported President in the 21st century. Edmund Morris has taken colorful details and excellent narrative style and told the best version of the important story of Teddy Roosevelt's presidential years. (To be fair, it's hard to go too far wrong with a president whose favorite phrase was 'Bully!' and who would regularly force White House visitors to go hiking, climbing and skinny dipping at all hours of the day and night just for the thrill of it.) Teddy's presidency has many lessons for the insipid or clueless leaders of today. Inspire people with a positive vision. Act with honor. Engage the world. Love life itself. Don't put up with BS from your political party. While it may depress you to compare TR with America's 21st century leaders, it's still worth picking up a copy of this book. Read more at Amazon.com
click to purchase In an Uncertain WorldIn an Uncertain World by Robert E. Rubin, Jacob Weisberg (3/5)
It takes a good tour guide to show us a way through the dense jungle of the modern economy. What did the Southeast Asian currency crisis have to do with the USA? Why did Russian economic policy hurt Argentinean citizens? How exactly does one go about becoming a cabinet officer for the President? Robert Rubin is a knowledgable, humble tour guide par excellence. We here at History House wonder where America's economy might be in 2004 with someone of conscience and real intelligence at the helm rather than the band of thieves we got instead. Rubin's autobiography is notable for these reasons, and also because it is one of those good works which conveys important life lessons on how to get ahead, secrets of leadership, and just what's going on in our government. A deeply educational read. Read more at Amazon.com


History House has been dormant for about 20 months now. All of its principals (Ian, Sebastian, Victoria) have not forgotten you, but they have been kidnapped by the hurly-burly of the world. Ian is nearing the end of his PhD, Sebastian's company is growing by leaps and bounds. For old times' sake, we are resurrecting a classic April Fool's piece and even wrote a couple of book reviews. We hope you enjoy.

Book Review

We read books aplenty so you can find the good ones
click to purchase Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of FreedomFranklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom
by Conrad Black
Lord Conrad Black - a ruthless and arrogant media baron with a penchant for aristocrat-worship - is about the last person you'd expect to write one of the great FDR biographies. It apparently takes one to know one, as Black has exposed the very qualities which made Roosevelt so popular. He was an opportunist, politically vindictive, and purposefully forced many of his underlyings to squabble over authority -- leaving the ultimate decisions to him. Detailing Roosevelt's vices from misleading Americans about the extent of his polio, to stabbing political allies in the back, Mr. Black pulls no punches. These methods are nonetheless presented (in extremely entertaining and readable style) as a way to understand FDR's unprecedented authority and vision. Crediting Roosevelt, not unreasonably, with saving modern liberalism and capitalism, this balanced biography presents a forceful and nuanced view of the most important American leader in history. History House recommends finding a beach chair and three extra days and reading the whole damn thing. Read more at Amazon.com



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Sharm El Sheikh

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